Asparagus. It’s one of those grown up foods that took me awhile to get into.
When I say a grown up food I mean I literally started eating it like, a year or so back.
I know. Late to the party but better late than never, right?
There are so many amazing, tasty, and healthy veggies in the world I’m not sure how I almost missed out on this one.
Ok, why should you eat it ?
I can imagine some of you curling your lip at the idea of eating this stalk looking tree type veggie.
Hold up…don’t dismiss it just yet
This giant veggie is one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables — high in folic acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins, B6, and C. A 5-ounce serving provides 60% of the RDA for folic acid and is low in calories. You can enjoy this veggie raw or with minimal preparation.
The name for asparagus — a member of the lily family — comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout.” Now widely cultivated throughout the world, this regal vegetable is believed to have originated 2,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region, where it was prized for its unique texture and alleged medicinal and aphrodisiacal qualities.
Asparagus spears grow from a crown planted in sandy soils and, under ideal conditions, can grow 10 inches in a 24-hour period. The most common types are green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier.
It could help with your weightloss goals
Not only is asparagus low in fat and calories (one cup sets you back a mere 32 calories), but it also contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Because your body digests fiber slowly, it keeps you feeling full in between meals.
Fiber can definitely help you feel satiated, making it beneficial for weight loss.It can also aid constipation, and research suggests it may help lower cholesterol.
To maximize the veggie’s calorie-torching potential, pair it with a hard boiled egg: the combination of fiber-rich asparagus with the egg’s protein will leave you feeling satisfied.
Asparagus is full of antioxidants
Asparagus—purple asparagus in particular—is full of anthocyanins, which give fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple hues and have antioxidant effects that could help your body fight damaging free radicals. When preparing asparagus, try not to either overcook or undercook it. Although cooking the veggie helps activate its cancer-fighting potential, letting it boil or sauté for too long can negate some nutritional benefits. Overcooking asparagus could cause the vitamins to leech out into the water.
It can help with bloating
When it comes to fighting bloat Asparagus packs a mean punch. The veggie helps promote overall digestive health (another benefit of all that soluble and insoluble fiber!). And thanks to prebiotics—carbohydrates that can’t be digested and help encourage a healthy balance of good bacteria, or probiotics, in your digestive track—it can also reduce gas. Plus, as a natural diuretic, asparagus helps flush excess liquid, combating belly bulge.
Are there side effects to eating asparagus?
Yes and I wish someone woulda told me in advance.
It can make your urine smell.
I know. Gross 101. It is.
According to Smithsonian magazine, asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparagusic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which have a strong, unpleasant scent. They are also volatile, which means that they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. Asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t smell.
What’s weirder than a veggie causing stinky urine is that not everyone can smell it. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why this is. Most evidence seems to suggest that not everyone can smell the odor, though some scientists think that not everyone produces it.
Ok but that really is the least of your worries. Eating Asparagus and all the health benefits it offers far out weighs the unpleasant effect of stinky urine ( this won’t last long)
My favorite way to eat it is tossed with some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roasted till tender. I usually throw in garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes too. I add a little fresh parmesan at the end.
It’s amazingly delicious.
You can also grill or steam it. Honestly roasting veggies is my preferred way of eating them. I think it really enhances their flavors.
It’s really, really delicious with bacon wrapped around it ha
Your turn to weigh in. Do you like Asparagus? If so, do you have a preffered way to eat it?
Today boys and girls we’re gonna be talking about something interesting called a daikon radish. It looks a lot like a big white carrot but it’s actually a part of the radish tribe.
Ok but before I dive all into this, I want to share how I found them.
About a month ago I came across one of those ad’s Facebook delights in stuffing into our newsfeed, but this was one I was REALLY interested in, as opposed to some of the nonsense they think I wish to see.
It was for a company called “Imperfect Produce”. A quick read on it educated me that they are about reducing wasted produce that otherwise won’t make it into your local store.
I guess I never really gave much thought to the fact the fruits and vegetables you see are all generally similar sizes, shapes and attractive in appearance.
I never really thought about things being “to big” or “to small” or “to ugly” or “imperfect” to sell. It can also be to an over abundance of a certain food as well. Only so many zucchini can go on a store shelf……..
