Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Part 2: Corn, Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, and Sweet Potatoes

Part 2: Corn, Potatoes, Carrots, Beets, and Sweet Potatoes

Based on the book "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson

Moving on to our next set of veggies, their recommended varieties and a few produce tips, we will discuss corn, potatoes, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes.

Recommended types of Corn:

  • Anything deeply colored and preferably from a farmers market or grown yourself, but grocery stores just plain yellow with the deepest yellow color


  1. Choose colorful corn…it has more nutrients in it!

  2. Choose old fashioned or moderately sweet corn to help maintain optimum blood sugar levels

  3. Steam, grill, or microwave corn, do not boil it…the nutrients that are water soluble will leach into the water you discard 

  4. Frozen corn is just as nutritious are fresh

  5. If you use cornmeal for anything, make sure it is whole grain cornmeal

  6. Buy organic corn to reduce your exposure to pesticides or even better grow your own!

On average, each of us eats 130bs of potatoes per year and about 32% of all the veggies we eat are potatoes, here are the recommended types:

  • All varieties of new potatoes (anything that isn't a baking potato, they are waxy)

  • Russet burbank

  • Colorful potatoes (think blue, purple, red)


  1. Choose the most colorful potatoes, you want the darkest skins

  2. Eat the skins, they contain 50% of the antioxidants and some fiber to slow the digestion rate and blood sugar spike of potatoes

  3. Shop beyond the grocery store, go to specialty stores or farmers markets for more varieties 

  4. Buy organic to reduce the exposure to pesticides 

  5. Store potatoes in a cool, dark location with adequate ventilation..new potatoes can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks

  6. Stop the blood sugar rush….eat the skins, eat them with some fat, chill them after cooking for 24hrs, or flavor them with vinegar

Carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and their recommended varieties:

  • Deep orange carrots

  • Blue, purple, yellow, red carrots

  • Deep red or purple beets

  • Dark and deep colored sweet potatoes 


  1. Get the most out of your orange carrots by choosing whole fresh carrots over baby carrots, if they still have their tops attached you will get a fresher flavor, cooked are more nutritious than raw, but make sure you include some fat with it, cook them whole then chop them for more flavor and nutrients

  2. Any carrot that is a color other than orange is more nutritious 

  3. Eat more beets and beet greens..they have amazing nutrients that help with inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer

  4. Sweet potatoes are better for you than regular potatoes due to their antioxidant profile and lower blood sugar spike

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Part 1: Lettuce and Alliums

Part 1: Lettuce and Alliums

Based on the book "Eating on the Wild Side" by Jo Robinson

We can purchase fresh fruits and veggies 12 months of the year. When they are out of season in one region, they are shipped from another or imported. This supply makes it easy for us to eat the produce we want whenever we want. Seasonally, however, is where these same fruits and veggies pack a more nutritional and cheaper punch. Today we will discuss Lettuce and Alliums, their recommended varieties from the grocery store and tips on the produce. 

Starting with Lettuce the recommended varieties are:

  • Arugula….high in lutein and overall antioxidant level

  • Mixed Greens

  • Curly Endive

  • Loose Leaf lettuce..go for red and dark green

  • Rosso di chioggia…magenta and white like a cabbage high in antioxidants 

  • Rosso di treviso….the loose version of above


  1. Choose red, red brown, purple, or dark green loose leaf varieties, these are the most nutritious, pale and tight head are the least, whole heads are fresher than bagged

  2. Spend 10 minutes prepping your lettuce to preserve its flavor and nutrients…separate a head of lettuce into its individual leaves or open a bag of loose greens and soak them in very cold water for 10 minutes. Dry them to remove excess moisture…place them in a resealable bag pricked with holes, squeeze out the air, and seal..store in the crisper drawer

  3. Enrich your salads with extra nutritious non lettuce varieties like arugula, radicchio, endive, and spinach 

  4. Choose bags of mixed greens with the most colorful freshest leaves….anything that has yellow, brown, or withered leaves don’t buy. Check the use by date as well.

  5. EVOO is one of the best oils to use in a salad dressing, there are fat soluble vitamins that need this fat for prime absorption in your body making them more bioavailable to you

  6. Tame the bold flavors of bitter greens, if you cannot handle bitter greens make sure to mix them in with less bitter lettuce and add avocados or fruit to help mask the bitterness (the more bitter the better for you actually)

Alliums include garlic, onions, shallots, scallions, chives, and leeks with the following recommended varieties:

  • all types of garlic

  • red and pungent onions

  • yellow and pungent onions

  • western yellow onion

  • empire sweet onion

  • new york bold onion

  • scallions


  1. Garlic is rich in nutrients and has a number of promising health benefits; look for garlic w/plump firm cloves enclosed in a tight intact wrapper. To get maximum amounts of allicin..slice, mince, or press the garlic and then let it rest for 10 minutes before exposing it to heat

  2. Strongly flavored onions are best for your health; cooking tames their strength, brings out the sweetness and increases their nutritional content. If you boil onions make sure you are using the liquid where all the water soluble nutrients go

  3. Shallots are mild but nutritionally potent; put them in everything

  4. When cooking with leeks, use both the bulbs and the greens, make sure to use and eat them within a few days

  5. Eat plenty of onion and garlic chives

  6. Scallions (green onions) are more nutritious than most other alliums

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Part 10: What to Eat

Part 10: What to Eat Based on the book “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle

