Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The 80-20 Diet

I have been making an effort to stay healthy (or at least eat healthy things). Trying to follow that 80 - 20 rule where you eat healthy 80% of the time and then eat whatever you want in the other 20% is easier said than done. But I'm making baby steps and taking it day by day. There are still days when I pass by Auntie Anne's kiosk at the mall and I take one look at those soft pretzels coated in cinnamon sugar and I'm like, "Pfft what diet are you talking about? Come to momma!"

And some days I somehow end up at La Marea for (ehem) a "quick detour" for their ultimate warm brownie cup served with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of heading straight home. Warm, gooey, chocolatey deliciousness! Can you blame me really? Good gracious, just look at that! That detour is so worth it!

Anyway, back to the healthy diet and the more important 80%. This is what Tuesday's lunch looked like. Fresh tomatoes and water spinach sauteed with garlic and onions in olive oil + a few leaves of basil and a little less than half a cup of cooked quinoa... Yum! Perfect for veggie lovers like me and my husband!

I'd been curious with the other food blogger's fascination with quinoa ("keen-wah"). Quinoa is popping up everywhere. So what is the big deal? I had to try it.  Quinoa looks like tiny round beads that come in beige, red and black colors. I did a bit of research and found out that this "Ancient Super Food" is a great source of protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron. What makes it unique is that for a plant-based food, it has all the essential amino acids (protein) that your body needs.

The verdict?  I noticed that quinoa has a distinct smell. I can't quite describe it. Those little seeds have a chewy texture and a mild nutty flavor when cooked. It expands to almost twice its size and also soaks up the flavors of whatever else you add to it like tofu. I like it! It reminds me a lot of mais rice (made from corn).  Quinoa is actually a great substitute for rice if you're on a diet (5 grams of fiber for 1 cup of cooked quinoa and packed with vitamins too!)

Green smoothielicious!
I've started a habit of drinking smoothies almost everyday this year. I just love smoothies! Freeze some sweet ripe mangoes with half a banana and whiz it up half a cup of chilled milk (or almond milk with only 35 calories per serving!), 2-3 tablespoons  of thick, creamy yogurt, a splash of honey, throw in some chia seeds for some antioxidants and you have a smooth, creamy,  healthy, low fat afternoon snack or even breakfast. 

This smoothie here didn't contain bananas and chia seeds. Instead, I added a handful of basil leaves. I was curious about the taste. But just because it's green doesn't always mean it's yuck. The contrast of flavors - the sweetness from the mangoes with a slight peppery,  "earthy" taste from the basil - is actually quite nice. But if you're not fond of herbs, you can totally omit it and do a normal smoothie.

I've been thinking a lot about new recipes. I've been browsing online, looking for inspirations. Hopefully I can share something delicious next week. Nothing makes me happier than this. This year, I definitely want to add more healthy recipes. So please keep posted for updates coming soon!

What have you been eating lately? Do you like Quinoa? What's your favorite Quinoa dish?