Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

With the dawning of a new year, many of us turn our thoughts toward improving our diets. But where do we start? There is an overwhelming amount of nutritional information in newspapers, magazines, books and online. It becomes so confusing to try to make sense of all the data, that many of us toss up our hands by the end of the month and allow our well-intentioned New Year's resolutions to fade away. We return to our former eating patterns with a nagging sense that there must be a better way.

I believe that better way is built upon the foundation of simpler fare that is local, seasonal and organic. It is a call to return to the kitchen and place value on preparing whole, nutritional meals with intention. It is an answer to the longing for the meals our parents and grandparents enjoyed, while incorporating new or healthier ingredient. And it is what New Heritage Cooking is all about.

I know that we are deeply nourished on all levels when we make familiar and delicious food with our own hands. And who said such traditional recipes can't incorporate updated ingredients? Look through your family's favorite recipes; most can be easily updated. To start, replace white flour with unbleached flour; iodized salt with mineral-rich sea salt; lard with organic butter; vegetable shortening with non-hydrogenated shortening; commercial milk with soymilk, rice milk or organic cow's milk... the options are limitless.

From there we start to feel the flicker of change. We crave whole-grain hot cereal rather than an eat-on-the-go breakfast bar. We actually enjoy making a fresh salad over pouring a prepared one from a plastic bag. We feel good about making homemade cookies with healthy ingredients instead of buying mass-produced ones from the store. Slowly, so slowly, we remember that food is a sacred connection to the land, to the farmers, to our communities, to our bodies and to our families. And accordingly, our minds, bodies and souls begin to change for the better.

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