Part 1 post about the 21-Day Sugar Detox (21-DSD) exemplified the fun products that made this program interesting. This Part 2 post is a rather challenging topic – cooking and meal prep. Cooking of course is fun, however planning ahead of time and meal prep can be an arduous task.
If you’re preparing for a round of the 21-DSD, Whole30 or any such program for the first time, I highly suggest doing it with a friend or partner. Its always a plus to have someone around to share ideas, recipes and frustrating moments (only initially). I did this all by myself but I had some experience after the Whole30’s.
Major sugar cravings, grueling headaches, irritability is what I anticipated during the first few days of the 21-day sugar detox, to my surprise none of what I describe really happened. After completing couple of Whole30‘s I wanted to change things up a bit…why would I do that to myself is a question I’m very often asked, so here are some reasons why:
- When cravings turn into habits its time to make some changes – I was getting into the habit of eating a piece of dark chocolate after lunch or dinner which is not terrible as such but it was more a case of habitual eating versus mindful eating.
- It’s always interesting to observe how my body behaves in different scenarios, physically and mentally
- Strengthens the willpower muscle
- Opens up an array of foods, aromatic herbs and spices to explore in the kitchen
- Helps hone my creative skills when it comes to cooking as well as meal prep
As a child I was always fascinated by beets, probably because of it’s lovely deep ruby pink hue…beets are nature at its best – pretty looking, naturally sweet and so rich in minerals. They’re also packed with tons of health boosting nutrients – iron, manganese, copper, potassium and of course as a result are very healthy. They are also low in sodium, fat and high in fiber.
Tacos are hands down my favorite food in the whole world, but of course they have to be street style tacos! Which means, warm soft tortillas, well seasoned and charred meat (carne asada or chicken being my preferred ones), topped with finely chopped red onions or pico de gallo, cilantro and a squeeze of lime…sooooo good.
I absolutely love the smoky flavor of chipotle chile’s! Did you know chipotle chili is a large jalapeño chile that is dried and then smoked. The name is derived from the Nahuatl (group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs.) word chilpoctli, which means smoked chili pepper.
Chipotle’s are primarily cultivated in Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Southern New Mexico and Southern Texas. Farmers pick green jalapeños for markets and leave some chile’s to naturally ripen while still on the wine, they are harvested once they attain a deep red color and have lost most of its moisture. The red-dry jalapeños are then moved to a sealed smoking chamber, spread out on metal grills and allowed to dry with very low heat and wood smoke. This process takes several days until all the moisture is removed.
Salmon is possibly my favorite fish, it has so much flavor and is extremely versatile. Over the last few months I’ve explored different methods of cooking this uber-delicious fish and have come to realize that it needs to be cooked just perfectly and over done salmon can make it too dry and chewy. Also, different cuts for Salmon do matter, I like small fillets to whip a quick meal together on week nights or something more fancy on weekends, like a salmon steak.
After making my first legit Melt spice blend – Coriandrum Pepper, it was time to dive into actually using it in recipes. This is where the fun begins and the options are limitless. The blend works wonderfully as a spice rub for different kinds of meats and has tones of citrus along with a tingling-spicy-peppery after taste.
I can’t be grateful enough to have grown up in a country where the knowledge of ‘exotic’ spices seems like second nature. Even though I almost never cooked in India, I know my spices. These flavor enhancers add another dimension to food, almost like painting highlights and shadows to a still life that would seem flat otherwise.
Different cultures have their own way in which spices are used to cook food and this is how spice blends evolved. People in warmer regions of the world (closer to the equator) tend to use more spices to preserve meat because of its antimicrobial properties. This is why spice blends seem to have more complex flavors in regions like India or Africa versus Iceland or Norway.
Food sustains life,
Spice breathes air into that food.
Our cooking has evolved from roasting meats in a fire pit to complex multi layered recipes of modern day. During this evolution and development of several cooking techniques spices began to and still occupy the most critical dimension to cook flavorful food.
After all the sugary goodness over the last few weeks, the new year begins on a bitter but healthy note. I’m not big on resolutions but new beginnings and a fresh start is always a good thing!
So for me, hitting the reset button this year includes –