Friday, August 19, 2011

My, How Things Have Changed

Sometimes, when your personal life goes to shit, it really does help to think of other things. For me, I think of food--or in this case, really good, healthy, satisfying food.

It struck me this morning, as I was cutting corn of the cob for my latest salad creation (see below), just how different my eating habits are now from when I started this journey 4 (!!!) years ago. Before I left for Israel my life was all about fast food, big portions, diet soda, meat at nearly every meal, and convenience foods. I'd eat without thinking twice about what I was eating, where it came from, and how it worked to fuel my body throughout the day.

My, how things have changed.

I am living proof that once you rid yourself of the bad stuff, your body learns to crave the good stuff. I live off of fresh fruits and vegetables, full of nutrients and vitamins that help my body to work as best as it can. Nowadays, I eat quinoa, beans, tofu, chia seeds, and millet without a second thought. I didn't even know what most of these things were prior to leaving for Israel, and if I did, I'd swear up and down that I'd never even try them. It's amazing how much a person can change their opinions and their habits when they are open to new experiences and trying things more than one time. Sometimes, your palette and your mind need time to adjust to new foods, methods of preparing them, and how one goes about eating them once prepared.

I've never quite given myself the recognition I deserve for being able to achieve this when so many people can't. I do think it's worth mentioning, especially when you grow up in the Midwest, land of chain restaurants and close-minded eating. Go me!

Make this salad sometime. It has so many flavors and textures that your mouth will dance with joy. Serve over some greens with a hunk of whole wheat bread for a nutritious and truly delicious meal.

Corn, Black Bean, and Avocado Salad
(serves 8-10, though the recipe can be easily modified for a smaller group.)

5 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob
1 small bell pepper (any color), chopped
2 small or 1 large tomato, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large avocado, chopped
4 small limes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander (fresh cilantro would be even better!)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Add first 5 ingredients to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, place avocado and the juice of 1 lime. Gently mix, covering the avocado with lime juice to prevent browning, and add to the larger bowl with other ingredients. Juice the remaining limes and add to the larger bowl, along with olive oil, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and S&P. Chill and serve!
(Feel free to adapt ingredients to suit your tastes.)