No, no twigs and leaves here

I keep thinking about yesterday’s post. I have a thread that continually runs through my head: “How can I help people embrace a healthier lifestyle?” Please note that I do not go around thinking: “How can I make people suck it up and adopt a healthier lifestyle.”
Change can be hard. Change is hard. But change is a heck of a lot easier when you not only want to live healthier, but you have the motivation to make the necessary changes. You embrace healthier living. It becomes part of you, instead of something you’re just doing because someone said you should.
I got into a bit of a debate with someone in my microbiology class yesterday. We were talking about mutations to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which significantly increase a woman’s risk of getting breast and/or ovarian cancer. That lead to a discussion of how genes are not the only factor that determines if we get cancer…our lifestyle habits are also big influencers.
She said something about a cancer-preventive lifestyle being unattainable. “Really?” I said. “What’s unattainable about going for a 30-minute walk every day, not smoking, limiting alcohol to one or two drinks a day (one for women, two for men), eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and avoiding fast food and junk food.” There are more specifics for the dietary part, of course, but that’s it in a nutshell. That lifestyle is attainable. It may be a big change for a lot of people, if they are used to grabbing fast food for lunch every day and they smoke and they haven’t gone for a walk since Clinton was president. But it is possible. Bonus: That same lifestyle would also be a mighty weapon against diabetes and heart disease.
The problem is, as I said yesterday, a lot of people don’t want to give up their daily cheeseburgers and their big bowl of ice cream and their six hours of daily TV. And a lot of other people want to be healthier but just don’t have enough motivation to make changes that stick.
Maybe people think that healthy food is tasteless and bland and heavy on the twigs and leaves. I know cheeseburgers and fries taste awfully darn good (too good, if you ask me), but I made a healthy pizza last night that was so good I thought I had died and gone to heaven. And it wasn’t complicated to make!
I shortcutted on the crust by buying a bag of whole wheat pizza crust dough at Trader Joe’s. I took it out of the fridge to de-chill and rest, then cut and onion in half and sliced it vertically so it made long strips.

I sauteed it in some olive oil (medium heat to start, then low heat once it started to brown a tiny bit) until it gave up a lot of it’s moisture and was all nice and caramelized. While I kept an eye on it, I sliced some mushrooms that needed to be used up, chopped up a few cloves of garlic, and tore up some kale from the garden.

Mmmmm…dark leafy greens. When the onions were done, I added the mushrooms to the pan, sauteed them a bit until they started to release their moisture, then added the garlic and kale. I cooked it down enough where I felt like it wouldn’t make the pizza crust soggy. (I only wanted to get one pan dirty, but the onion sautee and the garlic/greens/shrooms sautee could be done simultaneously with two pans if you’re short of time).
Finally, I cut a ball of fresh mozzarella (also from Trader Joe’s) in half and then sliced it into roughly 1/4″ slices, and I grated some Parmesan.  I took the pizza dough out of the bag, gently put it on my pizza stone and gently stretched it into a rough circle. (I totally disobeyed the instructions on the bag by not doing this on a floured surface, but I was feeling lazy and it worked for me!) Then, I brushed olive oil onto the dough, laid down the mozzarella slices, then the onions, then the greens/garlic/shrooms, then the Parmesan. I popped the whole thing in a pre-heated 450 degree oven, and baked until the crust was golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Voila! Doesn’t this look good? So many veggies, and so flavorful!

I think I am officially addicted to caramelized onions on pizza.