Cooking Healthy on Maui
For the last 6 years, we've made a commitment to eat healthier than the year before. We've succeeded, and we've surprised ourselves in find that food tastes far better now!
Eating healthy is hard at first, but once you get in the habit, it becomes second nature. You feel better, and your food tastes better. Some other unintended consequence is that you may find yourself respecting your food more and having pride in what you make. All of these things are true of our world now. But we're still learning everyday.
Here are a few tips for making delicious and healthy food:
• Microwaves make food taste bad. Use them for their clocks and nothing more.
• Steaming food keeps the most nutrients, other than eating raw foods.
• Sautéing with olive oil is not good. sautéing with canola or vegetable oil is worse. When cooking, use coconut oil, butter or animal fats. Use olive oil for salads and unheated things.
• Processed foods are bad. We're finding that even a lot of the stuff at Wholefoods has nasty stuff in it. They probably stock them because they're local, or they are sustainable or something, but not always because they're non-GMO, healthy organic foods.
• Local foods are best if organic. The less time the produce takes to get to you, the fresher and more nutrient it will be.
• Lime/lemon juice and/or vinegar make for great substitutes for salt. Salt is not a bad thing if in moderation. We need salt to live, but using citrus and vinegars can kick up the flavor just as well. Some veggies you wouldn't dream of eating can taste amazing if you put the time into it.
• We always have fresh herbs in the house. Adding some fresh thyme, rosemary, or sage can add so much flavor to anything, and it's good for you!
• Cut back on starch and proteins! The American diet usually makes protein the biggest portion, next the starch, and finally a small amount of veggies for color. It should be the other way around. Veggies should constitute at least 1/2 the plate. Starch/carbs are not necessary, but if you do it, make it a small portion. Protein should be a smaller portion. We often split a normal American portion of meat between us, and we don't miss it cause we fill up on veggies. You also save money doing this. You can cut costs this way because meats are so expensive, OR get a better cut of meat than you normally would.
• Just because a chicken was humanly treated and free range, doesn't mean they weren't fed GMO corn.
• Ginger and garlic are your best friends. They make everything taste better, and they're incredibly good for you. If you're in the habit of using fresh ginger, get some fresh turmeric and add it to your recipes. Incredible anti-cancerous properties.
• Drink more water than you normally do. And by NO MEANS should you drink soft drinks. Soda is evil.
A few examples of our meals on Maui:
• Plain organic yogurt with fresh fruit and berries or a touch of honey. The flavored kinds of yogurt have tons of sugar. fruit is best. Get the whole fat kind. Stay away from skim or nonfat. Also, try goat milk yogurt. If you can handle the funky taste, it's way better for you. Keep in mind, though it's hard to find raw milk, having non-pasteurized, non-homogenized raw milk is best.
• Organic oatmeal with some honey or maple syrup or berries/fruit.
• Fresh juices. Getting a juicer and using it is a great idea. The problem lies in actually using it.
• Eggs. This whole cholesterol scare is bogus. Throw them in a wrap or make an omelette with sauteed veggies.
• Super Salads!! We make these beautiful salads almost everyday. They have loads of stuff in them, and if you prep beforehand, they're very easy to put together. We add: (all organic and local if possible.)
lettuce, spinach, raw/unsalted nuts & seeds (walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc...), shredded carrots, leftover diced meats, tomatoes, cheese, croutons. The dressing is either homemade with garlic, olive oil, seracha, salt and pepper, or we buy a good olive oil based dressing. Grating raw organic vegetables in your salad is SO good for you, and it tastes good with the dressing.
• Eggs like breakfast.
• Portabello sandwiches. Though we're staying away from sandwiches these days due to the excessive amount of wheat we eat, portobellos are great if sautéed with a little balsamic, salt and pepper.
• Wild Fish - we eat a lot of fresh fish. It's easy and quick. We cook it on low heat and plate it just before it's done cooking. It continues to cook and will be perfect once you eat.
• Free range Chicken - we love tossing chicken in a marinade and leaving it in the oven for an hour at 325. So easy! We put it in a baking dish, dump a whole can of soup over it, and let it cook. We've been using coconut milk instead, and it makes the chicken SO tender. Then you can season it to taste. The best way to do it is dump a jar of mild salsa over the chicken. INSANE YUMMY.
• Salmon burgers - When I buy salmon, I buy much more than we need for 1 night. We eat a few pieces, but I take the rest and dice it up. I mix the diced salmon with egg, homemade bread crumbs, onions, fresh herbs and seasoning. I then make patties and freeze them for later.
• Steaks - We share steaks all the time. We do it on the grill mostly, though make sure to clean the grill and not char the meat (carcinogens suck.) We like to marinade it a day before, then drop it on a very hot grill for 2-5 minutes per side. Then we finish it in the oven on a low heat. For the best steak experience, take the meat out of the fridge an hour before cooking, and ALWAYS let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Marinades: My classic marinade is usually a bottle of cheap red wine, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, fresh herbs, green onions.
Rubs: My favorite steak rub is ground pepper, kosher salt, brown sugar, dried herbs, chili peppers.
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