Monday, January 21, 2008

12 Best Foods

January is a prime time for diets as people enter the new year wishing to shed some weight or to improve their health. I am not sure what the most popular food plan is right now but I have seen a lot of them over the years, from the Scarsdale diet, the T- Plan (lots of fiber), the F-Plan (no fat), Atkins (lots of fat), South Beach, etc, etc. Most of these food plans restricted certain foods severely with the focus on what you shouldn't eat. I admire those who can stick with a vegan diet or a raw food diet, but it can be challenging to feed a family in these restrictive ways.

Laura reviewed some food books she recently read in a post yesterday and her summaries are worth reading. Dr. Judy (Femail Doc) wrote last week about the negative effects calcium supplements can have on the cardiac health of post-menopausal women. There is no magic pill or supplement that substitutes for a well balanced diet of whole and minimally processed foods. Food preparation and mealtime should be a pleasure, not a chore that is squeezed into overly busy schedules.

I have enjoyed a cookbook I purchased a couple of years ago by Dana Jacobi called 12 Best Foods Cookbook. It is full of tasty dishes and interesting positive commentary featuring some familiar super foods (including dark chocolate!). Under each of the 12 foods, similar foods are also recommended. For instance, blueberries are highlighted, but the author also points out that other berries such as raspberries are loaded with nutrients too.

So bring on the colourful fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish and real chocolate and a toast to your good health.

Here is one recipe from the book that can be made at home or assembled at most restaurant salad bars. Served with grilled salmon and a fresh berries for dessert, the meal includes most of the 12 best foods. (This recipe serves 4)

Nine-a-day Salad

1 cup broccoli,
4 green pepper rings, 4 red pepper rings
2 to 3 thin onion slices
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1 large sliced mushroom
8 whole cherry tomatoes
2 cups spinach, washed and torn
1 tbsp soynuts

2 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp dried basil and oregano,
1 clove garlic chopped, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp canola oil, salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sounds great. We try to eat a lot of vegs per day.

  2. We've grown tired of very green salads after several years of the same old thing. I like your recipe. I believe eating a variety of fish, meats, and vegetables keeps meals interesting and palatable. The no-fat, no-carb, all-fat diets might take off pounds but sometimes have effects on your health, then the weight gain resumes.

  3. I am one who also will eat the same thing day after day! I really do need to work more towards your 12 best foods!

  4. that book sounds great. I'm going to try it. We've started eating differently since I read Omnivore's Dilemna and I don't have a lot of good recipes to help us make the switch.

  5. That sounds so yummy Ruth. Thanks for sharing that recipe!

  6. Jean- There are so many different vegetables available, I never tire of learning new creative ways to prepare them.

    Mary- I too have OD'd on green lettuce salads. I find it especially hard to eat them in the winter and prefer vegetable soups and stews and marinated salads.

    Monarch- I eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day but aim for more variety at dinner.

    Beth- I find The Omnivore's Dilemma to be a fascinating read and it has affected my food choices too.

    Jayne-...I was trying to inspire myself too!

  7. I am so lazy when it comes to eating vegetables. This sounds like something I could make on Sunday and eat for several days to come (my spouse wouldn't dream of eating this). By the way, I am finally going to make your biryani vegetable dish for Friday's girls' night out. I'll let you know how it comes out.

  8. Femail Doc- I am lazy about vegetables in the winter too. But a marinated salad or a pot of vegetable soup made on the weekend goes a long way to making good lunches for the week. The biryani dish is a favourite here now.

  9. I like healthy food but don't often take the time out to prepare a healthy meal.-I've got cans of pink and black beans that have been sitting in my cupboard for weeks.


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