By Betsy Bruns
Chances are you have been told a time or two to eat your vegetables. Vegetables are a must to enjoy optimal health, yet they go down easier for some than others. Do you know there are people walking around this planet, and you may be one of them, whose lips rarely meet with a piece of broccoli or a spear of asparagus? Even so, most know that to be healthy, vegetables need a place on our plates, yet how often have you been told to eat your fruit?
Adding to the confusion, some doctors tell patients to limit fruit consumption and the popular low-carb diets of the moment are doing the same. The low-carb craze has got some people feeling a little leery of fruit. Others have developed a fruit-phobia. Should they be concerned about the abundance of carbs and natural sugar? Is fruit a bad thing, or is there just some fake fruit news out there?
According to The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, eating fruit every day may reduce the risk of heart disease by 40 percent and cut the risk of overall death by 32 percent. That’s pretty good news.
In 2012, a study involving 500 researchers in 50 countries on the leading causes of death and disease was published. It reported that here in the U.S. our biggest killer was our diet and the number one risk was not eating enough fruit. Around the world, low fruit intake was estimated to be responsible for nearly five million deaths a year. Now, that’s scary.
Truth is, it’s an easy fix. In this country, fruit is accessible and can be quite affordable. In fact, it could save money. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “If Americans ate just one more serving of fruits or vegetables per day, it would save more than 30,000 lives and $5 billion in medical costs each year.”
While you can get your daily fruit by peeling and eating an orange, you can also incorporate fruit-based fare that will refresh your taste buds and satisfy your appetite. These recipes just might spice up your fruit tooth.
Makes 6 ½ cup servings
Young jackfruit is the star ingredient in this recipe. Jackfruit has gained popularity recently with the rise in plant-based eating. Its fibrous texture resembles meat in vegan dishes. Rich in vitamin C, potassium and phytochemicals, it helps to protect against cancers and other chronic diseases. If you are not able to find young canned jackfruit at your local grocer, you can find it online or in Asian markets.
Seasonings that make this recipe stand out are kelp granules and black salt. Kelp is a sea vegetable and lends a fishy taste. Black salt, also known as kala namak, has a sulfur-like flavor which delivers an eggy taste. It’s optional but highly recommended. You can find it in Asian markets or online.
1 -20 ounce can of young jackfruit in brine
½ cup cannellini beans
½ medium diced onion
2 carrots, shredded or finely chopped
Sweet pickle relish to taste
2 tablespoon vegan mayo (low-fat is best)
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon black salt or to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon kelp granules
Pour jackfruit into a colander, rinse, then put into a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until it breaks apart easily into chunks. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the cannellini beans. Using a fork, mash and break apart jackfruit and beans into tuna-like chunks. Mix in chopped veggies and relish.
In a separate small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together, then add to the jackfruit mixture and stir well. Check seasonings and adjust to your liking. Chill for three hours or more. Serve in a sandwich, wrap or on a bed of greens.
Minted Fruit Kebabs
Makes 4 Servings
8 red or green grapes
4 large strawberries
4 1-inch-square cantaloupe chunks
4 1-inch-square honeydew chunks
4 1/2-inch-thick slices peeled kiwi
4 1-inch-square watermelon chunks
¼ cup orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 10-inch bamboo skewers
Thread 1 grape, 1 strawberry, 1 cantaloupe chunk, 1 honeydew chunk, 1 slice kiwi, 1 watermelon chunk and 1 more grape onto a skewer.
Repeat with the remaining fruit and skewers. Place the finished skewers in a shallow container.
In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, mint and vanilla.
Pour the marinade over the fruit kebabs, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours) in the refrigerator before serving.
Betsy Bruns is a plant-based health coach, “Food for Life” instructor with the “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping practitioner. When she isn’t making healing food taste like comfort food, or helping clients tap away stress and cravings with EFT, she’s cuddling her one-eared French bulldog, Van Gogh. Visit her at Vegsetter.com.
Fruit and jackfruit salad – Betsy Bruns
Minted Fruit Kebabs – recipe photo by PCRM.org/Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Minted Fruit Kabob recipe and photo Source: Power Foods for the Brain by Neal Barnard, M.D.