Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Commit to Health Series: Try Something New

I'm not sure how this next topic really relates to health in a scientific sense. But somehow, it works. Being flexible and open minded when it comes to food really seems to help me divorce myself from the fact that I want to eat it all the time. I think gluten free eaters are a little bit better than most at "sticking to a diet," but that doesn't mean that we necessarily eat the best foods for us, even if they're gluten free. For example, when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease and I cut gluten out of my diet, I thought I might starve to death. I happened to have a giant Hershey bar (I mean, the mega-giant size) someone had given my daughter sitting out in the kitchen. When I passed by I would eat two or three squares of it because, and I quote myself, it was the ONLY thing I could eat. By the end of the day the entire mega bar was gone, and my daughter hadn't eaten a bite. Do you have any idea how many calories are in a giant Hershey bar? Way more than 400 I tell you. WAY MORE. So, gluten free eaters of the world: think outside of the food box!

Here are some new foods that I tried this year that I am totally glad I did:

smoked mozzarella...so good with baked pasta
sushi...there's gluten free kinds and it's actually pretty yummy
a quinoa and veggie salad that I am still going to try to replicate (or improve upon)
hummus...who knew?
ivernia cheese...a sharp Irish cheddar, and I mean sharp
coconut gelato at the Draper Harmon's...and not because of that Julia Roberts movie!

I feel like trying a new food allows me to think about what I'm tasting, and make a judgement, and view the food for what it is: food. Not love, not friendship, and definitely not comfort. (Although I can't say I don't love to feel full and satisfied, but you know what I mean.) If you are in a food rut and you don't like to try new things, start out small and try something inexpensive but different, like shallots. They're like mild garlic-flavored onions, and if you don't like the strong onion flavor you might like the easygoing shallot in your recipes. Or try some Nutella in a crepe or on toast for kicks. It says hazelnut but really it's the most delicious chocolate spread around. Stop by your local deli or cheese monger and try a sample of a new kind of cheese and then buy $5.oo worth of it and try it in a recipe. image from Martha Stewart.com
Try a new grain, like millet, quinoa, teff, or buckwheat and try putting some of it into a soup or even cooked like oatmeal in the morning. It's not on their website yet, but in the January 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living on pages 136-140 they have a great little guide for eating cooked grains and flavor combinations that sound really yummy. (Note: only the quinoa, millet, and steel-cut oats are gluten free.)

You could also try capers in a salad or on pasta. They are little small salty, lemony...balls of flavor. I don't even know what kind of food they are but they are delicious. Or get a new vegetable that you've always walked by at the grocery store and read up on how to cook it. It's all about being willing to try new things. And buying a different kind of salad dressing or a different flavor of ice cream does not count! We're talking whole, healthy, fresh foods that are good for you. A varied diet also helps you get more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, and if you're trying out something new, chances are you're going to pay more attention to the entire meal and make sure it's going to taste good together. No one wants to waste $10 worth of Gruyere, and I mean no one. Adding more types of vegetables to your diet will help you get more fiber, which is also good for you.

My foods that I'm going to try to work into my diet this year are Tilapia, (yes, I am the only person on the planet who hasn't eaten Tilapia yet. I really don't love fish, so there.) and cremini mushrooms, because I love mushrooms and they're supposed to be super mushroomy, and in the vegetable category I'd really like to try broccoli rabe, parsnips, eggplant and endive. What's on your list? Leave me a comment and let me know what food you'd like to try this year, be it a cheese, a vegetable, or a type of protein.

Happy eating!

2 comments:

  1. Great post, wonderful photos!

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  2. Quinoa and hummus were 2 of the foods I tried in 2010, too...loved them both! For 2011, I want to try cooking millet and teff and also taste an uncommon fruit like ugli or dragonfruit.

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