Yucky looks to great taste!

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  In my opinion, the same applies to food.  I’ll be the first to admit that when eating something new, I pick through it and smell it.  When my husband and I travel or for special occasions, we like to try new things.  Makes our experiences more fun, memorable and worth the dollars.  I especially love trying out local restaurants where the food is typically fresh and made from scratch.  However, don’t count on me to judge the food…I don’t have a chef’s palate and what’s good to me, may not be good for everyone else. 

Fresh food has a lot of great health benefits inside and out.  Yes, they can quickly add to the grocery bill, but they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients that can minimize health complications.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearly states that foods with nutritional value can help protect us from chronic diseases.  My Uncle gave us a great book, “Empowering Your Health” that explains the health benefits of various foods and vitamins in details supported by references and resources.  Nevertheless, in the long run, the cost either cancels out or prevents some pricey treatments.  I find it better to purchase fresh food especially fruits and veggies, when you know you will eat them that week so they don’t rot.  Food that looks yucky can taste great just psychologically knowing it can benefit our long-term health.  Eating healthy not only enhances our energy for performance, but it can also help fight disease and illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and even fatigue.   My best friend got me a couple books for my birthday, “Race Day Recipes” and “The Feed Zone Cookbook,” that are super easy to read and makes it fun to learn about the benefits of fresh food and athletic performance.  However, I would recommend these books for anyone because it breaks it down by meals and explains the benefits of all the foods such as almonds, avocados, spinach, etc. with interesting facts. 

Have you tried…
Here are a few things I tried for the first time and thought were pretty good after overcoming the yucky looks, smells, or texture:

1.     Squid linguine – something my husband and I tried on our southern, coastal anniversary, or what we call Honeymoon #4.
                         Benefits: it is thought to prevent cancer and black foods are good for the bladder (particular females), according to Dr. Oz. 
2.     Caviar – part of our Anniversary meal at Niche in St. Louis (on a gift card).  I was telling my husband it feels like fish eggs in my mouth and he said giggling, “it is fish eggs.”  It’s hard to eat what you think you’re eating, but it was good.
             Benefits: immune booster (Livestrong) and good Omega 3 fat (WebMD)
3.     Raw Oysters – the flavor was NOT satisfying to my husband’s taste buds while on our belated honeymoon in Bora Bora. In fact, he said it tasted like he ran his tongue on the bottom of the ocean floor.  I didn’t dare try, it really does smell bad and looks yucky, however, he continues to eat them out of the cans.
              Benefits:  hmm…let’s just say I think I know why men in particular are interested in having oysters in their diet.  I don’t often see women eating them nor do I hear women say they like oysters.
4.     Salmon – this fish is best fresh. I’m talking, coastal fresh.  I would never eat Salmon until I went to Alaska…it was so good I couldn’t get enough of it.  When I returned to the “lower 48,” I haven’t been able to enjoy it since.  It is good if fresh from the market…not frozen.
              Benefits:  good source of protein especially if it’s ‘wild-caught’ and contains the good Omega 3 fats (from ‘Race Day Recipes’)
5.     Fruit and spinach smoothies – if you don’t like green food, well, you may have to close your eyes and drink.  A friend motivated me to try this and when I took her advice…wow! It’s really good!  In fact, I don’t like smoothies that are too sweet or tart because after a few drinks I’m already tired of it.  The spinach tones it down.
               Benefits: spinach contains lots of rich nutrients – vitamins A, B2, B6, C, and Folate, iron, calcium, potassium and more! (from ‘Race Day Recipes’)
6.    Kiwano Horned Melon – a fruit my cousin grew out of his garden and we all tried it for the first time over the Holidays.  Looks really strange with just as interesting flavor.  It was like a taste-guessing game these are some flavors our palate processed:  jello-like consistency, cucumber, kiwi, a green banana. 
               Benefits: good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron and antioxidants.

I know it's not good to show photos of food,
but, this caviar in maple custard we experienced, was actually good! 
Tips from Tiff
-       Buy fresh food the week you plan to eat them so they don’t spoil
-       Frozen fruits and veggies are still good…especially for smoothies!
-       If your fruit is going bad, freeze them.  We have a friend who freezes his bananas and those are GREAT for smoothies as well. And, frozen grapes are refreshing in the summer time.
-       Explore your local farmers markets, orchards, and local restaurants…spice up the adventures.

Experimenting not only adds to the fun, but it can surprise you at times.   After trying the fruit smoothies the past couple weeks as part of my post-workout recovery drink, I definitely feel refreshed and energized. 

A recipe worth trying
If you like blueberries, bananas, and spinach…this smoothie is quite refreshing:

½ cup fresh blueberries
1 banana
1 cup fresh spinach (I use a handful)
¼ - 1 cup of liquid (I used a cup of soy milk to give it more of a creamy base but can use other forms of raw liquid such as cashew milk or fresh squeezed fruit juice)
4 ice cubes
Optional: fresh strawberries (I love strawberries and added the few I had left) and agave nectar or raw honey can be used as natural sweeteners for the smoothies if you find them too bland. 

Blend or puree all the ingredients and you have a smoothie full of rich nutrients!
It doesn't look so bad, right? 

Disclaimer:  Please note I’m not a dietician, chef or a food expert…these are just from my experiences and what I find beneficial for my health.  My GI doesn’t tolerate certain things so these are simply things you can try or explore in more details via Google or reputable sources.  However, please be aware of known (or unknown allergies) before attempting new things.  

Quote of the day:  Food should be fun.  ~ Thomas Keller

Bible verse of the day:  “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life…”  ~ John 6:27


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