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.

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Cherries

Well this post will be up just in time for cherry season to be over :(. Cherry season typically starts near the end of May and goes through late June/early July.  But better late than never! Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that folks dehydrate them, making “Sour Cherry Blasters” or make them into a cherry compote to accompany vanilla ice cream. Cherries are not one of my favorite fruits, but I will enjoy them raw. While I do think they are tasty, I just like other stone fruit better.

Food Facts:

  • Sour (tart) cherry juice can be used to help improve sleep and has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease and and diabetes.
  • Cherries are a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, copper, and manganese.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Both sour and sweet cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation.cherries
  • Cherries have also been reported to reduce Gout attacks.
  • Sour cherries are lower in calories than sweet cherries.
  • They are a rich source of flavonoids, especially anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins.
  • Cherries were one of the first fruits to be brought to the “new world”.
  • One study found that runners that drank Montmorency cherry juice (one glass before the race and one glass during the race) were less sore afterwards because of the ability of the cherries to help with muscle recovery.
  • Fresh cherries are firm, shiny, and lack dents, pits, or bruises. They also have bright green stems. The fresher the cherry, the more nutrients!
  • Store cherries in the fridge and eat them quickly!

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

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Strawberries

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Strawberries

This is the most exciting of all the foods and it’s likely not new for most people. There is just something about strawberries that I just can’t get enough of. For me, berries also mean summer. Ahhhhhhh. I’m pretty much a snob about my berries though…I only eat fresh berries when they are in season and I only buy them from Tomatero Organic Farm in Watsonville, CA. I choose Tomatero for three reasons: 1) They are local and organic. Organic is a big deal with strawberries as they absorb many of the pesticides that are sprayed on them and they are consistently on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen. 2) They grow several varieties of strawberries, all of them great, but this season I have been loving the Sweet Anne. 3) Also, I used to slang berries for them at local farmer’s markets for four years. You know, the whole “know the farmer” idea. 4) They are the best!!!! (I know, I said three reasons 😉

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests serving strawberry sauce on pancakes instead of syrup. I LOVE that idea. I also had sliced strawberries in a turkey sandwich with arugula (think: turkey and cranberry sauce) at an amazing place called Centrally Grown in Cambria, CA.

Food Facts:

  • Wild berries and heirloom varieties have more nutritional value and more phytonutrients.
  • Strawberries do not continue to ripen after they have been harvested, so should be
    picked ripe. This also means that if your strawberry has traveled some distance to arrive to you, they are being picked when only three-quarters ripe.
  • Underripe strawberries are less nutritious than fully ripe berries. (Maybe we should all just grow our own, huh?)
  • Most supermarket berries are large, firm, white-fleshed, and hollow. This variety has been chosen because of their ability to travel well and last longer. There are many other varieties with other flavor profiles, softer textures, pink flesh, and juicy. I HIGHLY encourage you to go the farmers market and taste them all.
  • Jo Robinson, of Eating on the Wild Side, suggests that consumers up their standards for produce, especially for berries, so that the stores will have to supply higher quality produce (ripe, not moldy, flavorful, etc.).
  • Organic berries offer more of an anti-cancer effect than conventional berries.
  • The antioxidant activity of berries increases when left out at room temperature. The antioxidants contained in strawberries include: ellagic acid, anthocyanin, catechin, quercetin, and kaempferol.
  • They help to fight against inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese. They are also rich in vitamin K, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Good source of fiber.

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

Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ Photography https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Quinoa

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Quinoa

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making savory quinoa cakes or a quinoa stuffing. When I make it plain, I use equal parts water, broth, and quinoa (usually one cup of each). I also made a great Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf that was delicious! My favorite quinoa was toasted with smoked trout from Nopa in SF. Seriously amazing!!

Food Facts:

  • Indigenous to South America
  • Not a member of the grass family, like other grains. It’s actually the seed of plant that is likely related to chard, beets, and spinach. The leaves of the plant are edible and very nutritive
  • High protein content compared to other grains
  • Good source of vitamins E and B6, and potassium, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, selenium, and copper
  • Good source of fiber
  • It helps protect against oxidative damage
  • Can be used instead of cornmeal for polenta or as a hot breakfast cereal
  • Contains antioxidants called polyphenols and flavonoids
  • Much less allergenic than grains
  • Persons that have had calcium oxalate containing kidney stones should limit their consumption of quinoa due to its moderate amounts of oxalate.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard

Photo Credit: Luv Kreativ https://www.instagram.com/luvkreativ/?hl=en

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Pears

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Pears

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making a pear sauce – like apple sauce or in a winter fruit salad (I made a similar one for Christmas). Mmmmm!

Food Facts: 

  • Pears ripen in late summer to mid fall, if you’re buying pears at any other time, they are either imported or have been in cold storage, like apples
  • Apples and pears are from the same food family and are very similar, except the flesh of pears contains stone cells, often called grits
  • Good source of vitamins C, E, B2, and K and potassium and copper
  • Good source of fiber
  • It is an anti inflammatory and it counters atherosclerosis, a common problem in cardiovascular disease
  • They are good for lowering cholesterol
  • Often recommended as a hypo-allergenic fruit because they are less likely to cause a reaction
  • Contains antioxidants called phenols
  • Antioxidants levels maintain even when cooked- this makes Jennifer Tyler Lee’s pear sauce an even better idea!

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Kumquats

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Kumquats

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making a kumquat jam or in a warm salad with green beans. Mmmmm! After my January 21 Day Sugar Detox, I bought some kumquats again and man were they tart! I think the jam may be the way to go!!

