Who doesn’t love a good Greek-inspired spread? I’m pretty sure olives are a food group…right?
The Mediterranean has a reputation for being quite healthy despite their seemingly decadent eating habits (as does most of Europe). Much of that comes from the fact that they have adhered to their innate cultural wisdom surrounding both food and lifestyle. They interact with their food on every level, and more often than not commit to eating without distractions like screens or driving. They purchase fresh, local food, make many meals at home, enjoy time with family and time for rest. Americans rarely live their days in this manner. We are rushed, distracted, stressed, and haven’t slept enough. We eat out more than we eat at home, and even more rarely do we actually make our meals from scratch. When we do try to take more control of our lives and our health, we can end up even more stressed about what we should or shouldn’t eat, how much, how little, vegan or paleo, low-fat or low-carb, no sugar, no gluten, etc., etc…… We have so much available to us, yet we don’t know HOW to eat anymore. More and more of us are chronically ill, and are growing increasingly unable to eat certain foods because our bodies have become so confused and tired.
So what can we do? Purely on the topic of food, here are a few suggestions to get started:
- Slow down – breathe in the aromas of your food while it’s cooking, savour the flavour, experience it fully
- Chew – chewing is one of the easiest changes you can make to a meal that will enhance it’s digestibility
- Set intentions – what are your food/eating goals? Enjoyment? Illness-prevention? Flavour? Appearance?
- Eat with friends and family – some of my happiest memories are from around dinner tables
- Play with your food – have fun, get right in there, make it tantalizing, take photos, use all the colours
- Experiment – try something new, use your intuition, make mistakes
- Be inspired – I make my most delicious meals when I’ve been inspired by a gorgeous food blog, recipe book, or particularly beautiful produce at the store or market
- Don’t deprive – obviously, if something hurts you, don’t eat it, but always be sure to eat for your heart and soul as well as your body and brain
- Don’t worry so much about what what everyone else is doing – only you know what you need
- Make food a part of the lifestyle you want – how do you want to live? Manifest it through your food
Now on to the FOOD!
My local health food store carries the tastiest grass-fed ground lamb I have ever tasted. It has SO much flavour is so much more juicy than most “grocery-store” lamb. Pre-AIP, one of my favourite meals was juicy lamb burgers topped with avocado, mustard, onion, and goat feta. These days, the burger just wasn’t the same without the feta, so I’ve been trying to create another lamb-based meal that satisfies my memory. This week, I drew strong inspiration from a couple of great recipes (see here), and crafted something that truly made my taste buds sing with happiness and satisfaction! I would proudly serve this to the non-AIP people in my life. I may or may not have eaten half the tzatziki with a spoon…
Greek-Inspired Lamb Meatballs
1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped fine
small bulb fennel, chopped fine + a few green feathery leaves
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp dried oregano (1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Prepare a baking sheet and preheat oven to 375F. Place all ingredients except the lamb in a bowl. If needed, pulse this mixture in a food processor briefly to mince the fennel smaller and make sure everything is fully incorporated. Add ground lamb and mix well with hands. Form into small balls and arrange on sheet. Bake approximately 20-30 minutes, draining liquid off halfway through and turning to evenly brown.
Serve hot with Avocado Tzatziki (recipe below!) or a quick guacamole.
1 cucumber, seeds removed, roughly diced
1/2 c. full fat coconut milk
3 medium cloves garlic
2 tsp dried dill (1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tsp fresh mint
juice of 1 1/2 limes
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until creamy. Serve with meatballs, kebabs, chicken breast, sliced veg, pate, olives, or salmon cakes! Use in place of mayo on sandwiches, instead of sour cream on loaded potatoes, or instead of yoghurt or creme fraiche in soups. Simply vary the coconut milk amount to change the consistency.
The process of creating your own meals can work as well as any practised meditation. Connect fully to your experiences and savour the results. xo