Let’s face it: food is love.
Whether it’s the hours we spend shopping, preparing or sharing our favorite dishes, food is a perfect vehicle for touching each of our senses and for showing affection. The taste, temperature, or texture of a food could set the mood and send a tender message.
To get a jump-start on celebrating our Valentine’s Day, I signed up my hubby and me for a cooking class at Dos Caminos Restaurant in NYC. Mexican food could surely turn on the heat, but hot and spicy was not the main theme here. The session helped to lift spirits through the incorporation ofnatural aphrodisiacs.
“I don’t like to follow rules,” said chef Ivy Stark, “especially when it comes to cooking.” She believes cooking should be fun, without the pressure of weighing and measuring ingredients. The spiked hot chocolate certainly set the tone for a pressure-free demo, and I can assure you: this was not your momma’s Mexican cuisine. Contemporary dishes including an array of seasonings and plant proteins were highlighted to simultaneously please your palate and your pant size.
So which foods in particular could fill the air with love? Here are some of my faves:
Chilies – They get your blood flowing to the right places by increasing circulation. They don’t call them hot for nothing!
Avocado – So here’s a fun fact — the word avocado comes from a Nahuatl Indian (Aztec) word “ahuácatl” meaning testicle, so whether it’s because of its shape or its properties, avocado is a good source of potassium which helps regulate blood pressure. You may want to whip up some guac as an appetizer.
Dark Chocolate – Cocoa contains the chemical phenylethylamine, a stimulant that brings that decadent ahhhh feeling along with a boost to your circulation. Just watch portions or comfort could lead to discomfort.
Mushrooms – Now we know why this food is called a fun-gi! Mushrooms are a rich source of selenium, protecting the cells from aging while also being important for the immune system and fertility in men. Mushrooms are also a source of potassium which aides in maintaining balance in body fluids and blood pressure, insuring that nerves and muscles function properly.
Seafood – Stark calls this, “Viagra from the water!” Why not create a lighter fish dish as a main instead of meat? Shellfish are particularly rich in zinc, a mineral that can stimulate the production of testosterone, which in turn, could impact your sex drive. Perhaps that’s why the Greek goddess, Aphrodite rose out of the sea on an oyster shell!
Red Wine – Can help relax you, while its antioxidant (resveratrol) content improves circulation and makes your heart smile. Too much wine, however, will cause the opposite effect and not fight de-zzzzz’s!
Celebrate this day and every day by choosing foods that make you look and feel your best . There’s no better way to show your Valentines that you want them to stick around for many years!
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