Friday, March 15, 2013

Preserving Style: Super Good

In my fashion, it is a travesty that it seems to cost more to be "healthy" than it does to be "unhealthy", but I digress. Now, I firmly believe in the notion that when one looks good one feels good; but we can’t feel good if we stuff our faces with foods that aren't good for our health because I also find it true that, in the end, we are what we eat! Most of us have a list of reasons as to why we would rather eat a box of Skittles than eat a bag of unsalted peanuts, or a Twinkie rather than a banana, but in times of a needed snack I find that it’s better to think of the benefits your body will reap by eating more nutritious (and yes, more expensive) fruits and vegetables in place of the pastry we eat everyday at 3:30 pm. I am not a fan of totally clearing out our diet of all sugars and fats, but just think if your diet included more nutrient rich foods than not. As logic would have it, your body would feel so much better knowing its getting nutrients it really needs rather than feeding into the monster that tells your brain, “Eat something DEEP FRIED."

Our natural instinct in our over-indulgent world is not to think of kale, or edamame, or sweet potatoes as a scrumptious and filling mid-morning snack, but reshaping our brains to think that by eating them and fortifying your body for our pending old age should make you feel better about not eating that sugary Danish. Think about building a house: Building a house out of mud that's at your immediate disposal will hold for a while, but sometime down the line, it rains—then what? But if you invest the time and energy to go out of your way to buy some bricks, and cement, you will be ready for anything when it really counts! In my fashion, thinking like this is a lot better than thinking about how I wish my apple will turn into a cupcake (which won’t happen). Be glad you are preparing your body for the strength to lead a long life.

I found a great article in Better Homes and Gardens about how some foods deemed Superfoodsare easy to grow for ourselves at home. Because the entire world is working to take our money, a good idea to help our our dietary budget would be to take it upon ourselves to do it ourselves. Better Homes and Gardens shared the six below fruits and vegetables that we can easily grow ourselves at home, and how they benefit our body. I'm going to try my hand at growing some goji berries!

Sweet Potatoes: Why they are super: one large tuber contains nine times the daily recommended vitamin A. High levels of potassium, fiber, and other vitamins make them heart-healthy.
Get growing: Grow from cuttings or “slips.” Create your own slips from store bought potatoes, or buy from garden retailers. Go to to see how to make sweet potato slips. Sweet potatoes love heat, so plant in the garden only when the soil temp tops 60 degrees F. Beauregard and Georgia Jet are quick to mature, so they’re better for Northern gardens. Choose bush types like Vardaman or Porto Rico if you have limited space.
Test Garden tip: cure sweet potatoes by storing at 85 - 90 degrees F for two weeks after harvest. This makes them sweeter.

Edamame: Why it’s super: An excellent source of protein, edamame (the Japanese name for young soybeans) also is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Get growing: Edamame is a warm-season crop, so plant seeds in your summer garden when soil is 60degreeF or warmer. The crop matures in 902-100days.
Test Garden tip: Edamame has a narrow harvest window—about one week. When the pods are plump and still green, pick the entire crop. Boil the pods, then eat or freeze. Soybean varieties Butterbeans and Envy are suitable for both Northern and Southern Gardens.

Blueberries: Why they’re super: Loaded with antioxidants, blueberries are also rich in vitamins C and K.
Get growing: Blueberries grow well in average soil, as long a it’s not alkaline (pH above 7). Older varieties need pollinators, nut new types such as Peach Sorbet are not only self-fertile, they’re also compact and attractive in the landscape.
Test Garden tip: If your soil is alkaline, grow blueberries in containers. In the North, move pots to a shed or garage in winter.

Kale: Why it’s super: One cup of chopped kale delivers five times your daily vitamin K requirements and nearly three times your daily vitamin A needs. All that, with only 33 calories!
Get growing: Kale is none of the hardest cool-season crops, tolerating hard freezes in fall and winter after other greens have frozen out. All varieties are edible and nutritious, including ornamental kale. Try Red Bor—it’s both attractive and productive.
Test Kitchen tip: Fresh kale can be tough to chew. To tenderize it for a salad, cut the leaves into small pieces and massage them in a bowl for a minute or two. Some cooks sprinkle them with salt, then massage.

Goji Berries: Why they’re super: The berries of this traditional medicinal plant pack plenty of vitamin A and antioxidants.
Get growing: Goji plants are easy to grow and hardy in Zones 4-10. Prune as needed to control size.
Test Kitchen tip: Let the berries dry until they are wrinkly like raisins. Eat as a snack or a salad topper.

Kiwis: Why they’re super: A single kiwifruit—with just 50 calories—supplies 85 percent of your daily vitamin C requirements.
Get growing: Kiwis need sturdy structures to climb. The hardiest, Arctic Beauty, survives in Zones 3.
Test Garden tip: Most kiwis require a male pollinator plus a female vine. No room for the two? Try Issai, a self-fertile type hardy to Zone 5.

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