The following terms and phrases are briefly defined from the point of view of the Olives to Lychees, Everyday Mediter-asian Spa Cuisine cookbooks
Recipes created with some of the unique ingredients commonly used in the cuisines of Thailand, China, Vietnam, India and Japan.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is a mindset and a lifestyle that focus on eating food closest to its most natural state. It consists of consuming organic plant foods (fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds), organic proteins (meats, fish, eggs, occasional dairy), quality healthy oils and fats. It is about eating foods rich in nutrients and filled with life force energy that your body requires to be healthy. It is foods that will make you feel vibrant with life and health. We are creatures of Nature; it makes sense that what keeps us alive and well comes from Nature.
It is about avoiding lifeless industrially processed and packaged foods containing a long list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce, genetically modified organisms like wheat, soy and corn, hormone-filled meats and dairy, preservatives, food colouring, foods containing refined sugar and artificial sweeteners (sodas, baked goods, etc.) Reading labels of food products is very important to make wise shopping and clean eating decisions. Your health and wellness are worth it!
Cleansing Food, Detox Food
In the spring when Nature is coming back to life after a long and harsh winter, many people feel the need to do some cleaning of their homes and gardens, as well as an internal cleansing of their bodies to remove toxins, refresh, and replenish their body’s energies for optimal performance. Mother Nature’s produce that have components and properties to clean or cleanse the body’s organs (liver, lungs, kidneys, colon, as well as the blood and the skin) are the best foods to help remove toxins, shed some weight, re-energize, build health, and ease into an improved health-sustaining lifestyle. During a cleanse, there is no need to fast and starve in order for your body to feel lighter and “cleaner”. Ingesting highly nourishing foods provided by Mother Nature and drinking lots of good-quality water will facilitate your body’s cleansing process.
Foods like Mother Nature’s fresh produce and herbs are ideal to cleanse and detox the body and supercharge your health. Some of the best foods that help eliminate toxins (detox) are beets celery, artichokes, apples, leafy greens, garlic, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, turmeric, citrus fruits, and green tea. They can be used raw in juices and salads, or cooked in soups or, in the case of herbs, infused in teas.
In Volume 2 of Olives to Lychees, Everyday Mediter-asian Spa Cuisine, (available in fall 2015), I guide you through an easy cleansing program that will leave you feeling lighter, refreshed and “cleaner” inside.
Cooking for Wellness and Longevity
It is about regularly preparing and eating foods that contain the building blocks to maintain optimal health, help prevent diseases and lead to a long, vibrant life. The best foods are the rainbow-coloured produce, organic meats, wild-caught fish and seafood, nuts and seeds, and quality oils and fats. The healthiest cooking methods that impart the most flavours are steaming, stir-frying, braising, stewing, poaching, baking, grilling, roasting, and leaving the produce in their raw state, where it is applicable.
Cooking With the 7 Senses
The 5 senses play an important role in creating a succulent dish that will satisfy your family and guests, and make you burst with pride and joy. Cooking is an organic and experiential activity. I encourage you to use the 5 senses that you are familiar with while preparing your meals: tasting, seeing, touching, hearing, smelling. The 2 senses that are not mentioned in most cookbooks and, in my opinion, are equally important are your 6th sense or your intuition that gives you your “Chef Personality”, and cooking from your heart where you infuse the food you prepare with a distinctive loving quality.
Food that has great taste buds appeal and that provides enjoyment and satisfaction due to their delicious flavouring combination. The Mediter-asian spa cuisine provides recipes to create your own flavourful food using fresh herbs, spices, vanilla, etc.
Flavours From Around the World
They are natural ingredients like herbs, spices and produce used to give a distinct flavour to a dish. Each cuisine stands out for its unique combination of flavours.
A food substance can trigger a negative immune system response in the body. To support the body’s health, it is wise to investigate what the allergies or sensitivities are and refrain from ingesting the “offensive” food(s).
