Fun with Super Foods

by Debbie Harris — As the information about what healthy eating consists of has changed, I’ve been trying to incorporate what they call “super foods” into my diet, but it hasn’t been easy.

I purchased my first kale from a fundraiser farmer’s market for a dollar and I made salad out of it. I think it took me 45 minutes of solid chewing to eat that salad. Apparently kale provides nutrition and exercise. When I had some kale leftover from a soup my daughter-in-law made (surprisingly, there was leftover kale!), I thought I’d try making kale chips. I consulted the Wizard of All, known as Google, and found that I could bake them at a high temperature with olive oil on them. I did so and made . . . a panful of kale ash.

On prompting of said daughter-in-law, I bought Quinoa, an odd grain with an odd pronunciation. It’s not “Kwinoa” as an English speaking person would pronounce it or “Keenoa,” the way a Spanish speaking person would pronounce it. It’s “Keenwah,” probably named by the peoples of the Andean tribes who discovered it and used it as a dietary staple until we yuppified their nutritional secret. Quinoa consists of small, young, spiral grains that can be cooked like rice. Besides the unusual texture, quinoa is bland and has to be flavored. I tried it for breakfast with some brown sugar on it and it wasn’t bad. Of course, sugar can improve just about anything.

A person I work with gave me some Swiss chard that I sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper. Bleh! I tried to tell myself that it was big spinach, but I was only able to eat it when I mixed it with another taste that I could focus on. Those of us raised on white bread and gravy sometimes need to disguise our nutrition.

It would seem that I’m committed to increasing my healthy food intake because someone else at work gave me a gourd-like orangeish-yellow, bumpy-skinned vegetable that I peeled, gutted, cut up, sautéed (my standard way to prepare a new vegetable) and ate. It was pretty good, but it’s a little unnerving eating a food I don’t know anything about, except that it’s a vegetable. Vegetables are supposed to be good for you, right?

Chia seeds must be the adhesive of the super foods. I purchased a small bag and sprinkled them on my salad. Once the dressing was added, it was all over. The chia stuck to the side of the salad bowl, the fork, my lips, and had to be crow-barred out from between my teeth. I wonder if any actually got into my digestive system and if it’s still stuck there. No wonder people in the 70s made chia pets. They wanted a companion that would stick around for a while!

I don’t know where couscous (coos-coos) falls on the health scale, but I tried some. It’s cooked like rice and has a mild pleasant flavor. It wasn’t badbad.

If you want something sweet, you can try a ginger chew, a candy with ginger that calms the stomach and aids digestion. I enjoy them, but am now aware that at the point when I’m well into chewing the candy and savoring the sweetness and spice, a tiny jalapeño pepper effect jumps out to let me know that ginger isn’t just any spice. Hello.

So the adventure to incorporate healthier food into my diet goes on. Bon appétit.

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