Thursday, February 9, 2012

Confessions of a health food junkie

I love health food, especially brain food.

Blueberries – I just can’t get enough of them.  If you’ve ever picked Michigan blueberries right off the bush and eaten them, you know what I mean.

In fact, I love all kinds of berries: blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, boysenberries, huckleberries and, of course, strawberries.  All chalk full of those therapeutic antioxidants.

I also like veggies. A few years ago, we joined Growing Home, a community-supported agriculture institution in the Chicagoland area.  (They actually do a lot more than deliver great-tasting organic veggies – for more into try this link: During the season we get a weekly crate of seasonal vegetables that are local and awfully tasty. We share them with another couple who relish stir-frying fresh veggies and are really health-conscious.

As you might guess, I’m also a sucker for anything with sweet potatoes or squash – love those beta carotenes.

Does that mean that we eat kale?  Yes. My wife has a great recipe for kale-stuffed quesadillas.

How about seaweed?  We picked up a taste for that living in Japan.

On the whole grain side of food, I’ve become positively addicted to Milk and Honey granola found locally here in Chicago. I pour Silk Light on mine.

I’ve also loved fish ever since my Dad introduced me to shore lunches of walleye and northern pick during fishing vacations up north.  My mouth waters just thinking of a good piece of grilled marlin or swordfish or salmon coming off the grill.

I’m finishing up Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which pushed me to recently visit the Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, IL ( We had their grass-fed beef which was the best-tasting beef I can remember having.

Is a big reason for liking these foods their “healthiness”?  The honest answer is “yes”. Would I eat them anyway? Well, sign me up for fruit and granola and sweet potatoes and asparagus…but would I have even tried some of the others?

Do all these healthy foods tangibly and demonstrably help my brain? My noodle? My cognitive skills? Perhaps more practically, do these healthy foods really help me to hang onto my remaining wits?

Well, that’s a murkier issue. I’ll write about that in my next blog posting based on what I’ve learned from Barbara Strauch and her nifty book, the Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain. .

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