Foods Filled With Antioxidants and Nutrients
Mother Nature’s foods that contain organic components and properties that help fight and prevent the oxidation of tissues (antioxidants), and substances with nutritional power (nutrients) required for humans to grow, heal, repair and thrive.
Foods for Better Sleep
We feel so much better after a good night of sleep, and so lousy when we don’t sleep well. Lack of quality sleep negatively affects our performance, our mood, our brain function. When the body receives sufficient quality sleep, cells grow, wounds heal better, memory sharpens, and muscles repair and strengthen faster.
Some of the best foods to improve sleep are dates, nuts and seeds, leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard. They can be incorporated in a smoothie.
Foods for Stress Management
We all go through periods of barely tolerable stress and a natural tendency to cope is to refuel with sugary carbs and stimulants which, in return, add more stress to the body. The best foods to support you during stressful times are fresh produce, quality proteins and healthy fats.
Here is an idea of an easy and quick-to-prepare meal that will support you as you manage your stress:
Make a salad with a variety of fresh lettuce greens and colourful vegetables; add slices of grilled chicken or beef or salmon; then, drizzle a home-made vinaigrette made with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic or apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ tsp honey, a pinch of salt and pepper. Sit down. Breathe deeply. Enjoy every bite.
Foods from Mother Nature
Fresh organic produce (fruits and vegetables), nuts and seeds, herbs, spices
Foods to Reduce Pain Symptoms
Once you figure out what foods make you feel comfortable, happy and healthy in your body, it is wise to continue nourishing yourself with these foods. The best foods to eat to reduce pain in the body are Mother Nature’s fresh produce that are nutrient-filled, most of them being alkaline and anti-inflammatory. If you are experience pain symptoms, you might notice that your symptoms diminish and even disappear when you avoid or significantly reduce acidic foods such as dairy and foods high in sugar or artificial sweetener, industrially processed packaged foods, grains, cereals, legumes, and gluten.
Foods to Resolve Health Issues
It is when you are challenged with a health issue that you wished you had taken care of your body differently. Many people who are experiencing serious health issues wish they could have a 2nd chance to care for themselves more wisely and lovingly. Going back to basics with a natural, unprocessed nourishment-for-wellness plan that is gluten- grain- and sugar-free and that is based on Mother Nature’s fresh produce and organic meats, healthy fats and oils is a good start to rebuild your health. By committing to nourish your body with the health-building blocks that it needs, you have great chances of resolving the health issues that are challenging you and preventing your from living your life to the fullest. Once you figure out what foods make you feel great, happy and healthy in your body, it is wise to continue nourishing yourself with these nutrient-rich, life-filled foods.
Foods to Resolve Weight Issues
“Overfed and undernourished”, that is the result of following the modern Western diet. Choosing to live on plant-based, nutrient-rich foods is the perfect way to maximize nourishment while minimizing calories. The Paleo Nourishment-for-Wellness Plan allows you to reduce and manage weight more easily and naturally as you will be cutting down on empty calories and doubling up on your nourishment.
If gaining weight is your goal, the plant-based nourishment might help you achieve it.
They are recipes based on ingredients that do not contain gluten.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour, barley, couscous, farina, graham flour, matzo, semolina, kamut, spelt, rye, wheat germ, beer. Many food products contain hidden gluten in the form of breading, broth, bulgur, couscous, luncheon meats, pasta, sauces, soup bases, wheat germ, wheat starch, wheat bran. Many people’s digestive system cannot tolerate the inflammatory effects of gluten. They experience abdominal bloating, cramping, fatigue, lethargy, migraines, skin problems, digestive problems, low energy level, irritability, mood swings, etc.
I recommend that you significantly reduce or even avoid gluten-filled products for a few weeks and notice how you feel. Removing gluten from your nourishment plan may resolve some of your health issues. Refer to the Paleo Cooking and Eating description below.