This company buys food from farmers and it’s kind of a win/win. The farmer makes some money on what might have gone to the pigs, it’s not being needlessly wasted, and you get a cool produce box that’s an interesting variety each week.
When I checked into it, by checking my zip code, I was already thinking they wouldn’t deliver in my area.
Well, imagine my surprise when they showed my area was a part of delivery service. For 4.99 they bring you this interesting box..
My first box came about 9:30 at night. They text you to let you know it’s on it’s way, and when they are close to you. I was really impressed that the box was so attractive and it was so pretty inside…..
not only that, it’s delivered in a chilled (uh… not like “chill” laid back and calm “chill” but cold.. hahaha) van so everything is nice, cold and fresh. It really impressed me… which I guess is why I’m starting my fourth order this week 🙂
Basically, you can choose all veggies, all fruit or mixed. You can choose from organic or regular produce. You can take the box the send you, or customize your own. You can also pick weekly service, or bi-weekly. I opted for a mixed box.
Not only all that, whoever does the marketing has a wicked fun sense of humor so I related to that as well.
Now back to our original story…..
When they showed Daikon radishes as being available, I figured why not give it a try? And like you, I knew nothing of them. So let’s get a little established on what they are.
The daikon radish looks like a white carrot. It’s a root vegetable, but instead of having a potent, peppery taste, it’s sweet, crisp and mild.
A part of the radish family it grows much larger than it’s counter parts, upwards of 20 inches long and 4 inches wide!
Unlike other radishes, it’s as good cooked, as it is raw.
On a nutritional level, they are full of vitamin A, C, E, B6, potassium, and other minerals, radishes can give your whole body an immunity boost.
Try them baked or boiled in stews and soups or in a stir fry. Also try them lightly steamed with olive oil, salt or lemon juice for flavor. Slice daikon radishes and eat raw with a dip or peanut butter or add shredded raw Daikon radishes to salads.
Daikon radishes are very popular in Asian dishes.
Daikon is quite perishable, so if serving it raw try to use it within 4 days of purchase. If cooking daikon, it can be stored up about a week. Keep it in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
So I looked for recipes and there are quite a few to be had. I liked the one that makes like fried “potatoes” out of it.
But one of the things many of these diets often show is plenty of vegetables, fruit, low fat dairy and lean protein as a way to get slimmer.
This doesn’t have to be labeled as anything, it is just sensible eating.
You can’t go wrong eating that way.
If I’m really pushing to lean out I key in on plenty of veggies and good quality protein.
Protein should make up about 30% of your meal in some form. It not only keeps you feeling satisfied, and your blood sugar level steady, it is essential for muscle building, repair, cell growth and lots of other important things in our bodies.
But what if you’re wanting to get more protein from plant related or other sources?
Is that possible?
Indeed it is with many tasty possibilities.
Lets look at some foods that offer protein packed benefits.
*Spinach. This is one of my favorite staples in my day often at breakfast and lunch. Spinach contains 5.3 grams of protein per cup. Interestingly the protein increases when cooked.
Other dark greens high in protein are kale, mustard greens and swiss chard.
*Sweet corn. Corn is often hated on but it can pack a nice nutritional punch and offers 4.7 grams per cup.
* Asparagus. I have to admit this is something I started eating as a big kid. Like uh….maybe a year or so back “big kid” haha
I guess it never seemed to interest me then one day I decided to experiment. Good thing too, asparagus offers 4.3 grams per cooked cup.
*Brussel sprouts. Gosh if there’s a veggie that gets hated on, it’s these little guys. Find a recipe that you think sounds good and try them. Just don’t boil them. They are amazing roasted in oven with a bit of olive oil. A cup serving will yield you about 4 grams.
*Mushrooms are another food I had to “grow into” a one cup serving is 3.9 grams. If that’s to much 3.5 ounces will get you 3.6 grams.
*Broccoli offers 3.7 grams for a cup.
*Edame or soybeans offer 18 grams for one cup!
*Black beans offer 7.6 grams for only a half cup. They are also loaded with lots of other healthy vitamins and minerals.
*This isn’t a veggie, but wild rice offers 6.5 grams for one cup.
