Happy New Year to all my readers!!
Hope that the new year is treating you all well so far, and that you are off to a great start with both your diet and exercise, work and life in general!
Remember, small steps is the key to success if you are just getting back into a routine. Don’t go from not having moved for months to thinking you need to spend hours at the gym every day to “punish” yourself for being lazy last year, and live off carrots and celery sticks all day. This is why people only last for about 2 weeks or one month, and get dumped into the category “New Years Resolutioners” by regular gym goers. What matters the most is that you do a little something extra every day that you didn’t do before, whether it’s walking around your neighborhood for 15 minutes or taking a 30 minute weight training class at your gym. Soon you will want to increase that as your stamina improves and your confidence increases.
More importantly is getting in the mind set of healthy eating. I think diet is 70% of the equation if your goal is to lose weight and firm up. That is not to say that you shouldn’t exercise, as this works your heart and improves your stamina during regular daily activities and is the key to a healthy and longer life! Neither does it mean that you shouldn’t allow yourself a treat or two a week, I am a big believer that no food should be “off limits” or thought of as “sinful”. The brain works in mysterious ways and the forbidden foods always taste the best and is the most desirable, aren’t they?? 🙂
Ever since I adopted a plant based diet, my body feels so much lighter and my energy has sky rocketed. My taste buds have exploded, which is interesting since I work as a wine buyer and typically have thought of my self as a hyper sensitive taster. Now, I appreciate the taste of an orange for instance, SO much more, and I am constantly experimenting with new flavor combinations.
For the past couple of weeks I have been craving Thai flavored anything… and with the subzero temperatures we’ve been having in New York lately, a hot soup seemed entirely appropriate. I finally decided to make a Thai Coconut Curry Soup yesterday, as my husband has come down with a terrible cold, and a spicy soup filled with nutritious vegetables was just what the doctor ordered.
Try this in January – your taste buds and tummy (and waist line) will thank you!!
THAI COCONUT CURRY SOUP W/TOFU and BOK CHOY
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 x 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
2 stalks lemongrass, outer layer peeled, bruised with a knife and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I add the seeds, but eliminate these if you don’t want too spicy)
1 tbsp green curry paste
zest of 1 lime (reserve the lime)
handful of fresh cilantro and basil leaves
1 small Vidalia onions, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
6-8 cups vegetable broth
5-6 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
1 x 15 oz can lite coconut milk
1 tbsp brown sugar
splash of olive oil
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of another mushroom, your choice (I used cinnamon cap mushrooms)
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 3-inch thin sticks
1-2 bunches of baby bok choy, roughly chopped (if you can’t find baby bok choy, regular is fine or any other greens such as spinach, Swiss Chard, lettuce etc.)
1 packet of firm tofu, diced and cubed into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lime
In a large soup pot, heat up some olive oil (about 2 tbsp) over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, jalapeno and lemon zest. Saute until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add in the curry paste and saute another minute or two. Add in the onion and peppers, season with a bit of salt and saute for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Pour in the vegetable stock, soy sauce, brown sugar and coconut milk and let come to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Add in the mushrooms, carrots, tofu and bok choy with a few leaves of basil and cilantro. Simmer gently for another 15 minutes or so. Add in the lime juice, adjust seasoning (salt/soy and /or sugar) and serve the soup with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. Optional: Serve with 1 cup of steamed jasmine rice and you’ve got a complete meal!
Note: This makes a LOT but it keeps in the fridge for about 5-6 days and makes a great lunch or dinner in the cold winter months, packed with muscle building nutrients and vitamins!!