Do you believe in miracles of the cruciferous variety?

April 4th, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

If you live in Canada you may have come across the pro-broccoli commercials that hit the airways this winter. They are a bit off-the-wall (very Ikeaesque) but I think it is pretty amazing that advertising dollars are being spent promoting this nutrient powerhouse. Checkout the first Miracle Food Campaign commercial to see what I’m talking about.

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin A, C, calcium andfolicacid. These fantastic florets are a source of fibre (both soluble and insoluble) and have been found to fight cancer cells!

I love the taste of broccoli but I know many people who find it bitter and off-putting. I believe that our taste buds are highly adaptable (which is why we acquire tastes for different things over multiple exposures). I have found that the more dark green veggies you consume the more you crave their deep, bold flavour. I find the foods I miss most when on vacation (and away from my kitchen) are kale, broccoli and spinach. Seriously, restaurants rarely highlight our foliage friends. Although, I should check out the Kale restaurant in Toronto before making any sweeping generalizations.

The only challenge I have with broccoli is that my stomach often struggles to digest it raw. In the winter, I lightly steam my broccoli because I find it WAY easier to digest. In the summer, when I want to serve the broccoli at room temperature or chilled in a salad I have another technique that I employ to make sure my tummy stay happy. I heat up a kettle of water and pour the hot water into a large bowl full of florets and chopped stem. I let it set for 1-3 minutes and drain. You can rinse it in cold water or just let it cool on its own. It stays crisp in texture and develops that signature bright green colour. I find this process takes the edge off and helps to improve my enjoyment of the dish. I know the broccoli loses some nutrients this way but others become more bioavailable. I figure if this brief heating allows me to consume copious amounts of this miracle food then it is worth the small amount of nutrients that are lost.

Broccoli is discussed throughout Becoming Raw and shows up in many of the recipes. However the Brilliant Broccoli Salad (pg. 277) makes this cruciferous the star. It is a really hearty dish that would keep you satiated for hours. It has great texture and flavour contrasts that makes it interesting and fancy enough to share with friends. The only addition I would suggest is a little grated fresh ginger. I think ginger pairs well with broccoli, would brighten this dish and also support digestion.

This salad also includes NamaShoyu Sunflower Seeds (pg. 297) as a topping. This recipe is extremely versatile (you can use different nuts and seeds) and can be used to make your salads and snacks feel a little more gourmet. Sometimes, like Nancy, I like to be fancy.

Updates: After a couple of weeks of consciously consuming a more varied diet I’m already noticing that my nails are growing faster and stronger. My energy is up (I’m back to needing about 5-6 hours of sleep) and I’m feeling really joyful (although I attribute some of that to the glorious weather we’ve been enjoying).

Training: Today was a Brick workout. I pedaled for 30 mins on a spin bike – focusing on cadence more than tension. Afterwards I had a sip of water and went outside for a 6 km run by the water. It was a tempo run so I kept a really strong pace throughout (about 4:30 per km). The transition between activities always feels funny – my legs are a bit jiggly or jelly like when I get off the bike – but after a couple of minutes I find my stride and get back into an efficient form for running.

For some reason broccoli has been singled out as the miracle food to get its own TV campaign. What food do you think deserves this same attention? Are there personal favourites that you think are too often overlooked in most people’s diets?

What foods have you acquired a taste for? Personally, sauerkraut and kimcheewere a surprising taste experience at first but now I love the sour and spicy flavours they impart.


  1. Posted April 4, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I recently discovered sauerkraut and kimchee also, and was surprised to discover how much I liked them. I plan to attempt making my own to keep down costs. Lacinato Kale (dinosaur kale) is my favorite unsung green superhero!

  2. Posted April 4, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    I agree raw broccoli can be a bit much, I lightly steam it too. I love sauerkraut!! I have not had kimchee, but I really have been enjoying all fermented foods.
    Pure2raw Twins

  3. Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Mmmm broccoli.
    I agree, I'd love to see Kale/Spinach on more menus when I go out.

  4. Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Melinda – I second your nomination for dinosaur kale. I also love that it is called dinosaur kale, a fact I use to entice my nephew to eat more of it.

    Twins, your blog posts encouraged my increased intake of fermented foods. I really do notice a difference in my digestion.

    Dano! Let's open a restaurant that includes kale in every item (except the desserts). It probably won't be very successful but the vegans who come would be happy and healthy.

  5. Posted April 5, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Almonds, tahini, kale all need their own campaigns. That is all.

  6. Posted April 5, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I recently discovered tropical fruit. I used to eat mangoes only in smoothies because I had convinced myself I didn't like the texture. But Robby started eating it just plain on its own and now I'm quite enjoying it as well!

  7. Posted April 6, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Colleen, with that collection we could start the "Got Calcium" campaign.

    Have you tried some of the different varieties of mangoes available in the city? The alphonso and altufo are a totally different experience.

  8. Posted April 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    No I haven't! The ones we have been buying are the green coloured ones (on the outside). Do you know which ones those are?

    I have also seen ones that are yellow and a bit smaller in the grocery store?

  9. Posted April 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm


    I highly suggest giving the ripe, little yellow ones a try. It is a totally different taste and textural experience.

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