Did You Know: <3 health

DID YOU KNOW?!

FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTH MONTH!

SWEET POTATOES AND CARROTS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEART!

saynotofoodwaste.health.heart.factcs.sustainability.longevity.1

When I think of February, I think: black history month, the end of winter, hearts, love, savory soup & chili dishes, friendship, wine, and being warm & cozy. What do you think about?

It never occurred to me that February was heart health month but it doesn’t surprise me. February is cold so we tend to exercise less (unfortunately, for many of us our New Year’s resolutions have hit a snag). February is the Super Bowl and award season (Academy awards to name one) and many of us celebrate with fast and/or bad food (cookies, crackers, dips …. processed foods). And February 14th is Valentine’s Day and with that comes flowers, chocolate and sugar. Food plays such a pivotal role in our health but many of us, me included till now, rarely think about what we eat or connect what we eat to our health. And our youth hides the ailments of age.

Food has always been essential but what I eat and how I eat has not. How about you? What is your experience with food and health?

Over the last few years my focus on food has changed and with it my health. Food is exciting and yummy and diverse. My health never better, the aches and pains I associated with sedentary living (adult … work … computer …) actually were tied directly to my diet. Exercise helps, don’t get me wrong, but diet, what we nourish our bodies with, is so much more important; and with time and as we’ve moved from outside to inside, our diets suffered as our real connection to food suffered.

I recently volunteered at a local organic farm and loved the feel of the earth and the simplicity of the connection. I loved getting dirty. It was calming and healing. The people I was surrounded by were warm, funny, diverse, educated, and knowing. Each person’s journey was different and yet, we all, at some point, realized the importance of food, nature and health. Some of us were young and some of us older but all of us had a common interest, to be still and in peace for the moments we farmed. Sounds strange, I know, but this was an industrial farm, this was an urban farm, in the middle of a city and it was beautiful.

Farming isn’t for everyone but eating good, organic wholesome food should be a priority. We owe it to ourselves.

While farming, I harvested the swiss chard – the colors were so vibrant and the taste delish. I was super excited when I was able to take with me some of the food I harvested. Stay tuned for a swiss chard recipe ☺!

My challenge to you: to run barefoot, to feel the earth with your fingertips, to take moments outside and close your eyes, to breathe the air and feel the energy. You might not notice anything at first but try it for 7 days, 14 days – just 5 mins or so – and perhaps journal your experience because that can help make connections we lose in our busy lives. With each outside moment, moments without distraction, you’ll find calm.

DID YOU KNOW?! 1 in 4 American deaths is because of heart disease. Or that 735,000 Americans have heart attacks each year.

DID YOU KNOW?! Fruits and vegetables helps your overall heart health.

“Fruits and vegetables are a key part of a heart-healthy diet. Eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t cancel out other unhealthy habits. Rather, eating plenty of fruits and veggies as part of a well-balanced diet can go a long way in improving cardiovascular and overall health.

DID YOU KNOW?! Local seasonal February vegetables – carrots and sweet potatoes – can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

DID YOU KNOW?! “Certain foods can influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.”

Some examples of heart health foods:

Leafy Greens – “leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In particular, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting. They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.”

Avocados – “avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease.

One study looked at the effects of three cholesterol-lowering diets in 45 overweight and obese people, with one of the test groups consuming one avocado per day. The avocado group experienced reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, including lower levels of small, dense LDL cholesterol, which are believed to significantly raise the risk of heart disease. Another study including 17,567 people showed that those who ate avocados regularly were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome.

Avocados are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, just one avocado supplies 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 28% of the amount that you need in a day.”

Dark Chocolate – “is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health. Interestingly, several studies have associated eating chocolate with a lower risk of heart disease.

One large study showed that those who ate chocolate at least five times per week had a 57% lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-chocolate eaters. Another study found that eating chocolate at least twice per week was associated with a 32% lower risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries.

Keep in mind that these studies show an association but don’t necessarily account for other factors that may be involved. Additionally, chocolate can be high in sugar and calories, which can negate many of its health-promoting properties.

Be sure to pick a high-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%, and moderate your intake to make the most of its heart-healthy benefits.” For a guide on selecting dark chocolate check out: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dark-chocolate-buyers-guide.

DID YOU KNOW?! Wine is good for your heart.

“A 4-ounce glass of red wine can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.”

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also called “good” cholesterol. HDL protects against heart disease by taking the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeping it from building up in your arteries. Your HDL cholesterol number is:

  • Low (and considered a risk factor) if it is less than 40.
  • Good (and able to help lower your risk of heart disease) if it is 60 or more.”

DID YOU KNOW?!  

“A handful of healthy nuts, such as walnuts, will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.

Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, are chock full of heart- healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health.

Oatmeal is a comfort-food nutrient powerhouse.

Dark beans, such as kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and other good stuff.”

For more information on heart healthy foods, check out:

https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20720182,00.html or

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/category/everyday-healthy-living/nutrition/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list

What was most unexpected in the list of heart health foods? For me, it was chocolate and wine (in moderation and with wine there are other risks such as glyphosate) but also the variety of heart healthy foods. I was also surprised at how many of the heart healthy foods I eat (oatmeal, beans, flaxseeds ….). I love chili and often make different varieties some that include kale and seeds. One of my favorite recipes is a five bean and quinoa with butternut squash. If interested, message me for the recipe in the comments.

For other chili recipes check out:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/72508/the-best-vegetarian-chili-in-the-world/

https://www.isabeleats.com/spicy-vegetarian-chili/

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/simple-perfect-chili-recipe-2107099

I’d love to hear about your favorite chili recipes.

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth

References: 

1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/february-heart-health-2018021413356
2. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
3. https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2015/11/Fruits-and-Vegetables-Help-Reduce-Future-Heart-Risk
4. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/healthy-eating/vegetables-and-fruit
5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/heart-healthy-foods
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321262/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4288952/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23282226 and https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20858571
9. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/15-heart-healthy-foods-to-work-into-your-diet/
10. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11920-cholesterol-numbers-what-do-they-mean?_ga=2.240582211.1392957664.1551353151-2002832212.1551353151&_ga=2.240582211.1392957664.1551353151-2002832212.1551353151
11. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/15-heart-healthy-foods-to-work-into-your-diet/

Fiber, vitamin C & potassium: apples

apples.saynotofoodwaste.didyouknow?

It is 2019, it is January and many of us promise ourselves to eat better and exercise.

Does this sound familiar? We look forward to feeling better as spring approaches. Yet, eating healthy can seem like a chore. It is easy to just fall back into routine and a promise to start again tomorrow, auto-piloting through time. Sound familiar?

Having a bad day is not the end of the world and is normal. Looking back and yearning has become a norm. Regret is commonplace. Failing to reward small victories and celebrate small steps catapults us toward another year of broken promises. I challenge you to make this year different. I challenge you to celebrate each small step and victory. What are some ideas for celebrating?

Did you know?! Just taking a series of breathes can focus our minds and feed our souls. Taking a series of breathes can help root us in the moment. Taking a series of breathes can help us be present. Taking a series of breathes can help us appreciate the food we are eating and the health our body applauds when we feed it nutrient rich foods.

