After the last few weeks posting about super-good-for-you, nutrient-packed spices I’ve been looking for more recipes to include them with meals. Spices are one of the best no calorie, low-fat, low-sugar ways to add flavor, interest, variety, and health to dishes. And, well, chicken is boring.
Those posts made me wonder whether perhaps we can’t entirely blame the health crisis on what has been added to food–preservatives, additivies, sugar, salt–but rather what has been taken out–spices. Not only do spices add color and micronutrients, they also satisfy all 5 tastes (or 6 in Ayurveda), leading to increased contentment and satiety.
Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda both believe that all the different tastes–salty, bitter, pungent, sour, sweet, (astringent)–must be had to assure balance and sufficient nutrient intake. When we bore our taste buds with the same two flavors, predominantly salty (french fries) and sweet (bread, sugar, soda), our taste sensation, and by extension our body, is left craving more. And the problem is we mistake this craving for more variety as a craving for more quantity; thus we have a society of massive health problems.
So today’s advice, rather than simplifying your food, try spicing it up!
Although this recipe comes from Natural Health for Women, I’ve changed the proportions of the spices.
2 teaspoons of organic, cold pressed olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric
2-4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, sliced in half lengthwise (allows more surface area to contact the spices)
Juice the lemon. In a sturdy storage bag, add the lemon juice, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, pepper and turmeric. Knead the bag to mix the marinade. Then add the chicken to the bag. Shake the bag a bit to coat the chicken with the turmeric mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chicken from the bag and shake off any excess turmeric mixture. Grill or broil (or pan fry in a non-stick pan using cooking spray) the chicken until thoroughly cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side. If you want to marinate your chicken while it is being grilled or broiled, you can use the extra mix from the bag.
The ingredients in this recipe all hit 6 of the tastes: sour (lemon), pungent (turmeric, cinnamon, pepper), salty, bitter (turmeric), sweet (olive oil), and astringent (turmeric). Now those are some happy taste buds!