The term 'health food' has always puzzled us. First used in the hippie days of yore, this category of foods has been equated with the unappealing and the unimaginative, with recipes for food that tastes like cooked cardboard, with a discipline that denies the senses and is so rigid that it creates tension. We forget that there are tons of options and ideas for a healthy dinner. Instead If it tastes bad, it's healthy. But shouldn't all food be health food? We think it should.
But America is growing seriously fat and this is troubling. Are we so busy stuffing fast foods into our faces that we ignore the dangers of such food and forget the sensory enjoyment of real foods? Obesity is not alluring to other humans, but disease finds it irresistible. Diabetes is head over heels in love with excess weight and under exercised bodies. Cholesterol is drawn to the arteries of the obese. Disease is happy, but the body has no fun - knees collapse under too much weight, joints groan, the body won't bend or stretch, movement is difficult.
Movement is the body's joy, its pleasure, its vitality, and movement wants fuel, so let's fuel our bodies with good foods, not fast foods. A body starved to achieve a supposedly perfect weight lacks vitality. Pretty to look at, but vitality is sexier than perfection.
Does that mean we must eat cardboard? Decidedly not. Today, chefs and home cooks everywhere are challenging the idea that health foods belong in a separate, boring category. Healthy eating gives vitality and vitality is sexy.
Be sensuous when you cook. Use fresh ingredients for they serve your health and your senses. What is more sensuous than the smell of fresh pepper or fresh Parmigiano cheese rising from the grater? What is more pleasing to the eye than freshly minced herbs, the range of colors that vegetables provide? Eat your nutritious foods with joy, and if you want to lose a pound or two, skip dessert and go for a walk.
The great cuisines of the world offer a vast range of foods. Please look at our page of 'healthy' recipes to start enjoying the goodness of nature in its endless variety. And let us begin to learn more about the foods we eat. We can start, most simply, by reading the labels on the packaged foods we buy.
Enjoy learning and enjoy eating well.
In Good Health and Good Cheer by Barbara J. Gewirtz, M.S., R.D. click here
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