Food Facts:

  • IMG_0171Good source of vitamin C
  • Good source of fiber
  • The oval shaped variety, Nagami, is more tart, and the round variety, Marumi is more sweet
  • Eat citrus fruits shorty after buying or store them in your fridge, but do not store in a plastic bag – it retains the moisture and promotes mold growth
  • The white parts (albedo) of citrus fruits is the most nutritious – since kumquats are eaten whole- you consume a lot of the albedo.
  • Contains antioxidants called flavonoids
  • Organic citrus fruits have not been degreened

From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet
by Tonia Reinhard

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Grapefruit

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Grapefruit

Grapefruits are not a new food for most of us, but Jennifer Tyler Lee has a recipe for broiled grapefruit with a touch of honey which sounds pretty yummy. I’ve been wanting to try grilled or baked grapefruit because I think the caramelization of the sugars might make it more appealing to me. 

Food Facts:IMG_0170

  • Good source of vitamins A, C, B6, B5 (pantothenic acid), folic acid, thiamine, copper, selenium,  potassium, and magnesium
  • Good source of fiber
  • Contains antioxidants called anthocyanins, liminoids, lycopene, and carotenoids
  • The only citrus indigenous to the “new world” or the Americas (first found in Barbados)
  • They are known for helping to lower blood cholesterol, help normalize hematocrit levels (important if you are anemic), and helping to protect against cancer, macular degeneration,  and cardiovascular disease.
  • Can also help the body get rid of excess estrogen, helping to prevent breast cancer
  • Like oranges and mandarins, they are often picked when green, shipped, and then artificially ripened with ethylene gas which causes them to ripen. This causes them to look ripe but they aren’t truly ripe  and have fewer bionutrients than tree ripened fruit.
  • Grapefruits harvested after December are more likely to be tree ripened (their season is late winter/ early spring)
  • Organic Grapefruits (mandarins and oranges too) have not been degreened
  • To select the best grapefruits: look for large, smooth-skinned fruits that are heavy for their size
  • Until about one hundred years ago, all grape fruits had white flesh! The pink flesh was a natural mutation making it sweeter.
  • Some Medications and grapefruit should not be used together – meds used for blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, and those that reduce the rejection of an organ after transplant. Check with your doctor.

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

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Mandarins

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Satsuma Mandarin Oranges

After doing The 21-Day Sugar Detox, this was one of my first fruits. I really enjoy eating a couple Mandarins for a snack. Like some of the other foods in the book, mandarins are not a new food for most of us, but Jennifer Tyler Lee has a recipe for mandarin orange and fennel salad which sounds pretty yummy.

Food Facts

IMG_0480

  • Good source of vitamins A, C, B6, thiamine, calcium, folate, potassium, and magnesium
  • Good source of fiber
  • Contains antioxidant carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well flavonoids: tangeretin and nobiletin
  • They are known for helping to control blood glucose, lowering blood cholesterol, and helping to protect against cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Like oranges, mandarins become sweeter and less acidic as they mature.
  • They are often picked when green, shipped, and then artificially ripened with ethylene gas which causes them to ripen. This causes them to look orange but they are more acidic, less sweet, and have fewer bionutrients than tree ripened fruit.
  • Organic Mandarins (and oranges) have not been degreened. 
  • Many of the nutrients in Mandarins are concentrated in the inner peel and the white pulp.

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

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Avocado

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Avocado

I think we all love Avocado. Obviously there is guacamole- my favorite! But for a quick and easy option, I also like to have a half or whole avocado sprinkled with sea salt and lemon and maybe hot sauce. What I’ve been really digging lately is: guacamole deviled eggs! Jennifer Tyler Lee has a recipe for avocado chocolate pudding – I do want to try this too! I tried avocado ice cream and I wasn’t a big fan. What are you favorite ways to use avocado?

Food Facts:IMG_0163

  • Good source of vitamin E, folate, potassium, and magnesium
  • Very good source of soluble fiber
  • High in healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Haas avocados have 2-4 times more antioxidants than other varieties sold in stores
  • Unripe avocados will ripen quickly in a brown paper bag
  • They will also ripen on your countertops – but they stop ripening once in your fridge – so they can be kept in the fridge until ready to be eaten (usually for several days)
  • “One serving gives you more antioxidants than a serving of broccoli raab, grapes, red bell peppers, or red cabbage” (Robinson, 2013, p. 206)


From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Kale

Last year I started The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes. My goal was to try the new food designated for each week and to blog about why others might want to try it too. Well, I didn’t quite finish it. 🙁 So I’ve decided to start it again. Many of the foods might not be “new” for me or for you, but I like the idea of trying new things and shaking up my day-to-day food routine.

Food Facts:

  • Good source of vitamins K, C, and A

  • Contains more than twice the the level of antioxidants of other leafy greens
  • Antioxidants include: beta-carotene, lute in, zeaxanthin
  • Good source of folate, fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, and calcium
  • It scores 1000/1000 on the ANDI score (a rating of nutrients per calorie)
  • Is good for preventing: cancer, cardiovascular disease, degenerative eye diseases, and stomach ulcers
  • Red leaf kale varieties have more nutrients than green leaf varieties
  • Has more calcium than milk!!!!!
  • Raw often has more nutrients
  • However, raw kale, like other raw cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels, etc.) can be goitrogenic, if you have thyroid problems – it is important that you eat cooked kale
  • For kale chips,  350 degrees produces the most nutrient chips


From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.