Please note that many gluten-free packaged products found in the grocery store contain rice, potato starch and other starches which, when consumed on a regular basis, can have negative effects on blood sugar level and create other health issues.
They are recipes that do not contain any grain, cereal or legume such as barley, buckwheat, bulgur, couscous, kamut, rye, semolina, spelt, wheat, amaranth, arrowroot, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, tapioca, teff, beans, chickpeas, etc. Many people experience digestive problems when they ingest grains, cereals or legumes, such as abdominal bloating, cramping, gas, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, lethargy, migraines, irritability, etc.
I recommend that you reduce or even eliminate grains, cereals and legumes for a few weeks and notice how you feel. Avoiding grains may alleviate digestive complications and improve your overall health.
They are natural, unprocessed foods that promote and support the body’s systems and functions. These foods provide strength and healing so the body can repair itself and remain in healthy state. The best health-building foods come from the Paleo Diet. Refer to the Paleo Cooking and Eating description below.
Medical conditions that affect one’s health and the quality of life. They often require attentive care, a serious evaluation of the current lifestyle, and going back to the basic building blocks of nourishment: fresh produce, quality protein, healthy fats and oils. Many health issues originate from an unresolved emotional issue. Seeking the original emotion at play may be beneficial to resolve the physical discomfort.
Healthy Gourmet Foods
No, it is not an oxymoron!
This is what my Everyday Mediter-asian Spa Cuisine is about: healthy gourmet food made with the best, freshest and simplest ingredients easily available and affordable. The dishes are flavourful, scrumptious, satisfying and, most of all, nourishing. By creating your own “clean”, health-giving and nourishing dishes at home, it is possible to enjoy “gourmet comfort spa food” every day, or as often as you can, without sacrificing taste and pleasure.
A way of living that supports and enhances health, wellness and the quality of life. It includes several key elements such as quality nourishment, sufficient quality sleep, adequate exercise and movement, stimulating social interactions, stress management, regular rest and recreation periods, etc. The balance between these key elements varies from one individual to another.
It is about following one’s intuition and inner guidance while grocery shopping and cooking regarding the choice and combination of ingredients, the quantity, the cooking techniques, etc.
Living Your Life Purpose
It means connecting with who you are and the reason(s) why you are here in this life; finding what your skills, talents, challenges and lessons are; creating ways to use your life to realize your potential and be of service to others.
What everyone wants: to live a long, abundant life with steady health.
It is a Paleo nourishment and lifestyle plan (as I like to call it; I don’t like the word diet: it is too restrictive and unpleasant of a concept!) that I created using the best commonly used ingredients from 5 of the Mediterranean countries — Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Morocco — and 5 of the Asian countries – Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and India. It consists of fresh produce, fresh meats, quality oils and fats, and the distinctive flavours of each of the country, resulting in clean, mouth-watering, easy-to-prepare dishes that everyone will love.
Recipes created with some of the unique ingredients commonly used in the cuisines of Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Morocco.
Being present; connecting with the food; keeping one’s mind focused on the act of eating without distractions; savouring the flavours and textures of the food; being grateful for the opportunity to enjoy an abundance and a variety of great food.
Foods that provide the nutrients and energy that the body needs to function at its best, sustain stress, resist illness and repair itself.
It is the combination and the variety of the best health-building and life-sustaining foods that one ingests on a regular basis. It is only when the body is properly nourished from the essential building blocks of nutrition and it easily digests the food it is being fed that it can absorb the nutrients and converts them into steady energy. I call this “Nourishment for Wellness”.
It is what constitutes the total nourishment that an individual ingests on a regular basis. Consuming healthy, nourishing foods as a lifestyle leads to overall wellness and contributes to the prevention and the healing of health issues. Occasional treats and temporary digression should be planned and included in the healthy nourishment plan as they are good for the soul and the psyche.
Paleo Cooking and Eating
What is Paleo? What is the Paleo Lifestyle?
