A Healthy Diet: Discovering What We Already Know

healthy_diet_wellness_warrior.jpgIf you are eagerly awaiting the next diet trend to dictate the exact secret ratio of nutrients to optimize your health and fitness, Dr. David Katz,  Director, Yale Prevention Research Center, and Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D are not going to give it to you. Having recently conducted two separate “meta-analyses” of scientific literature on healthy diets, these doctors came to two very similar conclusions: We have already figured out the best way for humans to eat!

Referencing Michael Pollan’s well cited apothegm, “eat food, not too much, mostly plants,” these two argue that eating a healthy diet is hardly complicated in their recent article for the Huffington Post:

Our problem is not want of knowledge about the basic care and feeding of Homo sapiens. Our problem is a stunning and tragically costly cultural reluctance -- to swallow it."

A healthy diet is just a matter of wading through the personal and social barriers to get our plates to reflect what we know is good for us.

One of our favorite warriors on the food-path to discovery is Michael Pollan. He provides us with some delicious wisdom in his new book, Cooked, where he “...explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen...and the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth— to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink.”

His recipe for Veggie Frittata is one of our favorites and can be interpreted to fit any cultural pallet.

Any Veggie Frittata Recipe

A vegetable frittata — aka open-faced omelette — is just about the easiest, tastiest, cheapest and most nutritious meal you can make in less time than it takes to go pick-up take-out or microwave a pizza. This is not so much as a recipe as a set of guidelines or principles; you can vary the vegetables, add some ham or bacon or smoked salmon if you like, and expand or contract as you see fit. This dish is a great way to redeem those vegetables loitering in the far corners of the fridge that are past their prime.

One onion or leek
Olive oil or butter
Eight eggs
A splash of milk

Any or all vegetables you have around or like, including: spinach, kale or chard, asparagus, summer squash, peppers, peas, green beans, potatoes, mushrooms. Frozen vegetables are also fine. In spring, summer, and fall the elements in a frittata can reflect whatever is going on in your garden.

Cheese—optional
Fresh herbs (or dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°.

Dice the onion or slice the leek. In a cast iron pan, sauté onion or leeks in butter or oil (or a combination) for 5-10 minutes, until soft—about ten minutes.

While the onions or leeks are sautéing, slice or tear vegetables into small, bite-size pieces. Add to pan with onions or leeks. Sauté for a few minutes, until tender. Season. (Potatoes should be parboiled or otherwise cooked in advance.)

Mix the eggs in a bowl with a splash of milk. Pour mixture over vegetables. Grate and add some cheese; sprinkle some fresh herbs. Let cook for a two or three minutes to let a crust form, then put in the oven for ten minutes, or until set.

You can flip the pan over to release the whole frittata onto a serving plate, or cut slices from the pan like a pie and serve slices. Good served with a salad and crusty bread.

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