Hold the Line on Healthy

25 Nov 2011

Posted by karen
karen's picture

Hold the line on healthy.

We're marching into the season where schedules and life get busier, and if we're not intentional about it, healthy eating patterns and food choices can end up somewhere "down there" on the list. 
It's not the time to opt for nutrient-deprived fast food, to stock up on processed "easy meals," or fill up on the goodie trays in the coffee room at work.
Flu bugs and colds are not taking a holiday. Stress and sleep slip out of balance. 
This is the call: strengthen the ramparts on healthy eating.

Here's my defensive eating plan.


Greens are on the menu - every day, at least once a day. In a salad, a green smoothie or transformed into a "hot dish." Please read more about  these super foods and find recipe ideas from my "gotta have greens" article on active.com.


A cup of miso soup will be my hot drink choice for some of my "tea breaks". Miso is a fermented product with probiotics (aids digestions), it's also good for circulation, blood pressure and resists toxins. Miso makes a tasty, nutritious addition to all kinds of dressings, sauces and dishes. It's interesting trying a variety of misos - pictured below are brown rice and soybean.

Easy peasey cup of soup, perfect for an appetizer too.

Pour boiled water into good-sized mug. Stir in 1 tsp miso. Add chopped green onions, snippets of dulce, finely grated carrots, (opt - tiny cubes of tofu). Stir thoroughly, let sit for 2 - 3 minutes and enjoy.

"I'd like to bring something."

This will be my answer when invited to a party. One idea for an appetizer: a veggie tray and healthy dips . It's a great way to introduce a nutritious buffet option, besides knowing the list of ingredients:) The following guacamole recipe has a different taste twist, with some bonus nutrients.

Miso Dulce Guacamole -  great for fresh veggies or tortilla chips, or as a spread on wraps with fresh veggies

2 well-ripened avocados, pitted and skins removed, *save pits
1/2 tomato, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped dulce or nori
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp. miso paste (brown rice or soybean)
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes
olives for garnish
Mash all the ingredients together or process in a food processor. Best if eaten the same day. *Putting the pits back into the dip until time to eat will help stop the dip from turning brown.
(Nutrition notes: avocadoes are full of healthy fats, garlic and onion: antioxidants, 
(adaptation from Thrive: the Vegan Nutrition Guide by Brendan Brazier)

Avoid refined sugar.

Okay, refined sugar is really hard to escape at this time of year.  I know I'll be indulging sometime. 
That's the key. Sometime - which doesn't mean sampling everything on the dessert tray.  Choosing something special that I really want to taste.
I plan to be extra diligent in my own kitchen, where I have the choice, the ingredients and the tools to create sweet treats without refined sugar.
Both for eating at home and sharing with others.

I have a simple plan. Now, to move forward with courage.

I live a real life in a human body and like everyone else,  I live in a nutritional "war zone".

But I have a plan. Do you too? Let me know!


renee's picture

Mom, this is fabulous. What a great guac. recipe. I have a few ripe avocados to use so I think I'll try it this weekend. 

Having just finished being sick I am so done with that whole scene and really want to guard my health headed into this season, these are great tips.

PS. no worries about the sugar when you come here for Christmas!

karen's picture

The good thing is that there's so much delicious food to eat (and some of it sweet)  that is healthy - without sugar. Your cooking is a great example of that.

Anonymous's picture

Very sensible ideas! My parents have been eating a salad a day (along with a very healthy all around diet) for the past 35 years or more. They are both 82 and pretty active and healthy. They indulge, but it doesn't turn into a regular thing. They are my example of how to eat and live (and they raised me that way so it is easy for me to follow.)

But stopping that sugar train is hard! This year it started for my seven year old daughter in her kid world before Halloween! Now it is like some switch turned in her brain and she is craving sugar! I say No all the time, but she keeps asking.  And she eats our healthy food with no problem. Her brain craves sugar and her body craves and eats flavor, and crunch and texture.

I love your blog and your daughter's blog also!

Thank you for the inspiration!

karen's picture

Sounds like you're holding the line - good for you because it's not easy with children. Fresh and dried fruits just doesn't always "cut it" for them. Keep serving up "healthy" - and thanks for stopping by. 

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Renee's picture

Enjoyed your post. Funny just this morning I thought I've got to try some miso soup. From your  post it sounds quite simple enough, so I just disolve miso in hot water and add some green onion. Ok, can do. When I go shopping for this am I going to find varieties? If so what is the easiest to start with, palative wise?

I understand you are a runner. I too love Brendan's words on endurance nutrition. What type of distances do you run?

Enjoying your blog!

karen's picture

Check out my granddaughter's miso soup recipe. I suggest you start with (organic) soybean miso - I think it's also the most common variety available. One note: if you make the guacamole dip, ensure the miso is well blended so you taste the flavour but you're not biting into little clumps of it (which has happened to me :).

I'm always happy to hear from another runner. Presently my typical runs range from 7-12 kilometres (or about 4 to >6 miles). This fall I ran a half marathon, which I was thrilled to be able to do again. In my past runner-life I've run several marathons and quite a few halfs. Not sure if the marathon monster will ever show up on my running radar again but I'm just so thankfl to be able to enjoy this wonderful sport. How about? What do you run?

Thanks for stopping by!


Renee's picture

Thank you for the miso notes, I'm putting it on my grocery order.

As far as running goes, I did my first marathon last May at the Bluenose, I'll do it again this year. Half is probably my favorite distance though. I like the regime a race provides, but dislike the increasing fees. They are great goals to work towards though. I always enjoy chatting with other runners specifically those to whom nutrition is important. It appears you have a lot to offer with your nutrition talents, I'll definately keep reading. Nice to meet you!

karen's picture

Good for you, doing the Bluenose. Nothing like that finish line feeling at the end of a marathon. Hope to run into you sometime at a NS run.

RodBrakus's picture

I literally hate it when greens are prepared in that way. But, I have read from bestessay.com reviews that they are vital for the good health of a human. So, I close my eyes, stop breathing and take them in.

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