Eating healthy isn’t as hard as it seems as long as it is a conscious choice. Just taking a moment to contemplate what you are eating and why …. can help change the daily habits of eating lots of fast, processed, nutrient-less food. So often (and I was guilty of this too) we are on autopilot without a lot of thought to what we are eating; or when we are eating we are focusing on the TV, standing up, talking on the phone, or working instead of savoring each morsel of food, enjoying the peace and splendor of eating nutrient rich, organic, real food.

This year is about changes and challenges, a game of sorts, to healthy eating.

I challenge you to take a moment to reflect before you make a food choice and to reflect again before eating – the reflection can be a simple breath or looking at and feeling the food you are about to eat (unless it is soup because that would be messy if you were feeling it – plus it might garner some eye stares/rolls 😉) or asking yourself a series of questions (what am I really hungry for, am I hungry or just bored/distracted) – just take a moment to be and as you take each moment, newfound awareness will surround you, along with a smile and happiness/joy; and as you experience each moment, time will take you on a journey where the moments get longer and before you know it you are feeling healthier, happier, loving food, and more in harmony with your body. I challenge you to give it a try and to share your experiences, good, bad, ugly, and indifferent – sharing helps us all.

Did you know?! Mindful eating may lead to weight loss. “Mindful eating is:

  • Paying attention to the food that you eat, minimizing distractions
  • Sitting down, slowing down and savoring your meals and snacks
  • Paying attention to your senses: smell, taste and texture of food
  • Slowing down your eating, chewing food thoroughly
  • Tuning into your body signals of hunger and fullness
  • Eating when hungry and stopping at a comfortable level of fullness.”

Food is wonderful and full of flavor. Food is therapy. Food provides us with moments to just be.

Food is a wonderful universal connector – to each other, to culture, to food, and to our health and well-being. Food slows us down and helps us enjoy a moment. I don’t always eat healthy but when I don’t I am conscious enough to recognize how my body responds. I wasn’t always this way – in fact, while I was dieting – I focused little on food and the connection to my health or the connection to flavor (not the processed kind) and more on fat and calories. As a result, I was always on this yoyo seeking health but not achieving it. Yet bit by bit, one decision at a time – with many failures – lots of Oreos, chocolate or processed dinners – I started to connect real organic food to my health, happiness and peace of mind. I found joy in eating (and cooking).

I challenge you to make this year about eating real food. I challenge you to let go of your new year’s resolutions and instead do mini sprints. Some suggest 90 days but I like starting with just 7 days. 7 days on being present when you eat. 7 days of eating nutrient rich foods, foods that come from the perimeter of the grocery store, not the middle aisles. 7 days of listening to your body when you eat, noting changes. At the end of 7 days reward yourself with that thing you craved and then start another 7-day challenge. And share each step with us.

DID YOU KNOW?! Apples are nutritious.

“One medium apple — 6.4 ounces or 182 grams — offers the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 95
  • Carbs: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 5% of the RDI

What’s more, the same serving provides 2–4% of the RDI for manganese, copper, and the vitamins A, E, B1, B2, and B6.

Apples are also a rich source of polyphenols.

To get the most out of apples, leave the skin on — it contains half of the fiber and many of the polyphenols.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Apples can help with weight loss.

“Apples are high in fiber and water — two qualities that make them filling.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Apples can help with Periodontal Disease.

“We all know the sensation that follows eating an apple – that astringent property, where our gums feel squeaky clean. This is due, in part, to quercetin, which is found in apples, tea and onions, for example. It bears significant antimicrobial properties. Apple polyphenol also protects against periodontal ligament cell destruction associated with Porphyromonas gingivalis, a pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, infection.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Apples feed good gut bacteria.

“Apples contain pectin, a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic. This means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut.

Your small intestine doesn’t absorb fiber during digestion. Instead, it goes to your colon, where it can promote the growth of good bacteria. It also turns into other helpful compounds that circulate back through your body.

New research suggests that this may be the reason behind some of the protective effects of apples against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Apples contain compounds that can help fight asthma.

“Antioxidant-rich apples may help protect your lungs from oxidative damage.

A large study in more than 68,000 women found that those who ate the most apples had the lowest risk of asthma. Eating about 15% of a large apple per day was linked to a 10% lower risk of this condition.

Apple skin contains the flavonoid quercetin, which can help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. These are two ways in which it may affect asthma and allergic reactions.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.

Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows.

Two pounds of apples make one 9-inch pie.

Apple blossom is the state flower of Michigan.

2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States.

7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Apple trees are 4 or 5 years old before they actually have apples.

Apple are members of the rose family.

The first apple tree in the United States was planted by the pilgrims when they came to the United States from Europe.

It takes about 36 apples to make 1 gallon of apple cider.”

Who knew? I learn something new every day.

For recipes check out: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1099/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/apples/.

Until next time, happy eating and I look forward to hearing about your challenge results and your apple recipes.

Hugs,
Elizabeth

References:

1. https://www.uwhealth.org/nutrition-wellness/could-mindful-eating-help-you-lose-weight/32950
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-apples#section2
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664987/ and https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/health-benefits-apples/
4. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/apple-health-benefits/
5. Fn 2 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26016654
6. Fn2 and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183591/
7. https://extension.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm
8. http://www.scienceforkidsclub.com/apples.html

Fiber, Vitamin C & potassium: salsify

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It is the end of 2018 and with it comes reflection and renewal.

2018 taught me a lot about how nature provides the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need and that each season produces something new and yummy. It also taught me that there are many foods I knew nothing about and many I still have a lot to learn about.

It taught me that when you eat seasonal, you waste less. You waste less because you tend to buy what you need and its freshness gives it a longer shelf life. The food is fresher when it is seasonal. Fresher food also has a greater nutrient and mineral impact on your body.

2018 taught me that the road to health is about eating, not depriving. SO many commercials promoted a healthy gut, the only problem, the side-effects can often be worse than the cure. Yet food can cure. Each of us responds differently so it is important to listen to our bodies. But our bodies respond wonderfully when we feed it nutrient rich foods. Most commercialized food lacks the nutrients our bodies need. As a result, we suffer.

In 2018, I have learned there are certain nutrients and minerals our bodies need; and an important body part to keep healthy is our gut. Many are now calling it our second brain.

“When it comes to the bacteria in our gut, every time we eat, we are feeding somebody. Unfortunately, the modern industrialized diet is all too often feeding the bad guys and, just as important, starving the good.

To put it simply, “bad” bacteria tend to feed on sugar and unhealthy fats (yes, I’m talking about you, junk food!). And the single most important nutrient that good bacteria need to thrive inside you is fiber.

When they have plenty of fiber, they can do their job — and your digestion, mental function, and even your mood reap the benefits. It’s clear that fiber is

critical to gut health. But less than 5% of Americans get the recommended 25 to 30 grams per day.”

2018 taught me a lot about the food I eat and foods to add to my plate.

So 2019 will be about experimenting, exploration and discovery. And salsify will be a root vegetable that I will be adding to my stews along with trying out new recipes.

