This January, as part of Well+Good’s (Re)New Year, famed plant-based and classically trained chef Candice Kumai is providing five weeks of healthy recipes to help not only transform your eating habits, but set you up for year-long success. Week 4 is all about eating in a way that will inspire a long, healthy life.
Take a second and think about what the best moments of your entire week have been. Maybe it was cuddling up to a matcha latte with bae after a spin class, or snuggling with the kids—or nephew—watching a feel-good movie. Maybe it was grabbing sushi and warming sake with your girls, who you didn't realize how much you missed until you started recapping to them about your last, terrible Bumble date. Or maybe it was a moment of quiet inward reflection on your yoga mat, while tears of gratitude came over you. Whatever it is, you want to be able to still do those same activities when you're 80 years old, right?
Virtually everyone wants to live a long, healthy life, able to move their body and have their mind working well enough to rehash favorite stories. But, as you likely know, the American food system is threatening to take that away. Sugar and chemicals in processed foods aren't good for your mind or body. Chances are, you already know that. But life gets busy, you forget to meal prep, or making something "healthy" seems like "work." You'll be hard up to find a human who eats perfectly all the time—it's important to give yourself a break. But taking the time to make nourishing food for yourself is the ultimate form of self-care, and it has a long lasting effect.
Healthy chef and author Candice Kumai was hashtag-blessed enough to grow up with longevity-boosting foods on the table most of the time. Her Japanese heritage just naturally lends itself to that. Probiotic-rich miso and fermented foods were served up at least once a day, and the bulk of all her family meals were plant-forward. As Kumai got older, she was inspired by her mom to train at culinary school, and cook on the line at restaurants. She started experimenting in the kitchen on her own, she figured out ways to not only add her own special signature on the dishes she grew up eating, but to do it using anti-inflammatory spices, such as turmeric and ginger. And in the midst of putting the finishing touches on her sixth (!) book, Kintsugi Wellness, she's sharing some of her favorite recipes. (Continue to follow her on Instagram for her massive wellness inspo.)
If you think a week with next-to no dairy, gluten, and meat sounds boring, give this week's meal-plan the chance to prove you wrong. And if you already lean toward and anti-inflammatory diet (major props, by the way), the 45 recipes you'll learn this week will give you some inspo to switch up your game while still staying on track.
If you've been following Well+Good's (Re)New Year program, you already have a lot of the items on this week's shopping list, but either way, here's a handy, dandy downloadable graphic of everything you'll be using. Check out what you'll be making below:
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