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The Simple Life (Part One)

Posted Jun 29 2011 5:54pm

Simple times in Oaxaca, Mexico!

Ever get the feeling you just want to pack it up and move out to the country, or maybe some isolated tropical paradise? Perhaps not, but if you’re a city dweller like myself, sometimes you just get an overwhelming desire to get the heck out. This is the time when it’s really nice and dandy if you have a cottage you can escape away to, or at least know somebody who has one! Regardless of your life situation, city-dweller or not, sometimes life just gets a little hectic and you need to take some time out to reflect on what’s most important for your highest good. With the never ending to-do lists, social obligations, work responsibilities, emailing, texting, tweeting, downloading and uploading, it comes as no surprise that more and more of us are plagued by stress.

The effects of stress can be detrimental because they often spill over to other facets of our lives contributing to improper food choices, insufficient sleep and incessant mental chatter among other things that can ultimately lead to health problems down the road. Oftentimes it helps to take a step back and reevaluate the areas of our lives where we can make small simple changes that can drastically improve the quality of our day-to-day lives and improve our overall life experience. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed!

Check out my tips below for living (and enjoying) the simple life!

1. Simplify your Diet. Focus your diet around natural, whole foods as often as possible. People often get tripped up when they try to eat healthier because they believe that they have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen slaving over a stove. This couldn’t be further from the truth! I consider myself a true foodie who loves to channel her inner gourmand in the kitchen as often as possible, but allow me to let you in on a little secret…I like to keep my day-to-day REALLY simple and basic. In fact, I’m not a fan of complicated dishes or recipes at all. Flavourful and delicious – YES, but complicated – NO. People oftentimes think the two are synonymous – not so!

It’s all about getting a little creative with a few basic ingredients. And remember, the flavor is in the freshness. For example, think about the complex tastes of peppery baby arugula topped with sun-ripened tomatoes, crunchy cucumber and fresh summer herbs, or baked wild salmon topped with fresh dill and drizzled with fresh lemon juice, or the taste of a ripe juicy peach in the summertime. Get creative with garlic, ginger, herbs, sea salt, spices, lemon juice and a little natural butter. These are the elements that truly make even the most basic dish spring to life with vibrant flavour. The most basic vegetables can be taken to a whole new level when you sauté them up in a little natural butter, garlic and ginger!

Another misconception is that eating healthy has to be expensive. This might be true if you’re buying all of those fancy powders, raw treats, “super foods” and other expensive packaged goods at the health food store but these things don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) the foundation of your diet. Don’t get me wrong, they can certainly add some fun to your diet or spruce up a recipe, but make no mistake, the true healing foods are the ones grown from the earth (i.e. veggies and fruits) not the packaged foods sold in the health food store!

Buy seasonal, local veggies and fruits when you can and familiarize yourself with the dirty dozen and clean 15 to see where it’s safe to skimp on organics. Read my post on organics here . Healthy grains like quinoa and millet can be bought in bulk, and pastas made from spelt and kamut, along with soba (buckwheat) noodles are healthier alternatives to white pasta and all relatively cheap. Starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and winter squashes can also round out a meal nicely and are inexpensive. When it comes to stuff like eggs, dairy and other animal products (if you’re not vegan/vegetarian) I do recommend getting the best quality you can afford. A lot of the times the organic version isn’t that much more expensive than its conventional counterpart. And if you’re forgoing all the packaged health food items then you’ll have a little extra moola to buy better quality in this area. Again, read my post on organics  to learn more. It’s all about priority and I think your health is the most important place to start. Besides, you’ll only pay later down the road! Check out my grocery basket from an earlier post to get some ideas. And remember healthy “super foods” don’t have to come from the Himalayas or Peru, they can be found down the street at your local farmers market!

Okay, that’s it for today. Stay tuned for more ways to simplify your life.

Here’s to the simple life!

Elaine


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