I am only at the beginning of my food and health revolution. I look forward to having you participate in our series moving forward. To that end, please comment with what you would like to learn in 2019. Or how I can help? I want to hear from you!

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is a root vegetable and also known as the “vegetable oyster.”

“Salsify (actually pronounced “SAL-se-fee”) hails from the Mediterranean, where ancient Greeks and Romans harvested the roots for both food and medicine. Through the Middle Ages and up until the last century, this vegetable was a common sight in both Europe and the United States. However, with the advent of refrigeration, people started using vegetables that were more difficult to preserve and the once popular salsify faded into obscurity.

This plant comes in two different varieties: black salsify and white salsify. Throughout history, it has gone by many names, including purple goat’s beard and vegetable oyster. To this day, you’ll often see black salsify referred to as scorzonera. But it’s not exactly pretty; so many people may pass right by this vegetable without giving it much thought.

So what, exactly, is salsify? Tragopogon porrifolius is a long, thin root vegetable that looks similar to a medium or large carrot or parsnip. Black salsify is immediately recognizable by its dark, nearly black, smooth skin while white salsify has brown or tan skin and is more “hairy.” Both varieties have white flesh that looks similar to a turnip. In the garden, salsify makes an excellent bedding or background plant. The greens, which are also edible, look like tufts of coarse grass, and they grow up to three feet tall. As a member of the dandelion family, salsify has dusky pink to purple

blooms that look something like a cross between a daisy and a dandelion. And, just like dandelions, the flowers turn into white puffs when they go to seed.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is good for you.

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is a good source of fiber.

“Dietary fiber helps keep the digestive system running without problems. Salsify contains a combination of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which helps to encourage bowel movements. When ingested, it helps the body absorb nutrients from the food by slowing digestion making it beneficial to constipation as it regulates the water content of stool and can add bulk to the stool and helps keep waste moving in the intestines. It may even prevent colon cancer, and may also neutralize some harmful gases that are released into the body by minimizing the time waste spends in contact with the healthy cells of the colon.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is a good source of vitamin C.

“Vitamin C is well known to reduce your risk of infections when taken during flu season, preventing pathogens from damaging cells and tissues. The large amount of vitamin C present in salsify helps enhance the immune system. When there is an accumulation of Vitamin C in phagocytic cells, the process of phagocytosis is enhanced and there is enhanced destruction of harmful microbes. On the other hand, a deficiency of vitamin C may lead to impaired immunity and an individual is faced with a higher susceptibility to infections. Vitamin C is necessary, as the body is unable to produce it on its own.” “It also helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify can help with weight loss.

“Although exercise and physical activity is regarded as one of the best ways to lose weight, foods rich in fiber also do their fair share in helping out. Salsify is rich in fiber, which aids weight loss by helping control insulin spikes and improving satiety. Plus, salsify is low in calories, making it an ideal diet food.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify can help maintain healthy skin.

“Salsify contains highly effective nutrients like vitamin A and C which can help to eradicate signs of aging, and preserve your youthful appearance for years to come. The skin starts showing aging signs when there is a deficiency of collagen in the body, or as a result of excessive oxidative processes ongoing in the body. Salsify can help to improve collagen synthesis in order to maintain skin elasticity; structure, strength and color, by virtue of its vitamin c content, which also assists in the fight against diseases and helps to replace dead cells that are not useful to the skin. These effects result in a net improvement to the appearance of skin, leaving you radiant and youthful.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is good for your bones.

“Salsify contains a high amount of calcium, copper and magnesium, dietary minerals that are vital for support and growth of bone tissue. With the help of these minerals, salsify is effective in preventing problems related to bones, such as osteoporosis. Regular intake of salsify, according to research, may even prevent arthritis which occurs when the connective tissue attached to bones begin to degrade and painful bone rubbing on bone friction occurs. Vitamin C supports the synthesis of collagen, which is a key component of connective tissue found in joints.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Salsify is a good source of potassium.

Salsify provides 15% of our daily recommended amount. Potassium is an electrolyte. “Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals. What’s more, a high-potassium diet

may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.”

How exciting is this! Salsify is a treasure trove of nutrients.

For recipes, check out:  https://coquinaria.nl/en/black-salsify-with-parsley-sauce/ (an 18th century dish – sounds delish); or https://www.greatbritishchefs.com/ingredients/salsify-recipes; or https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/09/salsify-recipes-hugh-fearnley-whittingstall.

If you are interested in adding it to your garden, check out: https://www.growveg.com/guides/unusual-roots-how-to-grow-salsify-and-scorzonera/; or https://harvesttotable.com/how_to_grow_salsify/; or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5D0gJMcq8I0.

Until next year, happy eating and Happy New Year!

Hugs,
Elizabeth

 

References: 

1. https://foodrevolution.org/blog/gut-health/ and https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-microbiome-and-health
2. https://www.farmersalmanac.com/what-the-heck-is-salsify-21927
3. https://www.livealittlelonger.com/health-benefits-of-black-salsify/
4. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-benefits-salsify/
5. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/salsify.html
6. https://visihow.com/Lose_Weight_with_Black_Salsify
7. https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/salsify,2156/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxXZh0uCPPo
8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-potassium-do

Vitamins and minerals: purslane & chicories

Purslane is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and beta-carotene, while Chicories are an excellent source of Fiber and Potassium.

purslane.didyouknow.minerals.vitamins.saynotofoodwaste

As the holidays are coming to a close, New Year’s Resolutions are on the top of most everyone’s list. Do you make resolutions? If yes, what is (are) your New Year’s Resolution(s)?

Mine are: to try something new as often as possible, whether it is food, learning, connecting, or…. not wasting. My goal is to explore, to put my curiosity hat on, to engage and learn. Part of that will be trying new foods, learning about food and cultures, and trying new recipes; and another part will be making a conscious effort to not waste – not just food but packaging too. I am excited, because there are so many foods and cultures to explore.

DID YOU KNOW?! “Purslane is native to India and Persia and has spread throughout the world as an edible plant, and as a weed. Many cultures embrace purslane as a food while others see it as a weed.

Purslane has fleshy succulent leaves and stems with yellow flowers.”

“It is common in our yards but little known in the North American kitchen. It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) — also known as duckweed, fatweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas and wild portulaca — is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world.

Purslane is both delicious and exceptionally nutritious. Until recently, most research on purslane focused on its eradication. Yet, a frequently overlooked approach to controlling this weed is to eat it!

It is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried.

Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.

You can also use purslane in pesto.

Throw basil and purslane (upper stems and all) into a blender or food processor, add a small amount of olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and enough hot water to get a good consistency. Because it’s so juicy, purslane helps create a low-fat pesto without too much oil.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane is packed with vitamins and minerals.

“Purslane may be a common plant, and in spite of the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies purslane (portulaca oleracea) as a “noxious weed,” it really packs a nutritional punch, with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), of any green plant.” “It also tops the list of plants high in vitamin E, providing six times more vitamin E than spinach, and has seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.

