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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Eat Your Colors!

Eat Your Colors!

If you want to be healthy, be sure to eat your colors. No, I don’t mean Skittles or food coloring, or even Easter eggs. I’m talking about fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, the more colorful your plate is, the better it is for you.

This is how nutritional science explains it; plants are made out of phytonutrients that help protect the plant from diseases found in the soil and its environment. These phytonutrients are part of what give a plant its pigment, so purple plants and red plants, for example, have different combinations of phytonutrients (not to mention vitamins and minerals).

When we eat those colors, those phytonutrients protect us in a similar way to how they protect the plant. In the cooking classes I teach, I make a large generalization and break it down like this: Red is good for your heart; yellow and orange are good for your eyes; blue, purple, and black are good for your brain and memory; and green is good for your bones. By eating all these different colors everyday, you feed not just one part of your body, but your whole body. In reality, it’s not quite that simple, but the simpler you present techniques to eating healthy, the more likely people are to do it.

Summertime is a great time to put this principle into practice. Whether you grow your own food or buy it from your local farmers’ market or grocery store, there is no better time to start painting your plate with a rainbow of produce.

I’ll be back next month with more easy and helpful nutrition tips. In the meantime, here are a few recipes to get you started eating your colors.

Spinach Strawberry Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients:
3 cups spinach/lettuce mixture
1 pints strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/2 purple onion, sliced

Dressing:
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Directions:
Toast pecans over low heat, set aside to cool. Combine dressing ingredients and shake well. Toss and garnish with a few sliced strawberries. Serve immediately. If you’d like, use a high-speed mini-mixer to emulsify the dressing.

Massaged Kale Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients:
Kale, 16 large leaves
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 -1 teaspoon salt
Chopped and toasted almonds, pine nuts, or sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup bell peppers, diced (red or green)

Directions:
De-vein the kale, then roll up 4 or so kale leaves at a time and slice thinly to make thin, long strips. Place in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and dig in your (clean) hands and massage the kale in the liquids. Add diced bell peppers and nuts. Lasts for 3 days refrigerated, tastes better if left to marinate for a little bit.

Healthful Hint: Try adding kalamata olives and/or fresh basil!

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.