On that note, I thought I'd share with you 5 new healthy habits I've been doing this last year...and I love them all. I included the tricks I use to make them all happen.
(And after the jump, please share any healthy habits that you've worked in, too!! Isn't it such a triumph to actually change the way you do things in this crazy busy life?)
1. Greens With Every Meal
I used to pretty much never, ever buy greens other than spinach. I guess I just didn't have experience with preparing them. But now we buy several bunches of greens every time we go to the store or farmer's market. Our favorites are green chard, rainbow chard, kale, spinach, bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens, or mizuna. I store them in those awesome green vegetable storage bags and they REALLY, REALLY WORK!!! I can't recommend them enough and think that every household should have them. They will save TONS of money as you're less likely to have to throw out unused vegetables. Every time we have someone over for dinner these bags usually make an appearance when I'm getting things out of the fridge and so I usually turn into a bag sales lady. I tell all my friends to buy these. :)
1. We sauté any green with tons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic.
My secret: I particularly like the edges to be a bit seared, so I turn it on HIGH right towards the end. I also LOVE to sprinkle freshly chopped basil to the plate once it's done - it tastes amazing! We also use so much olive oil during the week that we keep (2) of these olive oil dispensers next to our stovetop and have to fill them up regularly so we can cook all our greens.
2. I add handfuls of chopped greens to soups.
My secret: I add them at the very end once the soup is done (this way they stay bright green and make your soup look amazing!)
3. We have greens as a side dish to just about every meal.
My secret: Even at breakfast (with an egg).
4. I also make greens as the main entree.
My secret: I make a "green stir fry" and include every green I have on hand plus broccoli, green onion, zucchini, sometimes just a bit of Italian sausage, chicken, or beef, and fresh chopped basil sprinkled on top. We both love this dish so much.
5. We add PILES of greens to our homemade pizzas.
My secret: We sauté and season the greens (with olive oil, s/p, raw garlic) on their own to ensure proper flavor and texture and then we pile the cooked greens onto the finished pizza once it's out of the oven. We use at least an entire bunch of kale for a medium pizza + whatever other vegetable or green we have on hand.
2. RAW Garlic With Every Meal
You guys all know that raw garlic is super healthy, right? OK, I used to always think you should sauté the garlic in your olive oil...then add your veggies. The problem is, this will cook the heck out of your garlic and it will lose all of it's kick-butt health properties and flavor.
My secret: I now sauté or roast my vegetables FIRST and then when they're done and off the heat, I mix in fresh, chopped raw garlic. The heat of the veggies will warm the garlic JUST ENOUGH to add the most perfect amount of flavor. Plus you get some of the benefits of raw garlic. My chef husband is totally sold on my new technique and LOVES it. We need to try this same technique in our soups, too. (Here's a great article about the health benefits of raw garlic.)
3. Mineral Salt Instead of Table Salt
Table salts are processed and are stripped of any mineral content that they may have contained. They also contain additives to prevent clumping and caking.
My secret: I now use mineral salts exclusively for everything as they are not processed and have more minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Himalayan is our grinding salt (I order this one in bulk from Amazon) and I use this Celtic sea salt for baking. I'm so happy with them both. Plus I make fewer messes than I did with the Morton salt container (the Celtic sea salt comes in a bag, but you can also store it in a jar, which is handy. :)
4. Lemon Water Daily
Lemon water is supposed to have so many benefits. Here are a few: It balances Ph (it is very alkaline!), it boosts the immune system, it's a natural energizer, it aids digestion, cleanses your body, clears acne. (See here for tons more about lemon water.)
My secret: Every time I go to the store I usually buy a bag of lemons. Throughout the week I squeeze them into my water. (I don't mind doing a full lemon in a glass of water.) And in the meantime, the lemons look so cute on my counter. I see them as part of my decor. :) (And long time readers know I love yellow. Just see my crazy yellow Pinterest board. :)
(image from Brooke at the amazing blog, Inchmark)
My friends Linsey and Camilla got me onto kefir. It's seriously such a healthy, healthy thing to consume because it's FULL of probiotics, which helps you to have a healthy gut and immune system. Families who take this regularly swear that they hardly ever get sick and have such healthier...plumbing. :) Even people with Crohn's disease have had great success with it. I use Inner-Eco coconut water kefir as it's dairy free (you take just one tablespoon a day). It's available at all Whole Foods near the vitamins and the refrigerated probiotics. You can also make your own kefir at home very cheaply (my friend recommends Cultures for Health for good quality kefir starting kits.) I plan to try this soon (from Ecuador!) and will report back.
My secret: I add the kefir to a green smoothie or a glass of my lemon water.
(The photo of me above looks rather calm compared to how I feel right now. ha! We are in the final stretches of all the major logistics involved in this move. Right now Danny is planning out how many bags we can take on our flight. oye. All these logistics are so tricky.)