Food of the Week: Sweet Potatoes
I love sweet potatoes, but I haven’t alway loved them. I remember the first sweet potato French fry that I had back in 2003 in Monterey. I hated them. Now, I could each them nearly every day. One of my favorite recipes for sweet potatoes is for savory sweet potato cakes from Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. This is a great recipe. We usually just bake them and add plenty of Kerrygold butter (grass-fed). Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends mashed sweet potatoes or crispy sweet potato fries. Yum!
- Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family and are not at all related to potatoes (nightshade family).
- They are native to Central America/northern South America. Colobus brought sweet potatoes back to Spain with him, but those original sweet potatoes were similar to carrots, not like our modern sweet potatoes.
- Their glycemic index is 45 (sugar is 100). The glycemic index of potatoes by comparison is 75-100. The glycemic index is a measurement of how much a food raises the blood sugar.
- They are rich source of antioxidants, especially the carotenes.
- In the supermarket, most yams are simply marked as yams, but are truly just another variety of sweet potatoes. True yams are hardly ever sold in the United States.
- If you’re looking to grow a very nutrient dense variety of sweet potato, opt for the Carolina Ruby.
- Do not store uncooked sweet potatoes in the fridge.
- Boiling sweet potatoes reduces their antioxidant value, while steaming, roasting, or baking does not.
- The skin is more nutritious than the flesh.
- Good source of vitamins C, B2, B6, and manganese, copper, biotin, and pantothenic acid.
- Good source of fiber.
- In animal studies, they have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
From: The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson.
The Clean Eating August 2014 Book of the Month is Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson. I give this book FIVE strawberries- an absolutely fascinating book.
Robinson examines the varieties of foods to determine which foods and which varieties are the healthiest. She also looks at the healthiest methods for preparation and when certain food need to be prepared in order to obtain the most nutrients.
When I first worked at the farmer’s market for Tomatero Organic Farms I remember learning about the three varieties of strawberries that we sold, Albion, Seascape, and Chandler. Each day customers would come up and ask about the berries and be shocked to learn that there was more than one type of strawberry. I would always explain that just like apples, all produce has multiple varieties. However, when we shop at the grocery store they generally only have one type of variety. The varieties that are chosen for grocery stores are varieties that ship and travel well, last a fairly long time, and that look appealing to customers. You might think that all produce should look appealing, and I agree, but let me give you one example. The Rosas variety of strawberry (another variety that Tomatero has sold over the years) is a pink berry. Most customers think it is underripe because it is pink, but that isn’t the case, that is just the characteristics of that variety type. That is just one example of how certain produce doesn’t fit our “standards” of looking appealing. [These are my very favorite Strawberry variety, by the way. If you find them, I highly recommend that you try them.]
In Eating on the Wild Side, You’ll learn that sweet potatoes aren’t in the potato (nightshade) family but in the morning glory family, that drinking a glass of beet juice before a run will help you run longer (due to the naturally occurring nitrates), that the outer leaves on lettuces are the most healthy because they make the most chlorophyll, and that broccoli loses most of it’s phytonutrients within 24-hours of harvest – so grow your own or shop at the farmer’s market and look for it on ice.
There’s about million more gems like these in the book, so take a look for yourself and learn how to eat on the wild side.
Hugs & Health <3,