For us, Caribbean Inspired Recipes are full of flavor and remind us of our time in the Caribbean. Have you recently traveled abroad? Was it fun to experience another culture? Was it fun to go on a culinary adventure? If you have, you probably have seen familiar ingredients while shopping at a local market. The ingredients or dishes probably reminded you of clean eating because of taste and presentation. Or maybe not! But in any case, you probably did recognize most of the ingredients.
Caribbean Inspired Recipes are also derived from clean eating which is standard in the Caribbean. Simple every day and fresh ingredients are used to prepare many dishes. The method of cooking is also simple. Although many of our stews, legumes or bouillon may take a long time to make, the ingredients are available in most supermarkets.
What is Clean Eating:
Clean Eating is simple. It is eating the right food, the right way. In the Caribbean clean eating is the norm. You may find some fried foods such as fritters and accras here and there, but in reality, most of the food is cooked with fresh ingredients. By the way, let’s not forget about the industrial era that caused several manufacturers to start creating frozen meals and foods in labs. We won’t go there today!
I grew up on clean eating and still enjoying it. My family and I have made some adjustment in our lifestyle throughout the years for health reasons and the environment. I learned a long time ago that growing up in a religious environment was important, eating healthy foods would be an essential factor for a healthy lifestyle as well.
What is Caribbean Inspired Recipes
The primary key to understanding Caribbean Clean Eating is to know the herbs and spices used Caribbean cuisine. Caribbean Cuisine is a fusion of African, Creole, Cajun, Amerindian, European, Latin American, East Indian, and Chinese cuisine. A medley of cultures and way of living, Caribbean food has a distinct flavor and aroma.
Many of our recipes are Caribbean inspired because we love incorporating our own flavor to dishes around the worlds. These flavors are not authentic. They are merely marriages between ingredients. At Caribbean Green Living, several of our recipes are also from the Caribbean. They are not authentic because every home has their own way of cooking.
Caribbean Inspired Recipes have more spices, and more flavor when compared to a few other cuisines. Our way of cooking is very similar from islands to islands and even from different places around the world. For example, a rice and beans dish is cooked differently everywhere. In some parts of the Caribbean, coconut milk is added to the rice mixture during the cooking process. In other regions, garlic, a bouquet garni, salt, and pepper are added for flavor. Other parts add smoked meat or cured meat. Some places only add salt and pepper and even cook the dish in a rice cooker,
Caribbean foods are very popular these days. People have become accustomed to the way we cook and have incorporated our flavors to their foods. The dishes are recognizable from the way they are prepared and taste.
Is Caribbean Clean Eating difficult to follow?
Caribbean Clean Eating involves eating lots of vegetables, legumes, beans, grilled, barbecued and roasted meat, seafood and poultry. It is about eating fresh foods, no preservatives, and no additives. One of the daily health routines we have continued even after moving to the States is buying freshly baked bread. There is nothing better than fresh bread out of the oven with butter or cheese. Yum! Yum!
A three or five-course meal is the norm on a Caribbean dinner table. A balanced diet includes steamed vegetables or stew, meat, poultry or seafood, a side of grains, a salad, and boiled or fried root vegetables. Any dish served at the dinner table will most likely not include processed foods. The recipes will be nutritious choices for your body.
Processed foods do not often make their appearance. It is somewhat to the norm to go to the market 2 – 3 times a week to buy fresh meat and vegetables. Even the juices are made fresh. Freshly squeezed lemonade, passion fruit juice, papaya or even mango juice are some of the juices served. The meals for breakfast and supper are also cooked with fresh ingredients. Snacks are primarily, fruits and nuts.
What Caribbean Clean Eating and Recipes involve
Eating right is about removing unnecessary sugars, fats and bad carbs in your diet. I remember hearing the word “junk” foods being referred to sweets when I used to live back home. Candies were called bad food because of the effects on your teeth and behavioral issues. When you eat a lot of sugar, you supercharge your body with energy. That energy gets diminished very quickly, and once it does, you end up very tired, sluggish and unable to function normally.
Toxins another agent causing a lot of arms to our body are present everywhere. Herbal teas, home remedies are also part of Caribbean Clean Eating and are used to remove toxins. Certain types of vegetables are sometimes used to make tea and referred to a cleanser. Lettuce leaves, for example, are boiled in water for a few minutes and use as a daily beverage. These home recipes are made as needed.
Sugars, fats, processed foods are culprits as well. Eating a nutritious meal of the right amount of vegetables, protein and whole grains will help us live a healthy and active life.
Caribbean Clean Eating involves making better food choices and cooking your food with fresh herbs and spices. Using condiments and spices without preservatives, or MSG adds more value to your health and may help avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor.
My Opinion of Caribbean Clean Eating
My interpretation of Caribbean Clean Eating is simple. At home, we are not about depriving ourselves of the food we like. We buy fresh and organic produce. We do not buy meat, poultry, and seafood anywhere. There’s only a handful of supermarkets we trust. We follow a simple guideline when shopping and read all nutrition labels. We research, research and research!
The most important aspect of Caribbean Clean Eating is flavor which is the marriage of ingredients, herbs, spices, and culinary heritage. That is why condiments are a considerable part of our cooking methods.
Here are the most common guidelines we follow for Caribbean Inspired Recipes:
- We buy fresh ingredients
- Use lots of herbs and spices
- We make our condiments (spice and herb mixture)
- Meat, poultry, and seafood common is standard in our culture
- We don’t add a lot of salt to our food
- We avoid processed foods
- Eat balanced meals
Cooking Caribbean inspired meals is the same concept as applying clean eating guidelines. Buy fresh, eat fresh! It is that simple.
Every time you consider changing your eating habits, consider the quality of foods, read nutritional labels and cook at home. Be inspired by our recipes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help.
Many of our recipes have been adapted to include Caribbean flavors. Most of the ingredients are in your pantry and can be found in many locals markets. This is not an overnight change. Take a chance, do it right! Your body will love you back.
Leave a comment below with any questions on clean eating or cooking inspired Caribbean meals as you get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle!