- New Healthy Food Ideas: Are You Bored with Eating Healthy?
- Jack Fruit, Cherimoya, Kiwano & Mamachino
- Ghee Butter
- Deep Purple Potatoes
- Kohlrabi and Purple Cauliflower
- Healthy Spices
New Healthy Food Ideas:
Are You Bored with Eating Healthy?
You may be like me and looking for new healthy food ideas. I can only speak for myself, but since I have switched to a whole food, healthy diet I am getting a wee bit bored with eating healthy. Just plain running out of new ways to
dress up the same old fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other superfoods. Let’s face it, when you cut out all processed food, sweets, and other unhealthy items your choices are a lot more limited.
I accept the fact that I bore easily. Always have and probably always will so I have begun a mission to search out new and relatively unknown foods to perk up my menu. I invite you to go on the journey with me.
Jack fruit is a delightful addition to my fruit list. They are huge, shaped like watermelon, and can grow to be 20-50 pounds each.
Although they are also green like watermelon they have a very rough, textured, almost spiky skin. But the bright yellow fruit inside is delicious and can be eaten raw or as part of a dessert. Some people even eat the seeds either boiled or fried.
Before they are ripe these strange guys are used as a meat alternative in tacos, curries, and stir fries. Then voila, they become a sweet delicious fruit. They are very popular in Asia and can be purchased either fresh or canned in Asian markets and even some large supermarkets. Jack fruit is 75% water, not unlike watermelon, but is an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. It contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, is light in sodium, and low in calories.
Cherimoya is a common delicacy in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia but can now be found in North America in health food stores and some grocery stores. It is also known as the custard apple. Mark Twain apparently called it the “most delicious fruit known to man.”
They are blessed with a sort of pineapple/banana/pear flavor. This fruit is loaded with nutrients and low in calories. Some say that its gamma-aminobutyric acid content eases the pain of headaches. It can be mixed in with fruit salad, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or added to baked goods. Or simply cut it in half, scoop out the fruit and seeds, and eat.
Kiwano, or horned melon, is not a pretty sight. With a spiky exterior and a fluorescent green, slimy inside, it is a good thing it has an enjoyable flavor, similar to banana or passion fruit. Some even liken it to cucumbers. It is cultivated in Africa and contains many minerals such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It promotes a high red blood cell count and is an antioxidant. Its high water content makes it perfect to include in a weight loss program. It can be eaten raw with a sprinkle of salt or sugar for a bit of added flavor. It can also be added to sauces and smoothies.
I had a mamachino tree in my yard
in Panama and all my neighbors, Panamanian and ex-pat, were jealous.
Now these clusters of fruit are very weird looking! Also known as Rambutan and very similar to the lychee, they grow as bright red clusters of small hairy/spiky globes that resemble sea urchins. Use your fingernail to peel back the outer skin and inside are whitish orbs that look a bit gelatinous. Pop one in your mouth and you will discover why they are so popular.
Sweetly delicious and bursting with juice. Just work your tongue around until the seed is freed and discarded and then savor this delightful taste. As well as being delicious they contain carbohydrates, vitamins B and C, and potassium, and as much fiber as an apple. Better than any candy.
Mamachino can be purchased in Whole Foods or even in some Walmarts in the US. Eat them fresh or in fruit salads or sorbets.
For those who have not heard of Ghee, it is a clarified butter made by melting butter and removing
some of the fat. It is loaded with nutrients and easier than butter
to digest. Being high in vitamins it can be used in place of cooking oils or butter. If you are interested, you can learn how to make ghee butter here. It is simple!
OK enough new fruits and a healthier butter for you to experience. Now on to some weird and wonderful vegetables.
Deep Purple Potatoes
Ok, not really a vegetable. But it is still a new healthy food idea, if you don’t normally eat them.
We have all eaten regular white, red, and Yukon gold potatoes but there is another very healthy variety.
Deep purple potatoes are very rich in potassium (for blood pressure management among other things), and their rich color provides health benefits such as to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Eat them exactly like you would eat regular potatoes, whether it be boiled, baked, or in potato salad.
Kohlrabi and Purple Cauliflower
A not so well-known cousin to broccoli and cauliflower, kohlrabi is not nearly as attractive to look at as its flower-like cousins. Purple bulbs which sprout stiff
stalks and dark leaves, every part of them are edible. These unattractive little veggies are high in fiber and potassium. They have a nice taste if roasted in olive oil or baked with chicken or other casserole ingredients.
And while I am on the purple train, let us not forget the super healthy purple cauliflower. Rich in fiber, vitamin C, folate, manganese, vitamin K, and vitamin B6, it should be steamed or stir-fried in order to keep nutrient levels high. It can be served boiled and then mashed with thyme, rosemary, and basil and
is simply a healthier version of mashed potatoes.
Last but definitely not least in the healthy vegetable department is
Arracacha. This is another of the rather grotesque looking but healthy root
vegetables. It tastes like a cross between carrots and celery but do not eat it raw. Rather, it should be boiled and then use your magic to transform it into dumplings, purees, or creamed soups.
Grown in the Andes, arracacha is very slow to mature but requires very little fertilizer. It is low in calories but hugely rich in calcium, containing four times more than potatoes. It is a good source of carotenoid pigment, which our
bodies need to produce vitamin A.
I hope your brain is not quite full to the brim yet as I would just like to give a nod to some spices and powders which will give even your regular vegetables a boost.
Nutritional yeast is not your run of the mill yeast. It has a delightful nutty, savory, cheesy flavor and a whopper of a nutritional punch. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential acids as well as a cornucopia of other
nutrients. It is an inactive yeast and is sometimes referred to as “vegan Parmesan.” Sprinkle it on popcorn with a dribble of olive oil or add it to mashed potatoes or cauliflower or creamed vegetables.
Amaranth is a seed that is rich in fiber and naturally gluten free, thereby being safe for those with celiac disease. Add to that the fact that it is a complete protein and rich in fiber. It can be made into a porridge, popped like
popcorn, or added to fruit compotes.
Spelt is becoming quite a popular grain as it is a real powerhouse. It contains complex carbohydrates,
soluble and insoluble fiber, niacin, manganese, thiamine, copper, magnesium, fatty and amino acids. It can be used as flour or as whole grains.
Be sure to rinse the grains well. As flour, it can be baked in breads or cookies or used as a thickener for sauces and gravy. The grains can be made into breakfast cereal, risottos, or stews.
One last one and then I will let your brain have a rest while you “digest” all of this.
Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and is chock-full of nutrients. Just
one tablespoon has 110mg of phosphorus which is necessary for your bones and teeth. As well, it pairs up with the B vitamins for the benefit of nerve signaling, heartbeat, and muscle contractions.
It is a good base for fish marinades, hummus, and homemade salad dressings.
And That Should Do It for Today.
We have covered a few new healthy food ideas. Or at least a few of them are likely new to you.
Do not ever again let me hear you say that food is boring. Most of these spices can be purchased in health food stores and even some supermarkets. Bon appetit (or, as the French say, “Enjoy Your Food!”)!