The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cherry Tomatoes

It’s no secret, I’m not a fan of raw tomatoes. I’ve never liked them. In fact, I’m the black sheep of the family in regards to my dislike of tomatoes. With that being said, I believe that one day I will love raw tomatoes [growth mindset]. I do like cooked tomatoes of all kinds (except ketchup, yuck!). I am starting to like heirloom tomatoes in a caprese salad. I think the reason I don’t really like tomatoes is because of their strong flavor – it totally changes the taste of a burger, sandwich, or salad. Jennifer Tyler Lee and I are kindred spirits in this way. 🙂 The other fact that helps me feel justified in not liking raw tomatoes is that unless it’s summer, tomatoes are either grown in greenhouses or internationally, or are grown in Florida (Florida’s “soil” is actually just sand and is void of nutrients). So unless they are garden tomatoes or farmer’s market tomatoes, they are often mealy and are picked when green. The book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit is fascinating. Highly recommended! Anywho… Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato pops! I recently made a cherry tomato chutney at a Sur la Table cooking class – it was delicious!

Food Facts:

  • They are technically a fruit!
  • Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family (along with potatoes, eggplant, peppers- all kinds, and some spices). Nightshades are known to be inflammatory. Nightshades are commonly removed during a 5-R Protocol to determine food intolerances.
  • There are over a THOUSAND different types of tomatoes and can be a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.cherry-tom-with-logo-1000px
  • Native to South America.
  • The leaves of the tomato are toxic. It was long believed that tomatoes were poisonous because they belong to the nightshade family which houses other poisonous plants (poisonous nightshade and black henbane).
  • Great source of vitamins B6, C, and K, carotenes (especially lycopene), beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, niacin, and fiber.
  • Lycopene content is FIVE times greater in cooked tomatoes because cooking causes the cell walls to burst and “free” the lycopene. Also, the redder and riper the tomato, the more lycopene content.
  • Lycopene in particular has been shown to protect against cancers of the breast, colon, lung, skin, and prostate. Additionally, it has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
  • Highest levels of vitamin C can be obtained from raw tomatoes.
  • Fully ripe tomatoes cannot be shipped long distances. Therefore they are picked when underripe and then gassed with ethylene. You probably know what I’m going to say here….buy them at a local farmer’s market, CSA, or grown your own!
  • Cherry tomatoes have more lycopene per ounce and are sweeter and more flavorful than their larger counterparts. Smaller is better!

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipesby Jennifer Tyler Lee, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Healthby Jo Robinson, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.

21 DSD Hacks

For those of you brave and committed souls (BIG UPS TO YOU!) that are a part ofIMG_6867 my 21 DSD group, here are my best suggestions for being successful while on the the 21DSD.

  1. Participate in the 21 DSD with a buddy. Spouse, parent, child, friend, or neighbor – it’ll be much easier than going it alone. BUT being a part of our group also provides that “buddy” support.
  2. Meal Plan. When you have planned your weekly meals ahead of time, success is much easier. We intentionally start the 21 DSD on a Monday so that you can go grocery shopping and do some meal prepping on the weekend beforehand.
  3. Meal prepping. All of my most successful “healthy food weeks” were successful because I spent time on the weekend cooking 1-2 meals, cutting veggies, reviewing recipes, etc. This is true for most people that I encounter.
  4. Try some recipes from the cookbook ahead of time. Find a few favorites and work out the kinks. This will help to ensure a smoother 21 DSD.
  5. Grocery Store Hacks. It’s no secret that grocery shopping on a Sunday is NUTS! But there are other great ways to save time buying groceries.
    • Thrive Market. This is essentially the same as the pantry aisles at Whole Foods. You choose your groceries online and they are shipped right to your door. It takes about 3-5 days to arrive. Everything on Thrive is discounted from the typical Whole Foods prices. Register for a 30-day free trial – you get 15% off your first purchase. If you decide to becoming a paying member (like Costco) it is $59.95 per year. Free shipping for all orders over $49. This is a HUGE time saver for me. Here’s a referral code: http://thrv.me/iYVWfd
    • Join a weekly CSA – have local fruits and veggies delivered to your door. This is another great option to help save time. This website is helpful for finding the right CSA for you. http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
    • Saving time with these grocery shopping hacks will free up time for you to spend prepping and cooking meals. If you aren’t used to cooking most of your own meals, this step will be HUGE!
  6. Dining Out? If you’re dining out here are a few tips:
    • Avoid being starving. I always have some snacks at my desk, in my car, or in my purse. This will keep you from being tempted to eat the free bread. Better yet – tell your server not to bring any bread to the table. [BTW – If you’re always starving, you may want to up your fat and starchy vegetable intake.]
    • Look at the menu ahead of time. Have a game plan for a couple of options of what you can eat at that restaurant (and know what you’ll have to ask them to remove). I always ask for double veggies instead of rice. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Servers are more than willing to be accommodating as long as you ask nicely!
    • Avoid choosing the restaurant that serves your favorite [insert non-21 DSD food here]. If you love and cannot resist pasta, don’t go to Maggiano’s or The Spaghetti Factory. If you love and can’t resist fries and a milkshake, avoid going to The Counter.
    • Stay tuned for my local dining out suggestions!
  7. If cooking and meal prepping are new to you or you’re just feeling BUSY and overwhelmed, here are a few hacks:
    • Buy the pre-cut veggies at the store
    • Buy a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods
    • Smoked Salmon (ready to eat from TJ’s or Whole foods)
    • Buy the pre-washed lettuce and salad fixings for quick and easy salads
    • Crockpot meals!!
    • Pressure Cooker Meals (even more !!! than crockpot meals!)
    • Use a food processor for quick chopping of a bunch of veggies
    • Cook in bulk. I ALWAYS cook enough for leftovers. My bare minimum goal is four meals from every recipe (i.e. dinner and lunch the next day for both Jim and I). But usually I try for even more meals than four.
    • Soups. They are relatively easy to make, they’re healthy, and they provide 6+ meals. You can also freeze extra soup!
    • When I’m feeling overwhelmed with too much to cook and do in the evening, I choose the quickest dinner possible out of the available options and I get that chopped, prepared, and cooking. While tonight’s dinner is cooking, I ALWAYS do some additional food prep/cooking. [Just continue working in the kitchen until dinner is done cooking.] Whether it is just cutting up veggies for salads the next day or prepping my salmon to roast in the oven. [Side note: I’m ALWAYS listening to a Podcast or an Audible audiobook – just ask Jim. I feel much more productive if I’m chopping and “reading” or washing dishes and “reading”.]
  8. When you’re feeling like quitting, remember these two things:
    • It’s only three weeks. You can literally do anything for three weeks. 🙂
    • Don’t focus on the things that you are giving up. Instead, focus on what you gain: freedom body pains and problems, control over food, and health.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You can do this!!!!

Hugs and Health <3,

Katie