December is about holiday eating.
It is a time when most forget about diets and enjoy food. But how many of you regret what you are eating with a promise to eat healthier in the New Year? How many would like to enjoy food more? How many would like to eat something sweet without regret?
The secret to a healthy, happy and regret free life is food. Not processed food. Not food grown conventionally. But food nature provides nakedly. Food and spices and herbs produced organically via healthy soil and water.
Vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, herbs, and spices all serve a purpose in the food chain of life. Interestingly, nature provides food seasonally with all the nutrients and minerals our bodies need and crave. And eating healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or tasty because real naked food embodies flavor. You can even enjoy a sweet or two.
Before 2013, I made countless New Year’s resolutions in December so that I could eat with the promise of eating healthier the next year. I didn’t focus on calories or fat. And each January 2nd, I regretted the choice because my stomach was more bloated than the normal bloat I accepted, I didn’t feel so hot because I had little to no energy, and the scale showed I had gained weight. On this yoyo circuit of eating, I failed each and every time. Eventually, through trial and error, I came to realize that I could enjoy food, lots of food, without calorie counting or fat counting. That eating real food got rid of my stomach bloat and provided me with energy. That real food was yummy.
The main reason I failed time and time again was because I didn’t have a connection to my food and I really knew very little about the food I was eating. My excuses: I didn’t have time, others were experts who knew better on the foods I should feed my body, my metabolism was slow, I just needed to diet – restrict what I offered my body for fuel, or I just needed to exercise more. Yet, no matter what I tried or what I did, the impact and effects were not long enough or too long. They were not long enough in the fact that my weight ebbed and flowed and they were too long in the fact I was always tired and my bloated stomach never went away, it would diminish, but was always around.
I have spent most of my life, starting when I was 12 or 13, dieting and restricting what I fed my body. And yet, through that journey, I also had these niggling feelings that something just didn’t make sense because as a child I ate plenty and never experienced what I had experienced since dieting. At first, I wrote it off because children have endless amounts of energy and as we get older it is normal that our energy lessens/faded. Or is it? No matter how much I dismissed the niggling feelings, they just wouldn’t go away. Because of those feelings I started asking why?
Our boundless energy of childhood does change but not as drastically as we have come to accept. I have the energy now that I had as an 8 or 9 year old kid. It didn’t happen overnight but with time and education, I came to understand the role food plays in every aspect of my life, from sleeping, to energy, to happiness, to alertness, to body weight, to skin health, to gut health (poop), to things I am still learning. I am able to eat abundantly and love how my body feels when I am feeding it the fuel nature provides organically, even when that comes in the form of a cookie or chocolate or another sweet made from organic ingredients (and is fair trade).
Food is a wonderful thing. Food provides so much of what our bodies need without the help of over-the-counter products such as Tums or prescribed drugs, and usually without side effects. As with everything, listening to your body while you are eating is important. You can eat too much of a good thing if you aren’t balancing what your body needs daily.
DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel is a good source of fiber.
“It provides 7.3 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber content helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.” “The dietary fiber also limits cholesterol build-up, absorbs water in the digestive system, and helps eliminate carcinogens from the colon.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel is a good source of vitamin C.
“Vitamin C, the most active vitamin in fennel (17% of the daily value), has the strength to zap free radicals looking for a place to cause damage in the body, usually in the form of inflammation, which could lead to joint degeneration and arthritis. Other prominent vitamins and minerals in fennel include potassium, an electrolyte that fights high blood pressure, and folate, which helps convert potentially dangerous molecules called homocysteine into a benign form.”
DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel has a long history.
“The history of fennel goes back to ancient times as it was easily accessible
throughout the Mediterranean Basin.
In England in the 1200s fennel seed was commonly used as an appetite suppressant to help people to get through fasting days. Later, they were commonly used in church during long services to keep stomachs from rumbling. The Puritans even called them “meeting seeds”.
In the late 1700s fennel became one of the ingredients (along with anise and wormwood) in a patent medicinal elixir called absinthe. This elixir was soon marketed as a spirit, and became a popular drink among the Bohemian set in post WWI Europe and the United States.
Today fennel (especially the bulb) is most popular in Europe.”
DID YOU KNOW?! The fennel plant can grow up to 5 feet.
“Fennel can grow to a height of 5 feet. It puts off shoots or branching stems from a central root. The herb is an annual, perennial or biennial depending on your growing zone. Usually one plant will supply the average family. There are several species: Common fennel which has a similar appearance as dill, but much coarser in texture. Florence fennel grows much lower and is cultivated for the bulb-like base, which is harvested prior to the flowers forming. The bulb is eaten as a vegetable. Sweet fennel is primarily grown in Italy, France and Germany. White butter fennel is grown in central Europe and Russia.”
DID YOU KNOW?! You can eat all parts of fennel.
“The flowers, leaves, seeds, and bulbs of fennel can be eaten, and they are used mostly as a flavouring or spice, while the bulbous ends can be used raw, grilled, steamed, or cooked in other ways.” YUM!
Have any of you cooked with fennel? If you have, please share your recipes.
I haven’t but will be cooking with it in 2019. Here are some recipes I found:
https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/fennel-recipes.html – the pasta dishes look yummy;
And for our gardeners out there, here are some helpful tips on growing fennel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-q6M1bQNo – 8 steps for growing fennel
Until next time, happy eating!