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Healthy eating begins with two simple principles:
Processed Foods = Bad
Whole and Minimally Processed (WAMP) Foods = Good
The idea that eating whole foods is good and processed foods is bad may seem self-evident, but it’s not as obvious as you might think. In fact, pinpointing WAMP foods isn’t simple. Processed foods can be sneaky and disguise themselves as healthy foods without our noticing.
For example, we all know that chips, fries, and doughnuts are processed junk-type foods — that’s obvious. But what about bagels, cereal, and yogurt? Maybe not—it all depends on the ingredients that make them what they are. Most bagels are full of refined, processed wheat, and mainstream cereals are stuffed with processed sugar — they’re certainly not WAMP foods. The fact is there isn’t a standard, regulated definition of the words “whole” or “minimally processed.” You’ll need to learn what makes a food WAMP and what doesn’t because labels on packages won’t tell you.
Luckily, there are a few key attributes that flag a food as WAMP.
Want to eat healthier? Skip the whole-wheat bread and start eating wheat the right way — with wheat berries!
Wheat berries are wheat kernels direct from the stalk with only the hull removed (the inedible portion). Wheat berries represent wheat in its least processed, most nutrient-dense form.
I love nothing better than a warm, delicious, one-pot meal. And a true favorite is this vegetarian Bibimbap recipe. Pronounced “Bee Beem Bop,” this dish is a highly nourishing, classic meal in Korean cuisine. It’s composed of sautéed vegetables, rice, raw or cooked egg, and if desired, meat (usually beef). The word Bibimbap translates to “mixed rice.”
This dish is a rainbow of colors, tastes, aromas and textures — an unbelievable main course that is guaranteed to make your taste buds sing. The dish is thought to have originated in the Royal Courts of Korea. I enjoy thoroughly mixing the ingredients together before the first bite, which provides for full-on, unbridled flavor! The best part about it? You’re eating whole foods that elevate your wellness with each forkful. Enjoy healthy!
Just as our grown-up taste buds are programmed to enjoy glorious, nourishing foods from Mother Nature, so are our babies’! Babies have a hardwired fondness for sweet tastes from the moment they enter the world. Their first sweet stop? Mother’s milk. From there, usually sometime after six months, babies begin to eat “solids,” which gives us parents an opportunity to guide their taste buds in a way that will allow them to explore and experiment with a broad range of flavors. The goal? By showing them what true, natural flavor really is, babies have a chance to fall in love – on their own – with foods that love them back!
Did you know that nearly 75 percent of the average American’s grain consumption is wheat? And that the vast majority of this is consumed as refined flour? In fact, we only consume, on average, a pitiful 10 percent of grains in the form of whole grains. Ten percent! And of this minute portion, wheat, rice and oats take top billing.
Luckily, this recipe helps us discover one of Mother Nature’s most delightful, yet most overlooked varieties of whole grain on Earth: amaranth. Amaranth was cultivated by the Incas and Aztecs and was considered one of their staple foods along with maize and beans. Like quinoa and millet, amaranth is considered a pseudograin/pseudocereal, as these foods derive from broad-leaf plants instead of grasses (e.g. corn, wheat). However, their seeds are used in much the same way.
So why choose amaranth over a more-familiar grain? Because this underdog of a plant boasts some fantastic qualities: It’s easy to cook, gluten-free, and relatively inexpensive.
There are several pieces to this unique and oh-so-yummy recipe.
The first has to do with the use of bitter greens. Bitter greens, such as radicchio, arugula, mizuna, escarole, endive and watercress, bring a pungent yet wonderfully unique flavor to the palate. Their bitter notes, similar to what you get from citrus zest and coffee, are also tinged with a fresh coolness, and do wonders for your digestive health. In many cultures, bitter greens are used to stimulate and tone the digestive system and in Ayurvedic medicine, bitter tastes aid in weight loss and help control food cravings — particularly the craving for sweet. When paired with natural sugars, such as what you get with ripe, luscious oranges, bitter greens will make your mouth sing!
Seasonality is another key to the dish. Winter signifies the orange harvest, especially in Northern California, where I currently reside. In this recipe I used small clementines, but feel free to experiment with Cara Cara oranges, blood oranges or any local orange that you can get your hands on. The more local and sustainable, the tastier the fruit!
But the real “pop” to this recipe is the dressing! The rich and deep sweetness of the balsamic paired with fresh-squeezed orange juice coats the greens and vegetables with just the right amount of bitter, sweet and salty. Then, combined with a hint of spicy Tabasco, myriad tastes come alive!
With the addition of pasture-raised, organic eggs, this dish packs in one of Mother Nature’s most complete proteins. Just remember to accompany a poached egg with some whole-grain toast to soak up all that yolk. Enjoy!