There are so many theories on what to eat, what not to eat. So many diets — I won’t even go there. If you have ever been to my cooking classes or presentations you’ve heard me say it many of times. I believe, at the end of the day, we are over-thinking food. We’ve made preparing and eating food way too complicated.

So, I’ve called for a return to the basics. Simple food made without a lot of fuss, but instead with love. Peasant dishes are great examples of using the bare essentials to create simple, delicious meals. Many peasant recipes have lived on to be a part of today’s cuisines. One of my favorites is the Italian soup — Pasta e Fagioli.

There I was in the kitchen, yesterday, creating a very basic garden salad. Relishing in just how simple it was to make. No kidding, it took me all of two minutes from start to finish to make this beautiful salad. I used romaine lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, and roma tomatoes. I chopped the romaine lettuce, sliced the cucumbers leaving the peel on(since they were organic), and sliced the tomatoes and mushrooms. I put all the ingredients in the colander and rinsed it really well. Bam! Just like that. Just that simple. No bagged lettuce, no bagged produce. I topped my salad with sunflower seeds and a Balsamic Vinaigrette (no doubt, made from scratch).

Creating meals using real food, whole food doesn’t have to be complicated with basic essentials on hand — you can create and whip up meals in a cinch. Some very basics I suggest everyone have on stock.

Pantry: Kosher or Sea salt, a pepper mill, olive oil, vinegars, grains, beans, stocks (make your own and then freeze), tomatoes (jar or can them yourself).

Fresh produce: Lemons and limes (no bottles!), garlic, romaine lettuce or spinach for salads, bell peppers, onions, carrots, and celery. Be careful some items should be bought only organic. Check out the Dirty Dozen list.

Chrisetta Mosley

Chrisetta Mosley

I am a product – and now a survivor – of childhood obesity. As a child, my family always told me that my extra weight was merely baby fat and I’d eventually grow out of it. I never did. Instead, my childhood is filled with memories of not being able to ride a bike, flattening its training wheels from being over the recommended weight, and avoiding P.E. classes by any means necessary. For years, I wore my fatness like a wounded soldier wears a Purple Heart - with pride. I owned the look. I dressed it up. I worked the room. There wasn't a skinny girl who intimidated me. I made sure my hair was laid just right. Nails polished. Outfits coordinated to the tee. Accessories to compliment every outfit. But everyone has a breaking point, and mine came in the spring of 2004 when I tipped the scale at nearly 400 pounds 388 to be exact. I was MISERABLE trapped inside of that body. I no longer wore my Purple Heart with pride. Rather, I was ashamed and frightened. Ashamed that I had allowed food to become my everything – frightened I would die because of it. Drastic times called for drastic measures... Today, I’m bound and determined to live a better, healthier, active lifestyle. I realize I’m no longer a passenger in my life, I’m the driver. I’m overcoming my inhibitions and I’m slowly but surely saying farewell to my old childhood nemesis, obesity. For once and for all, Farewell Fatso!

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