I visited the only Whole Foods store in Toronto this week. Whole Foods is a grocery store entirely devoted to healthier eating. Imagine a health food store, only the size of an entire grocery store! They sell almost every food you can imagine in an organic form, plus they have tons of "specialty" foods that regular grocery stores don't sell, like tempeh and coconut milk ice "cream". My favorite part of the store was the 'grind your own nut butter' section, featuring almonds and peanuts. I must say that making freshly ground peanut butter is pretty darn fun.
On the topic of healthier eating, I find that many people think that healthy foods cost more. Yes, some specialty foods can be quite pricey, but on a whole, I disagree with this statement for the following reasons:
First, you have to do your homework. Yes, some places will price vegetables at outrageous prices, but if you buy in season, locally, and shop at smaller independent markets, you'll find much better prices. If you want a mango in the dead of winter, you're going to pay for it, and if you only shop at big-box grocery stores, you're probably going to pay more than at a farmer's market.
Second, eating healthier doesn't necessarily mean vegan, 100% organic, fancy ingredient meals. If you are trying to make healthy recipes that call for saffron threads and starfruits, then you are going to get the impression that healthy eating is VERY expensive. In general, plain old beans, vegetables, and whole grains don't tend to be pricey.
Third, I'd like to ask you to define expensive. How is a $2 can of organic chickpeas expensive but a pair of $100 shoes a bargain? In my opinion, investing in your health is the NUMBER ONE investment you can make. You only get one body so it's best to fuel it optimally.
I am sorry if I sound naggy or preachy, you have to understand that I'm just REALLY passionate about healthy eating!
And with that, I leave you with a simple, healthy, and inexpensive recipe:
4 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils
1 cup brown rice
1 cup tomato sauce or salsa
1 cup chopped vegetables of choice (I use onions, red peppers, and green peppers)
1 tablespoon fresh garlic (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon white or black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Bring water to boil. Reduce to medium heat and add lentils and brown rice. Cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the tomato sauce or salsa, the vegetables and spices. Cook 10 more minutes or until the rice and lentils are soft (there should be some water left, it should be the consistency of a thick stew).
- Variation: cook the rice separately and serve the lentil mixture over the rice.
- This is amazing served with naan or pita bread, raita, and a fruit chutney.