*Almonds get you 6 grams per 1/4 cup. Toss some in with nonfat Greek yogurt and berries, its one of my favorite go to breakfasts when I’m time crunched.
*Potatoes. Are you surprised? A medium potato contains 4 grams!
* Steel cut oats…another non veggie but it contains 5 grams in its modest 1/4 cup serving.
*Chickpeas get you 6 grams in a half cup serving.
*Green peas contain more protein than any other vegetable which is why they are the primary protein source in many vegan protein powders. You’ll get about 9 grams of protein per cup and lots of healthy fiber too.
*Lentils are a huge source coming in at 18 grams for a one cup serving!
*Ok and a final one…I just have to include it because it’s such a powerhouse of protein, and that’s Greek yogurt. You get 23 grams of protein in 8 oz. And you will be getting lots of good for you friendly bacteria that help with digestion.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of protein foods that aren’t animal sourced.
Mixing up these types of foods will offer not only protein but lots of good body healthy vtimans and minerals while helping you stay lean.
Oops. In technical difficulties…I’m typing this on my phone and pulled up an image from my food post on calories and if they are equal. I didn’t realize this pic had text on it and I’m not sure how to make it leave haha anyway you can search up that post if you need more to read. 🤣 https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/05/the-equality-of-the-calorie/
Tell me. What’s your favorite non-meat source of protein?
It has come to my attention I haven’t done a food spotlight post in a red hot minute. I selfishly love doing them because I usually learn a lot more about foods I love and enjoy than I knew before I started researching the details for a post.
Me like… “wow! I’m eating so healthy!” haha
Seriously though, can you go wrong with veggies ?? I think not.
I decided to focus on one of my favorite “go to” veggies, the humble yellow squash.
Yellow squash, also called yellow zucchini or summer squash, is a hot weather vegetable picked in its immature stage to ensure a thin, edible skin and sweet, soft flesh. This squash typically ranges in size from 6 to 8 inches long, although it can be smaller, depending on when you pick the fruit
With the recent massive recall in the states on romaine lettuce because of e coli, the shelves have been stripped bare in stores and salads, well just haven’t been happening.
Yeah I know there’s “iceberg” lettuce, but really, why does that exist??
Anyway, I digress.
Not making salads ( a huge staple in my meals) I was looking at other creative veggie ideas while we waited for the lettuce to return.
One of my favorite ways to use squash is to mix it up with other things, like zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and some red onion, add some sea salt and crushed pepper, mix up with a little olive oil and roast in oven on a high heat. I then but it under the broiler for a few minutes to “crisp” the veggies a little.
I cannot tell you how seriously amazing it is.
Wait. First you need some nutritional facts.
One medium squash has a whole 32 calories!
One cup of raw, sliced yellow squash contains 18 calories. This low-calorie vegetable is an ideal side dish if you wish to lose weight. Yellow squash essentially has no fat — a 1-cup portion provides only 0.2 g.
A 1-cup serving of raw yellow squash provides you with 3.8 g of carbohydrates, or 2.9 percent of the 130 g suggested daily. Carbs serve as the main supply of energy for your body. Yellow squash also helps you consume the fiber you need each day; 1 cup contains 1.2 g. Fiber can play a critical role in helping you lose weight. High-fiber foods satisfy hunger better than low-fiber foods by providing more bulk in your diet. Fiber also helps regulate bowel movements and decreases your chances of developing diverticulitus, a condition that affects your colon. Include 25 to 38 g of fiber in your diet every day.
Yellow squash serves as a good source of vitamin C — each 1-cup portion contains 21.3 to 25.6 percent of the amount your body requires daily. Ascorbic acid, another name for vitamin C, is an antioxidant that blocks cellular damage from free radicals, helping to slow aging and possibly decreasing your risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
One portion of yellow squash also provides 8.6 to 11.1 percent of the daily recommended value of manganese, an essential trace mineral.
Have I convinced you to try it yet?
Listen if you’re sitting behind your screen gagging a little ’cause the only way you ever had it is when your Mom boiled it to death in water on the stove turning it into a form of mush well… I’m sorry she ruined you for it 😉
But wait! You’re all grown now, you should give it another chance and try it in some different recipes or try it like I suggested to you, mixed and roasted with other veggies.
