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Your Tewksbury Today

Bob Leo's Kitchen: Healthy Eating Can Be Tasty Eating

Nov 01, 2014 11:53AM ● By Bob Leo
Hey folks, I'm back.
You know, Bill's absolutely right when he describes me as a self-professed restaurant rat. I started in the "business" 36 years ago. I figure I've eaten somewhere around 26,208 restaurant meals during my career. It's no wonder that I recently had open-heart surgery.
Thanks to modern medicine I feel great but certainly my dietary habits have changed. I still love food but  maybe a little less of it. I have given up some things but I most definitely  have not given up flavor. I have discovered that eating healthy does not mean eating bland. In fact many seasonings have spectacular healing properties.
By now, most of us know that garlic is a great preventer of cancer. It has been proven to disrupt tumor growth and kill cancer cells. It's also very tasty. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol. It is also very tasty.
Turmeric inhibits growth in cancer cells and reduces inflammation. It has been used with great success in the treatment of arthritis. It is extremely tasty. Rosemary prevents damage to blood vessels lowering the risk of heart attacks. It is, once again, very tasty.
Paprika and cayenne pepper both contain high amounts of capsaicin which greatly reduces inflammation in the body. Both are very tasty. Oregano gram for gram has the highest amount of antioxidants of any easily obtainable food. ( you guessed it) It is very tasty.
I think you get my point or, if you haven't, you should. Herbs and spices add flavor and health benefits to otherwise flat and mundane dishes. Here is a great quick and easy lunch that is heart healthy and of course, very tasty.
 If you feel ambitious make a bread dough using whole wheat flour, if not, any whole wheat flat bread from the market will do. Brush the bread with a little olive oil. In a separate bowl mix together some dry oregano, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Sprinkle liberally over your oiled bread. Top with a little crumbled goat's cheese or your favorite soft cheese. Bake for about 10 or fifteen minutes to the desired crispness.
While your bread is cooking throw some greens in a bowl with whatever salad vegetables you have floating around in the fridge. Tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onions, radishes, olives, carrots, celery, mushrooms, literally any vegie will do. In a separate bowl mix a 1/4 cup olive oil, a 1/4 cup of your favorite vinegar( I like organic apple cider vinegar)  the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 a teaspoon of oregano. Wisk thoroughly and dress your salad. Warm herbed flatbread with fresh garden salad in maybe 15 minutes, healthy, nutritious, and indeed very tasty!
Until next time remember it doesn't have to taste bad to be good for you. 
(Bob Leo is General Manager of the Tewksbury Country Club and the Tew-Mac Tavern. A self-professed "Restaurant Rat" with a passion for food, Bob has decades of experience working in the industry as both a chef and restaurant manager.)
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