Pause: More on this later in another post, but one of the biggest hurdles I've had to overcome is my whole distorted body image that I realize has been shaped by the world's twisted view of what is beautiful and healthy. Oh yes, I used to want the skinny arms and thighs at any cost. And when I'm being honest, there are still days when I say to myself, in secret, "I'd so much rather be skinny than healthy." It makes me sick when I realize what I'm saying, because God's view of what is healthy and beautiful is so much more than being a size 6 or how big the gap is between my inner thighs when I'm standing with my feet together. This is a huge hurdle for me, but I want to be able to say confidently one of these days..."I love my body the way God created me. And my goal is to be healthy and treat it as His creation, no matter what size or weight I am." Wow, even typing that, I realize I have a long way to go. There's so much more I could say about this, but I'll save it for another time...
So last week, we went out to dinner for our friend Stephanie's birthday, and we were on a mission to find an organic restaurant in Dallas. Surely, we thought, with all the wealth and money in this city spent on appearances, we could easily find a restaurant that serves all organic foods? Well, it was tougher to find one than we thought. Finally, Stephanie discovered online a Greek restaurant called Nikolini's Organic City, a lovely organic gem right in the heart of Dallas! The experience did not disappoint, and here's why:
First of all....
- We were celebrating the life of a friend, so that already made it special.
- We all ate one of the most delicious meals of our lives replete with organic meats and delicious Greek salad and vegetables (each of us got something different: beef burger, lamb, filet mignon, salmon, and vegetarian "Moussaka").
- We had personal table-side service by Olina Nikolini herself whose husband Gino cooked all 5 of our meals at the same time.
- The Nikolini's immigrated from the Greek city of Thessalonica - how cool is that?!
- Our trainer/holistic friend, Craig, generously treated all of us to the entire meal.
- Romantic Greek music on a patio with white twinkle lights...need I go on? :)
So, back to the point of this post – for all of you newly-converted organic food lovers and Whole Foods veterans, the wait is over :). I’ve put together another tasty list of items to try!
1. Raw Manuka Honey. This is the most potent honey ever made, and it's found in only a few areas of New Zealand. And...yeah....it’s $26 a bottle. Our nutritionist friend Craig kindly gave us a bottle, and we’re guarding it like gold. But that’s easy, because this stuff is so strong that the tiniest drizzle goes a long way. So if you can’t rationalize paying $26 for a jar of honey (neither can we), then I’d recommend just the raw local honey that you can pour yourself at whole Foods. Supposedly the raw honey also helps prevent allergies from local allergens, which makes sense if you really think about it. Anyway, with this honey, I usually use it to decrease or replace the sugar in recipes. It's also absolutely delicious drizzled on a piece of rye cracker (keep reading) with butter. Oh, YUM.
2. Raw Almond & Cashew Butter. As I understand it, raw nut butters means the nut hasn't been roasted, so the process hasn’t denatured the nut. Basically, if you want to really mess up a nut and any nutritional value it naturally has, then roast and salt it. So raw is the way to go. By the way, I didn't realize how beautiful almond trees are! Here's a lovely almond blossom...who knew?
3. Wasa Rye Crispbread. These crackers are delicious and crunchy, and an added bonus is that they remind me of Europe :) Here are a few ways I’ve eaten them so far...
- With bananas and cottage cheese on top
- Dipped into the aforementioned raw almond or cashew butter
- With a slice of raw parmesan on top
- With a sunny-side-up egg on top with some salsa!
5. Milled Flax Seed. This is a great sourced of Omega-3s, which fight against heart disease and bad cholesterol. I have a great buckwheat pancake recipe that calls for this sprinkled on top. You can also add it to muffin recipes for more density. Or even sprinkle it on stuff!
6. Natural Jam. We love the Whole Foods 365 Brand in Strawberry or Raspberry. It's just fruit-sweetened, with no added sugar. There are about a million things you can do with jam, but the other day I saw Rachael Ray take about 1 tbs. of her favorite flavor and whisk it with some olive oil and fresh lemon juice to make a really light fruity salad dressing! I'm a big fan of an organic Sicilian Orange Marmalade I found at Whole Foods as well.
7. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. ." Coconut oil makes everything taste better. Cook your eggs in it for a little twist. I've also used it in baking as a substitute for canola. You can even dip vegetables or fruit in it. It hardens when it becomes a certain temperature and liquifies at higher temperatures, but you can eat it either way. If you want to find out more of the benefits of Coconut Oil, go here.
8. Organic Kefir mixed with organic local blueberries or strawberries. Kefir is like a drinkable yogurt, and it's probiotic, so it gives you lots of the "good" bacteria. I was told not to get the Helios brand of Kefir with "FOS" in it, because it's a sugar that bothers hypoglycemics like me. I think the Lifeway brand is better. I heart blueberries. They are a great antioxidant too. By the way, did you know that conventional strawberries are one the most pesticide-filled foods you can buy? Sick.
Regretfully, I haven’t been able to find Suncakes since I posted on here about them – so I'd like to know which one of you called all the Whole Foods in Dallas and bought them out? Whoever it was, it was a nasty trick!