It’s a winning combo to eat foods that are filling, nutritious and low calorie.
Of course I’ll offer some recipes for you to try.
Your turn! Do you like squash? Have you tried it? If so what’s your fav way to eat it ?
Mushrooms. Edible mushrooms are the fleshy and edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi. They can appear either below ground or above ground where they may be picked by hand.
I know, you already saw the title to this post and have thought about checking out and not reading past this sentence. Maybe my sass and humor might keep you around for at least the next paragraph or two 😉
Maybe you’re wondering of ALL the foods on the planet why I’d make fungus the subject of my food spotlight post. Why not something tastier and prettier to look at?
I know… I hear you.. but miss out on telling you cool things about mushrooms you may not even know?
Like get this… do you know their DNA is more closely related to a human level than plant?
They are more closely related to humans than plants.
Ahhhh… now I’ve got you!
Bet you didn’t know that, right?
So are mushrooms vegetables?
The simple answer is no, it’s not a vegetable although it’s in the vegetable family due to it’s nutritional make up.
Ok so hold on for a little science here…..
mushrooms are fruiting bodies of macroscopic filamentous fungi. Earlier when mycology ( the study of fungi) arose it was a part of botany. This happened because fungi were considered to be primitive plants. The biggest difference in a (plant) vegetable and a mushroom is how they get their food. Plants if you remember from middle school science, possess chlorophyll and make their own food via photosynthesis.
How handy is that?
Fungi on the other hand exist on decaying material in nature.
There are also the obvious structural differences, such as a lack of roots, leaves, and seeds.
Fungi basically have their own kingdom on the basis of cellular organization.
So the bottom line?
We share similar DNA’s.. have you ever thought much about how good mushrooms are almost like meat?
I will mention hubby strongly argues this point 😛
I won’t bog us down in anymore science stuff, go look if you don’t believe me.
Have you ever wondered why mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D? And one of the few sources that naturally contain it?
Because like us, they can absorb it from the sunlight.
Their cellular structure allows them to absorb it just like our skin does.
Eat your mushrooms for natural Vitamin D 🙂
I hate mushrooms.
Well, not anymore. I have to confess I haven’t started eating them till later in life. They started becoming more of a staple in my diet a few years ago, once I got past their ugly factor and bland appearance.
I can’t imagine now not tossing them in my basket with all the other produce.
They show up in my breakfast veggie blend, salads, stir fry, and oven roasted veggie mixes.
Heck, I even grind them up and toss them in with hamburger for spaghetti or taco meat but don’t tell my family that cause they will say I’m trying to poison them.
Seriously, ground mushrooms are great add in’s to hamburger dishes. I tell you, no one will know. 😉
What’s the nutritional low down
One medium mushroom has 4 calories… 4 measly little calories… which means you can eat a whole lot of them for not much impact.
Low in calories and fat and cholesterol-free, mushrooms contain a modest amount of fiber and over a dozen minerals and vitamins, including copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc and a number of B vitamins such as folate. Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants like selenium and glutathione, or GSH, substances believed to protect cells from damage and reduce chronic disease and inflammation.
One cup of mushrooms provides 1-2 grams of protein, have no fat or cholesterol and are very low in sodium.
So let’s eat.
If you haven’t been a mushroom fan, you might have to work through your issues 😉
Mushrooms are wonderful sautéed, especially with onions. They work great in casseroles, roasted veggie dishes and more.
Have you ever heard the term “going bananas” as a bit of speech to indicate things are crazy in life? Lately, I feel like that’s how things are, in a good way, but just trying to accomplish all I want to do in a day. I have to remind myself not ALL things must be done.. this is where lists come in handy… mental or written. Those pesky tasks need to be kept in some sort of organized order or they can make you feel, well, a little bananas 😉
If you haven’t snapped to it yet, bananas are what’s on todays food spotlight.
Random factoid first… did you know this humble fruit, botanically, is actually a berry?
Yeah, I didn’t know that either.
It’s tasty and makes a great pre workout snack in my belly that usually prefers no food before endurance sessions. Bananas are a great source of carbs, water and sugars to help athletes who are working hard. Eat one before or after for those healthy benefits.
