Like most people, I aim to eat healthy, cook nutritious food, and make good food choices in general. There is a total food revolution happening, a lot of new research emerging about what's good and bad for you, and so many good food options available at most grocery stores these days that it's not as difficult to get on the right path. Since I went to culinary school and really learned how to cook, I've also been able to assess the types of food I've been eating and figure out how to make healthy dishes that still taste remarkably delicious and satisfying. It's pretty easy to reduce salt and fat when you learn to replace those things with fresh herbs, lots of spices, and thoughtful cooking techniques. Don't get me wrong - I still love a good piece of fried chicken cooked up in old fashioned Crisco, but imagine enjoying a piece of chicken that's air-fried in bison tallow instead? Yes, bison tallow is a real thing - I get it from Thrive Market! And air-fryers are dope, man.
With that being said, I'd like to share with you the discoveries I've made in the kitchen regarding specific foods and tools that have made eating healthy that make easier and more delicious. Onward ho!
Oh, the joys of ghee. Really just clarified butter, ghee is what's left after you remove the milk solids from liquified butter. I know you're probably giving me the side eye right now because BUTTER, but hear me out. Ghee is a great source of Vitamins A, E, and K - very important when it comes to getting your nutrients in (I should know). It's also heart-healthy, believe it or not, because it can lower your cholesterol. Finally, ghee is full of antioxidants, and those antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body, making you healthier inside and out. Final benefit - it's VERY tasty. Final, final benefit - it's really easy to cook with. It comes soft in a glass or plastic jar and melts really easily into your pan. You can also make it yourself. Melt a stick of butter on very low heat and scoop off all the milk fat that comes to the top. Reserve the clarified butter in a glass, air-proof container and bam - homemade ghee.
A mandolin is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes taking down veggies an absolute fucking BREEZE so that you can do a big food prep when you get your groceries home, allowing yourself to simply go into the fridge for pre-sliced cucumbers or what have you whenever you want. I find that the prep is a huge obstacle for most people when it comes to eating healthy. If it's already ready, you'll eat it. If it's not, it's a mind over matter type of situation. Hello, pizza delivery. Good for all kinds of veggies, it easily allows you to cut them down with the simple swipe of the wrist in about 15 second flat.
I got turned on to this specific type of plastic container in culinary school and have been hooked every since. I love them. You can write on them, they're easy to wash, and loads cheaper than Ziploc and other brands. Plus, because they're tall you can really pack food into them without taking up too much space in your fridge.
I've spoken about my absolute LOVE for the Vitamix, and while it's definitely an investment piece, it's the best utility tool I have in my kitchen. It's not just for smoothies, no, no, no. You can put a piece of beef in there and end up with tar tar! Throw in beans and hummus comes out. Put in warm pieces of butternut squash and chicken stock and you'll get butternut squash soup. Seriously, it's amazing. I find that I use it for so, so, so many things beyond just a morning smoothie. Getting creative with food is the best way to keep things interesting when you're trying to eat healthy. For me, that means taking food in it's original form and literally turning it into something else. I'd marry my Vitamix if I could.
AN OPEN MIND
Probably the most important thing I bring with me into the kitchen is an open mind. Being willing to experiment, get my hands dirty, mess something up and start over again - all really important when creating healthy and balanced dishes. Never tried an ingredient before? Do it! Never shopped at an online health food store? Why not? I love Thrive Market - take a look around. Even more mainstream groceries stores are stocking their aisles with healthy options that before were really only available at your neighborhood co-op market. Trust that the choices you make will turn out delicious.
Images via Earthbound Farm, Daily Health Post, Serious Eats, Williams Sonoma