Recently, I listened to a Ted Radio Hour podcast about the brain. One of the subjects being interviewed talked about the main difference between human brains and the rest of the animal kingdom brains – our cerebral cortex. The human cerebral cortex has about 19-23 billion neurons clustered together in this tiny portion of our brain. It is responsible for many of the higher functions or the “higher thoughts” in our brain. No other animal in the world comes close to having 16 billion neurons in their cerebral cortex, the closest is an African Elephant with 11 billion.
So why do humans have such big brains compared to our body size (gorillas are 2-3 times bigger than us but have brains 2-3 times smaller than ours)?
It’s because a long time ago, our ancestors figured out a way to extract more calories out of the food they ate – cooking. This supplied their brains with more energy to develop faster and also allowed them to spend less time looking for food and more time to practice being humans.
Cooking is literally the greatest invention in human history. But, somewhere in the past century we gave up and began to rely on pre-packaged, processed foods for our diet. We lost touch with the gift our ancestors gave us.
This past week, Erica and I received a copy of Clean Slate by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. It’s both a cookbook and guide to clean eating and helps you to, as the cover reads, “Reset your health, detox your body, and feel your best.”
At first we were a bit apprehensive about the cookbook since it did not have one author attributed to it. But as we thumbed through the book, we found absolutely stunning photos of simple food accompanied with simple recipes for clean eating.
I spent some time alone with the book one morning and poured over the “golden rules” of clean eating. There are 11 in all, but here are the top 5 I found that Erica and I already practice!
- Choose whole foods over processed
- Boost energy with lean protein
- Pay attention to how you feel
- Establish smart meal-planning habits
- Know what you are buying
I immediately began to imagine myself tossing out all the boxed foods in our pantry and frozen foods in our freezer. Coming to my senses, I realized that this was both wasteful and impractical. Switching over to a “clean” diet, I believe, is a process and one that takes practice. As much as I would love to eat 100% “clean” food, I know that it’s not going to happen right away.
But it doesn’t mean I can’t start trying!
This past weekend Erica and I tried a few of the recipes including our first kale smoothie (which was surprisingly delicious). Our favorite recipe was the whole wheat waffles we made for a late breakfast Sunday morning.
Maybe it was the soft snow falling outside, but somehow these waffles made our home feel nice and cozy. After we finished eating, we spent the rest of our Sunday relaxing in our pajamas. The whole wheat waffles certainly helped to start the day in the right direction.
To give you a taste, here is the recipe right from Clean Slate!
[ultimate-recipe id=”1743″ template=”0″]
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. This review contains affiliate links.