live to eat, eat to live

I love to eat, cook and bake; when it's food-related, I generally adore it all.

In fact, I spent a sizable chunk of my graduation money on a well-planned, whirlwind tour of culinary delight all around Austin for a solid week or so back in August. Aside from a similar foodie escapade throughout London, this was the best. money. ever. spent.

But when it comes to a heaping plate of steamed and uninspired kale, my taste buds and I would rather pass. I try to eat healthy at home so I can splurge with reckless abandon when out on the town. But let's be honest, life's too short for terrible food.

With The World's Healthiest Foods site and recipes, I can have my cake and eat it, too. Well...not technically. But now I can eat my whole foods in meals that are actually palatable, amazingly hearty and usually quite good. And (don't stone me for admitting this) suddenly that cake becomes much less appetizing.

Even better, the recipes are quick and easy. You can even subscribe to George's daily e-newsletter (as I have) with the Food of the Week and various recipes. Now there's no excuse.

The non-profit site is part of The George Mateljan Foundation and is backed up by independent scientific research. Pretty legit in my book.

What's really great is their seven-day menu, ideal for taking healthy eating for a test drive. Commit to one day, or be brave and try the entire week. I don't like seared tuna, for example, so I subbed out a different entree from their list of hundreds of other recipes.

And the nutritional benefits are incredible. Follow one of the daily menus and you'll get: six servings of veggies, four servings of fruit, 80 grams of protein, 40 grams of fiber and over 1,000 milligrams of calcium. And a partridge in a pear tree.

All for around 1,800 calories! Take that, food pyramid.

My boyfriend, an avowed nemesis of the vegetable, was brave enough to tag along with me for four days worth of George's recipes. His favorite? The Asian Chicken Salad. He even wants me to make it again (gasp!).

For that entire week, I felt fabulous. I had more energy and felt great about myself. I learned how to cook with vegetables I'd never used before - and wound up getting sexy, top-of-the-line chef knives for Christmas from my boyfriend so I'd keep the veggies coming his way.

It's not a novel idea, really. Buy a ton of fresh produce and have at it. I used to live to eat; now I'll eat to live a little bit more.

When I went grocery shopping for all the ingredients, the bagger sized me up and said, "You have some really good produce here," and then asked, visibly impressed, "Are you a chef?"

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