Sugar, fat and salt are things we have too much of in our diet, and this particular combination, while tasty, drives overweight, obesity, food craving and poor health. But what if we could make food healthier while making it taste better?
That’s what I’ve been working on.
Here are my favorite tips for deliciousness, and for reducing salt to acceptable levels.
1. Enjoy the garlic: Oh, the wonders of freshly pressed garlic! Add it fresh, roasted or sautéed.
2. Use spices: Black pepper, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon – again, too many to mention. Find your favorites and buy high-quality, fresh spices with an aroma that pleases you. Try toasting them for special effect. Spices are nature's gift of health and flavor.
3. Use good ingredients: One of the reasons some commercial food manufacturers use so many nasty additives is because their inferior ingredients have no taste on their own. Use fresh organic produce.
4. Add herbs: Basil, chives, parsley, dill, oregano, sage, mint, thyme, ginger and tarragon are just a few options; there really are too many to mention. Most herbs are best fresh, but some herbs are also good dried and all add flavor, color and health.
5. Drops of acidity: A few drops of acidity, in the form of vinegar or lemon juice, can do wonders to bump up flavor and create a nice tingle in your mouth.
6. Juice it up: Try adding fruit or vegetable juices (or even better—reduced juices) for complex flavors. Juiced vegetables are a wonderful base for sauces! Don’t overlook or throw away the fruit peel; lemon and orange zests are so lovely!
7. Make your own dressings and marinades: Salad dressings are easy to make; the basic proportions are 2/3rds good oil (extra virgin olive oil is my staple), 1/3rd good vinegar or fruit acid, a tiny amount of sweetness (I like honey or agave, 1⁄4 tsp will do and is optional) and some seasoning. Homemade dressings taste better, cost less, have no nasty additives and need little or no sugar and salt.
8. Salty Enough: Some dishes don’t need salt at all. Dishes that contain aged cheeses and salty ingredients, such as capers or miso, usually have more than enough salt already. You can flavor in much healthier ways.
9. Take it easy on the salt: Research shows that our taste receptors get accustomed to certain levels of saltiness through repeated exposure. If you ease your salt intake over time, you’ll hardly notice the difference, and within several weeks your taste buds will start perceiving lower levels of salt as salty enough.
10. Heat it up: Hot peppers, chili powder and hot sauces can create an exciting flavor party, and they're good for you.
11. Heat it up II: Intensify the flavors of food with high-heat cooking techniques such as pan-searing, grilling, caramelization or broiling, which help to brown and add flavor. Wonderful chemical reactions happen when veggies meet 400°F – much different from what occurs when you boil or steam them.
12. Try Magic Spice: The ultimate flavor and nutrition booster: Dr. Ayala’s Magic Spice brings your healthy eating to the next level. This carefully balanced blend of turmeric, black pepper, paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, adding B12, iron, whole protein, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory activity creates an all in one seasoning to transform any dish into superfood.
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