We’ve been doing some spring cleaning around here, though there has been very little in the way of spring weather in New England. Allow me to get personal for a moment: my dear husband has always been a phenomenal athlete; a top ranked Canadian junior squash player, All American collegiate athlete, and Brown Athlete of the Year his freshman year. He’s tall and lanky and he’s never had to worry about his weight. He’s always joked that even if he puts on a few pounds, he’s just one good squash match away from his ideal weight. And for most of his life, this has been true. But while I was pregnant with Vik, he put on some “sympathy weight” and around the same time celebrated his 40th birthday. Just like that his metabolism, which has always been set to high speed, took on a more leisurely pace and the pounds started adding up. It has been two years now, and finally he decided that it was time to get serious. Because he’s an athlete I think he was more resistant to the idea that he needed a health “makeover.” When you’ve always been in great shape, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your body isn’t what it used to be. Of course he probably got sick of my nagging as well. With his family history of heart problems, I was ON HIM to get himself in shape.
Over the past month, we’ve cut out refined sugar and gluten (mostly- we’re not super strict, but we’re probably about 95% gf) from our diet. We’ve also recommitted to eating at home for the majority of our meals. While I was busy writing two cookbooks over the past two years, ironically, our family meals suffered because I would spend all day testing recipes, and have little energy left to make dinner. We were eating at home, but things were getting pretty boring. When my husband wasn’t excited by my offerings, he would go out foraging, usually turning to high calorie comfort foods (Indian, Thai, pizza, etc.). It was time to make things exciting once again in the kitchen. In addition to our diet changes, my husband also started working out with his personal trainer again, and has been playing squash on a regular basis. He has already lost 15 pounds and looks phenomenal- his goal weight is only 5 pounds away now, but more importantly, he is leaner, fitter and feeling better. This past year was a tough one for our family with the whole job transition and my husband’s travel schedule, and frankly, things have been full-on since Vik was born. Parenting two wildly active boys, 21 months apart in age, is no joke. We are often both tired and running on empty by the end of the day, but since refocusing our eating habits we’ve been feeling so much more energetic. We’ve always been healthy eaters, but I think we just needed to hit the reset button. For inspiration, I picked up two new cookbooks while I was in NYC, and I am totally smitten.
My New Roots by Sarah Britton is a gorgeous book focused on seasonal, plant-based recipes. The pictures are mouthwatering, and the recipes feel incredibly fresh and original. I was immediately pulled in by the Carrot Rhubarb Muffins, which I thought would make the perfect after-nap snack for the boys. The batter came together with ease, and the result is one of the most delicious, interesting muffins I have come across in my baking career. The walnuts and shredded carrots add a nice heft and crunch, while the applesauce sweetens to deal. The rhubarb becomes soft and warm, like sweet jewels studded throughout the batter. My boys went nuts for these- they perfectly satisfy a sweet tooth craving, though they contain no refined sugar (the sweetness comes from maple syrup and coconut sugar). I have my eye on so many of the other recipes, including Raw Key Lime Coconut Tarts, Tempeh Mushroom Breakfast Bowl, Dark Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats, Thai-Style Coconut Soup with Zucchini Noodles. Well, those and pretty much every other recipe in the book!
Sprouted Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs, and Sara’s first book, The Sprouted Kitchen, is in constant rotation in my own kitchen. I love the idea behind her second book, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon. This book echoes the way I love to eat- bowls full of grains, protein, and produce topped with a sauce that brings it all together. Sara’s husband, Hugh, is responsible for the gorgeous pictures, which are so simple and full of life. They never feel over styled, which is what I love about them. They make the food feel very approachable. I’ve bookmarked the following two recipes to try first, but there are many more on my to-cook list: Tahini Kale Slaw and Roasted Tamari Portobello Bowl, and Smoky Tortilla Soup.
I love that we are heading into spring feeling healthy and balanced. Spring produce is only going to help our efforts. If you are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning in your own kitchen, I would highly recommend these two titles.