Oh… and a quick shout out to Constantly Varied Gear for my cool new sports top. Hubby and a lot of my friends often call me a beast in regards to my athletic shenanigans so I couldn’t resist ordering it.
Check them out, Constantly Varied Gear, for cool athletic wear.
Now… those bananas… they make a great snack whenever but lets check out some more facts on them.
Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium. They may also help prevent asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease when incorporated into a healthy diet.
Potassium is an important mineral as it helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure. Potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones forming as people age. In turn, healthy kidneys make sure that the right amount of potassium is kept in the body. One medium sized banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium.
Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin B6 – 0.5 mg
Manganese – 0.3 mg
Vitamin C – 9 mg
Dietary Fiber – 3g
Protein – 1 g
Magnesium- 34 mg
Folate – 25.0 mcg
Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
Niacin – 0.8 mg
Vitamin A – 81 IU
Iron 0.3 mg
Fresh bananas are available year-round. Unlike other fruits, the ripening process of bananas does not slow down after they are picked. Bananas should be stored at room temperature.
The warmer the temperature, the faster bananas will ripen. However, to slow ripening, bananas should be refrigerated. The outer peel of the banana will darken but the banana itself will stay intact longer.
To encourage faster ripening, place the banana in a brown paper bag at room temperature.
My Mom used to say bananas just got more ripe, that they didn’t really “go bad”. I had to part ways with her on that thought watching gnats carry one off….
Not really… but to me there is a point where there is no way I’m eating that banana…. “ripe” or not.
Actually those super over ripened bananas make freaking awesome banana bread. I have one recipe that uses whole wheat flour… it’s actually the only recipe I use for banana bread ’cause it’s just… that… good.
If I don’t forget, I’ll post it in here for you 🙂
I am super selective in how I like my bananas and I think many people are, not just weirdo me.
They have to be this perfect, just right shade of yellow. No green anywhere (gross) and it can’t be heading into a darker yellow ’cause they seem way to sweet to me then and I just really don’t enjoy them like that.
Don’t bananas have a whole lot of sugar?
Bananas are on the sweeter side compared to other fruits. One large banana has about 120 calories and 17 grams of sugar compared to I cup of strawberries with 53 calories and 8 grams of sugar. However, in the context of watching sugar in your diet, it should be more of the refined sugars you are concerned about ( those found in soft drinks, table sugar, and other refined added sugars) not natural occurring sugar as found in fruit. When a nutritionist might say to limit sugars in your diet, they mean added refined sugars. Eating a piece of fruit there’s no “added” sugar.
Plus some of the carbs in bananas come in the form of dietary fiber…. 3.5 grabs per large banana…. about 15% of your daily needs.
Green bananas contain a type of carb called resistant starch . (As bananas ripen, the starch turns into sugars, making the banana sweeter.) Because resistant starch isn’t easily digested, it reduces the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream, helping control blood sugar. Research also suggests that resistant starch helps maintain the balance of healthy gut microbes.
Let’s talk more about eating them….
Do you know bananas make great add in’s to baked goods for a rich moist ( cake, brownies whatever) you can substitute half the amount of oil with mashed bananas. So if you needed a cup of oil, you could do half oil and half bananas. This reduces calories and fat but still gives that full flavor.
One fun and tasty way to eat them as a cool frozen treat is to slice them, dip in dark chocolate and freeze. I can’t tell you how delicious they are. I first stumbled across them in the frozen section at store and then wondered why I was paying for something so simple to make 😛
Bananas are also great tossed in homemade smoothies, giving added texture and creaminess along with the health benefits from the banana.
Topping oatmeal, plain yogurt, or peanut butter and toast with banana slices is an excellent way to add nutrition and sweetness without added sugar.
Of course there’s the standard muffins, pie, custard, breads…. yummy….
How about a couple recipes? I thought this peanut butter banana bar looked awesome
In summary bananas are not only a tasty, low calorie snack that can be used in a variety of ways, they are loaded with tons of nutrients and minerals that our bodies love.
And of course, I don’t think you can go wrong with it pre or post workout for an energizing snack 🙂
Your turn now… how do you like bananas? Do you use them to cook with or just eat as is? Do you have any recipes you like using them?