Conscious Cook: Cooking up a healthy, peaceful holiday

“Peace is the first thing the angels sang. Peace is the nurse of love. Peace is the mother of unity. Peace is the rest of blessed souls. Peace is the dwelling place of eternity.” —Leo the Great

Finding peace and goodwill in your heart and towards our fellow men and women can be a challenge during the holiday season. Expectation levels run so very high during these few frantic weeks and patience levels can wane amidst the cyclone of activity. Traffic congestion, long lines in stores, banks and the post office and a multitude of social gatherings can be very taxing mentally and physically.

Staying healthy and peaceful during this festive, yet frenetic period, requires dedicated effort. While a certain amount of revelry is a joyous part of observing the season, overindulging in rich treats and alcoholic beverages can lead to both bodily and emotional discomfort.

Take time to restore yourself and soothe your system. Take a quick walk around the office every hour and reach your arms upward, enjoying a nice long stretch. This essential break will give you fresh energy and relieve eye strain. Try to keep up with a regular workout schedule, including long walks outside in the fresh, crisp air. Exercise quickly lifts the spirits and helps eliminate any aggravations.

Colder temperatures, combined with drier indoor air can be harsh on the skin. Treat yourself to a refreshing skin treatment. Peel a ripe avocado and mash the flesh into a soft paste. Using the pit, massage the paste into your skin with upward circular motions. Let the paste absorb for a few minutes and then gently remove with warm water. The intense vitamin E content of the avocado will soften and illuminate stressed out skin.

Enjoying seasonal fruits, as a complement to the holiday cookie tray and dessert buffet, will help keep the peace internally and externally. The fruits of December are filled with incredibly natural flavor and deliver exceptional nutritional benefits. Choose from cranberries, grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines, clementines, and pomegranates. In addition to their vibrant, sunny flavor, these fruits provide powerful antioxidants to keep your immune system running at peak performance.

Clementines are delightfully sweet, so juicy and super easy to peel, making them a terrific snack choice for kids. A bowlful on the table after dinner with a plate of dark chocolate chunks is an easy and excellent holiday dessert option. For a more elegant presentation, peel and section clementines, place sections in a pretty bowl and pour champagne or prosecco over the sections. Let soak for about an hour. When ready to serve, portion into individual dishes and drizzle with a bit of honey. You could also dust with a bit of cinnamon and sprinkle with chopped, toasted almonds. Include clementines in fruit salads or platters, embellish green salads or grain based dishes with these little slices of sunshine.

May you find many ways to prepare a delicious life and enjoy a peaceful holiday.

Sparkling Holiday Salad

4-6 servings

Mix together in a big salad bowl:

6 cups baby spinach leaves

3 cups baby kale leaves

3 cups baby arugula

¾ cup toasted nuts of your choice

12 clementines, peeled and sectioned

1 cup dried cranberries (plumped in hot water or juice for 20 minutes, then drained)

1 large crisp apple, washed and cubed

 

Whisk together in a smaller bowl:

6-8 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

4 teaspoons cranberry juice

1 tablespoon honey

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of sea salt

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss gently. Taste, season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

For more info on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, go to theconsciouscook.net.