Most probably you have heard the saying that every coin has a flip side. It is applicable to healthy nutrition as well. Let me illustrate what I mean: in a globalized world as ours we hear about healthy foods, herbs and super foods grown on the other side of the globe and we want them on our table. We focus on their health benefits and tend to ignore the rest of the story. And the rest of the story is how the growing popularity of certain foods affects the local population in the areas where these are staple foods and what is the eco-print of transporting these foods to the other side of the globe.
I can’t stop thinking about these effects after reading this article. And I am trying to eat local as much as possible. Yet, I am very curious when it comes down to food and always eager to try and experiment with new tastes.
Sweet potatoes are not a local food in my country. I first tried them last year and absolutely loved them. I was further amazed when I read about their health benefits that distinguish these potatoes from ordinary white potatoes. If it was not for the above-mentioned social and environmental considerations, I could eat sweet potatoes at least twice a week. Now I limit my consumption to no more than once per month – as I do with the group of “indulgence foods”.
If you live in an area where sweet potatoes are local food, make sure you eat them more often, because they are indeed a healthy choice. Although they taste sweeter than ordinary potatoes, they rank lower in the glycemic index which means that they place our blood sugar at lower risk. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, and a good source of copper, fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium. When it comes down to vitamins sweet potatoes are a more concentrated source of vitamin C than ordinary potatoes and an excellent source of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene. The vitamin C and beta-carotene work as powerful antioxidants and help eliminate free radicals and damaging molecules that are associated with the development of conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and heart disease.
Most importantly sweet potatoes do not belong to the nightshade family as ordinary potatoes, which means that they do not contain the alkaloid substances that are allergy provoking and are the reason many people avoid the nightshade family.
I have a few favourite recipes with sweet potatoes and this is the simplest one. Yet, it is so delicious! I am not going to convince you that roasted sweet potatoes taste the same as French fries but they are the closest substitute that keeps you in the healthy zone. The spicy coating in the recipe below is lovely if you are a fan of spicy food and contrasts nicely with the freshness and coolness of the green pesto.
Yesterday while I was writing this post one of my favourite bloggers Sarah B from My New Roots published her recipe of sweet potato fries. It sounds very intriguing and the next time I bake sweet potatoes I will add cornmeal to the coating to see if I can make my roasted “fries” both spicy and crispy.
Roasted Sweet Potatоes
Ingredients (2 servings):
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tbs ghee
- 1 tbs chilly paprika
- 1 tbs dried rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
Peel and slice the potatoes into long sticks. Try to achieve as similar size as possible. Rinse well the sticks and pat them dry with a kitchen towel.
Melt the ghee and mix it with the spices. Drizzle the mixture over the potatoes and toss them around to coat well.
Line a try with a baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on a single layer, leaving space between the sticks.
Preheat the oven to 200C and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden. Serve warm with the green pesto.
Fresh Green Pesto
Ingredients (for 1 cup):
- 1 cup raw cashew soaked for 2-3 hours
- 1 bunch of greens (celery, parsley, cilantro, mint or a combination)
- the juice of 1 small lemon
- 1/3 cup filtered water
- 1 tsp salt
Drain the cashew, place in a high-speed blender and pulse a few times to turn into meal. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.
The pesto can be stored in a closed jar in the fridge for 2-3 days.