So I've been thinking about how as adults, it's so easy to go through life like automatons. This easy salad (my concept, is all, you'll have your own) is one of two new healthy habits in my life. What about yours?
Even as a kid, the to-do list Mom taped to the refrigerator door was boring and predictable. Eat a good breakfast. Brush your teeth. Make your bed. Pick up your clothes. Pick up plates after supper. No hitting your sister.
As an adult, the list is endlessly long and chews up huge chunks of our days. Mostly, we take these habits for granted, taking them on with a small sigh but without thought, without question, without a list.
But how often do we amend the to-do lists of our lives?
This time of year, new healthy habits are called New Years Resolutions. But really, is timing the problem? In 2010, I developed two new healthy habits by choice without waiting for a January kickoff. Since July, two healthy habits have become so ingrained that my life feels slightly out of synch when a day is skipped.
LIFE LEARNING Inspired by the first two chapters of The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer, I have become a voracious reader of non-fiction for the first time in my life. (Aside: Isn’t it lucky for a writer and historian to be born with the name Wise? Ha!) Now, most mornings I settle in to read for 30 minutes. At first, it felt like reading was what happened before starting my day. Now that reading time IS the start to my day.
HEALTHY LUNCH Or Breakfast. Or Supper. My fridge is now home to a container of fresh vegetables for a lunch salad, raw and crunchy and oh-so-satisfying. I add leftover protein, a little cheese, a little fruit and a little dressing and savor every single bite. The specifics of my salad is of little consequence except to my stomach - yours would be different. But eating this go-to salad every single day now feels so important to my physical and mental health.
QUICK & EASY RAW SALAD
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 1, easily multiplied
- 2-3 cups raw chopped vegetables
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 square inch cheese, cubed small
- 1 piece of fruit, chopped small
- Fresh parsley, cilantro or garden herbs
- Lean protein, optional
- A touch of salad dressing
BOWL For clean-up convenience, use a bowl the right size for stirring and serving the salad. To carry to work, think about how to separately store the dressing for adding later.
VEGETABLES Think crunch – radishes, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper but don’t forget about unusual choices like turnip and jicama. Shoot for a mix of color and texture. It’s easy to over buy so I will occasionally pick up a few vegetables from the grocery’s salad bar.
ONION Just one green onion makes all the difference between a "blah" salad and an "aha" salad.
CHEESE My favorites are feta and blue cheese crumbles, something slightly creamy with a big taste.
FRUIT This adds a touch of sweetness, a good contrast.
FRESH LEAVES This bit of brightness adds so much to all the vegetables.
LEAN PROTEIN A good way to use up leftovers, a few small bites seems plenty.
SALAD DRESSING My guilty convenience is fat-free Italian dressing but often I make my own salad dressing or use a creamy 1% cottage cheese.
Snowy Scene Outside My Reading Window on Boxing Day
What seems to matter most about my "reading time" is the simplicity of ritual. No e-mail or Facebook beforehand. The dog, the cat nearby. A cup of coffee. No radio, no music, no distractions. A comfortable chair. No clock to watch though I set the timer for 30 minutes.
Since July, I've read The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam by Eliza Griswold, daughter of former Episcopal Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold; The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson; The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot in non-fiction and several others in fiction. Any non-fiction book recommendations? I'd love to know what's on YOUR reading list!
Yes, I do love-love-love my Kindle!
More Healthy Habits
For ONE entry, leave a comment below, finishing something along the lines of : "My important healthy habit is ... " or "In 2011, I would like to develop the healthy habit of ..." .
Leave your e-mail address too, feel free to code it so that the spambots won't find it, something like
alanna AT kitchen HYPHEN parade DOTDOT com.
For a SECOND entry, tweet this on Twitter, then come back to leave another comment with a link to your tweet and your e-mail address.
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The contest will close Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at end of day CST. I'll select and notify a random winner on January 12. If that's you, and I can't reach you or don't hear back from you in 24 hours, then I'll select another.
Legalese This give-away is funded by me-myself-and-nobody-else. Winners must have mailing addresses in either the U.S. or Canada.
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