Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Guest Blog - Black Bean and Mango Salad

Here's a great entry from my friend M. Ryan Taylor. He started a diet and exercise plan a few months ago and has found amazing success. He's really looking great. I asked him to share his story with us and he graciously gave us a wonderful salad recipe as well.

When John offered to let me come on Mormon Foodie and do a guest post, I almost instantly had an idea for a new recipe that I wanted to try. Since then I've tested it and refined it a little. For me, the perfect recipe is one that is simple, healthy and delicious; I'll talk more about that in a minute, but first the unveiling:

Black Bean and Mango Salad with Lime Dressing

I Can Organic Black Beans, well-rinsed and drained
I Large Mango (or 2 Small), cubed
1/4 C Red Onion, diced

3 T Olive Oil
2 T Organic Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Salt

Place salad fixings in a medium bowl. Whisk together dressing and then toss into the salad. Spinkle with a GENEROUS amount of freshly ground pepper (oo la la) and serve. Add additional salt to taste.

Yum! I'm for sure keeping this in the rotation.

So why simple, delicious and healthy? I've been on personal health safari for the last six months. I've managed to drop a little over 50 of 200 unwanted pounds in that time (yes, I'm a really big guy). I've also discovered a few things along the path that make it seem like I'll be able to stick with it for the long haul.

First of all, let's start with healthy, because that's where everything starts. If you aren't healthy, the only way you are going to want to live is vicariously - though the TV, through spectator sports, through games, pointless online time fiddling . . . we could craft an entire list of ways (I'm guilty as anyone) to avoid living our lives. Making your health a priority is not only going to help you, it will make you a better more interactive family member, more useful and alert in your career, and more in tune with your God because your more capable of serving your fellowmen. So, health first. Make it number one and everything else in your life will benefit.

Why delicious? Sorry, it doesn't matter how good it is for you, you just aren't going to eat it over the long-haul if you don't enjoy it. Enough said.

Simple . . . let's face it; once in a while we have time to really pull out the 'big guns' and craft some recipe that takes four or more hours of prep (once I made a manicotti creation that took all day). For special occasions that is fine, but for the every day . . . learn how to be a minimalist in your cooking. Recipes that focus on real food that tastes good because it is fresh; recipes that can be made in less than a half an hour . . . these are the ones worth having a celebration over because they are going to make it easy for you to eat right.

John asked me to share a little about what else has worked for me. Other than eating no more than I need every four hours or so, and only whole, nutrient-rich foods (organically grown when I can get them), I've added a whole lot of movement to my life. I started off with some stationary biking and then did a bunch of hiking over the summer (over 37 hikes). I've done some weights and calisthenics. I'm gearing up to start a biking/Pilates cross-training program (writing about it on assignment from Classical Singer Magazine). It doesn't matter what you choose to do though, as long as you move, the more the better. You will find the time if you make it your first priority. Get your loved ones involved. This was the best Summer ever, because my wife Dixie was hiking every step of the way with me.

Final thought, John and I are both composers (that's how I met him) and making a recipe is a lot like composing music. You do have to know your ingredients, but once you do you can throw them together in unexpected ways and often the results are amazing. So go ahead; you know your apples from your oranges. Start throwing things together, try new things; every now and then you'll have a keeper and it will make it that much easier to keep eating simple, healthy and delicious.

For specifics on the eating plan Ryan is following, check out Isabel's Diet Solution.

Thanks Ryan!