Confessions of a Food Connoisseur Part 3

We all want to eat good foods (I hope)

Why is it so often encouraged to include whole foods with variety of colors? Doing so is a simplistic way of ensuring you get broad spread of vitamins (and minerals) in your diet!


    There are two classes of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C) dissolve in water and as a result, when you take these vitamins in excess, they are removed in the urine. Because water soluble vitamins are removed in the urine, we need to take these vitamins more frequently (every one to three days). On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K) dissolve in fats and tend to remain in fat-storage sites within the body. Fat-soluble vitamins are needed more periodically (weeks or months). When it comes to vitamins, more does not necessarily equate better; some vitamins can cause adverse reactions when taken far above your nutritional needs.


Water-soluble vitamins

    Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12) and vitamin C. Although each B vitamin has a specific function, in general, B vitamins directly and indirectly help our body use the carbs, fats, and proteins we consume. We can obtain B vitamins in a wide array of foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and foods of animal origin. Unfortunately, some B vitamins can be easily destroyed by heat or sunlight so it may be best to store these foods in cool places away form light.

    Vitamin C, another water-soluble vitamin, serves as an antioxidant, helps form the collagen (a matrix that holds cells together), helps us absorb iron, and plays a role in other reactions within the body. We can obtain vitamin C from primarily citrus fruits, cabbage-type vegetables, and dark green vegetables. Vitamin C can also be easily destroyed by heat and oxygen so it may be best to store these foods in a cool area and to eat them soon after being cut.

    When it comes to water-soluble vitamins, in an effort to maximize the vitamins we obtain from these foods, we can cook these foods with minimal water and heat (if need be).


Fat-soluble vitamins

    Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Vitamin A promotes vision, maintains the health of specific tissues and skin, and functions in reproduction and growth. We can obtain our Vitamin A needs from foods derived from animals (liver, butter, eggs) and also from dark leafy greens (kale) and rich yellow or deep orange fruits and vegetables (cantaloupe and sweet potatoes).

    Primarily, vitamin D indirectly helps bones grow stronger and more dense through helping us absorb calcium and phosphorus. Some great food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks and oily fish. We can also obtain vitamin D through sunlight! People who have darker skin require more exposure to sunlight to maintain vitamin D nutrition as compared to same effect as those with lighter skin.

    In short, vitamin E preforms antioxidant functions within the body. This fat-soluble vitamin is found primarily in vegetable oils, seeds, and nuts. Vitamin E can also be found in dark green leafy vegetables like greens. Unfortunately, vitamin E can be destroyed by heat and oxygen. (Store these foods in sealed containers in a cool place.)

    Finally, vitamin K activates proteins responsible for blood clotting and indirectly aids in forming high density bones. Vitamin K is produced in our digestive tract and can also be found in dark green, leafy vegetables and cabbage type vegetables.



    Before you leave overwhelmed (as I felt while researching these vitamins), understand that a raw food diet may not be your portion. We all want to eat good foods (I hope) while also obtaining our nutritional needs. I've got you covered! I have included a few recipes that incorporate a variety of healthy foods that you may enjoy! All you need is two weekends of binge cooking each month and you'll be set! ...kinda. I will say that it takes practice catering recipes to your taste, as I am still working on that myself. But nonetheless, enjoy!



This is like a spinach pie.


Pesto pasta

    I've tried this with walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, spinach, and shrimp--not all at once though! Normally, I recreate pesto sauce from a jar (Classico), but I want to try making it from scratch! This looks like a decent recipe. When I make pesto from a jar, I first pour off the olive oil in the jar and use it to cook whatever else I'm adding in with additional spices. I then add the remaining pesto sauce. (Pesto pasta is also an opportunity for you to try out whole wheat pasta.)


Lemon pepper salmon

    Just toss lemon pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, and (Nigerian) red pepper on some salmon. I would, however, recommend not adding salt because often times, lemon pepper seasoning is already salty. Let the fish marinate for at least an hour and cook it, bake it, grill it, do you. Here is a recipe to get you started.



    Before you frown your face as though I am one of those vegetarians, hear me out first. Salad does not have to be boring. (Unless you want it to be.) You can experiment with romaine lettuce, baby spinach, arugula, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese, kalmata olives, tomatoes, onions, fruit, nuts, and all types of salad dressings. (Please, do not go crazy and ruin your salad by drowning it in ranch dressing.)

    I had a phase where I loved Greek salads (kalmata olives, red onions, tomatoes, pepperocini peppers, feta cheese, and romaine lettuce with Greek dressing) and practically ate it every day last summer until I got tired of it. I've also tired pomegranate, grapefruit, and walnuts with arugula and poppyseed dressing. Do not let salad intimidate you: there is a whole world of options.


Aloo gobi

    This is a recipe for potatoes and cauliflower. I have a few alterations when I make this: 1 lb frozen cauliflower, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp turmeric.


Aloo matar

    This is a recipe for potatoes and peas. I also have a few alterations when I make this: I used about twice as much garam masala and paprika than what the recipe calls for.


Spinach quiche

    Think outside of the box. You can add tomatoes, and mushrooms, (and whatever else your heart desires) to quiche. (I have not made this quiche with a crust in the past, but you can give it a try-or even try making your own crust.) I have two recipes! Recipe 1 and recipe 2!


Ethiopian food

    I enjoyed their recipe for yemisir wot and tomato salad. Do not make the same mistake I made by trying to make my own injera. Go and buy it from the store. (Fresh injera is really elastic and springy, not stiff.)


    Food is as boring or as exciting as you make it. If you want to try a new food I have this top secret trick that I use. First, I search for X restaurants near me. Then, I look at their menu listings to find dishes that appeal to me. Next, I do a google search of X recipe and find the ingredients I need at an international food store. Easier than shiro wat!


Build the temple.


Ajiri E.

IG: ajiria