Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We still have quite a bit going on from what we have been dealing with for the past couple weeks. I hope to be able to catch up soon.
Today I have a guest post from the lovely Treasa, she blogs over at Life with the Stewarts. She blogs about many awesome things, the most recent being about Health. She was so kind to write up a guest post for me about embracing variety in our diets. Sometimes it is hard to do but is good for us. I really enjoyed this post. Hope you all do, too! Be sure to stop by and get to know her, she is amazing! :)
I recently read a book called French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I didn't necessarily agree with everything in the book but I did enjoy it and it has definitely inspired me to get more creative with my diet. This post is not a book review so I'm not going to be summarizing the whole book for you -I'm just going to share a couple of ideas from the book that I really thought were awesome.
One thing she talks about is that French women eat small portions of many things that are fresh, natural, and full of flavor. She suggests trying different spices or herbs with a familiar dish to mix things up a bit or preparing a fruit or vegetable in a way you don't normally do -but to keep it simple. Having a variety of delicious, satisfying food that is easy to prepare allows you to more easily maintain a healthy weight or lose weight without feeling like you're depriving yourself.
Another thing she talks about is indulging in your favorite foods that might not be as weight loss friendly. Indulging is totally okay and you should indulge every once in a while. She suggests indulging once a week if you're trying to lose weight. However, indulging doesn't mean binging and it doesn't mean you should indulge at every meal that day. Her book says, "...there are two selves in each of us: the one who wants to be slim and healthy and the one who wants something else. One sees the big picture -well-being, self-esteem, fitting into the latest fashions. The other wants pleasures aplenty, and now. ...The key... was not to conquer the second, but to broker a rapprochement: make friends of your two selves and be the master of both your willpower and your pleasures. That was the French way." You just need to find your balance. You can indulge in a small pleasure but make sure you do it mindfully and always find some little adjustment you can make like walking more that day or skipping the bread at dinner in order to stay balanced.
They eat a lot of fruit in France when it's in season and if you prepare it in a variety of different ways then you don't get bored of the in-season fruit and you feel like you're having dessert every day. Last week I got 8 pounds of fresh strawberries from my co-op so I've been experimenting with quick and easy ways to enjoy them. One of my favorite ways to use the strawberries (or most any other fruit) is to make a creamy drink. I just throw some strawberries in the blender with some milk and sweetener of my choice (I usually use sucanat) and enjoy my homemade strawberry milk. The milk is my husband's favorite so that's how he always wants to use the fruit, but I try to tell him that he needs variety. We don't need to have our favorites all the time. In fact, having them less often helps us enjoy them even more the next time! So it's good to try new things and embrace variety. :) Strawberries are also amazing drizzled with a bit of chocolate sauce (I make my own). And they're great roasted in the oven until soft and juicy and used as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, or pudding.
For the 4th of July one of my sisters-in-law made a fruit salad with a variety of different fruit, some chopped mint, and honey and lime juice as the dressing. It was delicious! Well, I didn't have a ton of other fruit around but I did have plenty of strawberries so I decided to make a strawberry salad. And I decided to try basil instead of mint and lemon juice instead of lime juice because I had tried a strawberry basil lemonade once and I loved the flavor combinations. It was so good! It's delicious with mint and lime too so you should try them both. :) I would eat this as a mini-salad, an appetizer, or even a dessert. And it takes no time at all.
Strawberry Basil Salad
Makes one serving (although it would be really easy to make more)
A few leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp. raw honey
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Hull and quarter the strawberries. Chop the fresh basil. In a small bowl mix the honey and lemon juice together. Toss the strawberries and basil with the dressing. Enjoy!
How have you been enjoying your fresh fruits and veggies this spring and summer? Which ones are your favorite and how do you prepare them?