To my friends on the East Coast dealing with all the snow- I hope that it is warm and toasty wherever you are, and that you have some time to just snuggle up with a good book (by the way I just read Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which was written in a very interesting way).
Here are 5 foods for you to check out this winter, which have been finding their way into my kitchen of late and are particularly intriguing to me at the moment. I just peeked into my fridge and cabinet, and there they all were, smiling up at me. It is really important to eat a wide range of plant foods, as much as possible.
1.Parsnips. The truth is that parsnips look like albino, anemic carrots. But looks can be deceiving! Parsnips contain a bevy of important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, pantothenic acid, copper, manganese, and are a great source of niacin, riboflavin, B6, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium. And let’s not forget folic acid!
Parsnips are a true winter vegetable, and they need the low temperatures to develop their flavor. I steam them in their skins until tenderized. These types of starchy vegetables are not recommended to be eaten raw, though you could eat the very tender ones if you really want to. Sure you may may lose some of the vitamin content by heating, but you will still benefit from the fiber and minerals, and in my opinion starchy vegetables digest best when they are cooked.
Parsnips are great detoxifying vegetable, helping to clean out the digestive tract and have a beneficial effect on the liver. They also are slightly diuretic.
2. Asparagus: Asparagus is not truly a winter vegetable, it is a spring vegetable, but it seems to be widely available in grocery stores at the moment, and I must confess that I have been indulging myself. I’ve been using it in dishes a LOT lately with my clients, as it is loaded with potassium, which is cleansing and supremely detoxifying. Asparagus is also rich in vitamin A and folate. It is also very high in glutathione, which is an amino acid that has anti-aging properties and fights free radicals.
3. Xylitol: Okay, this one is not really a food per se, but a sweetener. If you read my blog regularly you already know that I’ve given agave the smackdown. It is highly processed, a high percentage fructose, and is not recommended. Stevia is a great option, as it is from a natural South American plant. But sometimes I’m not in the mood for it. It is a bitter friend, with a bitter aftertaste. Still a friend. But sometimes a bitter one. So on those days, I like to use xylitol instead, which is a naturally occurring sweetener.
Xylitol is found in berries, fruit and vegetables, and is a crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. It is not an artificial sweetener filled with chemicals like Splenda. Be sure to purchase pure xylitol without any fillers or additives. I like the Emerald Forest brand. Xylitol even helps reduce tooth decay and cavities. How? Well sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth and causes them to multiply. Cavities start to form from the acids the metabolic process produces. These bacteria however, can not ferment xylitol in their metabolism, and the amount of acid-producing bacteria falls with the use of xylitol and xylitol-containing products.
4. Butternut Squash. I love the shape of this bulbous gourd, but the real joy is when you slice it open and see the beautiful orange within (as a random aside, did I tell you that orange, along with green, is my new favorite color?) The orange color indicates that we’ve hit the jackpot for a food containing carotenoids, which have very important health properties. It contains very high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C. It has anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content, so is great for those suffering from inflammation-related disorders like RA (rheumatoid arthritis). It is high in folate, fiber and potassium.
Choose one that feels heavy for its size. Do not store in fridge. You can just chop it in half, place the cut side down, and bake for about an hour. Again, I do recommend cooking the starchy vegetables.
5. Raw Kelp Noodles. These raw noodles are made of the healthy, mineral-rich sea vegetable kelp. They are free of gluten and fat, and contain virtually no calories (not that we count, because we don’t when we eat a greens-based diet. Just saying!). You just rinse them and they are ready to go- no cooking. They have a neutral taste so you can throw sauces and dressings on top of them to dress them up. The only thing is that they are a bit crunchy, so I like to let them soften into the sauce at room temperature for a while before serving. I like the Sea Tangle brand.
And when feeling adventurous, why not add some exotic fruits to the mix, who knows it may be exactly what you were craving!
Enjoy the week!
See you here soon.
With love, Kimberly
First I’d like to start off by saying that I LOVE your blog, it’s very helpful and useful 🙂
I wanted to know our opinion about apple concentrate..
is it as healthy as advertised?
I’m not from the US, and here Agave is advertised as the best,
so i guess there’s a delay here with the facts…
Great post! I’ve been eating a lot more asparagus as well! So yum!
I can’t wait to try all of these! It’s just been a little too rainy and cold to not have something warm and comforting. So excited that these are all so healthy. And I’ve never had steamed turnips. I’ll be moving to a new place and hope to implement some new (read: healthier) habits. Thanks so much Kim! 🙂
Sorry, I meant Parsnips.
all of the above rock. especially the kelp noodles!
it was great to meet you in Kathryn’s class. 🙂
Love your blog. I just found it today and spent already 6 hours just catching up on everything on your blog. I just graduated from college and moved back to my hometown in La. I’m studying to go to medical school but majored in nutritional sciences which ignited my passion for nutrition but I ventured out of the clinical setting and fell in love with vegan and raw foods and i have a passion for digestion also. I love what you have done and how you made a name for yourself. I wanted to know if you have any tips on where to start and how you learned everything. I am aboslutely in love with what you do. Let me know if you have any tips! Have a happy new year!
You might enjoy some of my recipes: Butternut Squash Soup! at primroseandpaleo.wordpress.com
Do you follow the Paleo diet?
very useful your for health and fitness
Very usefull blog for health i like it
I’m so glad I found someone else who can handle Xylitol! Most people I know do better on Erythritol, however I am exactly the opposite.
Can’t wait to try xylitol! very cool! Totally forgot about parsnips will have to bring them more into my diet!
Thanks for being you and for being so generous with information, I have purchased your book and will get to reading it sooner rather than later.
Can you recommend more foods that are good for those with RA in addition to butternut squash?
I have turned you on to several of my friends who really think you are great.
Hi Kim I started reading your book last night and am so excited. I feel like I have so much clarity now and I am only through chapter one!
Fantastic! Keep in touch with me and let me know how you do. xx
The sea kelp noodles look really good. I was wondering what you know about mung bean noodles. I have been adding them to my salads but am not sure if they are nutritious or even counterproductive to the the green diet.
I love both your book and blog.I am a little confused regarding Xylitol. Based on information I have read on the net xylitol is not a natural product. In light of this, if agave is bad for you because of over-processing, is xylitol be any better??
Are you familiar with erythritol? Like xylitol it is produces from natural sources and is a 5-carbon sugar (or sugar alcohol), but UNLIKE xylitol it does not cause intestinal discomfort (gas and loose stools). From what I have learned, the body excretes erythritol through the bladder instead of through the bowel. It has no effect on blood sugar. It does not caramelize, so to bake with it one has to learn to use different methods from standard sugar-based baking, but it is so worth it.