“The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken.” Maya Angelou
“What The Heck Is Healthy?” This is the question asked in a recent article by Toronto based culinary Registered Dietitian (RD), Abbey Sharp. It’s an article in Ricardo Magazine that discusses topics like the many shades of health, the new healthy, problems with the new healthy, not-so clean eating, food shaming, food frauds, mindful eating, and how to make the new healthy…healthy.
What is healthy?
Is it cutting out fat, going vegan or vegetarian, eliminating carbs? Is it eating meat, going gluten-free or organic? Is there a moral weight designed to these dichotomous categories of food? When we share a photo of our clean paleo lunch, or green detox juice for example, are we implicitly defining our place in a classcist food system, where we are either “good” or “bad” based on what we ate? How healthy is defined, has changed enough times to make our heads spin as stated in the article!
“I like to eat a balanced diet that contain each of the food groups.”
Here’s what I like – food. I like tuning in to my body’s needs with good tasting food! I also like my green choices. I was inspired to explore these green choices to support a close family member’s lifestyle change to become a vegetarian. My personal diet however is by no means limited to any one category of food. Surprise! I like to eat a balanced diet that contain each of the food groups. I don’t agree that foods are inherently “good” or “bad” and neither are the people who eat them. There’s a bottomless ocean of internet personalities and celebrities masquerading as food authorities. Think about it. The latest miracle diet claiming to be good for you, is promoted through carefully curated, highly stylized social media feeds. How does one compete with sexy sensualized results versus a more moderate, mindful approach to eating? I just don’t. I move on to the next thing of interest, that can teach me how to cook a meal I’ve never tried before for example. The next thing that’s truly educational, inspiring – that makes me feel good.
With the holidays approaching, there are TONS of articles telling us how to prevent over eating to avoid gaining a few pounds here or there. So in other words, just stare at all that good food, but don’t indulge you hear! I’d like to learn more about preventing food waste, how to package and reinvent leftovers, instead of being shamed for possibly enjoying too much good food. In my family circle, it is the expectation that everyone bring their own empty tupperware to holiday dinners. No waste. No shame.
The New Healthy
Would you agree that we’ve graduated from an age of calorie counting and fat free, to placing “healthy halos” on food? Healthy halos such as raw, superfood, vegan, gluten-free. The “new healthy” focus also seems to be on foods that are identified as natural, detoxing, organic, clean and free from toxins, which is great! More than ever, people have access to learn how to cook and eat in relation to their dietary needs, allowing them to control what goes into their food. The next cool thing is, we now have more access than ever to a lot of nutritious GOOD foods that our parents never had a chance to taste. Foods like chia puddings overflowing with buzzy superfoods like hemp, berries, matcha. We can now whip up chips out of Kale leaves.
What I love about the blogosphere, is being inspired by everyone’s version of their healthy. I like seeing a wide range of recipes with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and so on. I appreciate that at its core, being healthy is really about being a happier you. Enjoy the recipe.
Baked Sweet Potato, Shrimp and Avocado Toasts
- 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into approx. 1/8 inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 avocados, must be very ripe, halved and pitted
- 16 – 18 shrimp, raw, peel and deveined
- 8 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking tray. Oil lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.
Meanwhile, sauté the shrimp in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, paprika, onion powder, and 1 tablespoon jalapeno.
Once the shrimp and sweet potato are cooked, place the flesh of half an avocado on each slice of bread and crush with a fork. Season well with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lime juice.
Top each slice of toast with sweet potato, then shrimp. Garnish with cilantro, mint, and jalapeno.
You can save time and use precooked shrimp.
You can now print this recipe card. Hit ‘PRINT’ on the above to keep it handy.
Optimally ripe avocados are typically known for their silky, creamy texture and rich flavors that could be described as “nutty” or “nut-like.” In Jamaica, this fruit is popularly called ‘pear’. Pear is what I knew the avocado as growing up, and I enjoyed eating it as a compliment to Ackee and Saltfish (Jamaica’s National Dish), and as a spread on hard dough bread, instead of butter.
Avocados must be picked from the tree before the ripening process starts. Choose avocados that yield to pressure – this means it’s ripe and ready for use to make dishes like a classic guacamole. Unripe avocados make horrible guacamole!