Nutrition

Three Purpose-Driven Principles of High Performance Nutrition

Before the twentieth-century people imagined the nutrition of the future would be dominated by meal substitution pills to increase efficiency, leaving people with more time to focus on seemingly more productive aspects of work and life. The fallacy of this prediction ignores the fact that people are not merely digestive tubes. When it comes to anything in life it's important to start by asking yourself this question: what's the purpose?

So, what's the purpose of eating? To meet nutrient demands? Satisfy taste buds? Quench hunger? Knowing your purpose is essential because it's the main factor driving your decision-making.

A person can eat to satisfy hunger, for pleasure or for nourishment. If you only eat to satisfy your hunger you'll consume anything, the cheaper and more filling the better. If you eat purely for pleasure you'll choose whatever stimulates the taste buds the most, overconsuming salt, sugar, and fat. And if you solely consume foods for their nutritive qualities you'll tend to be a restrictive, perhaps even a boring and overbearing person who doesn't particularly enjoy food.

For us, food is more than nutritional substance. The act of eating is a complex multi-dimensional experience that should nourish the physical, emotional, mental, and more subtle aspects of our humanity. When we nourish all aspects of ourselves through food, a nutritional system becomes intelligent and can even be a source of self-knowledge. By paying attention to our eating habits we gain the perspective necessary to learn what foods enrichen our experience and extend our life expectancy. A true high-performance nutritional system should strive to satisfy hunger, experience pleasure, and nourish the body with nutrients.

    Imagine simultaneously satisfying hunger, experiencing pleasure and nourishing the body. Without a doubt, this (re)evolutionary approach will enrichen your life physiologically, emotionally, mentally and intuitively! Don't let this wisdom slip through your fingers, go out with friends and family (which is a big part of the pleasure factor) and see if you can get all three in a single meal. Then write to tell me how you did.

    These three principles explain the fundamental concept of our high-performance nutritional system. Next week we'll take a look at the five criteria for selecting food, and I promise it will be mind-blowing. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss it!

    This week's recipe is perfect for winter but I love it year-round.

    Creamy Polenta Bowl 

    Lunch or Dinner

    (Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

    Meatless Monday Gourmet: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Waffle Sandwich with Tomato Soup

    Gourmet DeRose Method Greenwich Village NYC

    INGREDIENTS FOR GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

    4 plum or medium heirloom tomatoes, halved lengthwise
    Olive oil spray (for prepping cooking surfaces, i.e. waffle iron or oven cookware)
    Kosher salt
    Waffle batter (for more ease and speed use slices of country white bread)
    Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
    2 ripe avocados, slices lengthwise
    Heaps of Gruyere, Pepper jack, Swiss, and goat cheese (I like the logs with herbs)
    Special equipment: waffle iron (many different styles but no need to get too fancy)

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR GRILLED CHEESE

    Roast the tomatoes: preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet cut-side down. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkled, about 30-45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Preheat a waffle iron to medium-high. Spray cooking surface with olive oil spray (if using sliced bread, brush one side of each bread slice with melted butter). Pour the waffle batter and close the griddle to cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until very lightly browned.

    Here you can go off the beaten path to experiment a little. I took out the lightly browned waffles and placed them on a oven safe bake sheet, layered all the cheeses and tomatoes on top of one waffle, placed the second waffle on top, pressed them together without smashing too much and let the cheeses melt while in the oven set at 350 degrees F. 

    Otherwise, the simplified approach is to use bread, placing buttered side down, layer in the ingredients generously and place second slice of bread with buttered side up, close waffle griddle and let cook about 5-8 minutes until golden brown (there is no problem opening the griddle to see how everything is progressing since waffle griddles can heat differently). Repeat with the remaining sandwiches. Cut in half and serve.

    INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATO SOUP

    2 tablespoon coconut oil
    2 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
    Kosher salt
    6 medium garlic cloves, minced
    Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
    3 (28-ounce) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzanos with basil
    3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
    Heavy cream
    5 twigs of fresh thyme

    INSTRUCTIONS FOR TOMATO SOUP

    Place a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the coconut oil, butter and diced onion. Cook covered, stirring occasionally (once a minute), until the onion is completely soft, about 10-15 minutes. (If at any point the onion looks like it’s beginning to brown, reduce the heat.) Add the garlic and optional red pepper flakes and cook covered for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. 

    Increase the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Roughly crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until they’re hot and beginning to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Add the broth or water and bring to a simmer. Cook at a medium simmer until the tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 15 minutes. 

    Remove the soup from the heat and let cool uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Purée the soup directly in the saucepan using an immersion blender, or blend 3/4 of soup using a countertop blender, carefully puréeing the soup until smooth. Serve, adding about a tablespoon (or two) of heavy cream to each bowl as desired, and top with crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste.