Eat Clean: Cooking With Friends

fish and salad

When your friends love to cook as healthy as you do, you can never go wrong!

Recently, my friends and I made this dish for dinner. It’s a citrus spring salad, an herb sole turbot with a bell pepper salsa, and roasted brussel sprouts. I picked some blood oranges for the salad since it’s such an “unusual” ingredient because its short harvest season. I love how colorful and fancy this dish looks even though it was super easy to make.

We bought whatever we found “in season” at the nearest grocery store. For the fish, I really wanted something with more firmness than a trout and yet, not as bland as a tilapia…so we opted for a turbot. It tasted like a really buttery cod with the texture of a trout and the bell pepper salsa was the perfect complement to this fish. LOVED IT!

We prepared and cooked everything in less than 30 minutes, so it was definitely a meal I’d duplicate again.

I’m hoping to have more cooking parties with my friends so we can all swap healthy recipes and still eat like kings!

Advertisements

Eat Clean: Clam Chowder

clam chowder

One of my favorite soups growing up was Campbell’s Clam Chowder.

As I grew up, I discovered several gourmet versions that changed my mind of what clam chowder should look and taste like. Places like Ford’s Filling Station (Los Angeles) and Hog’s Island (San Francisco) crafted a soup where you actually have clams in shell in a sea of flavorful broth.

My mother recently took it upon herself to make her own version. Coming from a Cantonese food tradition, my mother loves light seafood broths. She prepared a flavorful fish broth in which she added a few classic clam chowder ingredients. Super simple and super delicious.

I don’t have the exact recipe since she just sort of improvised, but here’s the ingredients that she used:

  • Fish broth
  • Milk
  • Russett potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Clams in shell

I’m sure I’ll be duplicating and refining a version of my own clam chowder soon. But at least I know it’s not so challenging to create. Clam chowder doesn’t have to be super heavy and fatty for it to taste good.

A little simplicity goes a long way.

Eat Clean: Chirashi Bowl

chirashi sashimi sushi

I love Japanese food.

It’s simple and tasty but it can be unhealthy if you overeat and indulge in too many rich foods. Recently, my favorite items to have at a Japanese restaurant is a chirashi bowl or sashimi plates.

Fish and rice.

Maybe a salad.

That’s all you need for a satisfying and healthy meal.

I try to avoid teriyaki, katsu, curry, and ramen. It’s alright to have it once every couple of months. But I find that I don’t crave those things anymore. It’s too fatty, rich, sweet, or salty for my taste.

When I think of modern primal eating, this is probably one of the best things you can get in Japanese cuisine.

Keep It Simple: Water

You need it to stay alive.

You need it for hydration.

You need it for your body’s metabolic processes.

Does it need to be hot or cold? With a filter or not? What bottle do you carry it in?What brand do you get?  Does the source matter? What about flavors? What about minerals? What about fluoride?

Seriously?! Just stop.

If you’re in the United States, chances are that the water is pretty safe for you to drink…from the TAP. Yes, I am an advocate of tap water over bottled water.

Water has no calories and we should keep it that way.

Don’t add anything to it and just try to drink as much as you can to stay hydrated. If it has a funny taste, then go ahead and filter it, chill it, boil it…whatever you want.

The point is…to drink water every day.

It’s downright silly how we can take a simple task and make it infinitely more complicated when all you need is 3 things:

  1. Drinking water
  2. Cup or container
  3. A mouth

So the next time you’re feeling thirsty, the best solution can be the simplest solution which is to drink plain ol’ water!

Embrace The Body That You Have

We as a society focus too much on self-hate and self-loathing.

Advertisers and marketers prey on our insecurities to get us to buy things.

Need to lose weight? Try some diet food program or sign up for gym membership. Want to have more confidence, why not get some plastic surgery? It’s all a trap to get you to spend more money on things you don’t need or things that don’t necessarily help you get to your ultimate goal.

You have only one body and once you accept it for all its perfections and imperfections, the better off you’ll be. You have to work in this body, sweat in this body, and love in this body. If you want to change it, then be smart about it and seriously consider your options. Don’t expect to look like Conan the Conqueror if your body type lends itself more towards Bruce Lee. Don’t think that you’ll become Keira Knightly if you’re more shaped like Beyonce.

It may have taken you a few months to get to your current unhappy state, but it may take years to get to your happy place…and that’s ok. It takes more work to be healthy and fit than it does to be the opposite. Look around, there’s fast food on every street corner and maybe one healthy restaurant per district. It’s easier to be unhealthy, but it takes real guts to become healthy.

So do yourself a favor and stop whining.

Get out there and work out!

Testing Out the Green Smoothie

first green smoothie blend

It’s a fad.

It’s a trend.

And yet, is there something to be said for green smoothies?

I’ve seen plenty of people rocking green smoothies as a way to stay healthy in the new year and I was curious and skeptical. Since I’m not a fan of sweet smoothies, the veggie version may have a more neutral flavor profile. So I asked around and decided to give it a go.

I’d use it not as a meal replacement or with a meal…but as a snack. I tend to have peaks and valleys when it comes to hunger. I’m either really ravenous or pretty full with a few periods of contentment. My body doesn’t like regular 3 times a day meal times. To moderate those extreme swings and so it doesn’t affect my mood so much, I’m testing out this green smoothie thing.

The current plan is to have my usual meals. In between meals, I’d have this smoothie to keep me going whenever I’m feeling a little hungry. Since it’s all the usual fruits and veggies I need anyway, it’s just another way of getting it…slightly more convenient.

I hate feeling constantly hungry, so maybe this IV-like smoothie regimen would balance out my hunger pangs.

green smoothie recipe ingredients fruits veggies

The First Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 gala apple
  • 1 orange
  • 1 nub of ginger
  • 1 serving of romaine lettuce
  • 1 handful of frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • 4 celery stalks

Tastes like:

Cold cream of broccoli soup with a hint of celery, slightly sweet and tangy, and a peppery kick of ginger at the end. (Smells kind of like grass…but it’s not bad.)

Results:

I only consumed 1/3 of the smoothie a day. After the first half of each day’s serving, it tasted too sweet. Next time, I’ll swap in Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and add more dark leafy greens. Seems like a 1:1 ratio of fruit to vegetables works pretty well. Just need to keep tweaking the recipe to get what I want.

Snacks: Fresh Figs

For the longest time, I had no clue what figs looked like. What was the real taste? I’ve eaten Fig Newtons, but everyone said it tastes nothing like fresh figs.

When I saw them at the farmer’s market, I had to try them.

I picked up a small batch and devoured them so quickly that soon I was staring down at an empty plate. Slightly sweet with a wonderful crisp texture…it was the perfect snack on a breezy summer afternoon.

What goes best with figs? I’d love to know how you eat them. 🙂