Omega-3s are a class of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Your body cannot manufacture essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food. Unfortunately, the typical American diet contains too few omega-3s, a shortage that is linked to a barrage of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.”

“Purslane is also a natural source of melatonin, dietary fibers, provides B-complex vitamins and the minerals iron and calcium. It is very low in calories – only 16 in a 3.5 ounce serving, which makes it one of the most nutrient-dense foods we know.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane provides 13.5% of the daily electrolytes our bodies need.

Electrolytes:
Sodium        
  45 mg          3%
Potassium    
494 mg      10.5% 

DID YOU KNOW?! Purslane can help with weight loss and skin care.

“Research suggests that purslane is very low in calories, but is nutrient-rich and packed with high dietary fiber. This means that people can feel full after a meal of purslane, without significantly increasing calorie intake, and thereby helping them lose weight and maintain the diet.”

“Purslane can help treat a wide variety of skin conditions as well. A study published in 2004 revealed that purslane leaves contain high levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A, combined with the cocktail of compounds found in this ‘weed’ mean that it can help reduce inflammation caused by bee stings and snake bites when applied topically. It improves skin health and appearance, reduces wrinkles, and stimulates the healing of skin cells to remove scars and blemishes when consumed.”

If you are interested in adding Purslane to your diet, here are some recipes: https://cnz.to/ingredients-fine-foods/45-things-to-do-with-purslane /  and https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/wild-purslane-salad-with-olive-oil-and-lemon-dressing-380139

Also, here is some information on growing your own: https://www.hobbyfarms.com/6-tips-for-growing-purslane-on-purpose/ and https://balconygardenweb.com/edible-weed-purslane-benefits-how-to-grow-purslane-in-containers/.

In 2019, this is a food that will be added to my plate and I look forward to sharing our food journeys with this leafy green!

DID YOU KNOW?! “Chicories are closely related to lettuces, but heartier and with a bitter edge. Cool weather crops that come into season in late fall (and last in temperate climates through early spring), chicories provide a lot of flavor to seasonal fall and winter meals. They include Belgian endive (regular and red), curly endive, escarole, and radicchio (regular, speckled and Treviso).”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory has a blue flower that is cultivated for its edible salad leaves and carrot-shaped root.

“Native to several parts of Europe where it’s been commonly used in salads, witloof of chicory, a Dutch translation of “white leaf,” denotes tightly curled leaves force-grown in darkness to encourage paler, more tender foliage. Radicchio, another relative, is the red-leafed variety. Transported to the Americas, chicory now grows so prolifically that it’s a common sight along roadside ditches and in meadows, recognizable by its soft blue flower.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory is used in coffee.

“Chicory is a blue-flowered plant in the dandelion family, and its roots have been cultivated and used for food and medicine as far back as ancient Egypt.

Though when people 1st began mixing coffee with chicory is unclear, the use of chicory in coffee became particularly popular in 19th century France after Napoleon initiated the “Continental Blockade.” This trade blockade caused a major coffee shortage in France, so to make their limited supplies of coffee stretch, the French began roasting, grinding and mixing chicory root with coffee.

Though chicory root lacks caffeine, it was widely available at the time and shares similar flavor to coffee when roasted.

After the embargo was lifted in 1814, the use of chicory as a coffee additive continued to grow throughout France and its areas of influence, like the French-founded city of New Orleans. By 1860, France was exporting 16 million pounds of chicory.

However, it wasn’t until the American Civil War that coffee and chicory became truly popular stateside. When Union naval blockades cut off the port of New Orleans, one of the largest importers of coffee in the US at the time, desperate Louisianans began mixing chicory with coffee to stretch out their supply. Even after coffee became readily available again, the practice stuck, giving way to a favorite New Orleans Tradition.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicories are good for you.

“While it’s doubtful that one person would ingest an entire chicory root in one sitting, the nutritional profile above indicates what the benefits would be from a single cup. A two-ounce chunk of chicory root, for instance, provides about four percent of the daily value for fiber, which has a natural diuretic and laxative effect on the body.

Chicory is blessed with small amounts of nearly every essential vitamin. At seven percent of the daily value for each, selenium and manganese are two of the main ones. The former helps regulate thyroid hormones and the immune system, while the latter supports the formation of healthy bones, tissues, and sex hormones. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) maintains normal blood sugar levels and nerves. The potassium is essential for optimum kidney function, phosphorus metabolizes proteins, sugar, and calcium, and vitamin C fights infection.

Chicory roots contain oligosaccharide-enriched inulin, a prebiotic vital to the immune system that stimulates the growth and activity of probiotics, which in turn improve digestive health by preventing digestive flora imbalances to encourage healthy elimination. Oligosaccharides are present in only a few sources: breast milk, for one, as well as Jerusalem artichokes, onions, leeks, garlic, legumes, and bananas.

Having so many nutrients in the roots, it’s no surprise that chicory leaves also possess healing properties, as well as add a mild-to-peppery flavor to salads. They’re low in calories and a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C and B9, very similar to the roots.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicory has fiber and can help with weight loss.

“Chicory is a good source of oligofructose, and inulin itself is a form of natural dietary fiber, which helps in the management of weight by promoting weight loss. Both of these aid in the regulation of ghrelin, an amino acid primarily associated with feelings of hunger and food-seeking behavior. A 2012 report published in the Obesity Research Banner cited a study involving rats to study the impact of chicory in the entire weight loss process. It was concluded that by reducing the amount of the ghrelin, chicory can reduce the chances of overeating and promote satiety or the feeling of fullness, thus helping in weight loss.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Chicories provide 12% of our daily electrolytes our bodies need.

If you are interested in adding chicories to your diet, here are some recipes: https://www.foodandwine.com/vegetables/greens/ways-to-use-chicory or https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/sauteed-chicory/ or https://www.bbc.com/food/chicory.

If you are interested in growing one of the 7 varieties of chicory and/or chicory root, check out: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-chicory-35313.html or https://www.localharvest.org/blog/48630/entry/how_to_grow_and_the or https://home.howstuffworks.com/chicory1.htm.

2019 will be a year of firsts and chicories will be another addition to my plate and garden. Please share your firsts and/or new foods or recipes you tried. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth


References: 

1. https://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/homeowners/030726.html
2. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/power-packed-purslane-zmaz05amzsel and https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/purslane.html
3. https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/powers-of-purslane/
4. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/power-packed-purslane-zmaz05amzsel
5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758.php
6. http://www.softschools.com/facts/vegetables/common_purslane_facts/2773/
7. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/purslane.html and  http://fshs.org/proceedings-o/1987-vol-100/195-197%20%28KESDEN%29.pdf
8. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/purslane.html and https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/81075
9. https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-chicories-4040928
10. https://foodfacts.mercola.com/chicory.html
11. https://www.communitycoffee.com/blog/detail/the-history-of-coffee-chicory and https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/chicory-coffee-mix-new-orleans-made-own-comes-180949950/
12. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-chicory.html and https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-92/chicory
13. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2005.117
14. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/chicory-greens.html

Fiber, potassium & vitamin C: cardoon

cardoon.didyouknow.saynotofoodwaste.

