Happy Stomach, Happy Body, Happy New Year
WRITTEN BY: ASHLEY STINSON
A NEW YEAR IS COMING, AND WITH IT COMES A CHANCE TO CHANGE THE HABITS IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU WISH YOU COULD BE FREE OF. The New Years diet is basically a cliche at this point. Every year, millions of people across the country throw out all the rich foods and the sweets that have accumulated through the holidays and prepare to start fresh.
For some people, this means cutting fats or carbs out of their diets entirely. But after a few weeks of deprivation, there inevitably comes a crash. It turns out that ditching entire food groups is not a very sustainable way to become a healthier you. Most nutrition experts agree that the best diet is the one you can stick to. For some people maybe that means reducing your portions, or replacing meat with veggie protein a few days a week.
One of the easiest things you can do to increase the quality of your diet is to avoid premade, processed foods. Cooking at home gives you complete control of what goes into your meal, and makes it easier to make sure that you’re getting enough fruits and veggies in your diet. Adding more healthy plant-based foods can make a huge difference in how you feel without requiring you to sacrifice a huge category of other foods to do so. You’ll also find yourself fuller after meals, so that maybe you don’t even want that slice of cake.
Not sure what to add to your dinner plate? Start with leafy greens. Chard, kale, bok choy, and spinach are full of vitamins, iron, fiber, and—most importantly—they’re tasty. Beans are another way to add protein and fiber to your plate. And if you’re trying to get more plants in your diet—which you should be—don’t forget about mushrooms! Low in calories and rich in B vitamins, you’ll find that mushrooms are a great savory substitute for meat.
Aside from being delicious and healthy, adding vegetables to your diet is something that’s a lot easier to stick to than special no-carb diets or juice cleanses. Life can be busy, and that can make it hard to eat right. Sometimes the quick way is tempting at the end of the long day. Luckily, you don’t need to be burdened with an abundance of spare time to cook a healthy, filling meal. To that end, here are two recipes that don’t take much longer than half an hour to help you start your New Year on the right foot.
Spicy Mushroom- Veggie Stir Fry
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp grated ginger root
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
¾ cup soy sauce 2 tsp Chinese five spice ¼ cup Sambal Oelek chili paste
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1 white onion, ½ inch dice
1 cup jalapeno, diced
1 large zucchini, cut into ½ inch half-moons
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch matchsticks
1 bunch bok choy, cut into 1 inch portions
1 cup broccoli florets
2 Tbsp water
In a bowl, whisk together minced garlic, grated ginger, sesame oil, broth, soy sauce, Chinese five spice, Sambal chili paste, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and cornstarch until mixture is thoroughly blended and no lumps remain. Set aside.
On medium, heat vegetable oil in wok or high-sided saute pan. Add mushrooms and salt, and cook, stirring until mushrooms release liquid and begin to brown. Add onion, jalapeño, zucchini, carrot, bok choy and broccoli. Add water and cover with tight-fitting lid.
Let vegetables cook, covered, for ten minutes, or until broccoli has softened, bok choy has wilted and zucchini is tender. Give your cornstarch-sauce mixture another thorough mix, and then pour it over the vegetables. Cook, stirring, on medium-high heat until sauce thickens.
Kale & Sausage Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound linguica sausage, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
2 pounds cannellini beans (pre-soaked or in can)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 pounds kale
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Remove kale leaf from rib. Wash and drain leaf, then chop into large pieces. Set aside.
Pour olive oil into a cold pot, and then add sausage. Turn heat on low, let most of the fat render out of the sausage before raising the heat to medium and adding your onion. Add in salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to turn translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, and then add beans and chicken broth.
Let broth reach a boil and then lower the heat. Cover and let gently simmer about 20 minutes. Carefully stir in kale and let simmer until kale wilts. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary. Add pepper to taste.