Now that the election is over and we have a new president perhaps we can once again focus on ourselves. As much as we want a leader to save our economy, provide affordable healthcare and protect our soil, ultimately we have to take some personal responsibility, especially for our health.
Since you probably followed the polls closely, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the results of some other very important polls involving food.
Based on survey results, we have learned that some of the nation’s favorite foods are apple pie, cheese steak sandwiches, subs, hot dogs, burgers, fries, fried chicken, chili, soup, wings, crab cakes, fish tacos, scrapple and Eggs Benedict.
While prospective health studies show that some of the best disease-fighting, energy-enhancing, anti-aging foods include blueberries, broccoli, oranges, tomatoes, apples, sweet potatoes, almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, fatty fish, olive oil, canola oil, beans, spinach, kale and any dark leafy green, whole grains, tea and dark chocolate, papaya, mangoes, cantaloupe, red peppers, red wine, red grapes, raisins, dried plums (prunes), soy milk and tofu too.
The list of foods we love may not match the list of foods we need, but somewhere, somehow, in our own best interests, we have got to find a middle ground.
Let’s start with apples. Now there’s a food that falls in both categories, sort of. Perhaps we can make sure the apple really does not fall far from the tree. The less processed the apple, the more preserved the nutrients.
Surely you have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but how so? Well, apples are rich in pectin, found in the meat of the fruit.
Pectin is a type of soluble fiber famous for lowering cholesterol by pulling it out of the body. Soluble fiber slows down digestion which makes you feel full longer and helps to control blood sugar.
Apples also have the insoluble type of fiber found in the skin of the fruit. Insoluble fiber works like a scrub brush to help clean you out. No need for colonics if you eat an apple a day.
Fresh apples are also good sources of vitamin C — an antioxidant that protects your body’s cells from damage. How about a raw apple pie? Taste buds happy, nutrient needs met, clearly a win-win for you and the apples too.
Going down the nation’s favorite food list, we have to skirt past some obvious unhealthy options and simply say, “Please eat sparingly.” The next food on both lists – kind of – is fries.
In the “healthy” food list, we have sweet potatoes and canola oil which could seemingly make healthy fries. However, frying is never really a good idea because the high heat may cause the oil to smoke thereby creating carcinogens. But you can lightly coat sweet potato wedges in canola oil and spices and bake for a healthy fry substitute.
Eggs, minus the hollandaise, are probably the most nutrient dense of those foods found in the “less” healthy favorite foods list. Since the egg deserves an article unto itself, please tune in next week to find out how you can enjoy eggs everyday, including a guiltless version of Eggs Benedict.
Raw apple pie
3/4 cup almonds, ground
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup oatmeal, ground (use a food processor or blender)
Apple Pie filling:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 apples finely sliced (3 cups)
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnuts, ground
Shell: Put all the shell ingredients into a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed. Add more honey as needed to make dough stick together. Roll dough between two sheets of wax paper. Remove top piece of wax paper and turn pastry side down into a pie plate. Remove the second piece of wax paper. Makes 1 shell.
Filling: Put the lemon juice, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon into a large bowl and whip with a fork. Add the apples, raisins and ground walnuts and mix until fruit is well coated. Spoon the filling into a pie shell. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Eat within 24 hours for best flavor and optimal nutrients.
Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
4 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into wedges
3 Tablespoons canola oil (Choose Spectrum High Heat Canola Oil)
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, oregano and cayenne