This is a simple post. About a simple thing. My tried and true staple for a healthy, home cooked dinner – no forethought and minimal time investment required.
Right now I’m working a lot and traveling every weekend, so the debate between picking up food and grocery shopping for about four days of one person eating can get a little confusing. I’ll often pick up pre-prepared food like green juices, fish and veggie salads or soups, but sometimes it’s actually more convenient to just throw something together at home when I need a quick, late dinner. Since I’m continually in and out of the city, when I do make it to the grocery store I focus on staples that have longevity. Besides my green smoothie ingredients (frozen kale, spinach, broccoli, berries, avocado and nut and hemp milks) three things I always make sure I have are organic frozen veggies, extra virgin olive oil and organic eggs. These things last for months on end, and within five minutes, you can use these ingredients to make a hot meal you actually created in your kitchen.
My go-to classic is green peas and eggs. I’ve gotten some weird looks for this combination, but I swear that if you taste the sweetness of the peas mixed with the goodness of the olive oil and the fat dripping from the egg yolk and top it with some sea salt, you’ll never look back. Not even sure if this “recipe” needs explanation, but all I do is heat the frozen peas in a little water in a sauce pan, transfer to a bowl, add a little sea salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of olive oil to preference (I don’t measure), and top with two fried eggs. I just drop the eggs in a frying pan on medium and cook… not much more to it.
Here I added fresh broccoli….
And here I did something a little different by frying onions and mushrooms in some coconut oil and adding the peas….
Things not to be afraid of in this meal:
Ideally, we’d always be eating organic, local veggies that go directly from the soil to your mouth. All plants (including fruits and vegetables) are living things. They change over time, they “age” as they undergo natural chemical interactions and processes – just like we do. So the reality is that when fresh veggies are shipped from a land far, far away like California or South America, then sit in a grocery store, and then sit in your fridge for days on end, all the while they are deteriorating and losing nutrients. In our modern world, when you don’t have time to seek out fresh, local, organic produce, frozen fruits and veggies are a great alternative, since they’re flash frozen soon after harvest and often test higher in vitamins and antioxidants than their “fresh” equivalents on the grocery store shelves.
The process of freezing naturally occurs on Earth and only slows down chemical processes rather than damaging DNA. Food fun fact – after Otzi, the 5,300 year old man, was pulled from the ice in the mountains on the Austria/Italian border, scientists were able to analyze the food in his stomach – down to 30 different kinds of pollen! He had also consumed grains and some wild goat shortly before his demise. I know all this because I’ve been to the Otzi museum in northern Italy a good 2-3 times with the fam. If you ever have an opportunity to go they have a pretty cool exhibit on human evolution from Otzi’s time to present.
I avoided peas for awhile because they’re legumes and are not technically “paleo,” but I’ve found my way back to them, since they’re super delicious and don’t bother me like other legumes do (such as lentils). Read why paleo blogger The Domestic Man also eats peas here.
I know it’s difficult, and it’s been ingrained in American culture for decades, but please try and get over your fear of saturated fat. (See Time’s recent article on the wrongful vilification of fat.) I eat eggs ALL the time yolk included, and I consistently have high “good” cholesterol and low “bad” cholesterol. If it occurs in nature, such as plant fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado and nuts, or animal fats like (grassfed) butter and beef, you don’t need to be afraid of it as long as you’re not going overboard. What should make you shake in your booties are fats created by the human hand – partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that you’ll find in margarine and fried and processed foods.
The benefits of olive oil have been widely documented with all of the Mediterranean diet research, and fat in general helps you absorb nutrients and gives you glowing skin. I also think a little fat in your diet helps you maintain a low weight as opposed to encouraging weight gain – I eat olive oil generously and don’t struggle with my weight. What’s much more likely to cause weight gain? Sugar and refined carbs like bread, crackers, cereal, cookies etc etc (gluten free or not).