The Edenic Lifestyle – Living to 100 Simple Cooking
I was talking to some people about Edenic/Blue Zone/Mediterranean cooking. They said they tried it, but they had to buy so many specialty foods that they gave up on the system. Isn’t it amazing that we try to be so perfect that few can or want to follow the system. How can we change it to make it easy? I have a few simple suggestions.
The first is to buy simple, easily available ingredients. Don’t think you need to buy Kosher, free range, cage free, organic, Himalayan sea salt. Just buy salt. This rule applies for all the ingredients. In my research, I found that the Okinawans ate a high percentage of sweet potatoes. I began to look into this more deeply, and found they ate purple sweet potatoes, not the orange ones. I searched through my city and found them at a specialty store. Not only were they at least twice as expensive, but I had to make a special trip to the one store for the one item. If you do most of your shopping at a specialty store that sells the purple version, buy them. Otherwise, just buy the orange ones. They work fine. You can choose to eat a system such as organic, non-GMO, Halal, vegan etc. but this diet doesn’t require it. Easy, cheap, and healthy is the watchword.
I have the saying, “Eat the Rainbow.” By this, I mean, buy and eat the darkest color of each food. When I say that, I mean, do it in a practical way. Go to your favorite store and look at your options. If you see green bell peppers and red ones, buy the red. Look at the salad greens and buy the darkest ones. Examine the fruits and choose the darkest ones. Dark red apples are still white inside. Compare that to berries that are dark colored inside and out. Is it any wonder that berries are the only fruits that are known to have mental benefits? Just don’t go to five different store to get the very best.
Another rule is buy the foods that you will eat. If you buy arugula as the darkest greens but hate the taste, so never eat it, you would be better off buying the second best greens, ones that you like to eat. Another mistake we make is to buy difficult to prepare foods. You come in from work and need to leave soon for an activity but all your foods take an hour to prepare, you are more likely to go out and buy fast foods. I have developed a variety of quick and easy healthy foods that are yummy. Another strategy I have is to prepare delicious soups, casseroles, etc that I can make when I have the time, and then they are available for several days, when time is more limited. Remember, healthy foods are only healthy when they are eaten.
Another rule is don’t make a drastic menu changes. Instead, make simple healthy changes to your normal foods. When I was a boy, sometimes I was invited to dinner at a black friend’s house. The first time that I had a dinner with black eyed peas and collard greens was startling. He had similar experiences when he ate at my house. My parents were very health conscious and served foods I would happily eat on this diet. The black eyed peas and collard greens were equally healthy. For me to insist that they had to eat my way would be wrong. In fact, the family, when faced with a drastic diet change would eat enough to be polite, then sneak out for fast foods. Instead, tweak the collard greens to remove or reduce the unhealthy parts, such as the saturated fats. Remember, the Okinawans have a very healthy diet, but so do the Nikoyans, the Seventh Day Adventists, and the Sardinians. It is not the specific diet but the principal. Thus, tweak your normal diet. Then you can experiment with the occasional exotic food. If you do, only keep the ones that the family loves. Your diet and health will keep getting better.
When I went to visit my grandchildren, I made a soup, even after a friend brought some soup. My soup maximized the health while keeping to my daughter’s vegetarian lifestyle. I was thrilled to hear my four year old grandson say, “This is the best soup ever.” Follow the rules, buy simple and cheap, buy dark foods, buy foods that get eaten, and keep to the families favorite food styles. You will find the family will successfully accept the Edenic eating style.
Here is a delicious healthy casserole:
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 cooked skinless boneless chicken breast halves, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt to taste
- ground cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained (or one red bell chopped)
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- Shredded Parmesan
I doubled the recipe to feed us for a few days.
I would also consider using an italian herb blend to taste
Cook the rice and saute the vegetables first
Put in a casserole dish in 350 oven cook covered except last ten minutes
I found the original in Allrecipes.com