Happy May! This month’s focus is diet and why they don’t work and sprouting. I’m learning to sprout buckwheat for a raw desserts class.
Why don’t diets work?
You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age.
Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results. Why?
- Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle.
- Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
- Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
- Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.
- Most importantly, diets or healthy eating is a lifestyle and diet should be based on bioindividuality.
In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.
Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.
Food Focus: Sprouts
In the spring season, seeds flaunt their vitality and energy by sprouting. Sprouts of all varieties contain the building blocks of life in the form of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and simple sugars. In their early growth state, sprouts are very easy to digest, allowing our bodies to access many wonderful nutrients. Recent research by the American Cancer Society has backed what holistic nutrition has known for years: that sprouts contain anti-cancer properties, high levels of active antioxidants, concentrated amounts of phytochemicals and significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D.
In their raw form, sprouts have a cooling effect on the body, and therefore are best consumed in warm weather or by robust, warm body types. Those who tend to feel cool can try steaming spouts or adding them to warm dishes such as stir-fries and soups, to reduce the cooling effect. There is a wide variety of edible and delicious sprouts, each with a different texture and flavor: alfalfa, mung bean, lentil, radish, clover, sunflower, broccoli, garbanzo and adzuki.
Here are some great ways to serve up sprouts:
- Add to salads.
- Combine with other vegetables in wraps, roll-ups or stir-fries.
- Use as garnish on top of soups, stews, omelets or scrambled eggs.
- Add to rice or whole-grain dishes.
- Use in sandwiches instead of lettuce.
Spring has arrived! Eat sprouts and feel alive!
Recipe of the Month: Spring Sprouting Steamer
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 summer squash
1 package mixed crunchy sprouts (lentil, adzuki, mung, garbanzo)
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or butter
4 lemon wedges
salt to taste
1. Slice zucchini and summer squash in discs about 1/4 inch thick. Steam with sprouts for about 5 minutes or until desired tenderness.
2. Toss with tarragon, ghee and salt in bowl.
3. Serve with lemon wedge.
Note: Try fresh herbs like parsley, dill, cilantro or mint for a totally different taste.