Happy 2020 everyone!
The beginning of the year always brings so much talk about detoxes, cleanses, 30-day challenges, etc. There can be aspects of the conversation and the simple opportunity to have a fresh start that can be very positive, and it’s wonderful to see the rush of inspiration and excitement in renewing our relationship to our health. If you’re like me, however, life doesn’t slow down much after the holidays, and often we are left trying to fit in refreshed health goals into tight schedules.
Creating a plan around implementation of our goals and starting small is just as important as the goal itself, and it’s usually the best way to guarantee long-term success. A great way to ease into a more whole foods diet, for example, would be to find simple, nutrient-dense recipes that you don’t have to carve out extra time for. Think about how much time you currently spend on meal planning/prep and cooking. If there isn’t room to allot much more for cooking, then let’s find recipes and ideas that will both fit into your life’s time constraints AND rock your nutritional world…like this one for a simple salmon avocado dip!
I use canned wild Alaskan salmon here, which is an amazingly cost-effective and time-saving way to bring more of those super omega-3s into your life. It is true pantry staple material.
What’s so great about omega-3 fatty acids anyway? Well, for starters it’s been shown to be preventive against many cardiovascular diseases and cancers. It’s vital for infant neurological and cognitive development and it is also associated with lower risk of cognitive deterioration and Alzheimer’s in older adults. Moreover, omega-3s are powerfully anti-inflammatory and can be supportive in inflammatory conditions.
Just because omega-3s are so great doesn’t mean omega-6s are “bad” or unimportant; they are essential fatty acids too, but it’s typically the ratio of 3s to 6s that matters most. While hunter-gatherer diets had an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 1:1, modern Western diets are typically around 20:1! This is largely due to the wide use of vegetable oils (peanut, sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn, grapeseed, cottonseed) that are concentrated sources of omega-6s. Because omega-6s have the ability to convert into a pro-inflammatory fatty acid, arachidonic acid, tipping the balance so far toward them can tip the balance toward inflammation in us. The best place to start to bring this ratio back into alignment is to include more omega-3s in your diet!
Ok, back to the food part. This dip comes together in a snap and is delicious with cut vegetables, crackers of choice, or even as a spread on a sandwich or collard wrap. My personal favorite is to have it for breakfast or lunch, spread on sweet potato toast and topped with sauerkraut for a probiotic pop! The protein and healthy fats make it extremely satisfying and help keep me full. Because it’s so quick and simple, it’s an easy one to put in your snack/meal rotation. By the way, feel free to sub canned wild sardines or mackerel if you don’t have salmon!
Simple Salmon Avocado Dip
- 1 large avocado
- 1 can wild Alaskan salmon drained
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill or cilantro minced
- 1/2-1 tablespoon yellow mustard*
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Sea salt to taste
- In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with a fork.
- Add all other ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Serve with cut veggies or crackers of choice. Or, use this as a spread on sandwiches or wraps!
Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center. Essential Fatty Acids. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/essential-fatty-acids
Simopoulos AP. An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):128. Published 2016 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/nu8030128