08 January, 2014

Dieting in Mexico

Resolution time again!  And just like every year people are planning to loose weight, get healthier, eat more fruits and veggies.  I challenge you to for-go your diet and eat more Mexican food.  But REAL Mexican food, burritos and nachos do not count.  I`m talkin Momma`s Home Cookin Mexican food, the stuff that is just as flavorful as it is healthy, the stuff you can`t find at a restaurant.  If you eat that, I can guarantee that you will feel and look better!

Since moving to Mexico the pounds have just been melting off.  I don`t feel like we really do anything different... if anything we exercise LESS and eat out MORE.
 But we both keep loosing weight.  The secret didn`t really click in my brain until someone on Facebook posted, "This year I plan to eat more Amaranth because it is a super food".  I cracked up!  Not to be mean but Amaranth is a sweet treat that you can buy in many forms all over Mexico and for really cheap.  Kids and adults go crazy for them. They are called Alegrias, literal translation: Joys.  It is puffed Amaranth and honey or agave nectar.  Sometimes nuts and dried fruits are added too.  They are a lightly sweet and crunchy snack that is both filling and full of fiber.

So I started looking into other everyday snacks that we have in Mexico that would be considered "health food" but here is just a treat.  Green Juice anyone?  You can buy any type of juice morning and afternoon at the juice and smoothy shop: Jugueria.  Kids in Mexico LOVE Green Juice. How much do you have to pay, beg and barter with your kids for them to slurp down half a glass?

Need more veggies in your diet?  Jicama sticks with lime and chile will set you back less than a buck on just about any street corner.  Habas, Garbazo beans, steamed corn... Mexicans love their veggies when school lets out.

Not getting enough fruit?  Stop in at any plaza for a wide array of sliced fruit.  Pineapple, mango, papaya, watermelon... throw in some jicama for a nice crunch.

In the mood for something crunchy? Nuts and seeds are not only easier to find than chips but they are more popular too!  Have them roasted, salted, boiled, spicy, sweet, steamed, raw... just about any way you can think of.

I don`t know if its the snacks, the leaner meats or the wide variety of inexpensive produce.  But it seems to be a lot easier to eat healthy when you eat Mexican food.  Home cooked meals are super healthy without even trying!  I want to share a recipe with you that I think will help you on your way to healthy eating, and I promise it is delicious!  Serve with beans and corn tortillas for a well rounded meal.  Green Juice optional ;)

Pork and Kale / Cerdo con Verdolagas
2 pounds of lean Pork (Cubes or chops, your choice)
2 Handfuls of Kale
1 Chile Guajillo
1 Chile Ancho
1 clove Garlic

Reconstitute the chiles by boiling a cup of water.  Take off of the heat, add the dried chiles and place a plate or something to weigh them down so they stay in the water.  
Let rest about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile salt and pepper your pork and pan roast the pieces.  Remember, color is flavor!  Get a nice brown on them.

When the pork is just about done add the Kale and saute.

In the blender; add the reconstituted chiles, a clove of garlic and just enough of the chile water to get things moving (about half).  Pour the salsa into the pan with the pork and kale, let simmer until the salsa has reduced and the kale is tender.  

*** Ancho and Guajillo are not very spicy chiles, but if you can`t find them or just don`t want chile substitute for half an onion and a few tomatoes.  Puree and then cook down with the pork and kale.

Serve and enjoy!
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