How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions

Broccoli,radish and feta salad with quinoa

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise, if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want.

1. Resolution: Be Happier

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these down times are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food.

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. Which means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are:

  1. Turmeric (curcumin)
  2. Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil)

2. Resolution: Be Healthier

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  • Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  • Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  • Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  • Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce risk for heart disease.
  • Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning!

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like. We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back!

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet!

3 Simple Creamy Vegan Winter Soups

Broccoli Soup With Cream

It’s officially the Winter Holidays! And while Tampa remains a stubborn balmy 70 degrees, we’re almost dipping into the 60s this week. If you’ve lived around here long enough, I’m sure you’ll agree: It’s hat and coat time! But not only do we crave our winter wardrobes when the weather turns chilly (read: Less than 75), we crave soothing hot comfort foods. Here are three of my favorite hot soup recipes made vegan, low-calorie, and extra delicious. Oh, and the best part: They’re all major cancer-fighters!

You’ll definitely need an immersion blender…

All recipes serve 3-4 (or 2 if they want seconds!)

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • 1 head of cauliflower and 1 head of broccoli, steamed
  • 1 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Add 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4th tsp grated nutmeg
  • Vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Non-Vegan options: Garnish with plain Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

Directions:

In a pot, saute 1 chopped onion until well browned in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Using an immersion blender, blend cauliflower, broccoli, and onion mixture together, adding vegetable broth until desired soup consistency is reached. Garnish with fresh parsley, or non-vegan alternatives.

Vegan Mushroom Soup

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Tb EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 lbs mushrooms
  • 1 Tb dry sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 russet potato or 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • Several sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • To add depth of flavor, try adding a dash of balsamic vinegar!

Directions

Saute onion with olive oil in a pot until caramelized, add garlic. Deglaze with dry sherry and add mushrooms and potatoes. Add herbs and spices. Cook down until mushrooms are deeply browned (not burnt!) and potato pieces are soft. Immersion blend until soup has reached a desirable consistency. Since mushrooms produce a lot of moisture while cooking down, you may not need any additional vegetable stock, which is why it’s omitted. If extra moisture is required, use vegetable stock or white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme (yep, just like the song says!).

vegan creamy tomato soup

Vegan Tomato Soup

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours beforehand
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 14.4 oz cans stewed tomatoes (or 4.5 cups)
  • 1/4 c coconut milk
  • Fresh basil, chopped with some more for garnish
  • Sugar, salt and pepper to taste (yes, sugar!)
  • Pepitas (optional garnish)

Directions

In a pot, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until they are soft. In a 2-cup measure (or deep pot – whatever you have handy), use your immersion blender to blend the cashews with 1/2 cup water until it’s creamy. Add into the onion/garlic pot with stewed tomatoes, basil, and coconut milk, and blend until creamy. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread, or garnish with pepitas.