Friday, June 26, 2009

Fabulous Food Friday

I am going to start something new. One of my favorite parts about making healthy choices and dietetics is finding out what food is made of; especially FRUITS & VEGETABLES. Ever since my kids were REALLY little we would always bribe them to eat their food by telling them all the amazing things that that specific food could do for their bodies. Now sometimes I didn't know what that food did so we would make things up; being silly mostly. They really think that carrots will make them see in the dark and that potatoes help them be good diggers! They know that meat and beans have a lot of protein and that will help them be strong. They know that calcium helps build strong bones. I think it's important that they know these things.

But is it only important for them? I'm pretty sure that it's good for all of us to know what we're putting in our bodies and that we know the benefits and pit falls of those things. It's a MAJOR part of overall health, if you ask me! So every Friday I will showcase a food. We'll find out the skinny on those good & bad things. Hopefully it will help us to make better choices but also broaden our horizons and try new foods too!

Today our Fabulous Food is the ARTICHOKE! I LOVE artichokes! It's our favorite game night snack. We cut them in half and boil them. Then peel off the leaves and dip them in hollandaise sauce and toss them in a communal bowl in the center of the table. I have LOTS of WONDERFUL memories playing cards and eating fresh artichokes! I found THIS wonderful website that had this info:

*Artichokes come from the Mediterranean, where there is one of the LOWEST rates of chronic disease and the HIGHEST life expectancy rates! {they eat A LOT of fruit & veggies & little saturated fat}

*New studies {by the USDA} have shown that artichokes have a HIGH level of anti-oxidants. It ranked #1! These anti-oxidants come in the form of phytonutrients like Cynarin and Silymarin; both of which are really good for your LIVER! **They noted that artichokes have long been thought to help fight liver disease, liver cancer and even cure hangovers.

*One medium artichoke has more FIBER than a cup of prunes!

* One LARGE artichoke has:
Calories - 60
Total Fat - 0
Cholesterol - 0
Sodium - 115 mg or 5%
Total Carbohydrates - 13g or 4%
Dietary Fiber - 6g or 24%
Sugars - 1%
Protein - 4g

Vitamin A - 4%
Vitamin C - 20%
Calcium - 6%
Iron - 8%

The way to pick out a good artichoke is make sure the leaves are closed tight and avoid dark spots. Boil whole or sliced in half. It's cooked when the leaves pull away easily; the edible part is where the leaf was attached, it is soft and easily scraped off with the teeth. You can dip it in Hollandaise or melted butter. In the very center, right above the heart, you'll want to scrape and discard a small fibrous/fuzzy part of the artichoke {I'm not sure if those are the right words to discribe it}. The heart is the best part and well worth all the "effort" to get to the center!

There you have it. The ARTICHOKE. One of my very favorite vegetables!


Kim said...

Ohhh, I love artichokes. I seriously want to go right out and get one. But Damian doesn't share the same passions as I do for them. I never thought to cook them cut in half, that is such a great idea. It takes so long to cook when they are whole. I will have to try that next time. We have always dipped ours in a little mayo. I know that sounds kind of gross, but it was how I was raised. Thanks for the tips. I am ready to go get me one for dinner.

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