I’m sure my attempts at curry would make Indian people cringe as much as I do when I read online recipes for “real” Mexican salsa. Hint: if one of the ingredients is ketchup you’re doing it wrong. Way wrong.
But why bother including salsa in a health and fitness blog? There’s a darn good reason, actually.
You see, the act of working out, although it’s a healthy and beneficial thing (especially when accompanied with proper recovery), is in and on itself stress we apply to the body. It’s effort, the heart pumps harder, the lungs work faster, the sweat glands work overtime to keep us cool… the whole body goes into overdrive.
It’s a good kind of stress because, depending on the kind of exercise, a more conditioned cardiorespiratory system and/or stronger muscles will result. Awesome! However, think that aside from this we also have the usual stresses of everyday life: Worries about our job, family situations, a conflict with a friend, awful traffic, financial woes, etc.
Then, add the fact that by eating processed foods our body is forced to work even harder, trying to filter and properly metabolize the chemical bomb we just gave it. This is also a source of stress. And it’s a huge source, considering the average American diet. See how quickly it all adds up?
So exercise is good stress because you will receive great benefits out of it (granted, as long as you allow your body to recover and don’t push it to the point of injury.) Life stress may also be good because we learn from it and grow as a person, and we can find ways to cope with it more effectively like doing yoga or meditation, practices which I certainly recommend. So it boils down to the one kind of stress that depends entirely on us and the simple decisions we make: The stress brought on by our food choices.
The stress of poor food is entirely optional and unnecessary, and we can do ourselves a huge favor by deciding to opt out of it at any time. Think of it this way: if the body is already dealing with the normal and usual stresses that survival brings, why not give it a hand and at least take away the one stress I can fully control? My body surely deserves that. Yours does, too.
Not only that, when the body isn’t burdened trying to figure out how to break down and metabolize funky chemicals from processed food it is free to focus on fighting off viruses and infection a lot more effectively, it is free to recover faster and it is free to make quicker improvements to reach its full potential. Yeah!
So, salsa. Yes, the more kitchen staples you can manage to make on your own, without having to turn to pre-packaged and chemically laden stuff the less stressed your body will be, thus becoming a lot more effective in maintaining overall health.
Plus, store bought salsas taste like shit.
Mexican red salsa, pictured here with two quesadillas made with homemade corn tortillas and farm fresh, happy free chicken eggs. (Have you ever tried farm fresh eggs? The taste is like WOAH, the colors are beautiful and rich, and the consistency is firm and awesome. Get some!)
One Salsa To Rule Them All
3 jalapeno peppers
1 Spanish onion
4 cloves of garlic
sprig of cilantro
1 Tbs oil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet while you quarter your onion and slice the tomatoes and jalapenos in half. Place the onions, garlic and jalapenos in the skillet first on medium-low heat, until they’re soft and start to brown. Then add the tomatoes and allow them to become very soft. It will take time, so be patient.
Once everything is cooked pass it to the blender, season with salt and pepper to taste, add the sprig of cilantro, a little bit of water if necessary, and blend away. (It’s a good idea to let things cool a bit before blending to avoid the lid popping off.)
Pass your blended salsa back to the skillet and let it simmer until you reach your desired consistency. I like to simmer most of the liquid away, otherwise the salsa will be too runny and will drip out of the tacos. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Use more jalapenos to add more heat. I could say to add less jalapenos for less heat but really, the concept of mild salsa is just a figment of your imagination. This is, after all, real Mexican salsa.
Don’t be afraid to make big batches because, you guessed it, this freezes awesome. Put some in a cute little mason jar with a ribbon and your own label, and give it out as gifts! Listen to me, going all Martha Stewart and shit. Excuse me while I go lift weights.