E has a book called 150 Healthiest Foods by Johnny Bowden, which gives a wonderful little snapshot of several dozen vegetables, fruits, meats, and a few other categories. I love this book in particular because his research matches up 99% with everything I’ve learned about nutrition since I became interested in the subject a few years ago. Last March, I decided that E and I were going to try to eat all 150 (minus 4 or 5 of the potentially gluten-containing or legumey suggestions) in 6 months. It wasn’t a terribly well organized project, but I was pretty happy when we got through about 90% of them over a 7 or 8 month period!
After our recent move, I found myself paging through the book again, reading tidbits about the vitamin and mineral content of this vegetable and the purported disease-curing abilities of that fruit, and I decided that we should start again! E and I have made huge changes in our daily, weekly, and seasonal habits in terms of what we eat since last year, so it feels like a much different challenge. Plus, it’s good to have motivation to rotate something into out diet in place of our regular favorites, sweet potatoes, turnips, plantains, and spinach.
I’ve modified our goal a little bit; instead of trying to munch on ALL 150 of Dr. Bowden’s choices, we’re going to focus on only the fruits and vegetables, and the specialty items. We don’t consider legumes and grains to be the best choices for us personally, and we already put a lot of effort into sourcing our meat (and are super enthusiastic about eating a wide variety of appropriately-raised things with faces. Including clams. Clams totally have faces.)
So! There’s about 100 fruits, vegetables, nuts, unusual spices, and specialty foods that we’re aiming to ingest by the end of the summer. I’ve posted a list on the refrigerator and crossed off what we’ve already hit this summer! Thoughts so far:
1. This is a LOT of fun! It makes each week at the grocery store sort off like a scavenger hunt (more than it already is) for whichever interesting item we want to include that week.
2. It is MUCH easier to do this the second time around. The first time, we didn’t know where to get some of the fruits and vegetables, or even what some of them looked like other than the picture in the book (Jicama anybody? Persimmon? Fennel? I was such a n00b). And once we found them and got them home, E and I would have no idea what to do with them, or which of the recipes on the internet might be tasty and which might be highly not appealing. And, unfortunately, staring at weird plants in the fridge does not make one healthier. This time around, since we’ve worked with almost everything at least once before, we have at least some idea of where to start.
3. You can be creative without actually being creative! I am shocked to find out that you can roast almost any vegetable with fats and spices and it becomes edible, if not delectable (although sometimes it becomes that too). You can mash most starchy, tuber-y sort of vegetables, and you can olive-oil-and-balsamic-vinegar most leafy greens, and they’re at least passably tasty. If I discover any gems in terms of prep for any particular ingredient, I’ll holla atcha.