After talking to quite a number of people about what vegetables they eat on a regular basis, what was coming through strongly was the fact that within families there wasn’t much of a variation in the types of vegetables that were being eaten on a regular basis. One of the most common complaints that I hear is that ‘vegetables are boring’ and I can see the point if all you eat is potato and carrot!
What are some of the unusual suspects that you might find on the shelves this time of year? Everyone knows what the most commonly used vegetables look like, but if you are to limit your vegetable variety to just that then you are missing out on some magnificent foods that have been hiding in plain sight the whole time.
When looking at tummy health there has been more of a focus of late on the diversity (numbers of different types) of good bugs and bad bugs in your intestines. One of the best ways to grow the natural diversity of bugs in your tummy is to eat different foods. It has been shown that you can dramatically change the balance of the bugs living in your tummy within just a few days! In the Western world the range and diversity of different tummy bugs is now less than it ever has been in the past due to the increasing use of antibiotics (not only in humans but also in animal feed) and the narrow window of foods that we choose from on a day to day basis.
Imagine that you have two vegetable patches side by side. What you choose to plant is what will grow at the end of the day, however what you plant into that veggie patch is up to you. You can choose to put in just carrots or just potatoes, which will grow, however you might choose to plant a wide variety of different vegetables. When there is a range of different things growing together it will often improve the overall quality of everything growing.
The same is true for the good bugs in your tummy, the more different type of foods and particularly vegetables that you and your family eat the better your tummy health will be. That might mean that the next time you are at the place where you get your vegetables you find something that you aren’t too sure about, then get some and try it. In fact buy a few of them and cook them in a few different ways.
This can be very empowering to have your kids seeing you eat a food that you have never tried before. You never know… you might just like it! Here are some that you might have seen that you may not know how to use them. The message that you send to your children is to do what we do. If you are expecting your children to change their eating habits then you might have to look at yours first.
The purpose of tonight is to show you some of these guys in action so that you will feel more confident in reaching out and trying some new tastes. Ask yourself, when is the last time that you did something for the first time, you might leave tonight feeling empowered to engage in a few of those little things that you might have been avoiding since you don’t know what it is.
Let’s ease into this with parsnip. The bottom looks like a white carrot and the top looking similar to parsley. The taste can be similar to a turnip, however it has a sweeter taste to it. This makes parsnip a great potato substitutes it has a starchy component to it. This means that it goes well as a roasted vegetable, mashed, in casseroles as well as into soups. This sweetness allows it to have a unique application of being used in sweet baking type recipes!
Nutritionally parsnip has a high amount of fiber, which means that it will dull the rapid incline of blood sugars that you might get from vegetables like potatoes. This means that it might be useful in the regulation of blood sugar levels, which has the potential improve diabetes outcomes.
The potassium is also of note when it comes to parsnip. Potassium works to relax the capillary system which means there is potential reducing heart related conditions such as blood pressure. The soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the gut therefore allowing the clearance and potential lowering of cholesterol levels.
Just when you think that it couldn’t get any better than that parsnip also has a great immune supporting action. This is due to the antioxidant nutrients that are important for immune function (Vitamin A, C, E, K). This means that the cold winter months we are more able to fight off colds and flus, as well as shorten the time it takes to recover.
Preheat oven for 350F.
Grease and flour a 13x9 cake pan.
Mix together the coconut oil, milk, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy and smooth.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until fully combined and no longer lumpy.
Mix in the grated parsnips and pecans.
Pour the batter in the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Bake a little longer, if necessary.
Cool on a wire rack.
The next one is a new favorite of mine. When buying this as with most of these tonight, you may notice some of your fellow shoppers giving you a sideways glance and you get that sinking feeling that you think they are thinking you’re a bit strange for buying it. It makes for a great opportunity to (like the penguins in the Madagascar movie) smile and wave.
This will often be sold with the top green parts cut off. The leaves look very much like and tastes like the top of a celery plant and the name Celeriac is very similar as well. But don’t be fooled by the rough exterior and the occasional bit of dirt in there, celeriac is a very smooth and creamy vegetable. Makes a magnificent soup and roasts a delicious flavor, it can also be processed finely and then mixed with eggs to make a frittata type breakfast option.
Unique combination of calcium and Vitamin K which lends itself well to the maintenance of strong bones. The form of calcium that is found naturally through vegetables is much more able to be absorbed and utilized by the body when compared to dairy products. Foods like celeriac and green leafy vegetables are great sources of calcium and would be ideal for those that are avoiding dairy based products.
Iron is essential for the continual production of red blood cells. Red blood cells play a number of important roles from carrying oxygen around the body to clearance of carbon dioxide. When we have a plentiful supply of red blood cells then we feel energetic.
The fiber component is one that is useful when maintaining regular bowel movements. Having a bowel movement at least once a day allows your body to clear fermenting bowel matter before it become toxic. You may notice that your mood gets a little toward the grumpy side of your body feels a bit tense and tight if you aren’t using your bowels on a regular basis.
Creamy Celeriac Soup
1 Brown Onion
1-2 Garlic Cloves
3 Sticks of Celery
1 tbs ghee (or butter, or coconut oil)
1 Celeriac Bulb
3 White Potatoes
Bunch of Parsley
1-2 tsp Himalayan salt (I use Herbamare vegetable salt)
Water (or bone broth) to cover
On stove top
Dice brown onion, crush garlic and finely chop celery.
Heat ghee in saucepan and saute onion, garlic and celery for a few minutes.
Chop skin off celeriac and chop into cubes. Also chop potato into cubes.
Add celeriac, potato and parsley into saucepan and almost cover with water. Add seat salt.
Cover with lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium heat.
Blend in food processor or with hand blender.
Read Part 2 - Winter vegetables