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The Best of MTTD………..

 

This post originally ran on July 23, 2010

The recipe today was first posted on July 14, 2010

The Truth About Super Foods

I hear and read about Superfoods all the time on TV and in magazines. This vegetable will make my skin look like a new-born baby’s. This berry will help me lose 1000 pounds in two hours! This fruit will keep me from ever dying. And as the claims become more outlandish the cost of these foods keeps going up, up, and away!

Well, like my parents always used to tell me, “Don’t believe everything you read or hear.”  

Yes, there are foods that are good and healthy for us. And some foods have an abundance of healthy nutrients. But according to the May, 2010 issue of Cooking Light magazine:

“What’s hyped isn’t necessarily healthy, and the fuss about “super” nutrients is much ado about…………..not much.”   [emphasis mine]

Kathy Kitchens Downie, Registered Dietician writes:

It’s easy to see why the superfood idea sells so well: Some foods do boast an abundance of certain nutrients that are deemed healthy…….

The superfood idea has launched a thousand supplements, drinks, diet plans, and cookbooks in the past decades, promoting everything from green teas to soybeans to a previously obscure South American palm berry called the açai (listed recently on Oprah.com as “Dr. Perricone’s #1 Superfood”). Why eat an ordinary food when you can eat a food that is so much more, well, super?

Moderation and Variety

The article’s main point seems to be what I have always believed and have written about before on this blog. That is, MODERATION and VARIETY are key to a healthy eating and life style.

Ms Downie goes on to say:

Almost everything in modern nutrition research suggests that your whole diet—which should be a varied one, containing lots of plants, with moderate amounts of total fat and salt—is the thing to focus on.

Dark chocolate, edamame, and green tea do not a whole diet make. There’s nothing wrong with many superfoods (we will not come between you and your chocolate)……

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Clearly Ms Downie is not a member of the food police. Thank heaven!!! No one can come between me and my dark chocolate!!!  NO ONE!!!  I like this lady. Very much.

But she goes on to say:

……..what’s wrong is the claim of superpower status. [emphasis mine] The superfood concept worries me because it suggests a magic way to get the nutrients you need…..

And here’s the real kicker: 

………..the superfood moniker actually means nothing, scientifically.

Really?????
I didn’t know that!!!!!

“There’s no official definition of what makes a superfood,” says Marisa Moore, RD, LD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “Superfoods are just foods that are purported to have significant health benefits over other foods.

But What About Those Antioxidants? 

Antioxidants are the focus of a lot of superfood hype. Substances that inhibit cell damage caused by oxidation are thought to play a role in the prevention of many diseases. But science has a hard time saying which of these substances help the body, and in which quantities, let alone isolating a single one for any superpower. 

What? You mean I don’t have to spend a $5.00 an ounce on açai berries? Not that I would, but it’s a relief to know.

Meanwhile, less-hyped (but more fully researched) antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, and E, don’t receive as much love. Grapes, cherries, blueberries, and wine offer the same antioxidants as açai for a lot less dough.

The fine print!! What about the fine print? Not wanting to raise any dummies my parents also repeatedly warned me to look for and always read the “fine print.” Evidently Ms Downie had parents like mine:

Looking at the fine print reveals another problem: Sugar, corn syrups, and other empty-calorie additions often top the ingredient list on candy, fruit snacks, or sugary drinks disguised as superfoods. That, in my view, is superlame.

[……….]

We can just look for fresh, in-season raspberries, strawberries, or cherries to get our antioxidants.

Here is a nice summary of the article:

No single food holds the key to good health. Eat a variety of colorful foods.

In the future I hope there are more articles like this one sharing common sense nutrition. Wouldn’t that would be a welcome relief from the scare media headlines that scream at us all the time?

Featured Recipe      Watermelon Salad With Red Onion and Black Olives

If you like watermelon you will love this. Unfortunately, I do not know what cooking, recipe, or woman’s magazine I got this recipe from. Like many of you, I clip recipes from magazines all the time.

When I clipped this one years ago I never knew I would have a blog (there were no blogs in those days) and that I might need to source it some day. I even did an internet search. But no luck. Nigella has a similar recipe using Feta Cheese. In fact, it is the first recipe to come up doing an internet search. But this clipping is much older than Nigella’s rise to fame. And this recipe uses no cheese.

And, as usual, I have changed the recipe just a wee bit.

First the original recipe calls for using either red or yellow watermelon. Why limit myself? I use both. It is so much prettier!! Second, the original recipe calls for using cilantro. I substitute parsley.

Also, be aware that oil cured black olives may be difficult to find. Not many stores carry them. If you cannot find them (they are available on-line) just substitute regular black olives or Kalamata olives.

This is what you will need to make 4 salads:

¼ small yellow watermelon

¼ small red watermelon

¼ red onion sliced as thinly as possible

2 tablespoons oil cured black olives

2-3 tablespoons parsley

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

S&P to taste

Here is what you do:

Cut the watermelon flesh into 1 to 1½ chunks, removing seeds if necessary as you do this. Place the watermelon in a large salad bowl.

Slice the onions into thin strips.

Remove the pits from the olives (unless you were smart and purchased olives already pitted.) and chop the parsley. Add the onions, olives, and parsely to the watermelon chunks. Doesn’t that look so pretty already?

Now make the dressing; Add the olive oil and the sherry vinegar to a small jar with a lid and shake till well mixed.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And Voilà!!!!! 

The Perfect Summer Saald

Bon Appetit!!!!

Cost 

¼ small yellow watermelon*                    $2.56

¼ small red watermelon*                        $2.24

¼ red onion                                            $0.18

2 tablespoons oil cured black olives           $0.15

2-3 tablespoons parsley                           $0.05

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil              $0.17

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar                      $0.04

S&P to taste

Total Cost = $5.39
Cost per person for 4 salads = $1.34

Quote of the Day  

Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

Albert Einstein 

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3 comments to The Best of MTTD………..

  • What a beautiful salad!

    I don’t listen to any of the hype. I like to eat real food and rarely buy anything but ingredients to cook my own. I know what’s gone into it, I know it’s fresh and that says healthy to me.

    None of the food I serve has any fine print I cannot pronounce!

  • so BEAUTIFUL! I just love learning from all you smart people – so much is possible!

  • I love the idea of all of those flavors looks so yummy!