Friday, December 7, 2012

Giving Good Health

There are a few things, kitchen wise, that I consider essential to my healthy lifestyle and I think these things would be awesome holiday gifts.  Some are small enough for stocking stuffers and others would be fabulous under the tree. Understanding that you can lead someone to green juice but can't make them drink, sometimes the right equipment is all a person needs to get started.  There is nothing more important than your health, nothing more important to spend money on, even though no amount of money can buy it.  You have to create it with lifestyle choices.  Here's my list, in no particular order (besides the juicer being number one).  The idea is to try to make eating healthy as easy and convenient as eating junk.  These are all great gifts for loved ones and that includes yourself:

1.  Juicer:  I can hardly go a couple of days without my green drinks.  Do I love the way they taste? Not exactly (though sometimes I come up with a combination that I think is delicious), but I feel this is so important for me to get my vitamins and nutrients that I have made it a priority.  Kale, lettuce, celery, ginger, green apple...just green stuff that fills your body with healing nutrition.

Yes, it's a lot of produce (sort of), but pay the farmer or pay the doctor as they say, and I couldn't agree more.  Starting your day with a green drink also keeps you on track.  The idea is that you are mainlining hydration and power packed vitamins that your body can easily assimilate. It takes a few minutes, but so does making coffee.  I've had several juicers over the years and I really like the Omega Vert because I find it the easiest to clean, I love the ability to juice wheat grass at home, and it's quiet.  And by the way, for those who think kids won't eat or drink green stuff, my son loves green juice as long as it has apple as an ingredient. 
2.   Lemon Press:  I have two and use them every single day.   My favorite one I got several years ago for about $3 at an Asian market.  It works way better than the expensive ones, so if you have access to an Asian or Hispanic market, I'd recommend those first.  Squeeze lemons and limes into everything--water, salad, green drinks.

3.  Great Knives and a cutting board:  Kyocera is a wonderful brand, and I also just recently discovered this set on Amazon for only $20!  That is so cheap, I couldn't resist, and they are beautiful with the black blade and handle, and work great.  I have several knives in rotation and use them every day for cutting up produce.  Just a total necessity, pair them with a bamboo cutting board.

4.  Water Filter:  Necessity.  I have a reverse osmosis filter installed under my sink and consider clean filtered water a necessity, seriously, maybe this should be number one.  I also have a filter on my shower head and hope to someday have the whole entire house on a filter system. 
5.  Immersion Blender:  For creaming soup, and not a necessity.  This time of year, soup and salad is king at our house.  Soup is a cheap, fast, and easy way to get a lot of nutrients in a meal and it's comforting on cold days.  I'm on my second immersion blender in about 5 years, so they are not the best made things in the world, but I love mine.  Today I found these colorful immersion blenders on Amazon, aren't they fun?

6.  Tongs and Big Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls:  For mixing salad.  I wish I could link up to mine, but I got them a long time ago at Crate and Barrel and they no longer sell them, but they look a lot like these.   They have a handle-lip on the outside for leverage and they are super light weight.  You don't want the heavy ones, you want them to be easy and fast and light.  I use them every day along with tongs.  One pair of tongs I got at the dollar store for a buck, the other pair on Amazon for about $12.  They both work the same and I'm constantly pulling them out of the dishwasher because I use them so much for mixing salads with home made dressings.  With these tools, I can have a delicious salad ready in about five minutes flat.  I just toss my lettuce and veggies in the bowl, pour my dressing ingredients right on top, and toss.

7.  Colanders:  To clean produce, necessity. 
8.  Salad Spinner:  For cleaning lettuce.  I love this one, it's small and works great.  When you get back from the farmers' market, you just throw your lettuce in here, rinse, spin, and you're done.  It also works great for herbs and it's small enough to be super manageable. 
9.  Graters:  Different blades, and several.  I like Microplane and Rosle.  When you have these, it's easy to whip one out of the drawer and grate that carrot for the top of your salad.  Or the ginger for your tea.  Or the beet...  the more colorful your salads, the more appetizing (and kid friendly).  Eat your rainbows. 
10.  Blend Tec Blender:  I use my juicer more these days for green drinks, but have had a blender like this for the last 20 years and never want to be without one.  I'm particularly fond of this brand because it's small and fits under my counters so I can leave it out all the time.  In the winter I use it for soups and in the summer for cold icey smoothies. 
11.  Food Dehydrator:  I don't consider this a necessity but while we are on the subject of healthy accoutrements and gifts, a dehydrator is a wonderful thing to have.  The best out there, in my opinion, is the TSM Dehydrator.  It's stainless steel so no yucky plastic leaching, it's great looking, and works like a dream.  Also, their customer service is excellent.  If you have one of these, you can maximize your nutrition by cooking at very low heat.  You can make the most delicious treats with this as well as home made trail food for backpacking--that right there will save you a fortune.