Conscious Cook: Savoring the sweetness of life

“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight? Always try to be a little kinder than necessary.”— J.M. Barrie”

When it comes to feeding the body and soul, we are sometimes not kind enough to ourselves. The stresses of a chaotic world can wreak havoc on good intentions, and keep us from savoring life’s sweetness. We may react to this intrusion by mindlessly devouring foods that are not invigorating or nurturing, stuffing ourselves with salty, fatty, or sugary foods.

The winter months can especially take a toll. But each day that passes brings us one step closer to spring and rebirth. Until then, we can practice more self-care. Extend loving kindness to yourself and to others, remember to smile, and slowly but surely restore sweetness to your daily routine. Take time to breathe deeply and evenly, step outside for a few moments of crisp, clean air and enjoy activities that make you laugh out loud.

Try a pineapple salsa to add a sweet and spicy flavor to a winter meal.

Sugar cravings are a constant challenge for many, especially during the winter months. When local produce is not so readily available, natural choices such as frozen or fresh fruits and berries are a great choice for satisfying a severe sweet tooth. The winter months are an especially fine time to enjoy fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and perfectly ripe fresh pineapple.

Fresh pineapple is a fabulous treat, particularly during the drab days of winter. The alluring aroma and joyful juiciness will transport you straight to the tropics while supplying an array of healthy benefits. Bursting with vitamin C, pineapple is a superb anti-inflammatory food that may help in healing sore throats, colds and flu, acute sinus congestion, arthritis and gout. A superior digestive aid, drinking fresh pineapple juice may quell an angry hangover.

Look for pineapples in your supermarket that are heavy and free of bruis”es or brown spots. Smell the bottom of the pineapple; if flush with fragrance, it should be nicely ripe. Store fresh pineapple on your countertop and use within two to three days. Once peeled and cut up, fresh pineapple should keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Add the sensational sweetness of pineapple to smoothies, yogurt, fruit salads, salsa or fish dishes. Spicy shrimp or scallops served with a side of pineapple salsa will brighten both your mood and your dinner plate. Broil pineapple slabs with a bit of brown sugar and sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted almonds for a delightful winter dessert. Sauté cubes in a skillet with vanilla extract and a touch of maple syrup for an island-oriented topping for breakfast toast.

Prepare a delicious life by being kind to yourself and others!

Sweetness of Life Pineapple Salsa

1 ripe fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and finely diced

¼ cup very finely minced red onion or sweet onion

3-4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons minced fresh mint

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

¼ cup fresh squeezed lime or orange juice

1 finely minced fresh jalapeno or serrano pepper

½ cup minced sweet pepper, red or orange for great color

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice or salt and pepper as desired. Let flavors blend for at least an hour.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, The Conscious Cook, writes about preparing a delicious life and presents healthy food workshops throughout New England. She is a professional cook, organic gardener, and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.