November 28, 2014

Keeping the faith as February ends

Think bok choy!

Think bok choy!Think bok choy!As I listened to the wind howl and watched the blinding, swirling snow fall during this last monumental winter storm I was struck by a number of thoughts. One was how very difficult it was going to be to shovel out from a three-foot snowfall, how long would it be for things to return to normal, and a number of other random thoughts. And I reminded myself that this was the perfect time to live well and be grateful for the many gifts I had: heat, lights and a full freezer.

Living well and eating well requires discipline and making healthy decisions.  Discipline is required to get proper exercise, and choose natural, healthy foods to consume in reasonable portions.

Choosing to consume all good things in moderation usually provides  greater brain power, energy and enthusiasm for life.

During the darkest of storms, both physical and emotional, we often choose to medicate ourselves with foods we think will satisfy our need for deep comfort. Foods that are decadently rich, deep fried, overly processed or excessively salty always seem to taste so good in the midst of the storm, but really do little to invigorate and uplift.

I have often reached for copious quantities of carbohydrates during the dark days of winter. Crackers, pretzels, tortilla chips, cereal, anything I can crunch with mindless abandon. Fortunately I have found an effective tactic for quelling my desire to load up on Ritz crackers jammed into the peanut butter jar.

Filling the fridge with super fresh and crispy fruits and vegetables, such as bok choy, provides choices that give me the major crunch factor I’m craving, while providing much needed hydration, vitamins and minerals.

Bok choy is a winter wonder food. With tender, succulent green  leaves and crispy, white stalks, bok choy is spectacular stir fried, in salads, added to soups or just eaten as a snack on its own.

Loaded with vitamins A and C, bok choy marries beautifully with Asian seasonings such as sesame oil, soy sauce and hot peppers. These strong flavors satisfy and satiate, adding immense pleasure and warm spice to frigid winter days.

Prepare a delicious life full by eating well of the foods that best nourish and sustain a high level of good health.

Winter Bok Choy Stir Fry

1 head bok choy, well washed and trimmed, stalks cut into thin slices, green leaves chopped

1 sweet pepper, any color, seeded and cut into strips

pinch of hot red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

Heat a frying or saute pan over high heat. Add canola oil and roll around to coat pan. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for about 20 seconds. Add white bok choy stalks, pepper strips, and red pepper flakes. Stir fry for one to two minutes. Add greens to the pan with the chicken broth. Cover pan and cook for two minutes, or until greens are wilted. White stalks should be crisp, and the greens still a vibrant color. Serve immediately. (Superb with roasted salmon.)

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP is certified in holistic health counseling by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teacher’s College. She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes to adults and children, utilizing healthy, natural ingredients and super easy and delicious recipes.

For more information go to www.theconsciouscook.net.