Answer: They are all award-winners for The Color Purple.
As I'm sure you know, “eating the rainbow” is a smart way to ensure you are consuming the full range of plant phytonutrients. Colorful veggies and fruits are packed with important antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. But, did you know that purple foods are among the healthiest on earth? A diet high in violet, purple and deep blue-toned produce is a cancer-fighting powerhouse. Blueberries, currants, grapes, blackberries, beets, blue butterfly pea tea leaves, and purple varieties of kale, sweet potato, cabbage, cauliflower, onion and carrots are some of nature's most beautiful and important gifts put here on earth for our benefit.
Take the purple sweet potato, for example. According to the USDA, these dark beauties have more than four times the antioxidant potential of other potatoes. In fact, on the antioxidant power scale, purple spuds score as high as Brussels sprouts, kale or spinach.
What purple's secret? Purple foods are rich sources of specific antioxidants called anthocyanin, betalain and/or resveratrol – health-promoting chemicals that boost immunity, protect cells and heal your body. Research suggests they play an active role in promoting eye and heart health, decreasing cancer cell proliferation, preventing dementia and more.
Studies show that blueberries improve both blood pressure and the suppleness of arteries. Plums and prunes, rich sources of dietary fiber, may decrease blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol when eaten regularly. Cauliflower, like all cruciferous vegetables, has cancer-fighting powers; its purple variety has the added oomph of anthocyanin and sulfur compounds that help your body get rid of the toxins that can damage cells.
Oh, and anthocyanins are also found abundantly in some teas, honey, wines, nuts, olive oil and cocoa. Of special note is blue butterfly pea tea, a delightful tea leaf that makes a superbly healthful deep blue tea. Note: For fun, add lemon juice and watch its color change before your eyes.
Plants' many colors have a multitude of benefits. In general, the darker, the better. Include purple fruits and vegetables into your diet at least 4-5 days a week along with dark green, orange and yellow foods for maximum benefits.
Baked Quinoa Pancake with Blueberries
You may remember the puffy, oven-baked pancake that was popular in the 1970’s. I looked forward to its almost popover-like crispy-chewy consistency. This is my updated, gluten-free, healthier version of that delicious treat. Quinoa is a high-protein seed. Ghee is a clarified butter that no longer contains whey or casein proteins and is therefore considered non-dairy. It has been used for thousands of years with Ayurvedic treatments, and it has a slightly caramel flavor. Purchase organic grass-fed ghee (or coconut oil) from your local health food market. Xantham gum is frequently used in gluten-free foods for its gluten-like binding quality. It is a natural product produced by harmless bacteria.
1 T ghee (or coconut oil)
¼ c quinoa flour
½ c almond milk (store-bought organic or preferably, homemade nut milk)
1 t xantham gum
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
drizzle of maple syrup
Preheat oven to 475º. Place ghee into oven-proof 11” sauté pan. When oven is ready, place pan in oven to melt ghee and heat pan for 3 minutes. Meanwhile add the next 5 ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth and consistency of thick cream. Add a splash of almond milk to thin if necessary and combine. Carefully remove pan from oven, and pour in batter. Use spatula or back of spoon to spread batter out evenly on bottom of pan. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Immediately squeeze lemon juice on top of pancake and top with berries and syrup.
And see my October 2016 blog post, "Fast Food Done Right" for my purple sweet potato fries recipe.