My mom talks about growing up in Michigan and picking rhubarb from their backyard garden, sprinkling it with salt, and munching on it. I believe there was also a backyard swing involved in that story, although I could be merging two stories together. The first time that I tried rhubarb, the taste reminded me of picking sour grass with my grandma as a child. Like many people, I have also tried it in strawberry rhubarb pie. Jennifer Tyler Lee recommends a strawberry rhubarb crisp or rhubarb ice pops (YUM!). Additional ideas for use include in sweet fruit breads, rhubarb syrup, and rhubarb mojitos (!!!!!). I like sour things, so I imagine that I would like it chopped in a salad with other raw veggies. How do you use rhubarb?
- The leaves of the plant are poisonous. The stalks are the edible part of the plant.
- It can be used to help constipation.
- It has been shown to have anticancer effects in lab studies.
- It is rich in lycopene and can be supportive in preventing heart disease.
- It has vitamins K and C and calcium, potassium, and manganese.
- Good source of fiber.
- It is an early spring plant – one of the first to grow, especially in colder regions.
- Choose firm stalks when harvesting or purchasing.
From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Wikipedia, and The Pioneer Woman.
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.
- 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 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.
July is here! I love July because it truly symbolizes summer for me. Although, this July I do have to work for a couple of weeks, generally, for teachers, July is the only month of year where there is actually no school. The other reason I love July is because all the wonderful fruit and vegetable options available in July.
Figs are top of my list of exciting fruits this month! And everyone loves when tomato season is here! I’m looking forward to caprese salads this summer – it brings me back to Italy! Yum! What are you looking forward to this July?
Hugs & Health <3,
July’s Clean Eating book of the the month: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PHD. In the wake of my Breast Cancer diagnosis in 2014, I read as many books on cancer as I could get my hands on. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Anticancer was by far my favorite. In this *five strawberry* book, Servan-Schreiber tells readers what they can do to help keep cancer at bay, keep it from coming back, or to surpass a not-so-optimistic prognosis.
Dr. Servan-Schreiber helps to bridge the gap between what the oncologists are telling patients and what they aren’t telling patients – like what cancer patients can do to help themselves. This is what people diagnosed with a disease want desperately to hear – give them some control and power when they feel like they have no control and no power over this situation. He is an MD and a PHD and a two-time brain cancer survivor– so this isn’t quackery here!
In Anticancer, Dr. Servan-Schreiber details his cancer story (or stories, I should say), studies about patients, and several main recommendations. Those recommendations are: 1) eat a diet that includes lots of plants, high-quality meats, low in sugar, low in refined carbs, and low in poor-quality fats, 2) supporting a healthy state of mind through meditation, 3) avoiding the fear hamster wheel by attending support groups, and lastly 4) getting enough exercise.
Servan-Schreiber tells readers that “[c]ancer lies dormant in all of us. Like all living organisms, our bodies are making defective cells all the time. That’s how tumors are born. But our bodies are also equipped with a number of mechanisms that detect and keep such cells in check.” This quote instills a bit a fear in me, knowing that cancer can be happening to all of us, all the time, BUT it also inspires hope because it empowers each of us to know that we have the power to make changes in our bodies and our futures.
A great read for anyone working to avoid cancer in their lifetime, anyone with cancer, cancer survivors, or caregivers. Anticancer gives readers the feeling of some control and power in battling this disease. Highly recommended for everyone!
February’s Clean Eating Book of the Month is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers by David Perlmutter. Amazing book! I give this book 5 out of 5 strawberries!
Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, is a neurologist. Most people probably think, “what does being a neurologist have to do with writing a book about diet?”. Well, just as we don’t live in a bubble, our bodies’ organs don’t exist in isolation. What we put in our bodies have an impact on how our organs function. Dr. Permutter reviews cutting edge science to demonstrate that diet does play a significant role in the health of our brain and our entire neurological system.
“Gluten is our generation’s tobacco.” This quote resonates with me because I have “heard it” all from well meaning family and friends as to why “everything in moderation” should be the mantra by which we live our lives. It also resonates with me because of the backlash the “gluten free” movement has gotten. Further, I can see so many parallels of doctors that once recommended cigarettes for “stress” and are now recommending “healthy whole grains” as a part of a “balanced diet”.
Through years and years of work with patients, Dr. Perlmutter has seen Alzheimer’s disease destroy many lives. He notes that chronic inflammation is at the root of the disease and that chronically high blood sugar is the main source of the inflammation. In Grain Brain, he calls Alzheimer’s disease Type III Diabetes for this reason.
In addition to his work with Alzheimer’s patients, he treats many patients with ADHD, Autism, MS, and more. Going grain free and refined sugar free is of great help to all of his patients.
This book is amazing and life changing. If you aren’t already gluten free, or if you are gluten free, Grain Brain restates the multitude of reasons why avoiding gluten is the way to go for a healthy body.
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,
I just finished Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It. This was a fascinating read for nutrition nerds like myself, but also for anyone that would like to improve their digestive function. Axe takes an in depth look into the factors in modern life that have caused the perfect conditions for leaky gut syndrome to proliferate.
“Leaky gut is at ground zero of many of this country’s most confounding health crises” (Axe, 2016, p.10). Axe argues that leaky gut leads to systemic inflammation and inflammation is at the root of all of our Western diseases.
Eat Dirt is filled with a mixture interesting anecdotal testimonials and cutting edge science. Axe goes over the various types of gut issues and explores the options for how to heal the gut. A comprehensive discussion of the various types of probiotic strains and how ensure that you’re getting enough probiotics to sustain a thriving colony in your gut. Axe includes dietary and lifestyle factors that help to bring the body back into balance.
This book gets 5 out of 5 strawberries! A must read!
I have very fond childhood memories of eating all the fruit growing up. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Lake Huron, MI. When the Essenmacher clan moved to California, he set up a bountiful backyard garden. Among the many things that he grew were plums. The plum tree was nestled next to my childhood swing set. I still love plums to this day and I’ll give my grandparents all the credit for my fruit addiction.
Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests that readers roast plums with pistachios or try making an Asian plum sauce. While I can easily eat about a half dozen fresh farmer’s market or backyard plums, I do like the idea of cooking the fruit. I’m particularly fond of grilled stone fruit served over some vanilla ice cream.
- Wild varieties pack the most nutrients. Look for red, purple, black, or blue plums because they will have more phytonutrients, especially anthocyanins.
- Plums should be ripened on the the tree and can be susceptible to chilling injury.
- Plums are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, K, fiber, potassium, and copper.
- Plums and prunes (or dried plums as they are now being referred to in order to boost their popularity) are known for their laxative effects.
- Their content of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids [phenols] has been documented to have antioxidant and anticancer properties.
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 Laura Pizzorno, Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard, and Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health by Jo Robinson.