DID YOU KNOW?! The cardoon, also called the artichoke thistle or globe artichoke, is a thistle in the sunflower family.

DID YOU KNOW?! “Cardoons look like celery and taste like artichoke hearts. Their flavor is somewhat sweet and nutty. They are edible only when cooked. They are low in calories with one cup having about 30 calories.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “The cardoon is an ancient vegetable. It is THE Mediterranean ingredient, with a high vitamin B9 content, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and vitamin C.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “The cardoon is found in the wild along the Mediterranean, from Morocco and Portugal to Libya and Croatia. You eat the stems, not the flower buds. It is a popular ingredient in Italian dishes.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Vitamin B9 is essential for human growth and development, encourages normal nerve and proper brain functioning.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Cardoon is a good source of fiber.

“Dietary fiber is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.”

“Thanks to Cardoon’s high soluble fiber content, it helps the digestive tract to function properly by facilitating the regulation of intestinal transit and its fibers clear the intestinal tract of toxins. Its mucilage gives it natural laxative properties that can reduce severe constipation and its rich water content gives it diuretic virtues.

In addition, it also contains inulin, an assimilable sugar, which stimulates the development of beneficial intestinal bacteria, because it is neither digested nor absorbed before arriving in the colon: remaining intact, bacteria can feed on it. This improves digestion.

Inulin, as a prebiotic, is particularly important for maintaining the balance of the intestinal flora. This prebiotic effect could contribute to the treatment and prevention of certain inflammatory bowel diseases and gastrointestinal disorders.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Vitamin B6 plays an important role in mood regulation.

This is partly because this vitamin is necessary for creating neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).”

DID YOU KNOW?! Potassium is an electrolyte, which helps with hydration, and potassium helps with energy.

“There are several ways that this mineral deficiency can cause weakness and fatigue. First, potassium helps regulate muscle contractions. When blood potassium levels are low, your muscles produce weaker contractions. Deficiency in this mineral may also affect how your body uses nutrients, resulting in fatigue.”

“Electrolytes are minerals that dissolve in water in your body and produce charged ions. And many vital processes rely on the electrical current that’s created to function. The mineral electrolytes I’m referring to include:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Phosphorous

Maintaining a good balance of electrolytes is essential to your health because electrolytes mingle with each other and various other internal structures to assist with a variety of vital functions. These include:

  • Maintaining an optimal fluid balance. So your cells don’t explode or shrivel up.
  • Regulating nerve function. Allowing your nerves (and other tissues) to send and receive critical signals throughout the body.
  • Contracting and relaxing muscle tissue. This includes your biceps as well as your heart.
  • Regulating the pH within your blood.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Vitamin C is used most often for preventing and treating the common cold.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Cardoons are considered a weed in Australia and California because of its invasive nature and adaptability to dry climates. In Portugal, cardoons are used as a vegetarian source of enzymes for cheese production, which gives the cheese a distinct earthy and herbaceous taste.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “In the Abruzzi region of Italy, it is traditional to start Christmas lunch with a soup made of cardoons cooked in chicken broth with meatballs.

Cardoon plants can grow up to 6 feet tall and have beautiful blue or pinkish-purple flowers.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Cardoons were popular in ancient Greek, Roman and Persian cooking, but in the late 19th century, the vegetable suddenly fell out of fashion.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Cardoons are in season in December.

For recipes, check out: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017335-butter-braised-cardoons-with-mushrooms-and-bread-crumbs and

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/02/seriously-italian-baked-cardoons-cardi-gratinati-recipe.html and

https://honest-food.net/contemplating-cardoons/.

Until next time, happy eating! And feel free to share your thoughts and/or foodie experiences. I’d love to hear from you.

Hugs,
Elizabeth

References: 
1.http://rfhresourceguide.org/Content/cmsDocuments/CARDOONS%20English%20FINAL.pdf
2.http://www.fondation-louisbonduelle.org/en/vegetable/cardoon/ and https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2899?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=cardoon
3. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/what-heck-do-i-do-cardoon-180950301/
4. https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/vitamins/vitamin-b9/
5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 and https://fiberfacts.org/benefits-of-high-fiber/
6. http://www.thenutritionreporter.com/health-virtues-cardoon/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16763894
8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/potassium-deficiency-symptoms and https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212.php
9. https://www.drkellyann.com/what-electrolytes-are-and-why-you-need-them/
10. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1001/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid
11. https://cuesa.org/food/cardoons
12. https://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/everything-you-need-know-about-cardoons

 

 

Fiber and electrolytes: cranberries & sweet potato

cranberries.sweetpotato.saynotofoodwaste.didyouknow.1

As you read this, are you thinking about New Year’s Resolutions? How many of you have eating healthy as a resolution? Is being a conscious food eater important? Do you think about the food you eat? How it got to your table? Who might have farmed it?

Until recently, I never thought about this and now it is all I think about, but not in a cumbersome way, in a curious, educational way. It is exciting learning about food, culture, recipes and those who produce it, including the generations of family farmers, urban farmers and small farmers like me. There is something pure and beautiful in learning about food, even during the holidays!

The holidays are about fun and food, and often guilt, guilt that enjoying food now will mean a need to lose weight in the New Year. A lot of us make promises to get healthier each year. Yet, in honoring these promises we focus on fat and calories and restricting food intake instead of feeding our bodies the nutrients, minerals and vitamins it needs. Because of this, in the short term, some of us succeed while some of us fail. Yet, in the long term, not feeding our bodies the nutrients, minerals and vitamins it needs hurts the way our body functions.

My very first New Year’s Resolution was to lose weight and eat foods without fat or calories. Good real wholesome yummy food became an enemy and so the diet yoyo began. But for me, restricting food never led to sustainable weight loss nor sustainable energy or health. The first time I fed my body real food, I was amazed at not only how hungry I was (I ate constantly), but that eating foods high in natural fat did not lead to weight gain. The other added bonuses included normal poop, energy and no more shoulder to neck headaches.

It has taken time to learn food isn’t the enemy. It is the way most of our food is processed that is the enemy. So much of what we crave is chemically enhanced to make us crave it, which benefits manufactures and big AG while hurting family farmers. These cravings also lead to health issues, and incidentally, big pharma is there to help with those issues through over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

The journey to health and a happy weight involves a reintroduction of food. At first real food, organic food will taste bland but with the right recipes and the right spices, and just time, real food will taste delicious. You’ll be able to sense and taste different lettuces, fruits and other vegetables. And when the natural flavors (not those manufactured in a lab) burst in your mouth, your taste buds will thank you, and so will your waist line and your overall health.

During this time of year, I find myself eating some processed food and each and every time my body protests. So this year, join us in eating healthy because it is not only good for you, it is good for the environment and it leads to less food waste. This is a win for you, a win for family farms, and a win for mother earth and all her life.

Sweet potatoes and cranberries are seen on many holiday tables. And both have benefits to a thinner you, a more healthy you.

DID YOU KNOW?! Dried cranberries provide electrolytes and fiber.

