When it comes to cooking which ingredients do you chose when you’re making better choices to leave your system feeling fresh, more cleansed and less likely to overeat or binge later.
There are a range of strong flavors that offer alternatives that also include some health-giving properties.
We looked at Pepper previously and today its the turn of the lemon.
You can obtain lemons anywhere; picked fresh from the tree, at a roadside shop or your local supermarket. They’re easy enough to find, but once you’ve got them home how inclined are you to use them (apart from throwing a slice into your G&T lol)?
But if you really want to get on-board with making healthier food choices then you can’t beat fresh lemon, you can even consider growing your own, on the patio or by the kitchen-door in a tub.
Ready-Made Lemon Juice
Perhaps you prefer something that’s already been squeezed into a bottle or plastic lemon shape, it’s easy to store, you just leave in the fridge and although a fresh lemon lasts when compared to softer fruits, the manufactured stuff has a much longer shelf life, although the flavour is less subtle.
If you chose the ready-made lemon flavouring, I’m sure you’re already aware that its longevity comes at a price, and has been mixed with other less health-giving properties. And if you do make this choice, after all life is busy, people to feed and places to be, don’t beat yourself up, because it’s a far better choice than say stuffing a bag of non-foods into your system (on-the-hoof) where nutritional impact equals zilch.
The lemon flavoured cooking juice is bound to be accompanying another (actual) food, even a pancake, which is taking you closer to the goal of making better choices and eating in a healthier manner. Rome wasn’t built in a day and if you have years maybe decades of poor food habits to address, it would be a good idea to start noticing the small yet significant steps you take each day whereby learning to feel good about your progress, instead of decrying what isn’t happening (that you’d like) because it will.
Lets stop and think about something that can make a simple difference because the body is like a car except it’s one that drives you into every stage of your life process. And what we put inside the body (or apply to the skin) has an effect on how efficient the motor runs! Sure this information is a bit dry, but is mentioned to keep us involved in what’s happening at a deeper level.
Cooking With Natural Ingredients
If you’re prepared to overcome any misgivings you may have on the blockages that hold you back from cooking with naturally derived ingredients, such as cost in time or money, these are topics and misconceptions we’ll challenge another day.
Cooking At School
When I was at school the teacher’s style was matronly, where she barked orders and nothing was ever good-enough which I would later realise made quite an impact. It was probably another 10-yrs before I properly got back to it and this was only because I walked into the role of training school-leavers, where it was a baptism by fire but I quickly learned to love it.
Did anyone teach you to cook and what sorts of ingredients did they use? Perhaps you love cooking or maybe you feel awkward in the kitchen, in the UK schools have stopped teaching the basics as they did when I was there, so if kids don’t learn how to cook at home I’m not sure where else they are likely to pick up even the most basic of skills.
Are an increasing number of people relying on microwaved, oven-heated, fast-foods and eating out, there are even people living in beautiful properties where they have never used their kitchens, and I’m of a generation where I gulp in disbelief, but that’s just my conditioning rearing its head.
And isn’t it ironic that as we lose our inherent (handed down from generation to generation) cookery skills an increasing number of programmes have appeared on TV, where it’s often portrayed as a lost art, or something to be in awe of. Yet I’m fairly sure the quality of our survival depends at least in part on how we eat.
Lemons Are So Easy!
Lemons are very easy to use and can provide a staple ingredient in any working kitchen. All you have to do is:
- Cut it open
- Squeeze out the juice
- Grate or peel the rind (if needed)
- Dispose of the rest
You can either pop it onto the garden compost – if you fancy stepping into another realm of the recycling world – or throw it into the disposal bin and voila! Its done.
Fresh Is Best
Do we agree that ‘fresh is best’? I understand that we know it at a much deeper level than we’re often aware and I’ll share a test another time that will teach you to know this too. And maybe the bottles, packaging and plastic that surround convenience products make us less connected with the origins of the ingredients, that increases the haziness around whether it’s in fact ‘real’ or manufactured.
The litmus test is whether the item can be identified as something that came from the ‘growing cycle’, i.e. the soil, the sea, and nature, or was it created in the Product and Recipe Development test kitchens that underpin every hypermarket on the planet as they dissect and disassemble every ingredient in the name of replication. And you’ll know the answer by whether you can imagine it at the growing stage or not.
Jamie Oliver’s School Dinners
And even if we’re not thinking of ourselves what are we teaching our children? Warning there is a swear word in the clip when Jamie expresses his exasperation at the kids poor knowledge, so please don’t watch it if that would upset you! A great example of how far we’ve traveled along the convenience food chain is found by watching Jamie Oliver School Dinners where kids couldn’t identity simple foods such as the potato and tomato. This clip showed asparagus which I’d agree might present more of a challenge for kids, but the foods they guessed at such as the onion, leek and kiwi fruit highlight their lack of knowledge.
Where To Use Lemon?
Being so acidic lemon is great for breaking up tough foodstuffs like meat and poultry where the digestive system struggles to get it broken down.
Marinating these types of protein products for a few hours (or overnight) is a great use of the juices.
Lemon also makes a marvellous accompaniment to fish, once cooked just before serving and makes for a light and tasty replacement for heavier flour laden sauces. This leaves the palette feeling fresher and the gut lighter.
Its A 5-Part Harmony
Good flavour is key to keeping food interesting but everyone is different and you have to experiment. It’s one of the things that leads both food manufacturers and consumers towards overpoweringly addictive tastes and flavours that find people over-indulging regularly rather than saving it for a special occasion.
Lemon or lime add great taste to food and combined with other flavours such as garlic, ginger, pepper or chilli which are explored elsewhere.
What’s Your Favourite Flavour
Feel free to have your say about what flavours you favour? Do you want to change your relationship with food? Do you suspect there’s more going on than a bad habit? Its good to form newly revised habits and to learn how to get all aspects of yourself on board with the process.