I like to try new foods. I get a thrill spotting a new fruit in the produce aisle and will always pick it up, though I admit, the cherimoya did nothing for me. On the other hand, dragonfruit is kinda fun. If I go to a restaurant and they’ve added new things to the menu, I’m in heaven. Lately, a lot of new things have been hitting the health foods radar so I thought I’d report in on a few experiments and whether or not they were hits or misses for me.
Ch-ch-ch-chia, anyone? Yep, those chia seeds they’ve been touting as the latest health craze are the same you used to smear on a terracotta head to create a wacky countertop wig. The health reports claim they are high in omega-3s, fiber and protein. It’s supposed to reduce blood pressure (I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure), stabilizes blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and a host of other fab stuff. But are they good to eat? Well, I bought a bag (had to go to a vitamin store to find them) and sprinkled some on my salad. Love it! Sprinkled on oatmeal? Num! Mixed in cookie batter? Oh yeah! They are pretty tasteless, and mostly add a little crunch, so I’ve been sprinkling them on everything. If you soak them in almond milk for about twenty minutes, they gel up nicely, and then add some cocoa powder, cinnamon and Truvia, and you have a tasty drink. Seriously, it’s good! Hit or miss? Definitely a hit! I use them every day.
Cacao nibs are another mysteriously intriguing entry into the ‘eat this for your health!’ claims. Touted for antioxidants and iron (I do need my iron), so thought I’d give it a try. Now, this stuff is raw, pure chocolate, folks, that comes from the cacao bean, but that doesn’t mean you should expect to taste like chocolate. It’s bitter, and hard. I put a teaspoon in a cherry/chocolate smoothie and blend well. If you don’t actually chew and try to taste the cacao, you’re golden. I just nibble them a bit with my front teeth. I liked the added texture, and as well, think it gives an ‘essence’ of chocolate flavor to whatever I use them in. A bit spendy, but I think if you want to get the health benefits, you should go for it. The nibs were a hit for me.
Kale! Every time I look at the stuff I cringe. I just looks so…mean. And I suspect the raw form would be bitter and maybe stringy. I say this because I didn’t try it in the fresh, raw form (not even steamed or cooked). Couldn’t make myself buy that mean stuff! So instead I bought kale chips. Seemed like an easy way to check it out without having to learn how to cook the stuff. The chips were…soft and not crunchy and I did not like the flavor at all. The bitterness came through for me, but it could have been the brand of chip. Anyway, I gave myself a star for trying it, but don’t think I’ll go back for more. Kale is a miss for me.
Unsweetened Almond Milk. Yep, you heard me, unsweetened. This was an impulse purchase at Target. I’m not a milk drinker, but had wanted to start making smoothies with fresh fruit, so the almond milk seemed a good bet. I looked at the label on the sweetened kind and it had as much sugar as milk (that’s a lot, people, and I’m all about no sugar) so I went with the unsweetened. I confess, I still haven’t dared try it straight, and probably won’t. I’m not stupid. 🙂 But in smoothies, mixed with fresh fruit, some chia and even cacao nibs, it rocks. If you’re a milk drinker, I’d bet you wouldn’t taste much of a difference. And though I don’t put it in my oatmeal, I think that would be an excellent addition as well. My favorite smoothie recipe? Frozen cherries, a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, a tsp of cacao nibs, and unsweetened almond milk. Heaven! And an excellent post-workout drink. Better than any sweet, fattening treat you could get at the Diary Queen, let me tell you. Give it a try and let me know if you like it. Unsweetened almond milk? A hit!
So what new things have you tried lately? Was it a hit or miss? Got any good recipes to share from your adventures in trying new foods?