It’s a week into the New Year; can you believe it’s 2012?! I cannot. But, it is here. I’m not really one to make ‘resolutions’, but I am a goal setter. I like to challenge myself; I always need something to work towards. What better time to set some goals and evaluate where you are at than a new, fresh year?
I have a challenge for you. Try some new foods. For some people, this may be incorporating vegetables into your life. For others, this could be trying out some exotic foods. This is a goal for me this year. Today I bought some burdock root. Don’t feel alone if you’ve never heard of burdock root (I hadn’t until I saw it in the store!). It’s a root found in Asia, and “traditionally, burdock has been used as a remedy for measles, arthritis, tonsillitis, viruses like colds, throat pain, and as a diuretic. In modern times, burdock is also used in oncology and to treat many other serious health problems.”(from naturalherbsguide.com) It is often eaten like a vegetable, common in stir fry dishes. It contains iron, inulin and beneficial oils. It can be used as a gentle laxative and to eradicate uric acid. Burdock root has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and helps the body eliminate toxins. And amazingly, it tastes pretty good! I tried a bite of it raw; it’s a little sweet, kind of herbal-tasting. I ground it up into a kind of paste, and plan to put it in juices. But, I will probably buy more in the future and try it in Asian stir fry!
Today I also bought some flax seed, a pomegranate, raw cocoa and some fresh ginger to put into juices and smoothies. I won’t go into it, but these all have some incredible health properties as well!
So maybe burdock root is a little radical for you. Maybe you don’t even enjoy many ‘typical’ vegetables. This used to be me! I was an incredibly picky eater (and unhealthy). In high school my typical lunch was pizza, a fudge round and diet Pepsi. The only fruits and vegetables I ever ate were corn, potatoes, green beans and bananas. I never ate a salad, until about 5 years ago. Now I know how incredibly much I missed out on for the first 18 years of life! So if you don’t think you like vegetables and find it difficult to eat healthy, there is hope. I promise! Here are some tips for getting started:
Start incorporating mild vegetables into dishes you already enjoy. Casseroles and soups are great for this. For example, last night I made bean and barley soup; I used leftover tomato soup with chicken stock, and added broccoli and peppers. Add some chopped spinach or zucchini to your lasagna. Put some carrots and tomatoes in your meatloaf. A great resource is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. She purees cooked veggies and puts them in all sorts of dishes to get her kids to eat more. It works for adults too! It often even adds to the dish. For example, she puts cauliflower puree into her mashed potatoes, butternut squash in macaroni and cheese, and even chickpeas in her chocolate chip cookies. The secret is cooking them yourself and making them according to your taste. If you like garlic, add lots of garlic. Eventually you can add more and more veggies without having to ‘disguise’ them too much! And try different ways of cooking; try steaming, sautéing, roasting. Add them to rice, potatoes, pasta. Just get creative, and I promise you will find yourself enjoying vegetables.
Keep me updated! If you are one of these folk who think you have an aversion to vegetables, give them a try. And let me know what works. If you are adventurous enough to give burdock root a try, let me know what you think!