Please Pass the Olive Oil


Renegade Spinach

I cannot express how ridiculously excited I am at having a garden.  I’m finally living in a house with sufficient space to have a little patch of land all my own to till, sow, and enjoy.  I planted spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and carrots.

In case you were curious, here are some quick facts about the grooviness of spinach:

  • Spinach is a seriously nutrient-dense food.  It contains vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, and folate, just to name a few.
  • Spinach may be a fierce cancer fighter.  It contains certain flavonoids and carotenoids that are showing promising results in lab studies.
  • The oxalic acid in spinach can block absorption of calcium and iron, so try to pair your spinach dish with a food high in vitamin c.  Or you can boil the spinach for a minute or two.
  • Boiling spinach actually makes it better for you because your body is unable to break down completely the raw spinach.

Got your fork?  Salad’s ready y’all!

How to Define Healthy Eating?

A September 2012 report from Packaged Facts (a market research company) suggests that we need to redefine what healthful foods are.  The New Healthful:  Culinary Trend Mapping Report begins by saying, “This notion of promoting good health also focuses on the presence of beneficial nutrients and the use of inherently nutritious foods, instead of just the absence of certain ingredients that may negatively affect health when over-consumed.”  It then goes on to highlights certain foods that go beyond the traditional meaning of healthful, including raw foods, plant-based foods, and foods that are created with sustainability in mind.

According to this report, we can expect to see the following trends in the near future:

  1. Superior tap water and customized beverages
  2. Heirloom whole-grain breads
  3. Beans and greens for breakfast
  4. Healthier vending machine options
  5. Vegan fare on restaurant menus, especially veggie burgers
  6. Healthy kid’s fare

Hmmmmm. . . . .  While I certainly like the idea of promoting healthy and nutritious foods, I also have a part of me that is hesitating.  The very notion of defining “healthy” opens up the proverbial can of worms, in my opinion.  For example, I am sure there is a whole mob of Paleo and Whole30 enthusiasts rebelling at the list above.  Where’s the beef, they no doubt cry.  Then the Celiac folks chime in, bristling at the inclusion of whole-grain breads.

I know that The New Healthful is just reporting the trends, and not trying to make the rules.  But it does make me wonder about the inherent trickiness of defining something.  Inevitably, someone will feel left out.  Someone else  will feel righteously vindicated.  Someone else will not care.  How do we make these kinds of broad decisions then?

Personally, I think dilemmas like this are exactly why we need to learn about and know ourselves.  Feel better eating meat?  Go for it!  Discovering that you are not built for speed but can go forever?  Awesome!  Educate yourself, try some different approaches, and then walk your own path.  I’m all for being the Wise Individual living within the Society.