Two Recipes for Eating Healthier in the New Year

Dried black-eyed peas. Photo: Toby Hudson, via Wikimedia Commons

New Year’s resolutions often don’t last very long, especially if we set unrealistic goals. Starting off with a positive resolution, like eating healthier rather than losing weight, can often help up stay on the path to wellness. After a holiday season filled with feasting on all our favorite foods plus all the sugary desserts, it is a good idea to start off the 2020 with a few tips for cleaning up our diet. A recent article noted the nine foods associated with longevity on the island of Ikaria. Well+Good, a healthy living website, cited Blue Zones expert Dan Buettner who recommends eating like the Ikarians. Wild greens, olive oil, black-eyed peas, Mediterranean herbs, garlic, lemon, chickpeas, coffee, and honey are among the foods to add to your diet to help you live longer.

Black-eyed peas, “the overlooked legume,” according to Well+Good’s report, are full of magnesium and iron. One of the fastest cooking of the legumes, skip the can, and buy dried black-eyed peas which are not only more affordable, but they don’t have the added sodium of the canned version. In the American South, black-eyed peas are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity.

Mediterranean dishes are very rarely cooked without herbs including oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, parsley, and garlic which are all associated with reducing inflammation.

Lemon “revs up your metabolism and helps with digestion. Pro tip: use the peel, too. It’s high in calcium, potassium, and vitamin C,” Well+Good reported.

Chickpeas, full of fiber and protein, are most commonly served in soups but can also make a great addition to salads and meat-free meals or as hummus.

Coffee is also full of antioxidants which are associated with reducing inflammation.

Honey has a long history in Greece as a health food and for its antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities. It is also high in antioxidants.

Try the following recipes which use some of these healthy ingredients.

Black-Eyed Peas

1 pound package dried black-eyed peas

Water

Greek sea salt

Greek extra virgin olive oil

Lemon or red wine vinegar

Sort and rinse the black-eyed peas. Place them in a large deep pot and add cold water to cover the black-eyed peas by at least two or three inches. Bring to a boil over medium hight heat and then reduce to a simmer. Add half a teaspoon of salt and continue simmering until the black-eyed peas are tender. If needed, add additional boiling water to the pot and continue simmering until tender. Serve hot or warm with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon to taste. If desired, substitute red wine vinegar for the lemon.

Chicory illustration. Photo: Public domain

Boiled Chicory Leaves (Horta)

1 bunch chicory leaves

Water

Greek sea salt

Greek extra virgin olive oil

Lemon

Rinse the chicory leaves and set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the chicory leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicory leaves are cooked to desired tenderness. Remove from heat and transfer the cooked horta to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon to taste.

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