Today nearly half the food dollar is spent on foods prepared outside the home and what those foods contain matter a lot. Prepared foods no matter where they are sold tend to be higher in fats, salts, sugars and lower in fiber and vitamin and mineral content. If you eat a lot of prepared foods you need to choose wisely which can be rather difficult since most prep foods don't come with a label or have complete ingredient lists unless you want to go hunting on google for them. Remember the Law of portion size: the more food in front of you, the more you will eat. When you take items from a salad bar you are choosing your own portions and making a guess about how much food you will want to eat. Then we have portion distortion: the idea that anything you are served in a container has the same number of calories. The “eat me” message emitted by large food portions is so powerful that it overrides all other considerations. A large portion is  said to influence consumption norms and expectations and it lessens one’s reliance on self monitoring (internal body cues). Food companies are well aware of portion distortion and take full advantage of it to encourage you to eat more. To make informed decisions about food choice you need truth in advertising, the whole truth and nothing but. Grocery stores could do more to help you make better dietary choices if they made it convenient for you to make those choices. By this time you know what that would take: put healthier foods where it is easier to get them, advertise them, price them attractively, and give healthier foods the same kind of marketing attention that gets paid to junk foods. Grocery stores could also demand that food producers grow fruits, veggies, crops, animals, farmed fish in ways that protect the health of the environment as well as the people. If stores did this they would not only be adding value to the foods they sell but would be adding lasting value. All those apparently healthy new packaged foods you see on supermarket shelves with all their health claims are there to make you think that the companies have responded to your concerns about health by giving you better choices, they didn’t. You may have heard statements like these before: all foods can fit into a healthful diet (you can eat anything you like with no restrictions), there is no such thing as a good or bad food (you can eat anything you like), the keys to healthful eating are variety, balance, and moderation (you can eat anything you like anytime). When the author hears such statements singly or in combination, she knows there is only one purpose behind them: to defend the right of food companies to market their products any way they like. Even though each of these statements hold a grain of truth, each leaves out crucial parts of advice: most of the time you are better off eating whole foods, unprocessed foods and avoiding junk foods. The mantras are designed to protect big business and put the responsibility solely on you with zero help. What food companies really mean is to eat more of their foods more often and not give the choices a second thought. But some foods are better for you than others and it's not hard to tell them apart. EAT WHOLE FOODS!!!!! Veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, lean meats, low fat dairy, and unprocessed or minimally processed foods…..yes you can still have that junk food you enjoy just not too much and not too often. The foods that go under the better for you category can be put together in simple delicious ways that don't take too much time to prepare. But in today's busy world of go-go-go it may seem much easier to grab a package of a shelf than to buy real food, but you pay for the apparent convenience in at least 4 ways: money (you pay for packaging and marketing on top of the food), taste (the chemicals), unhealthy calories that increase disease risk, the loss of the joy of eating. The current environment of food choice is not inevitable. Many of the ways in which it encourages eating more—ubiquitous advertising, food available everywhere, larger and larger portions, unchecked marketing to children, weak government regulation–have evolved in response to the demands of big business. Many of these “eat more” changes have occurred since the 1980s. You cast your vote for your choice of food environment every time you put something in your cart or order off a menu. If enough people vote with you changes will happen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Part 9: Artificial Sweeteners and Supplements

Part 9:  Artificial Sweeteners and Supplements Based on the book “What to Eat” by Marion Nestle

The three leading artificial sweeteners are sucralose-splenda, aspartame-equal, and acesulfame potassium or K. Artificial sweeteners convert beverages to diet drinks. Sugar alcohols are maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other carbs ending in -ol rather than -ose are sugar alcohols and have no calories because you cannot easily digest them. The bacteria in your gut can though so expect a laxative effect if you eat too much of them. The FDA has approved artificial sweeteners because there is no compelling evidence that they cause harm at current levels of intake in adults. Many people with diabetes no doubt think that artificial sweeteners are the best because they don't raise blood sugar levels. They are deceptive. If a food is sweet it should be sweet because it contains sugar. Foods with artificial sugar fool you into thinking they have sugar when they don't and may encourage you to think that if foods are not sweet they are not edible. Moving on to supplements. Taking fat soluble vitamins in amounts greater than those available from food can cause damage. They are not like water soluble ones which get excreted through urine, they are instead stored. Ingest too much of them and they can build up to harmful levels. If you are like the majority of adults in the US, you already take supplements of one kind or another, maybe because you don't eat as healthy as you could all the time or because you want to make sure you are supplying your body with all the nutrients you can and think some nutritional insurance is a good idea or because you think they do you good….all valid reasons. In 1994, congress passed DSHEA (dietary supplement health and education act) on the basis of two questionable assumptions: that supplements are basically harmless and that the makers are honest. The law doesn't require makers to demonstrate safety or efficacy of their products. Instead, it makes the FDA responsible for proving them harmful in court before doing anything about them. Supplements can also have structure/function claims on them (claims that the product supports some body structure or function) that appear the same as FDA approved health claims. All nutrients are needed to make your body work properly; you need every one of them, and the best place to get them is from relatively unprocessed foods that still have their original vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. As for herbs and all those other non-essential supplements you can take your chances on what is in them, but as long as the amounts are small they are unlikely to do any real harm. Does adding vitamins really make food better for you? Real foods are health foods and do not need to be made functional to be good for you. They are functional just the way they are.