Happy, happy 2018, y’all! Well, here we are in January and here I sit, as I do at the beginning of every year, marveling at how the fall and holidays have just flown by (they always end too quickly, don’t they?). But the new year brings a fresh start, a chance to refocus on our priorities and plans, and build upon what we’ve learned over the last 12 months. I am beyond grateful for everything in my life – family, friends, good health,opportunities, and of course, you, dear readers! I hope you feel the same and are looking forward to many wonderful things in the coming year. Of course, health is one of our top priorities, and of course, food is a huge part of our health. All year long, we look to find ways to better nourish ourselves and those we love, and I’m super excited to share a new cookbook that is sure to get us off to a fantastic start. You’re going to be inspired by Sima’s Healthy Indulgence: 100 Revamped, Guilt-Free Recipes to Transform Your Life!
Meeting Sima at her book launch event at Melissa’s Produce was truly a gift. The timing – in November just before Thanksgiving – couldn’t have been more perfect, because Sima’s message has as much to do with gratitude as it does about food. As a celebrity trainer, nutritionist, wellness expert and life coach for the past 20 years, Sima has worked with and learned from people from all walks of life, and has dedicated herself to helping everyone find health and happiness through a lifestyle that centers around gratitude, healthy eating, exercise and fitness, and most importantly, purpose.
I connected immediately with Sima’s enthusiasm and passion for people and their well-being. In her presentation, as we sampled a number of her delicious recipes prepared by the amazing Melissa’s culinary team, she shared her appreciation at being able to help people become healthier and happier. She believes that “…we all have a gift and a calling…”, and finding that calling gives one more motivation to lead a healthier life. In talking specifically about weight, Sima told us that everyone, no matter their background, is tired of the crazy diets and the mistaken feeling that the numbers on the scale determine one’s self-worth.
Sima’s Healthy Indulgence is her “second baby” (her first being her beautiful daughter), and it is packed with creative, flavorful recipes, Sima’s advice and encouragement, and her Healthy Indulgence Philosophy, including an eating style that allows you to indulge within reason and without guilt.
Three main elements comprise this lifestyle: Self, which reminds us to acknowledge that we have the power to make our own choices and think our own thoughts, Sweat, which reminds us that exercise is key to getting and staying healthy, and Substance, which goes hand-in-hand with Sweat, and refers to the right foods to give you the energy you need to sustain a healthy life.
The book contains 100 recipes that are designed to be made in under 30 minutes, most with less than 10 ingredients, and incorporate carefully thought out and delicious combinations of Sima’s healthiest ingredient choices: Power Proteins, Complex Carbohydrates and Friendly Fats, which she refers to as “PCF”.
Yes, your body does need healthy fats to function properly. And yes, you can indulge your sweet tooth in a healthier and flavor-packed way, without feeling guilty about it – something that I have been saying too!
Sima shares her rules of thumb for combining the three, and gives extensive lists of foods in each category. She also writes about Superfoods that are rich in nutrients, bringing even more benefit to the body, and provides a chart listing several; the chart includes great information on their origins, properties and specific health benefits. Taking it a step further, each recipe lists superfoods that are already included and additional choices to add at will.
In addition to advice on setting up your kitchen and pantry, Sima also talks about – and shares – her Three Day Detox, which she says will cleanse and refresh your system in a much gentler way than most straight liquid plans.
The first recipe I tried at home was Maple Nutty Pears. It is always inspiring to be reminded that with just a few stellar ingredients, you can have a fabulous dessert – or breakfast or lunch – on the table in about a half an hour.
Fresh Starkrimson Pears provided a perfect landing spot for chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and maple syrup – I used a syrup that had been aged in bourbon barrels for a nice sweet-smoky flavor – they were ready for the oven in about 5 minutes.
I set the pear halves atop some yogurt for a lunch that was satisfying without being overly filling. The taste is reminiscent of Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal, which kind of makes me feel like a kid again! On their own for dessert or snack, the simple flavors are beautiful.
May this year be filled with health and happiness, and much gratitude for you all! Remember: The beginning is always today. ~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- 2 large ripe pears
- ¼ cup crushed walnuts
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp. maple syrup* or coconut nectar
- *I used maple syrup aged in bourbon barrels for a sweet-smoky flavor.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut pears in half, then using a melon baller cut out and remove center with seeds; place on baking sheet.
- Fill pear with crushed walnuts, drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup over each entire pear, and dust with cinnamon.
- Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Sima's Tip: You can use apples or quinces instead of the pears.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Sima’s Healthy Indulgence by Melissa’s Produce to review and cook from. I was not compensated in any other way, and all the opinions are my own.