Sometimes life throws us curveballs and our whole world spins upside down, especially when a health crisis comes along. The way you see life changes, and most times a lifestyle change is in order. This happened to me a few years ago. Outside of special exercises or a slowed-down pace, nutrition is a big factor to facilitate wellness. Most healthy people go through life not giving it a second thought, but for those who live with an illness, whether for life or temporarily, it becomes an urgent priority. Even if you are not unhealthy, but simply don't eat well, it is never too late to change your dietary habits once you arm yourself with the knowledge and have the support to help you turn over a new leaf. It is not an easy process, and it takes time. However, it is manageable once you have the right tools.
My first column for Thursday Food five years ago was about labels. Thereafter, I did a series on sodium, sugar, carbohydrates, fats, etc. And throughout the years I have continually campaigned for knowing where your food comes from, being aware of what you consume, eating what you grow, and so forth. These topics have become increasingly trendy and there are many forums to debate the merits of healthy eating, portion control, what to eat and what not to. Invariably, some people get confused by the bombardment of information, and let's be honest, some advice out there seems over the top or impractical for the average person's budget, or alien to our culture. For example, it makes no sense getting a diet plan when the ingredients listed are not easily available in local supermarkets.
I love my relationship with Thursday Food readers and lately there has been a spike in emails sharing with me that many of you are overwhelmed. Some of you feel stuck in a culinary rut or with balancing fast-paced lifestyles, which makes it hard to stick to a specific diet plan even with the best intentions. Others have confided in me that they do not like being preached to. Oh yes, some individuals they have turned to for advice get overly preachy about food to the point where it just turns them off and makes them feel even worse about their circumstances. Others have lamented to me that they want to eat pleasurable foods knowing it is healthy but without resorting to counting every calorie. They want to know how to make healthy food fun. Next week I will give you some recipe ideas for comfort foods we love - albeit a much lighter version.
Until then enjoy these two dishes.
Broccoli and Sausage Pasta
There are so many wonderful locally made sausages on the market. So preference is up to you, just make sure you don't use a frankfurter-style sausage; it will not have the same result. This quick meal feeds four.
1 Pack of Rigatoni
1 Pack of sausages (there are normally three in a pack), sliced
1 large head of broccoli
Set oven to 400ºF and grill sausage slices for 30 minutes.
While sausages are cooking, prepare hot salted water and add broccoli, cook for 3 minutes and drain.
Cook rigatoni according to package directions
In a bowl add cooked pasta and broccoli, and drizzle over garlic oil.
Add grilled sausage pieces, toss together and divide equally amongst four plates.
Roast Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Salad
Instead of a grilled chicken salad, substitute with roast pumpkin slices and create a healthy meat-free meal which is equally satisfying. This would make a great Meatless Monday meal for those of you who are following the philosophy. Serve with your favourite light dressing. This meal serves four.
1 small pumpkin, deseeded and sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil, for brushing
1 Romaine lettuce, washed and roughly torn
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded
1 carton Grape Tomatoes, washed and cut into halves
1 Large log of Goat Cheese, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Brush pumpkin slices with olive oil and toss with sea salt then lay on baking tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Assemble the lettuce, red cabbage and cherry tomatoes onto four plates.
Place roasted pumpkin slices over vegetables.
Scatter over goats' cheese.
Serve with your choice of dressing.
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