Mindful of the need to eat more fruits and vegetables each day, I get excited when recipes like this one come along. It checks a lot of boxes. It’s super healthy, loaded with broccoli, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, avocado and sieved hard-boiled eggs as a garnish. It’s quick and easy to put together, even for lunch on a busy day if your quinoa is already cooked. And it’s delicious, aromatic of garlic and cilantro, tangy with lime, and mellowed with olive oil and creamy, salty feta. There is also heat in the form of chilies, should you desire.
Yes, we need to eat more vegetables. A review published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in February found that eating 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day – one serving would be half a cup of cooked or raw vegetables, or one cup of salad greens – could significantly lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and early death. Health Canada recommends most adults eat seven servings or more a day, but according to Statistics Canada and other studies, Canadians are not getting nearly that amount.
The winter colour palette is bleak but beautiful, all black and white and shades of grey. Snow has a way of softening the hard lines, of putting some magic into the landscape. There’s nothing prettier, for example, than a dusting of snow on bare branches, or an expanse of rooftops iced like cakes in white frosting. The only problem is that, at some point, our eyes long for colour.
Many go south for their fix of pink bougainvillea and turquoise sea. Others buckle up their bootstraps and carry on, their eyes fixed on the horizon, where spring will appear. I’m in that second category, toughing it out, grasping at little life rafts to help me get through, life rafts like this bright green Broccoli-Quinoa Salad with Buttermilk Dressing from Bon Appétite magazine. It’s just what the doctor ordered, a vibrant, healthy dish that will lift anyone out of the monochromatic doldrums.
I’m not one to make a long list of New Year’s resolutions, but there are a couple of things I’d like to accomplish in 2016. One is to clean out my attic, the other is to feed my microbes.
Yes, microbes. All of a sudden, it seems, there are new books and TV shows about the bacteria that live in our intestines. Scientists have discovered they play a crucial role in our health, affecting everything from how we digest our food to the strength of our immune system and our outlook on life. Imbalances in our flora have been linked to disease, obesity, and depression. But how we feed these microorganisms is key: junk food kills them off, but a diet high in high-fibre fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, nuts, seeds, probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods will encourage their growth, nourish their diversity, and make us healthy.