Happy New Year! Are you starting a diet this January?
I don’t diet. I dislike the idea of cutting out any food group, unless its absolutely necessary. I prefer to focus on adding new, healthy foods into our meals. If I eat more nourishing, healthy foods, then I crave junk food less.
Instead of avoiding food, I eat an inclusive diet. I want to expand my food horizons and consume new types of food. Three years ago, I began sampling vegetables that my mother never cooked. I discovered that turnips were wonderful mashed with potatoes. I liked beets – a vegetable I hated as a child – when they were roasted and doused in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Swiss chard has become a staple on my table, especially since I find it easier to grow than any other vegetable.
My desire to expand my food repertoire has increased since I started reading Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. Each chapter in this well-researched book features a short history of popular vegetables — often explaining how our modern vegetable lost its wild nutrients. Our supermarket vegetables sound dull compared to the spicy, tangy, colorful wild varieties.
I appreciate Ms. Robinson’s straightforward approach to eating. She doesn’t send her readers into the forests to harvest their own wild vegetables (although its not discouraged). Instead, she teaches her readers to find the most nutritious produce available at the grocery store and farm market. A list of the most nourishing varieties of produce can be found at the end of each chapter. Ms. Robinson also provides information on storing and preparing produce in order to reap the most benefits.
Some of Ms. Robinson’s findings are surprising and helpful, especially for busy moms. I was thrilled to learn that canned artichoke hearts and tomato puree are among some of the healthiest food in the grocery store! These long-storing foods will help stretch out my visits to the grocery store.
The most nutrient-dense vegetables are the brightest varieties of the brightest vegetables. At the produce stand, I plan to fill my basket with yellow cauliflower and purple carrots, if I can find them. Since, Ms. Robinson includes the variety names of the healthiest vegetables, I plan to have Eating on the Wild Side open when I order my garden seeds this spring.
I found this book to be a great way to add new foods to my menu and improving on the produce my meals already featured. If you read it, let me know what you think.