For us living abroad, Caribbean 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 eating at a restaurant or 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 Recipes are also derived from clean eating, which is standard in the Caribbean. Simple every day, 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, the ingredients are available in most supermarkets.
What is Clean Eating when referring to Caribbean Cuisine or Caribbean Recipes?
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. 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!
We grew up on clean eating and still enjoying it. My family and I have made some adjustments in our lifestyle throughout the years for health reasons and the environment. I learned long ago that growing up in a religious environment was important, and eating healthy foods would also be an essential factor for a healthy lifestyle.
What are Caribbean Recipes or Caribbean Cuisine
The primary key to understanding Caribbean Clean Eating is to know the herbs and spices used in 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 ways of living, Caribbean food has a distinct flavor and aroma.
Many of our recipes on the website are Caribbean-inspired because we love incorporating our flavor into other worldwide dishes. These flavors are not authentic. They are merely marriages between ingredients. On the website, several of our recipes are also from the Caribbean. They are not authentic because every home cook has his/her own way of cooking.
Caribbean Recipes have more spices and more flavor when compared to a few other cuisines. Our way of cooking differs from island to island and even from different places worldwide. 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 cooking. In other regions, garlic, a bouquet of Garni, salt, and pepper are added for flavor. For other parts, add smoked meat or cured meat. In some places, only add salt and pepper and cook the dish in a rice cooker or microwave.
Caribbean foods are very popular these days. People have become accustomed to how we cook and have incorporated our flavors into their foods. The dishes are recognizable from the way they are prepared and the flavors.
Is Caribbean Clean Eating difficult to follow?
Caribbean Clean Eating involves eating many vegetables, legumes, beans, grilled, barbecued, roasted meat, seafood, and poultry. It is about eating fresh foods with no preservatives and no additives. One of the daily health routines many families have continued even after moving abroad is buying freshly baked bread at a bakery. Nothing is 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 likely not include processed foods. The recipes will be nutritious choices for your body.
Processed foods do not often appear on our dinner table – except for the usual cold cuts, smoked meat, and sausages. It is somewhat of the norm to go to the market 2 – 3 times a week to buy fresh meat and vegetables. Many of us still make fresh juices. Freshly squeezed lemonade, passion fruit juice, papaya, carrots, guava, soursop, 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.
Eating right removes unnecessary sugars, fats, and bad carbs from your diet. I remember hearing the word “junk” foods referred to as non-homemade sweets and salty snacks when I lived back home. Candies were called bad food because of the effects on your teeth and behavioral issues. You supercharge your body with energy when you eat a lot of sugar. That energy gets diminished very quickly, and once it does, you end up tired, sluggish, and unable to function normally.
Toxins, another agent causing a lot of arms to our bodies, are present everywhere. Herbal teas and home remedies are also part of Caribbean Clean Eating and are used to remove toxins. Certain vegetables are sometimes used to make tea and are called a cleanser. Lettuce leaves, for example, are boiled in water for a few minutes and used as a daily beverage. These homemade Caribbean recipes for ailments are made as needed.
Sugars, fats, and processed foods are culprits as well. Eating a nutritious meal with 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 when referring to Caribbean Recipes
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 simple guidelines when shopping and read all nutrition labels. We research, research, and research!
The most important aspect of Caribbean Recipes and Cuisine is the 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 Recipes:
- We buy fresh ingredients.
- Use lots of herbs and spices.
- We make our condiments (spice and herb mixture)
- Consuming Meat, poultry, and seafood are standard in our culture
- We don’t add a lot of salt to our food
- We avoid processed foods as much as we can
- Eating balanced meals is imperative – many families eat 3 – 4 meals daily.
Every time you consider changing your eating habits, consider the quality of foods, read nutritional labels, and cook at home. Be inspired by our Caribbean recipes; don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are here to help.
Many of our recipes have been adapted to include Caribbean flavors. Most ingredients are in your pantry and can be found in many local markets. This is not an overnight change. Take a chance, and do it right! Your body will love you back.
Leave a comment below with any questions on clean eating or cooking Caribbean recipes as you start your journey to a healthier lifestyle!