What you see is what you get! We have heard that statement many times but what does it mean to be real. Do most of us try to fit in and adjust to present company? How many of us walk into a room and care what people are thinking? Do we realize what a strain caring about what people think can place on oneself both mentally and physically, just because we are trying to live up to a certain image or ideal. Some say to be real is to be authentic. But you can hear the word authentic being thrown around so much that we even see it written on a bag of potato chips. Is being real more about how your core self is reflected in what you say and do? Psychologists say that being real is accepting both your strengths and weaknesses and not feeling you have to hide them from the world around you. People who are real or genuine seem to feel better about themselves and often show great resilience when they are faced with challenges. Just because someone “tells it like it is” does not mean they are being real. It is not about being accusatory or shaming someone because one may feel they are being honest. Authentic is not about being obnoxious. True authenticity is more about how we feel deep inside and not how we feel about other people. Giving another person a chance to slowly expose their inner real self instead of prejudging them can lead to a long-lasting relationship. Taking a moment to breath and reflecting on what we are about to say and do can be a more fulfilling way of connecting with our inner self as well as with others. Kurt Vonnegut the famous author once said: “Practice any art–music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage- no matter how well or badly, not for money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what is inside you, to make your soul grow.”
-Saute’ chopped onion in canola and coconut oil until light brown -Add tomato sauce, broth, spices let simmer for 8 minutes -Add red kidney beans, frozen butternut squash, lima beans –cover and with low flame mix every so often until all ingredients become hot -Add steamed sweet potato and mix
Dill weed, as it is sometimes called, is part of the family of plants with hollow stems called umbellifers. Other plants included in this family are carrots, fennel, cilantro and parsley. Its origin can be traced back to Southern Russia, the Mediterranean and Western Africa but its name is derived from an Old Norse word “dilla” which means to calm and sooth. The Greeks used it as a symbol of wealth. The Romans believed it brought good fortune and made wreaths for their athletes from it. The Egyptians used it as an aphrodisiac and to ward off evil. However, in spite of all the beliefs placed on this herb, these different cultures used dill to sooth stomach ailments and to relieve one of flatulence. In fact it was commonly served at large banquets to sooth over-indulgence. The essential oils in dill seem to stimulate the secretion of bile and digestive juices and at the same time usher gas gently down the digestive tract and out of the system. It accommodates and enhances the flavors of vegetables, meats and seafood. My personal favorite use of the herb is simply mixing it with scrambled eggs.
Plant life possesses special chemicals that may have a tremendous impact on our quality of life. They have been given a special classification called phytochemicals. These are chemicals that are responsible for giving a plant its protective coloring, its unique odor and special taste. Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds are rich sources of these phytochemicals. These chemicals have a tremendous effect on the chemicals in our body. Scientists are now attributing plant chemicals with the power to prevent one in five cases of cancer. Studies are finding that they are powerful in stimulating the immune system against fighting off bacteria and viruses. They can reduce inflammation, block environmental carcinogens, trigger death of damaged cells as well as regulate hormones. As far back as the early 1900s scientists started questioning why people who ate a diet rich in plant food had lower rates of cancer. It was then discovered that certain plants such as broccoli had sulforaphane which seemed to stop cells from becoming cancerous. However, not all of these chemicals have been named or classified. Some of the more commonly known are lycopene in tomatoes, resveratrol in grapes, curcumin in turmeric, beta-carotene in sweet potatoes and the list goes on and on. Supplements have now been made available for many of these chemicals. However, they are not as effective and, in some cases, have even proven to be toxic if taken in large amounts. Phytochemicals are best absorbed if taken in combination with their original food source. Some questions remain to be answered. What quantity is sufficient for maximum health, how long does their protection last, how do they react with each other and to what extent does cooking affect them? Until all of these questions are answered it can’t hurt to sit down and enjoy a colorful plate of mixed fruits and vegetables.