Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Carrots

I harvested this very strange little carrot and just had to share him with the world. He was planted in some beautious potting mix stolen from Gabriel Valley Farm, a local organic grower (when working at The Natural Gardener, about a million squash plants died after being not purchased for too long and me and my co-workers spent a few hours dumping the plants and saving the potting mix. Victory was mine). Anyway, the potting mix has a lot of crystally shiny bits, which i think may have impeded the progress of the carrot and caused it to divide thusly:

Carrots are clearly good for you, though they're a bit higher in sugar content than some other vegetables and maybe not as great a choice of a 'calorie free snack' as say celery would be. Here's the breakdown:

But as you can see, kind of high in sugar per the rest of their nutritional content.

I recall growing up that carrots were supposed to help you 'see in the dark'. Natural news says this about carrots and vision:
"It turns out carrots really do give your eyes a boost because they contain beta-carotene, which the body is able to convert into vitamin A, an essential vitamin for healthy vision. Vitamin A, also called retinol, is key in fighting vision problems like cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and night blindness. It is found primarily in fish oils, liver, eggs and fortified dairy products. However, if you don't eat animal products, you can make sure you are getting plenty of vitamin A by eating fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids like beta-carotene, which the body then converts to useful vitamin A, called "provitamin A." "   -
But don't forget the dark leafy greens with their cartenoids as well - we all need a balanced diet to get the vitamins and minerals we need and which help each other be absorbed and utilized. Having a ton of iron of vitamin A is great, but you also need their counterparts that facilitate their absorption.  As a general rule, try to eat at least 1 or 2 servings of richly colored vegetables a day - think spinach, kale, beets, carrots, even red wine. But i also remember my friends in high school who were dieting, eating a baggy full of carrots and thinking they were doing their body good: sugar is sugar, my friends. Try mixing up raw carrots and celery or jicama or radishes along with some homemade hummus that's low in oil. That makes for a satisfied, balanced, and reduced sugar lunch snack. And celery is filling, man! Try eating a whole bunch of celery and you'll be exhausted by the end just due to the crunching. ha.

Anyhoo, here's to your health, and enjoy the rest of your wednesday.

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