“Potassium is a type of electrolyte mineral in dried cranberries. You need adequate amounts of potassium each day to maintain a normal fluid balance so electricity can flow through your body. … A 1/2-cup portion of dried cranberries adds about 15 milligrams of potassium to your diet.

Dried cranberries are also full of insoluble fiber from the dense, chewy cranberry skins. This type of fiber speeds your digestive tract, relieves constipation and helps you have regular, soft bowel movements. Your diet should consist of 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ”

Cranberries provide 4.6 grams of fiber.

DID YOU KNOW?! Cranberries are native to North America.

“As a food native to North America, cranberries have traditionally been enjoyed by many native people throughout what is now the United States and Canada. Cranberries were originally given different names in various tribal languages, including the name “ibimi”—which meant bitter/sour berries—in Wampanoag and Lenni

Lenape. The name “cranberry” came from much later observations by European colonizers of North America that the flowers of cranberry plants were shaped like the head and neck of sandhill cranes, which lead to the term “craneberry.” The word “craneberry” was eventually shortened to “cranberry.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Fresh cranberries are nearly 90% water, while the dry weight is mostly composed of carbohydrates and fibers.

DID YOU KNOW?! Cranberries are good for you.

“They are low in calories (one cup has about 50 calories) and high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They offer a range of health benefits from weight loss, to a healthy digestive system, to lowering cholesterol, to controlling blood sugar, to warding off colds, to fighting gum disease. With one caveat, adding sugar can take away from the health benefits.”

DID YOU KNOW?! The cranberry was a symbol of peace.

DID YOU KNOW?! Other fun facts about cranberries:

“The 5 states known for growing cranberries are: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

Cranberries have small pockets where air seeps into that allows them to float.

Cranberries do not grow in water.

Cranberries are typically in season from October until December.

Cranberries can be used as fabric dyes.

Only about 5% of cranberries are sold fresh while the rest are turned into cranberry juice, sauce, etc.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Sweet potatoes provide electrolytes and fiber.

“One 5-inch raw sweet potato contains about 438 milligrams of potassium. … Potassium, along with other electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and sodium, helps regulate your body’s fluid balance, muscle contraction and heart function.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Fiber helps with weight loss.

“Food with fiber can help you to feel full longer so that you don’t feel the urge to eat as often. But there are two kinds of fiber to choose from: soluble and insoluble; and each type of fiber offers benefits if you’re trying to lose weight.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Oatmeal, for example, is a popular food that contains soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber binds with water to create a viscose gel in your stomach. Many forms of soluble fiber are also called high-viscosity fiber. You’ll find soluble fiber in many citrus fruits, barley, and legumes.

So why eat soluble fiber for weight loss? Foods that contain soluble fiber help you to feel full for a longer period of time. This is because it empties from your stomach at a slower rate than other foods. Soluble fiber also helps to slow the rate at which sugar is released into your bloodstream so that you maintain a steady energy level after eating.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and our bodies don’t digest it. So it passes through your body intact and the calories in it do not get absorbed. Insoluble fiber is also called low-viscosity fiber. Foods that contain insoluble fiber are whole grains, bran, and many vegetables.

So why eat insoluble fiber? If you’re trying to lose weight, this food adds bulk to your diet and fills your belly (and your plate!) without adding calories to your waistline. Dieters who eat enough insoluble fiber may also benefit from improved regularity and less constipation.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Sweet Potatoes are good for you.

“One cup of baked sweet potato provides nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs. The same portion also supplies 400%(!) of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Both nutrients are vital for supporting immune function, which is especially important during cold and flu season. Vitamin A is also key for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and organ function.

A serving of sweet potato delivers a third of your need for manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. You’ll also get between 15 and 30% of several energy-supporting B vitamins and minerals, including potassium.

Sweet Potatoes are antioxidant powerhouses. Vitamins A and C also function as antioxidants that protect cells against aging and disease. For even more antioxidants, choose purple sweet potatoes. The pigment that gives them their gorgeous hue has particularly potent antioxidant properties. 

They’re anti-inflammatory.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Many people think yams and sweet potatoes are the same, but a true yam is a starchy, edible root of the Dioscorea genus, and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. Depending on the variety, sweet potato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple.

Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, vitamins E and C, iron, potassium and vitamin B6.

Sweet potato roots are harvested 90 to 120 days after transplanting.

North Carolina’s official vegetable is the sweet potato.

February is National Sweet Potato Month.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Sweet potato smoothies may be the perfect, energizing afternoon snack.

Add a healthy fat (I use almond butter, but avocado will also work), your favorite milk, ginger, and cinnamon to 1 cup of cubed sweet potatoes and 2 to 3 carrots. Blend. Add some of your favorite warming spices like nutmeg or allspice. Blend in some dates if you want more sweetness.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Sweet potato made the A-List.

Sweet Potatoes made the Clean 15, which means your potential exposure to toxins is lower than with other conventionally grown produce.”

I buy organic when it’s an option.

DID YOU KNOW?! “The jewel sweet potato is by far the most popular variety.

While the jewel represents more than 75% of the commercially grown options, there are other sweet potato options out there, including Garnet (also not a yam), Diana, and Beauregard. Some popular firm sweet potato varieties include Kotobuki, Hannah, Okinawan, Yellow Jersey, and Boniato. Madison writes that Kotobuki tastes more “like chestnuts than candy” (sign me up!) and Boniato is “the least sweet of the sweet potatoes.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “You can eat the whole plant.

You can eat the leaves, shoots and stems, which “are similar to Malabar spinach, very nutritious.”

Well that is a lot of information in one little article. I share this now because holiday eating is still in full force. Adding a cranberry or two plus a sweet potato just might offer you the yummiest options that are good for you too!

For cranberry recipes check out: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g909/cranberry-recipes/ or https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-things-to-make-with-cranberries

And for sweet potato recipes check out: https://spicysouthernkitchen.com/spicy-sweet-roasted-sweet-potatoes/ or https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/sweet-potato

O’h and one last thing,

DID YOU KNOW?! Sweet potatoes can be purple.

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth Fischer

Potassium & Fiber: kohlrabi

kohlrabi.didyouknow.saynotofoodwaste.1

DID YOU KNOW?! Kohlrabi is highly valued in countries and cuisines around the world, not only for its diversity in cooking applications, but also because it is full of nutrients and minerals.

“According to USDA National Nutrient Base, kohlrabi consists of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Along with that, kohlrabi is also high in dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds such as phytochemicals and various carotenes.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Kohlrabi is a German word.

“Kohl means cabbage and rabi mean turnip. Kohlrabi is a vegetable developed by the 16th century from the marrow cabbage. A botanist mentions the 1st records of Kohlrabi in 1554. It was quite a popular vegetable in Germany, Italy, Spain and the Mediterranean. Kohlrabi has been developed in the cooler climates, in America by the 1800’s, in England by 1837 and in Ireland by 1734. This is an easy-to-grow garden vegetable which grows in abundance when planted.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Kohlrabi is a powerhouse of nutrients!

