A healthy, happy lifestyle begins with good planning

features@islandpacket.comJuly 31, 2012 

These days, there is a lot more talk about healthy lifestyles than there ever used to be.

Dr. Andrew Weil, author of the best-seller "Eating Well for Optimum Health," has published "The Healthy Kitchen," recipes for a better body, life and spirit.

Weil collaborated with Rosie Daley, who is known for her innovative and highly flavorful spa cuisine. Daley is the author of the best-seller "In the Kitchen with Rosie."

The recipes in "The Healthy Kitchen" are eclectic, drawing from the healthy and delicious cooking of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Asia.

Weil and Daley do not always agree.

Daley's recipes might call for chicken; Weil's will offer a tofu alternative.

Daley likes the flavor of coconut milk, whereas Weil prefers ground nut milk.

Lifelong health begins in the kitchen, so this is a lifestyle book as well as a cookbook.

The recipes vary in their level of complexity. Some are simple to prepare. Some take a bit more time and energy to put together.

The beauty of cooking is that everyone already knows how to do it -- and it is really a matter of just doing it.

FROM WEIL, I LEARNED:

  • How to make use of nutritional information in everyday cooking

  • About organic food and how to buy it

  • The importance of reading labels and what to look for

  • Sensible advice about eggs, milk, cheese, salt, spicy foods, wine and coffee

  • The facts about sugar and artificial sweeteners

  • FROM DALEY, I LEARNED:

  • How to get kids involved in cooking

  • Lowfat and non-dairy alternatives for those with special concerns

  • Smart menu planning and letting the seasons be your guide

  • Ways to have fun in the kitchen

  • The most significant benefit cooking at home provides is sitting down in the company of loved ones and sharing a healthy meal you've made.

    Life can be wonderful with well-planned mealtimes.

    The recipes below are from "The Healthy Kitchen":

    FROSTED ORANGE GINGER FRUIT SALAD

    Make this ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator or take it to work in a covered container

    2 cups washed and sliced fresh strawberries

    2 cups grapes

    1 cup washed, cored and diced apples

    3 oranges, peeled, seeded and cubed

    1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from the 3 peeled, seed and cubed oranges)

    1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

    1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

    2 tablespoons honey

    12 sprigs mint (for garnish)

    Toss all the fruit together in a medium bowl. Whisk the orange juice, yogurt, ginger and honey in a separate bowl. Pour the dressing over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours to marry the flavors.

    Spoon the coated fruit into 12 small dessert dishes or glasses. Garnish each with a sprig of mint.

    MUESLI

    Instead of eating ordinary breakfast cereals, which can be laden with sugar or worse, skipping breakfast altogether, treat yourself to something known to be healthy.

    1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

    4 sun-dried black mission fig, pitted prunes or apricots,chopped

    4 pitted dates, chopped

    2 tablespoons sun-dried raisins or dried cranberries

    8 almonds, chopped

    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    1 pinch ground nutmeg

    1 cup apple juice

    1/2 medium apple

    1 banana, sliced

    1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

    Mix the oats, figs, dates, raisins, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Pour in the apple juice, and soak overnight. After the oats and fruit have absorbed all the apple juice, grate the apple with the skin, and stir it into the oat mixture until it is thoroughly distributed throughout. Divide evenly among six bowls. Garnish each serving with a few slices of banana, top with cup yogurt and serve.

    WALNUT, APPLE AND CELERY SALAD

    2 cups cored and cubed apples

    Juice from 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

    2 cups sliced celery

    2 cups sliced hearts of palm, drained

    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    1 head Boston leaf lettuce or read leaf lettuce

    DRESSING

    1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt

    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

    1 tablespoon mustard (grainy mustards work well)

    1 tablespoon roughly chopped shallots

    1 tablespoon basil pesto

    Toss the apples (immediately after peeling, seeding and cubing) with the lemon juice in a small bowl, so they don't turn brown. Put the celery, hearts of palm and walnuts in a big bowl, mix in the apples and toss.

    Put all the dressing ingredients together in a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients, and toss until everything is thoroughly coated. Tear six leaves off the head of lettuce, and lay a leaf on each of salad plates.

    Spoon equal amounts of the salad on the lettuce leaves and serve.

    Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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