Paleo (short for Paleolithic) refers to the earlier part of the Stone Age and is the first diet and lifestyle that the early humans survived on for millions of years. It is based on the concept of eating the foods that were available from hunting and gathering: animal proteins (lean meats, poultry, fish), fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, before agriculture developments were made to grow grains and raise dairy cattle. It is believed that this ancestral way of eating – real, wholesome, nutrient-dense plant-food, as well as grass-fed and pastured meat – is what our bodies are designed to eat because it provides better fuel for more efficient and long-lasting energy, and therefore, burn fat. The Paleo lifestyle (not a diet) has the building blocks to improve and maintain health.
A possible reason why this ancestral grain-free, gluten-free nutrition plan works could be that our genes have not adapted to cope with cultivated crops of modern agriculture.
This is what my Paleo Nourishment-for-Wellness Plan found in the Olives to Lychees cookbooks means to me:
Primal and powerful nourishment plan and lifestyle
Ancestral, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory
Essential elements for steady energy
Organic for optimal wellness
They are recipes created with organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish (vs farm-raised) and seafood, pasture-raised eggs, healthy fats and oils. They do not contain foods that are processed or contain chemicals, hormones or refined sugar. They are also grain-free and gluten-free. Dairy can be optional. These recipes are considered healthier as they support our natural digestive functions.
If you are unsure about a certain food (and its ingredients) being Paleo or not, imagine the food at the time of the caveman and ask yourself if it was available then, and if he would have eaten it. If the answers are ‘No’, it might be wise to not include that food in your nourishment-for-wellness plan.
Optimal Health and Wellness
It is the abundance of steady and vibrant health that allows us to do what we want and enjoy life to the fullest. It is what everyone hopes for and deserves. When you are bursting with great health and steady energy, it is easier to focus on being of service and realize the possibilities.
Shopping for Healthy Food
The best and freshest foods to eat are at the farmers markets (from farm to table), and along the periphery of the grocery store because that is where the fresh perishables are: the produce, the fresh meats and fish, the dairy, the eggs. It is in the aisles that you will find the life-less packaged goods that have a long shelf life and contain chemical, preservatives, refined sugar, unhealthy fats and excess sodium.
The only time you should go in the aisles is when you need single ingredients to make your dishes delicious and healthy such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, vinegars, honey, spices, mustards, etc.
Spa food doesn’t have to be “Blah” food!
When I think of spa food, I think of less is more, and I see:
- Colourful and fresh food from Mother Nature, prepared simply and mindfully;
- Visually attractive food that offers an enjoyable treat for the taste buds;
- High-energy food that has healing properties, and that provides essential nourishment and timely cleansing, without empty calories;
- Controlled, mouth-watering portions that make me feel energized and satisfied as opposed to lethargic and stuffed.
The Art and the Pleasure of Eating Well
It is the enjoyment of the best food as it is meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, without guilt, feeling ill or counting calories. It is about cooking consciously and eating mindfully with an attitude of gratitude for the wonderful variety of fresh ingredients available to us. It is about finding the best ways to prepare the fresh ingredients for the ultimate flavour and enjoyment. It is about savouring the food because eating real food is one of the greatest pleasures that should be fully enjoyed as it nourishes not only the body but the mind-brain and the soul, too. After eating, we should be feeling energized and happy as opposed to ill, bloated and guilty.
The Importance of Cooking Your Meals
To re-build your health and to maintain it at an optimal level, it is essential to cook most, if not all, of your meals with fresh produce and quality proteins. By preparing and eating your own meals, you can control the cost of each meal, the quality of the ingredients, the flavours, the portion sizes, and the amount of salt, sugar and fat. In the long run, it is much cheaper, tastier and healthier to cook your own meals. Being able to cook your own meals is a valuable survival skill to develop and maintain for a long, happy and vibrant life.
Healthful, beneficial foods that the body needs to thrive. These foods are natural, unprocessed and are filled with life force and essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, protein and water.