“Kohlrabi is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-vitamins. It also contains copper, manganese, iron, potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, and is rich in antioxidant compounds like phytochemicals and carotenes as well. With this bounty of nutrients, it’s not surprising that kohlrabi offers immense body-wide benefits.

Organic Facts lists some of the ways that kohlrabi can benefit your health:

  • Promotes digestive health
  • Helps with weight management
  • Keeps nerves and muscle functioning optimally
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure levels
  • Boosts bone strength
  • Promotes vision health
  • Maintains your healthy metabolism

One standout vitamin found in kohlrabi is vitamin C – in fact, this vegetable has more vitamin C than an orange, with 62 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, or about 102 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). This water-soluble vitamin is vital for maintaining healthy connective tissues, teeth and gum, as well as for immune system health.

Kohlrabi also has phytochemical antioxidants that may have cancer- and inflammation-protective effects, and may help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are found in kohlrabi, may also have anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and antibacterial benefits. Kantha Shelke, a food scientist at Corvus Blue LLC and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), told TIME:

“Kohlrabi’s chemopreventive effects makes it particularly healthy … Kohlrabi contains isothiocyanates which are effective against cancer. The chemopreventive compounds are more bioavailable from fresh–about three times as much as from cooked–kohlrabi.

The higher bioavailability is associated with a higher chemopreventive activity, which might be the reason why raw kohlrabi is preferentially consumed by health-conscious people. 

DID YOU KNOW?! Kohlrabi is rich in potassium and although this characteristic of potassium isn’t discussed too often, it is one of the key players in muscle and nerve behavior in the body. It helps us move, breathe, react, and function every single day. As such, the high potassium content in kohlrabi makes it a great addition to your diet to keep alert, energetic, and in great shape!

DID YOU KNOW?! Kohlrabi has fiber, which leads to weight loss and healthy digestion.

“A healthy digestive system is the most important factor in maintaining an overall healthy body. Cruciferous vegetables such as Kohlrabi are extremely high in fiber which is essential, efficient digestion. Fiber found in Kohlrabi improves the health of the gastrointestinal system by ensuring adequate and regular bowel movements, elimination of constipation and bloating. A clean digestive system ensures that the body extracts nutrients efficiently from the food that we consume.

Plant-based foods are the best weight loss foods. Cabbages, mustard and Brussels sprouts along with Kohlrabi are fiber-rich foods, they help the body stay fuller for longer and help break down the fats in foods quicker and maintain a healthy digestive system. Kohlrabi can be added to meals as a side dish as well, which will help in preventing excessive snacking. Healthy weight loss is the right way to lose weight and adding vegetables such as Kohlrabi is very helpful.”

DID YOU KNOW?! “Despite its bulbous appearance, kohlrabi is not a root crop.

Kohlrabi is a brassica and is in the same plant family as cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. It grows above the ground, and not under the soil, and the bulb that’s commonly used for cooking is actually part of the plant’s stem.” 

Today I learned something new. I am always looking for new ways to cook and new things to eat. Kohlrabi is a seasonal vegetable in the DC metropolitan area, specifically DC and Virginia. I would love to hear from all of you your thoughts on Kohlrabi, cooking or anything to do with food.

Until next time, happy eating and please share your recipes and thoughts!

Hugs,
Elizabeth Fischer

 

References: 
1. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11241
2. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-kohlrabi.html
3. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-health-benefits-kohlrabi/
4. https://foodfacts.mercola.com/kohlrabi.html
5. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-kohlrabi.html
6. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-health-benefits-kohlrabi/
7. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/kohlrabi/ and https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/seedid/single.asp?strId=58

FIBER: fennel

fennel.didyouknow.saynotofoodwaste.facts

December is about holiday eating.

It is a time when most forget about diets and enjoy food. But how many of you regret what you are eating with a promise to eat healthier in the New Year? How many would like to enjoy food more? How many would like to eat something sweet without regret?

The secret to a healthy, happy and regret free life is food. Not processed food. Not food grown conventionally. But food nature provides nakedly. Food and spices and herbs produced organically via healthy soil and water.

Vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, herbs, and spices all serve a purpose in the food chain of life. Interestingly, nature provides food seasonally with all the nutrients and minerals our bodies need and crave. And eating healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or tasty because real naked food embodies flavor. You can even enjoy a sweet or two.

Before 2013, I made countless New Year’s resolutions in December so that I could eat with the promise of eating healthier the next year. I didn’t focus on calories or fat. And each January 2nd, I regretted the choice because my stomach was more bloated than the normal bloat I accepted, I didn’t feel so hot because I had little to no energy, and the scale showed I had gained weight. On this yoyo circuit of eating, I failed each and every time. Eventually, through trial and error, I came to realize that I could enjoy food, lots of food, without calorie counting or fat counting. That eating real food got rid of my stomach bloat and provided me with energy. That real food was yummy.

The main reason I failed time and time again was because I didn’t have a connection to my food and I really knew very little about the food I was eating. My excuses: I didn’t have time, others were experts who knew better on the foods I should feed my body, my metabolism was slow, I just needed to diet – restrict what I offered my body for fuel, or I just needed to exercise more. Yet, no matter what I tried or what I did, the impact and effects were not long enough or too long. They were not long enough in the fact that my weight ebbed and flowed and they were too long in the fact I was always tired and my bloated stomach never went away, it would diminish, but was always around.

I have spent most of my life, starting when I was 12 or 13, dieting and restricting what I fed my body. And yet, through that journey, I also had these niggling feelings that something just didn’t make sense because as a child I ate plenty and never experienced what I had experienced since dieting. At first, I wrote it off because children have endless amounts of energy and as we get older it is normal that our energy lessens/faded. Or is it? No matter how much I dismissed the niggling feelings, they just wouldn’t go away. Because of those feelings I started asking why?

Our boundless energy of childhood does change but not as drastically as we have come to accept. I have the energy now that I had as an 8 or 9 year old kid. It didn’t happen overnight but with time and education, I came to understand the role food plays in every aspect of my life, from sleeping, to energy, to happiness, to alertness, to body weight, to skin health, to gut health (poop), to things I am still learning. I am able to eat abundantly and love how my body feels when I am feeding it the fuel nature provides organically, even when that comes in the form of a cookie or chocolate or another sweet made from organic ingredients (and is fair trade).

Food is a wonderful thing. Food provides so much of what our bodies need without the help of over-the-counter products such as Tums or prescribed drugs, and usually without side effects. As with everything, listening to your body while you are eating is important. You can eat too much of a good thing if you aren’t balancing what your body needs daily.

DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel is a good source of fiber.

“It provides 7.3 grams of dietary fiber. The fiber content helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.” “The dietary fiber also limits cholesterol build-up, absorbs water in the digestive system, and helps eliminate carcinogens from the colon.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel is a good source of vitamin C.

“Vitamin C, the most active vitamin in fennel (17% of the daily value), has the strength to zap free radicals looking for a place to cause damage in the body, usually in the form of inflammation, which could lead to joint degeneration and arthritis. Other prominent vitamins and minerals in fennel include potassium, an electrolyte that fights high blood pressure, and folate, which helps convert potentially dangerous molecules called homocysteine into a benign form.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Fennel has a long history.

