As cold and flu season begins, I've adopted a new healthy habit. Each morning, before I have anything else, I eat an apple. This one small change sets the tone for the rest of my day, because I find myself wanting to build on it with more healthy foods. It's so easy to pick up a frozen bag of mixed vegetables, toss it with pesto or tamari sauce and maybe some leftover chicken. Then I just pop it in the microwave or sauté pan for lunch. When other people around me are ordering pizza and sandwiches, it isn't hard at all to ask for a hearty bean and vegetable soup instead. From a physical standpoint, my body is less stressed with the absence of processed starchy foods, and I don't feel any guilt over my habits this holiday season.
As for direct health benefits, studies increasingly show a possible correlation between a high intake of apples per week (at least 3-5) and a reduction in respiratory illness, particularly asthma. Apples also contain vitamins A & C, potassium, plenty of fiber and a variety of chronic disease fighting phytochemicals.
Let's set ourselves up for an anti-cold and flu season with proper nutrition. We'll talk about the exercise end of things come January... (coughcough).
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 tablespoon raisins
1 small apple, diced
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
Toss the oats, raisins, apple and spice in a bowl. Drizzle with milk. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve immediately.
Yield: 1 serving