Making a Healthy Shift: One-by-One / Part 2

Making a Healthy Shift: One-by-One / Part 2

by Gretchen Schisla

Last month, we talked about a few people who have made life-changing shifts in the way they eat. Since then, I’ve had the chance to try a few of Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turschen’s dishes from It’s All Good, and all I can say is “wow.” I’m inspired by these women who have crafted easy, healthful meals that we can feel good about putting on our table.

Authors like Terry Walters and Susie Middleton are also part of this growing movement to prepare simple, delicious and healthy meals using close-to-the-source ingredients. For example, our local Claverach Farms “Sunday Suppers” have become so popular they sell out as soon as they are announced. With Thanksgiving around the corner, read on and see if any new ideas excite you to put more veggies on your table!

Terry Walters: Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well

The story: Terry Walters is the guru of “clean eating,” This lifestyle promotes choosing minimally-processed and close-to-the-source food for maximum nutrition and sprang from a reaction to the health problems caused by our increasingly fast food-oriented diet. The term “Clean Eating” comes from the natural health food movement of the 60s, which shunned processed foods for the sake of moral and societal values, rather than for health and nutrition issues. It continued to gain momentum in gyms, among body builders and fitness models. Today, mainstream America is embracing “clean food” and inspiring a new generation of healthy eaters. Principles of this lifestyle include: choosing whole, natural foods and seeking to eliminate or minimize processed foods; choosing unrefined over refined foods; including some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal; watching out for too much fat, salt, and sugar; eating five to six small meals throughout the day; don’t drink your calories; and get moving.

The book: Terry believes that our relationship with food shouldn’t be about living up to someone else’s ideal, or following a strict regimen. (It’s a philosophy I share.) She says,“Everybody can benefit from a clean start — no matter what your dietary preferences or physical needs.” Clean Start begins with the WHY, explaining the benefits to be gained from following a lifestyle based on clean eating. These include: a strengthened immune system, reduced inflammation, greater heart health, improved mental focus, reduced rise of diabetes, and making a positive impact on the environment. Terry also keeps the HOW simple, from setting up kitchen basics, explaining ingredients and providing 100 recipes using fresh produce organized by season to offering links to websites where you can discover local foods: Slow Food / Local Harvest / Environmental Working Group.

To learn more about “quick, easy, healthful and delicious,” visit Terry Walter's website.

Susie Middleton: Fast, Fresh & Green: More Than 90 Recipes for Delicious Vegetables

The story: Doesn’t it sound charming to be enjoying a simple, satisfying life on a small farm on Martha’s Vineyard? Such is the life of Susie Middleton — chef, food writer and editor-at-large of Fine Cooking magazine. Susie is also the author of, a blog showcasing her passion for food and life on Green Island Farm, a working farm she shares with her partner. Together, they grow and sell greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and more than 30 other kinds of vegetables. They also raise 550 laying hens to sell what she refers to as “the best eggs you’ll ever taste.”

The book: The biggest complaint I hear from people is “I just don’t know what vegetables to prepare and how to cook them.” Sound familiar? Not a vegetarian herself, Susie encourages her readers to make a little mind shift while learning to prepare yummy vegetable side dishes quickly. Her intro sums it up: “I’m just offering all the tips and techniques I know about cooking vegetables.”

In her years at Fine Cooking magazine, Susie became ‘downright evangelical’ about vegetables, because she believes they taste so much better when properly cooked. The book is set up in 2 sections, PREP and COOK. PREP focuses on stocking up with your favorite flavors, then shopping, storing, preparing and cooking. The COOK section is organized by how you cook the veggie: quick-roasted, braised, sautéed, stir-fried, grilled and baked. I’ve never seen a cookbook set up this way, but I think it’s clever. Based on your time in the kitchen and mood, it makes perfect sense to choose a recipe this way. The “baking gratins” section is robust and full of great recipes, too. Susie’s acknowledgments of kindness, grace, and patience are 3 pages long, she mentions all the special people around her who have helped her truly live her passion. Pretty cool. Next on my list after mastering this cookbook is another of Susie’s titles: The Fresh & Green Table.

Here are two of my  favorite articles on her blog:
Small Wonder: Spring on Green Island Farm
In Between Sun Drops, Finding Time for Fall