Santa Monica Naturopathic Doctor | Amanda Frick, ND


What’s On Your Plate (Or Should Be…) – December

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Even though it's SoCal, it's getting colder! As we move into the winter harvest season, our options become fewer, and some say less exciting. It's easy to get bored at the market, but here are some seasonal pretties that you can count on finding in December:

There are number of cruciferous (or brassica) vegetables on the menu in the winter. They are your friends in cancer prevention, detoxification and general deliciousness. If you're concerned about thyroid health, be sure to cook them thoroughly.

  • Brussels Sprouts - high in vitamins C and K and a good source of folate. Can be used raw in a sprout slaw, or cooked. In our house they either get steamed, or sautéed with garlic and topped with a smidge of fresh parmesan.
  • Cabbage - cabbage is a great source of fiber and nutrients. Try a low calorie cabbage soup, or a rich cabbage roll with ground beef and tomato sauce. Go for the purple variety for an antioxidant boost!
  • Kale - rich in vitamins A, C, K and iron. Delicious as a raw salad, or also great in the oven with a dose of fragrant garlic. Yum.
  • Cauliflower - can help support a healthy digestive system. This is especially important when we are gravitating towards foods that slow our guts down. Fruit cake anyone!?
Root vegetables are high in fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Not just for your grandma! The rich pigment varieties are great for liver detox which can help you balance hormones and maintain a youthful appearance. Eat 'em!
  • Carrots - Rich in carotenoids, these little lovelies are great for your eyes, but also can help boost your immune system.
  • Beets - lovely, luscious beets! Some of my cold weather favorites. Roast, peel and slice for salads or add to potatoes for a beautiful hue! Try juicing them for some liver love.
  • Parsnips - The parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler in colour than most carrots, and have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. They're particularly high in potassium and fiber.

Don't forget about fruits!  We always associate fruits with summer months, but there are some real gems in the cold months that shouldn't be passed up!

  • Persimmons - there's nothing like them, I wait all year for persimmon season! If you haven't had one, you really should. Soft apple-like texture, but with the taste of a rich pumpkin and cinnamon. Oh just eat one! They contain high levels of dietary fiber,  phenolic compounds, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and manganese. They are also rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. Boom!
  • Citrus - you can get it in just about every color and variety right now! Sweet and juicy or tart and fresh. All citrus is high in fiber and vitamin C. Many varieties are high in sugars, so best to eat them whole, or only as an addition to juices.
Enjoy the winter bounty and be well!