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Are healthy and delicious oxymorons?

I imagine I am not alone in my struggle. I love food and eating out. I am always thinking about, planning and strategizing my next meal – it’s part passion…and maybe part obsession. And while I would like to piously assert that I truly love and crave fruit and veggies, if I am honest, these are never as top of mind for me as meats, breads, pastas and cheeses….and of course dessert!

But I am open minded and always seeking to grow, learn and change for the better. I have enjoyed some incredibly delicious, healthy meals – but at times have struggled to get the same results in my own kitchen (aside from the obvious simple solutions of grilled fish, chicken and veggies). And I always secretly suspect there is maybe more butter or cream in recipes that restaurants who bill something as “healthy” or “light” let on.

However, at Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand,  I did a detox program late last year and was stunned by the deliciousness of the ever-so-healthy detox menu. The flavor profiles were layered stunningly and the results were truly sophisticated and satisfying which inspired me to look beyond my simple grilled approach. (I hear these guys are coming out with a cookbook this year, I keep checking the website to see if it is out yet.)
Kamalaya Recipes

Since my time at Kamalaya, I began a search for healthier options. I share with you some of the great resources and results from my search that also might inspire and benefit you.

Recipes from people who really know food
The New York Times, bastion of journalism, and world renowned for excellent international culinary reportage presents a healthy recipes compendium. In other words, this is food from demanding New Yorkers who wouldn’t accept anything less than the very best. What I like about best about this site is the simple search function…you can search by ingredient, e.g. eggs, bagged spinach, avocado, etc…so you can focus on ingredients you know you like and enjoy – or if you’re feeling frisky, you can experiment with new grains or new types of seafood.
NY Times Healthy Food

Healthy indulgences and recipe remakes
I grew up in the Southern part of the US and the regional food of that area is decidedly rich and unhealthy…my taste buds naturally crave macaroni and cheese, pulled pork and buttermilk biscuits. Cooking Light is an American magazine dedicated to presenting a healthy yet achievable lifestyle – emphasis on this last point “achievable.” I remember one past issue whose cover story was something like “Yes to cream! How to find room for this rich dairy in your healthy diet.” Cooking Light also does great recipe remakes, e.g. a healthier version of mac and cheese or potato salad that makes you forget you are eating light. The magazine is well presented, the cookbooks are an essential in my kitchen, and if neither of these is accessible to you, the website is excellent – I particularly enjoy using the Kitchen Assistant which provides the all-important recipe search function. I have served dishes from this to guests who later raved about the meal.
Cooking Light

Everything from traditional comfort foods to global cuisine
Epicurious from Conde Nast publishing (who publishes Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines), presents a vast array of all food, wine and cooking tips on this enormously deep and rich website. Check out the section on Nutritious dishes which offers lots of surprisingly exciting dishes – I often get lost in the clever flavour combinations and seasonal menus, making me forget I am watching what I eat. And this is really the point isn’t it?

If you have any references, cookbooks, magazines or websites you would recommend, please do write in and let me know. I personally would love to see more healthy remakes of Asian dishes. Any suggestions?

Happy and healthy eating,

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