A year has ended and a new year has begun.
we celebrated Now let’s move on.
In 2023, we celebrate our relationships with family and friends, animals and pets, the beautiful landscapes of the Adirondacks, nature and the world.
But this column is about food. We are also related to food. At different stages of our lives, our relationship with food can change. And it can be challenging.
Our bodies need food to survive. Food is fuel. we eat for energy. And what we eat and how we feel are often related.
It’s different for everyone. Some people fight to lose weight. Others may need to gain weight. Some people prepare all their meals at home. Others eat out or buy takeout. As we age, our needs change. You may no longer be able to chew or chew raw, crunchy vegetables and meats and prefer soups. There are other people facing similar issues. Our challenges can bring us together.
we are all different. Some people like spicy food. Some people prefer a mild flavor. Often we tend to prefer the food we grew up with. Our home-cooked meals were prepared by our mothers and grandmothers.
Food is also determined by the culture, ethnicity, and part of the world that our ancestors were welcomed into.There are Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines. I’m not Greek, but I love Greek food with herbs like basil and thyme, feta cheese, yogurt and lemon. My favorite herbs are dill, chives, basil, and onion and garlic, flavors my Jewish ancestors missed during their flight from Egypt.
Most people know that they should eat a balanced diet in order to be healthy. Mostly fruits and vegetables, mixed with carbohydrates (preferably in the form of whole grains or starchy vegetables) and a small amount of protein.
There is also a relationship between diet and our mental health. Some nutrients give our brain power. Some foods impair cognitive function and sap us of energy, while others energize us, make us feel stronger, and help us think more clearly. Our clarity and concentration are also affected by what we eat and drink. Coffee, chocolate, alcoholic beverages and sugar are prime examples.
Some people suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. People with anorexia try to shrink. They tend to be obsessed with their weight and avoiding foods to deal with anxiety, stress and low self-esteem. There is an episode about trying to wipe it out.
According to the National Institutes of Health (2017-18), 30% of Americans are overweight and another 40% are obese. Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers are associated with obesity.
Food allergies and sensitivities play an important role in our relationship with food. Anxiety, unexplained tension, or unclear thinking may be associated with food sensitivities or food allergies.
I have a friend who can’t eat fish or nuts. Another person cannot eat legumes. People with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten. Others are gluten sensitive. Peanuts are an allergenic food. Others do not tolerate lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products.
People with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can be made worse by certain foods. When stomach acid doesn’t stay in the stomach and rises into the esophagus, it can be irritating and cause pain, coughing and discomfort. I had a friend who was allergic to broccoli. It will make her feel sick to her stomach and vomit. Another couldn’t stand the lettuce. Many people cannot tolerate hot peppers like habaneros and jalapenos.
Processed and packaged foods often contain chemicals such as preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, and excess sugar and salt. These are bad for the body as well as the mind.
In the dead of winter, there are very few local produce, but some farmers grow fresh vegetables etc. in greenhouses. Or come from California. Local apples, winter squash and root vegetables such as carrots and turnips are still available.
However, it’s still important to be aware of what you eat and how it affects you. A balanced diet based on fresh, natural ingredients supports both mental and physical health. Known to relieve mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety and mild depression. When the mind is properly nourished, it improves intellectual clarity and agility. Good nutrition is important for both physical and mental health.
Over a third of New Year’s resolutions are health, diet and fitness related. Every January, diet books fly off the shelves. Gyms and exercise classes get new members. But research shows that most of us fail the challenge.
Start the new year by recognizing how food affects your physical and mental health.Move forward with optimism, hope and plans for the coming year.
Cheddar cheese and pecan apple salad
Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing:
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey mustard
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
About 3 cups shredded or coarsely chopped green vegetables: napa, bok choy, cabbage, arugula, or spinach
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
A generous handful of pecans (1/2 – 1 cup)
Crush the garlic. Add salt, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Whisk with oil.
Add washed and torn greens and toss to coat. Add cored and sliced (no need to peel) apples. Stir in cheddar cheese and garnish with pecan nuts.
main dish vegetable casserole
This takes just 15 minutes to prepare and about 30 minutes to bake.Make the salad while the casserole is in the oven and dinner is on the table.
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (about 1 cup)
1 bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup kidney beans (cooked or canned)
1 can (1 3/4 cups) diced tomatoes, drained
2/3 cup grated cheese, such as sharp cheddar
Peel and dice the onion. Wash, seed and dice the pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and pepper, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the green beans and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Spray or grease a casserole or baking dish. Add corn, beans and tomatoes. Top with half the grated cheese. Top with corn, beans and tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake until bubbly (approximately 30 minutes) until cheese is melted and flavors combine. Serve with tossed green salad. Serves 2-3 people.
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Award-winning cookbook author “Garden Gourmet: Great, Fresh Meals From The Garden, CSA, Or Farmer’s Market” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: cooking and writing. You can find her at www.yvonafast.com and contact her email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @yvonawrites.
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