In this high-paced, microwave society
I often wonder how different life would be if we just let our kids eat whatever they want. Just like any other kids, ours would choose the fried, salty, sugary foods, high in calories and preservatives. My wife and I had an interesting discussion about the types of snacks we had as kids. Although she was a self-proclaimed "junkaholic" growing up, she never ate many of the sugary snacks that I grew up eating. How interesting that there are so many different types of junk food that two people can put their lists together and not have overlapping items. That's scary!
Standard American Diet
What’s even scarier is the high amount of chemicals and low amount of nutrients in the Standard American Diet (SAD for short.) These “foods” don’t satiate you, but they keep you coming back for more with all of the salt and sugar. If you look around you, people are not feeling well and their bodies are being "dragged through the mud" by their food choices! It's safe to say that our bodies don't recognize these things as food.
Years ago, to escape the “Sugar Wars”, we decided to eat mostly plant-based foods (in addition to our use of essential oils) to support our body systems in doing what they’re supposed to do. That's right, you don't have to suffer from poor health just because everyone else does! You can be well, healthy, Vibrant. We’ve seen the results we’d hoped for but have experienced something else that we never expected.
Our new journey
It all paid off with several years of vibrant wellness that can be summed up with the results of one doctor visit for my oldest son, Ayri. During a physical check-up for sports, the doctor looked in his open mouth and said “Oh, I see you’ve had Strep Throat recently.” I asked, “How can you tell?” She said, “I’m sure it was, because I can see the scaring.” My thought was "there is no way this happened!" Ayri had no idea and it never slowed him down. There was no blood test or formal diagnosis done but, whatever it was (that she saw) never bothered him and his immune system clearly dealt with it. Imagine your body systems working so well together that they only require a couple of extra naps to deal with a harmful intruder. I'm no doctor but this blew me away!
Consuming mostly plants can be a fun journey, if you decide (like we did) to plant a garden full of the stuff you normally buy from the store. I know so many people who have a ton of things in their garden that they don't like to eat. It makes sense if you are a local farmer selling food at the farmer's market. Otherwise, why not grow what you love to eat? This was a "win-win" for our health and our wallet. Plus, there’s an amazing connection between people who work together to grow and eat good food! This process brought our family so much closer to each other. I worked with my older son to till the land and prepare the rows and the water lines. My younger son, Kai, and Pua Pua (grandma) planted the seeds, watered and even harvested some tasty tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, jalapeno peppers, basil, oregano, Swiss chard, eggplant and spinach so far!
Where the true blessings come!
My wife eats healthy because “it’s the right thing to do” and not because she really wants to. She absolutely has to eat foods that taste good or it’s not going to happen. So, she searches daily for the best recipes to bring these ingredients to life. When the meal is a hit, she shares it on social media. We’ve enjoyed some amazing combinations of flavors with mouth-watering results. Eating healthy and clean with whole foods straight from your own garden never tasted better!
Here’s a recipe for Lentil Loaf with Checca Sauce. We used quinoa instead of brown rice and added YL Lemon essential oil to the Checca Sauce. It was so tasty, we had to share. Try it and tell us your thoughts! Shalom!
Veronica’s Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups, or 12 ounces), halved
- 3 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch salt
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup lentils (about 5 ounces)
- 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked short-grain brown rice, rinsed well
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1 celery rib, sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups cubed whole milk mozzarella cheese, divided (about 8 ounces total)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tomato, sliced
For the Checca Sauce: Combine the cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, basil, and oil in a processor. Pulse the tomatoes until they are coarsely chopped, being careful not to puree. Set aside. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
For the Lentil Loaf: Place the lentils in a large saucepan of cold water. Bring the water just to a boil over high heat. Carefully drain the boiling water and rinse the lentils. Meanwhile, in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat, bring the broth to a boil. Add the rice and return the liquid to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover the rice, and gently simmer without stirring for 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils, onion, carrot, and celery. Cover and continue cooking without stirring until the rice and lentils are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes longer. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the corn over the rice and lentils and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover and let stand for 5 more minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread 1 tablespoon of the butter over a 10 by 4 1/2 by 3-inch loaf pan. In a heavy, large skillet, cook the spinach over medium heat until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze the excess liquid from the spinach. Transfer the spinach to a work surface and coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, gently mix the lentil mixture, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, eggs, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, pepper, and half of the checca sauce. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Arrange the sliced tomatoes in a row over the lentil mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
Bake uncovered until the loaf is heated through and the topping is melted and starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Slice the loaf into 2-inch slices, arrange on plates, and serve with the remaining checca sauce
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