“The history of fennel goes back to ancient times as it was easily accessible

throughout the Mediterranean Basin.

In England in the 1200s fennel seed was commonly used as an appetite suppressant to help people to get through fasting days. Later, they were commonly used in church during long services to keep stomachs from rumbling. The Puritans even called them “meeting seeds”.

In the late 1700s fennel became one of the ingredients (along with anise and wormwood) in a patent medicinal elixir called absinthe. This elixir was soon marketed as a spirit, and became a popular drink among the Bohemian set in post WWI Europe and the United States.

Today fennel (especially the bulb) is most popular in Europe.”

DID YOU KNOW?! The fennel plant can grow up to 5 feet.

“Fennel can grow to a height of 5 feet. It puts off shoots or branching stems from a central root. The herb is an annual, perennial or biennial depending on your growing zone. Usually one plant will supply the average family. There are several species:  Common fennel which has a similar appearance as dill, but much coarser in texture. Florence fennel grows much lower and is cultivated for the bulb-like base, which is harvested prior to the flowers forming. The bulb is eaten as a vegetable. Sweet fennel is primarily grown in Italy, France and Germany. White butter fennel is grown in central Europe and Russia.”

DID YOU KNOW?! You can eat all parts of fennel.

“The flowers, leaves, seeds, and bulbs of fennel can be eaten, and they are used mostly as a flavouring or spice, while the bulbous ends can be used raw, grilled, steamed, or cooked in other ways.” YUM!

Have any of you cooked with fennel? If you have, please share your recipes.

I haven’t but will be cooking with it in 2019. Here are some recipes I found:

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/fennel-recipes;

https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/fennel-recipes.html – the pasta dishes look yummy;

and

https://www.freshcityfarms.com/recipes/caramelized-fennel-the-best-fennel-you-ll-ever-eat.

And for our gardeners out there, here are some helpful tips on growing fennel:

https://bonnieplants.com/how-to-grow/growing-fennel/,

https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-fennel-zw0z1312zsto and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-q6M1bQNo – 8 steps for growing fennel

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth Fischer

References: 
1. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23
2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284096.php
3. https://foodfacts.mercola.com/fennel.html
4. https://foodfacts.mercola.com/fennel.html
5. http://www.indepthinfo.com/fennel/history.htm
6. http://www.herbinfosite.com/herb-information/herb-profiles-fennel/
7. http://tenrandomfacts.com/fennel/

FIBER: turnips

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How many reading this eat turnips? If you do, please share why? Did you eat them as a child? Add them to your diet? How did you find the turnip and start eating it? Curious minds (mine) want to know!

At some point in life I learned about turnips. I don’t remember when or how. I do know that I have yet to eat a turnip. I picked the turnip because I wanted to try a new color with the infographic and I am glad I did because the end of 2018 and 2019 will see me adding vegetables and fruits to my daily food that I’ve been researching but not yet tried.

Researching the turnip has been fascinating. I learned it was a source of fiber. Fiber is important because it goes hand in hand with gut health. Gut health is important for so many reasons that include physical, mental and emotional health, as well as digestion (think poop).

Our bodies respond well to what nature offers in its most natural state, meaning without chemicals and/or pesticides. There was a reason our ancestors were connected to the land and a reason so many of us are reconnecting.

DID YOU KNOW?! The turnip is a good source of fiber.

“Both the root and the greens of the turnip can help you meet your recommended intake for fiber without consuming a lot of calories. One cup of mashed, cooked turnip root contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and only 35 calories. Turnip greens have even more fiber, with a 1-cup serving of chopped cooked turnip greens containing 5 grams of dietary fiber and only 30 calories.”

DID YOU KNOW?! The fiber content in turnips also may prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

“With 3.1 grams of fiber in each cup, adding turnips to your diet can help get things moving and keep you regular. As it moves through the digestive tract, fiber adds bulk to the stool to aid in the treatment of constipation. A review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology compiled the results of five studies and actually found that dietary fiber is able to effectively increase stool frequency in people with constipation.”

DID YOU KNOW?! The turnip is often grouped in with root vegetables like potatoes and beets, but is actually a cousin of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and kale.

DID YOU KNOW?! Turnips were once considered a staple vegetable.

“Turnips have a long history of usage, with domestication tracing back at least to Hellenistic and Roman times, with Pliny the Elder (77 C.E.) considering it one of the most important vegetables of his time. Historically important for human consumption, it also became an important livestock fodder.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Turnips can be grown in winter.

“While turnips aren’t a commonly eaten vegetable anymore, they were once considered a staple” and are becoming important again as we focus on combating challenges in our food production. “Turnips are a starchy root vegetable that grow well in places with cold winters. In fact, turnips actually taste sweeter if they are harvested after a frost. In ancient times, turnips were harvested throughout the winter and without this hardy crop, many would’ve gone hungry.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Before pumpkins were used for Halloween, Turnips were used for carving.

“Before people carved jack-o-lanterns on Halloween, they carved turnips to frighten evil spirits away during the Celtic holiday Samhain.”

DID YOU KNOW?! That turnips were cultivated in Virginia as early as 1609.

DID YOU KNOW?! Turnips are not only high in Fiber but also are full of other nutrients our bodies need.

“Turnips are loaded with fiber and vitamins K, A, C, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, B2 and folate (one of the B vitamins), as well as minerals like manganese, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and copper. They are also a good source of phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids and protein.”

For more information on Turnips, see https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/turnips.html and https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/13-benefits-turnips/. Another interesting article – https://www.statesman.com/news/20131108/turnips-a-cure-for-spirits-colds-and-holiday-cravings.

For recipes, check out: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g4640/turnip-recipes/ and https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/1326/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/turnip/.

This holiday season I am going to try a few of the turnip recipes. I hope you will try them as well and we can meet here in the comments to discuss our experiences.

Until next time, happy eating!

Hugs,
Elizabeth Fischer

References:
1. Please come back to visit the website to learn about gut health in more depth. Over the next few weeks, I will be publishing an article focused solely on gut health. We will also be setting up a 5-day health challenge with a focus on gut health and weight loss.
2. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fiber-turnips-1604.html
3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284815.php
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544045/ and https://draxe.com/turnip/
5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284815.php
6. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Turnip
7. https://easyscienceforkids.com/turnip/
8. https://easyscienceforkids.com/turnip/
9. http://www.foodreference.com/html/f-turnips.html
10. https://www.pritikin.com/health-benefits-of-turnips

Cooking with Grams – French Leeks

 

How do you take ordinary leeks and make them extraordinary?

Cook them in a French style.

In this recipe, that takes you about 15 minutes to make, you’ll get to eat leeks in a flavor you may have never tasted before, but will definitely keep coming back to.

So go ahead, give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Good eating!
Grams + Hoki

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of creme
2 leeks
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

Directions:
1. melt the butter in a pan
2. throw in leeks
3. sprinkle salt & pepper
4. let it cook for 10 minutes, or until leeks are soft
5. pour in cream and cheese
6. mix well
7. serve hot!