We all know that a big part of a yoga lifestyle is to eat well and follow the latest research in nutrition so we can live more vibrantly while respecting the earth.
And when it comes to food and nutrition ideas, we’ve heard it all!
We try to eat more plant based organic. We’ve tried raw, cooked, BPA and Gluten Free. We eat more greens to keep the doctor away. The list goes on.
But this time my world got rocked by Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health”.
Jo spent ten years researching the nutrient value in the most common and popular produce found in our super markets, even the organic markets. I always knew that wild foods and even weeds were extremely good for you, but it turns out we started breeding the nutrition out of food when we became farmers 10,000 years ago…Ack!
History geeks will love Jo’s research, and foodies – you will get a kick out of revolutionizing your produce selection methods, learning best practices for storing your produce, and the various new creations you can make in your kitchen!
Here is just a little bit of what I learned:
Dandelion greens, Purple kale, Raddichio, Arugula and Red Leaf lettuces are total phytonutrient superstars compared to standard green lettuce like Romaine or Butter leaf – seems obvious when you think about it, but I’d never given it that much thought.
Eat Your Brussel Sprouts!
Everyone knows that Brussel sprouts are ridiculously healthy but according to Jo, they are superfood ninjas: “Brussels sprouts kill more human cancer cells than all other crucifers. In a 2009 test-tube study, extracts of the vegetable destroyed 100 percent of human cancer cells of the breast, pancreas, stomach, prostate, and lung.”
How You Prep and Store Your Produce Makes All the Difference
In the pictures below I am doing the produce ritual I learned. Soak the greens for an hour in cold water, rinse well, and then spin the leafy greens.
Once spinned well, place the greens into zip lock bags that have been perforated with a needle 10-20 times to allow for gas exchange. The Dandelion greens in the picture actually have red stems, so I’m sure they are even more incredibly healthy. (Dandelions also help feed our dwindling population of honey bees, so never spray them with weed killer!)
Push all the air out before sealing the bag so it looks vacuum packed and store in your crisper drawer. According to Jo, “If you tear up the lettuce before you store it, you can double its antioxidant value. The living plant responds to the insult as if it were being gnawed by an insect or eaten by an animal: it produces a burst of phytonutrients to fend off the intruders.”
Purple Carrots, Artichokes and Asparagus
It turns out that purple carrots are higher in anthocyanins than regular carrots. And if you steam them whole and then slice them afterwards they taste sweeter and their ability to fight cancer increases. Who knew?
The information on Artichokes (one of my favorites) shocked me. Jo throws it down: “Artichokes have a higher ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value than all the other fruits and vegetables in the supermarket. You would have to eat eighteen servings of corn or thirty servings of carrots to get the same benefits.” Needless to say, I’ve been obsessed:
Asparagus is very high in antioxidants, but I learned that purple asparagus has three times more antioxidants than the green varieties. I always assumed the purple ones did not taste as good. I was totally wrong! Asparagus, like Broccoli is best eaten no more than 2 days after harvest in order to actually get the incredible nutrients inside the plant, so it’s almost impossible to shop for them in standard super markets where the produce typically arrives ten days after harvest. Getting Broccoli, Asparagus, Artichoke and Brussel sprouts at farmer’s markets or growing them on your own is the best bet.
Here is what my salads look like since reading the book:
It has been so much fun applying Jo’s wisdom to our kitchen!
I must thank the awesome yogini who told me about the book (I can’t remember who you are, but please come forward so we can all give you a virtual hug!).
Please leave a comment with your experiences of “eating on the wild side”, recipes, or comments on the book!