Our friends at Paleo Worksin Yorkshire have written a wonderful essay about a dietary marvel known as the sweet potato, which includes delightful preparation and serving suggestions. Read it HERE, and while on their page, you can read about the sensible, successful Paleo Diet. Below, please find a recipe for a health-promoting salad that I devised using yams and red cabbage or beets. The Okinawan people of Japan have for centuries relied upon yams as a central component of their diet, and attribute their traditional great longevity to the tasty tubers.
Cucumbers, celery and red onions all chopped finely and dressed with vinegar and olive oil comprise a health-promoting salad. This elegant vegetable dish is refreshing in summer, and can help to prevent colds in winter. Vinegar helps to adjust your body’s alkalinity to the desired level, and olive oil is beneficial to the heart, reduces corporeal inflammation, and is now commonly known as an anti-cancer food.
The Elegant Yam: a Versatile, Health-Promoting Root-Vegetable
Eating yams or sweet potatoes every day is believed to be one of the reasons the people of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest average life expectancy in the world.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the yam is “neutral” in nature–somewhere between yin and yang. Its properties can help to tranquilise the mind, preserve youthful skin, nourish the spleen, stomach, kidneys, aid in digestion, and contribute to a feeling of fullness, something that can aid both dieters and poor people.
Yams contain vitamin B6, which can soothe the mind as well as boost immunity. Rich in linoleic acid and fibre, yams not only help to alleviate constipation, but can also reduce cholesterol build-up blood vessels, a process which helps prevent arteriosclerosis and thrombosis.
The yam is rich in protein, vitamins A , E and C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Although its vitamin B1 and B2 content is six and three times higher than that of rice respectively, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of yams produce only 99 calories, a one-third the amount that rice contains. Because yams are alkaline foods, they can help decrease body fat. Acid foods lead to fat-storage in the human body. Yams and sweet potatoes also contain lycopene, which is believed to help prevent prostate cancer. A hormone-like, anti-inflammatory compound called dioscin exists in both yams and sweet potatoes, as well as vitamin C and carotenoids.
Sweet potatoes and yams have the same qualities, even though they are from different families, so substituting the root-vegetable known as sweet potato for yams is perfectly acceptable and will yield the same health-results when eaten. If the yam or sweet potato is too sweet for your liking, there are several ways to incorporate them into your diet that will make them seem less so. For example, a well-scrubbed yam may be chopped into matchsticks or slivers, fibrous skin and all, and added to a stir-fry. Adding soy sauce to sweet potatoes and yams will give them a more balanced taste. Soaking them in Himalayan salt solution will also do wonders for the flavour of sweet potatoes and yams. Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2010
The deep colour of red or purple cabbage is caused by a high concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, giving it significantly more phytonutrients than green cabbage. Anthocyanin pigments are strong dietary antioxidants, and possess anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they can play a role in protecting the human body from cancer and other degenerative diseases.
100 grams (about 3 ounces) of raw purple cabbage can contain as much as 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins (deep red, blue and purple pigments found in plants). Green cabbage contains a comparatively low 45 milligrams of polyphenols, which include less than one milligram of anthocyanins. The “vitamin C equivalent,” which represents the antioxidant quotient of red or purple cabbage, is roughly eight times higher than that of green cabbage. Red cabbage is one of the most nutritious and potentially best-tasting vegetables on planet Earth. Shredded thinly and marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, eating red cabbage is a powerful health-tonic. In my photograph of a purple cabbage salad, I have added yellow pear tomatoes and feta cheese to it for a colourful and nutritious dish.
Easy to grow, red or purple cabbage will continue to thrive until the garden has suffered many deep-frost nights.
Elegant Yellow Summer Squash, Fried in Health-Promoting Coconut Oil
This summer squash was grown in my garden, where vegetables grow without pesticides or chemicals of any sort, and with the aid of some compost that I created from vegetal kitchen scraps over several months.~~M-J