Healthy living is a complex balance of proper food choices, exercise, reduced stress, and a relaxed attitude. I find that the last two come naturally after we have found a way to properly nourish and exercise our bodies. In America especially, exercise is extremely popular. But I don’t think we exercise correctly. I am always seeing people at the gym, grunting it out for miles on the treadmill, spending their precious time only to go eat horribly the next day. It’s a vicious cycle. Although I believe exercise is an extremely important part of being a healthy person, I believe most Americans need to get their eating habits majorly in line first. How ironic that the acronym for Standard American Diet is such! This post and the next will lay the foundation for you to build a fertile diet (and I mean diet in how you eat on a regular basis, not diet as in starving yourself!) I call this post: Tools of the trade!
Anything you do in life is not going to be enjoyable without the correct tools that you feel comfortable using. Let’s first start with the knives. You can’t always pop healthy food in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, stir, reheat again for 30 seconds, and let sit until cool; you have to prepare it. Not having anything but steak knives, or having dull knives, will immediately make food prep undesirable because it becomes cumbersome and quite possibly dangerous! Now I’ll be the first to admit that I check on Williams-Sonoma and lust over the Wusthof knife sets—you best believe the 20 piece collection will be prominently featured on my wedding registry—but the average chef can make do without spending 2 grand. I got a cheap knife set at the new goods section of The Goodwill for $15. They are really nothing special, and they get the occasional water marks, but they haven’t let me down. Check e’m out! You can also go to a store like TJ Maxx and buy a high end chef knife to have around as well. Big brands like Henckels and Wusthof do have entry level sets costing around $100, but the quality is not the same as their top lines, so scope out reviews on various websites before you buy! And to the vegetarians: buy a knife set as well. You might not need all the steak knives, but you will need something burly to chop through root vegetables.
The next important items you’ll need are a variety of Tupperware containers. I notice people tend to use them just for leftovers and they grow dusty in the cabinet. Not anymore! At the beginning of the week, and whenever I have a spare ten minutes, I’ll chop up the fruits and/or veggies I’ve bought and pop them into a container. That way they’re all ready for salads and omelets, so I have no excuse except for sheer laziness to not throw something together quickly. I also think it looks more visually appealing than a fridge haphazardly packed. I strongly suggest you invest in one or two containers that are specifically made for salad eaters. There will be a spot for you to store a little canister of dressing so you won’t have to lug around extra containers or bottles. I use the word invest fairly loose since I got some for $1.50 each at The Christmas Tree Shop! Woop, Woop. As we come more concerned with the safety of our plastics, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to purchase a set of glass bowls with Tupperware tops. The glass won’t break down or warp in the microwave, and it doesn’t stain or hold smells like plastics will. Because, really, who hasn’t had a perfectly good container stained by marinara sauce?!
Another novel idea is having variety in your kitchen. Think twins. Buy more than one spatula, one cutting board, one stirring spoon, etc, etc. This partially stems out of pure laziness. You’re rushing out the door, you forget to clean the spatula, and you go to make eggs later and are greeted by a hard mess of yellow. So you pull out your other spatula. Problem solved (as long as you don’t forget to wash that one as well…) Buying different cutting boards can also clear up any potential health risks. My boyfriend and I don’t have a dishwasher in our apartment (or a double sink, which is a whole other story to gripe about), so we try to be as careful as we can to not leave traces of raw chicken, fish, or red meat. One cutting board can be designated for meat, the other veggies, and so on. It also wouldn’t hurt to get a mini cutting board for the times when it is unnecessary to pull out the big guns, say, when you’re cutting up baby portabella shroomies!
Finally, strongly consider buying a blender and food processor. These two appliances, especially a blender, are really helpful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Blenders make great smoothies and cold soups. Food processors, although not as crucial, are great for creating homemade tomato sauces and decadent raw vegan treats like chocolate mousse and avocado and coconut-milk ice cream! I don’t even want to get started on how I obsessively pine for a Blentec or Vitamix Blender, both are around $400, but a $30 Proctor Silex one will do the trick. The same goes for a food processor.
Take these few essential ideas and begin marching toward your new healthy life. As a college student paying my way, I can attest that you don’t need to buy expensive items and appliances to make kitchen adventures exciting and easier. Check your mail for coupons to your favorite stores, watch prices, read (and read and read) lots of reviews, and check out second hand shops to find what you need for even less. Buying these items yourself will hold you accountable for using them, because no one wants to see $30 collect dust!
Now Go Peel Away ❤