Growing up, hell even just the other day, my dad always urged my brother and I to eat all the colors of the rainbow. He told us our plates should be 黃綠紅 (pronounced huang2 lv4 hong2), which in Chinese directly translates to yellow, green, and red. It’s a play on words because it sounds like 王力宏 (pronounced wang2 li4 hong2), a popular American born Taiwanese singer, whom I used to have a serious crush on.
Turns out my dad was right – not about the pop star (much to my adolescent disappointment), but about nutrition. Nature’s goodness is obvious, or perhaps our ancestors weren’t the brightest crayons in the bunch and God was simply making it easy for them. A diet consisting of naturally multi-colored fruits and vegetables is one that is wholesome and well-balanced. Raw plant foods contain protective phytonutrients and phytochemicals, or natural compounds produced by plants, which have the potential to protect humans from a range of diseases.
Blues/Purples/Deep Reds contain flavonoids, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanins. These long-winded biology vocabulary words are essentially antioxidants that keep the mind sharp, blood flowing, and heart happy. Foods with dark and vibrant hues are also beneficial for women during childbearing years (Hello, 20s and 30s! Gotta think ahead, right?). For example, folic acid, an essential vitamin in prenatals that prevents against birth defects, are commonly found in strawberries and beets. Remember: deeper, darker, richer pigmentation in fruits and vegetables pack a healthier punch. So the next time you visit the grocery store, stop by the produce aisle to get your daily dose of color.
1 Red Cabbage
1 Handful Strawberries
2 Fuji Apples
1″ Ginger Root
1 Teaspoon Spirulina
1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds (homemade Mamma Chia!)
This easy recipe makes a mason jar full of beetle juice, and then some. I call it beetle juice because 1) it’s a tribute to my favorite after-school cartoon growing up, 2) I like to push the envelopes of punny-ness, and 3) the juice and pulp constitute a bright array of reds, maroons, and purples, pleasing to the eye. I suppose I should tack on 4) a good scare tactic for the kiddos at church when they ask me what exactly I’m drinking. It’s actually quite strong, so feel free to dilute away with ice and/or water. Regardless, it’s a nice change from the more common greens and orange juices. The juice itself tastes pleasantly sweet, with immediate notes of fruity berries and a lingering, subtle taste of beets (And yes, Anthony Bourdain, feel threatened).