I’ve been cooking for my mom a lot lately. (Lucky her, right?) As she’s eating and gushing over ‘how delicious this is, sweetie,’ she always asks how I make it, so that she can attempt to recreate the meal at a later date. And here’s how I reply: “Mom, it’s pretty much the exact same 5 ingredients that I use in every meal.” Yup, there are a few ingredients that I add to practically every lunch and dinner to make it delicious and healthy and get the, “Oh my goodness. This is so good, dear.”
1. Coconut Oil
I will use coconut oil to fry, saute, and add a bit of creaminess to my meals. Not only is coconut oil delicious but it stays stable at high heat so you don’t have to worry about it going rancid. Another plus of coconut oil are the medium-chain fatty acids. They help speed up the metabolism leading to weight loss. Yup, eating oil to lose fat. Score!
Chopped garlic is another one that gets added to my veggies, salad dressings and soups. Garlic is great for your health due to a compound called Allicin. Allicin inhibits microbial growth, killing bacteria and viruses. It also is said to stimulate white blood cells which are the strength of your immune system. And finally, as an antioxidant, garlic has been said to minimize free radicals in the blood. (Just go easy on the amount you add if you’ve got a hot date later on.)
Turmeric is a relative of the ginger family and has been used in India for over 2500 years and in my kitchen for over five. I love the taste of turmeric and the deep rich orange color. It’s a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, which is helpful also when applied topically to cuts and burns. You’ve probably heard about the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric; it’s a natural treatment for arthritis. It also helps the liver detoxify and has been used in Chinese medicine as a natural antidepressant. (Turmeric is present in Curry powder. I find it also pairs nicely with Cumin. Add them both into the recipe, I say!)
4. Nutritional Yeast
This ‘hippie dust’ is a vegetarian’s (or vegan’s) best friend. It’s a vegetarian source of vitamin B-12 and it has a nice cheesy flavor. I use it in soups, on salads, on my baked veggies, you name it! It’s also high in fiber, high in protein (two tablespoons contain 9 grams), gluten free and a great source of folic acid.
5. Sea Salt (and pepper)
No meal would be complete without a bit of salt and pepper. Salt has gotten a bad reputation over the years. But researchers from holistic health circles and even some independent MDs have shown that pure sea salt is vital to good health (in proper amounts). Normal refined ‘table’ salt is toxic and lacks the nutrients that pure unrefined, raw sea salt has. Table salt has been bleached and refined to remove many of the trace minerals of sea salt. Sea salt helps to stabilize and regulate heartbeats, thanks to its magnesium and sodium content. It’s also essential for proper muscular function. Salt helps the body hold water sufficiently and minimize the effects of stress. The list goes on and on. Just remember, everything in moderation.
And there you go. These are the Magic 5 that go in most of my meals. And most of my meals taste delicious. Try it for yourself. You’ll see what I mean.
Oh and one more tip. I have a heavy hand when I’m adding oils and spices. This is the trick. Don’t skimp on the spice and you won’t end up skimping on the taste.
Emyrald Sinclaire is a Certified Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner (CNHP; CHNP) She specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Ermyrald is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit PureRadiantSelf.com.