Quinoa Salad

Each day, people of all ages are faced with choices that shape their life. The ability to persevere and be mentally strong when something isn’t quite right is a skill that doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s an important one to master.

As a working mother of two, I often face obstacles that get in the way of teaching my children healthy habits. Like many of you, I’m no stranger to being busy, and I’ve often chosen the grocery store over planting my own garden. This summer, I encourage you to get back to basics. Pure food has no need for an ingredient label, it is what it is. There are no chemical concoctions, no ridiculous health claims, just vibrant color, scent, and taste to guide our decision making. People are so confused about what is healthy and what isn’t these days that I think they just don’t care anymore. At least not until they’re faced with a difficult choice. My children are often ridiculed for their food choices; they take a lot of heat both at school and on the playground. It’s not easy, but together we persevere and I continue to seek out ways to encourage mental toughness, even when it comes to something as simple as food choices.

I’s important to teach children that food is a product of nature, not a product of industry. Time spent in the garden can alter your relationship with food, and with your children. The intense work involved in growing a garden contributes to your health in many ways, from mindfulness to gratitude; by exploring the subtle differences in soil, light, and water, you can cultivate an atmosphere of learning that will carry with your children for a lifetime.

Use the garden as an opportunity to teach them about mental toughness. Plants, like all living things, have the ability to grow strong, even in times of trouble. Mentally strong people don’t blame others for their misfortunes, they face their obstacles and that forces them to gain a deeper appreciation of being able to overcome their struggle. Whether the struggle is a bad habit, a toxic relationship, eating unhealthy food, drugs or alcohol, or something else, mentally tough people learn to distance themselves from temptation and make the right choice in spite of challenge. Every choice we make in life depends on our mental attitude, and having a good attitude is the first step in overcoming any hardship that you’re faced with.

Cancer and heart disease are such an accepted part of our lives today that it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t always the case. Begin today. Start small, and implement change in your family with just one recipe. Make the choice to get serious about the food your family consumes, and then watch how strong you become as a result.

Summer is a great time for covered dish recipes. I’m a big fan of salads that don’t contain mayo so they’ll be ok if you leave them out for a while. This one is an old favorite that continues to be a crowd pleaser every time.

Berry Salad w/Quinoa and Nuts

1/2 cup of rice white quinoa (prepare according to package directions)
1 lb of cherries (pits removed)
1 lb strawberries
1/2 lb blueberries

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. good balsamic vinegar

garnish with chopped almonds

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