January 21, 2011

Will the Brussels Sprouts Eaters Please Stand Up and give a Cheer!

My parents had a vegetable garden in our backyard that kept us in fresh veggies all summer long. They grew tomatoes, carrots, green beans, beets, lettuce, corn, raspberries, and the petit cabbage – Brussels sprouts.

The first year my father attempted those babies the harvest was pitiful, but he proudly brought in the Brussels on Thanksgiving morning. That night at the annual feast each of us got three of the tiniest Brussels sprouts I have ever seen. My sister, who hated my parents’ usual version of Brussels sprouts, thought they were peas and ate them by mistake.

Coming from English, Scots, and Irish backgrounds my parents cooked the living death right out of those baby green globes. Our regular fare was blobs of grey stuff with butter on them. The only good part was the butter.

Skip ahead ten years and I’m in university in a nutrition lab where we cooked the infamous Brussels. They were bright green, not death warmed over grey, they were tender crisp, not mushy, and they were served with extra virgin olive oil not butter.

I loved them.

No one else in the class did.

And most people I have met, know, or live with don’t like them either.

I keep giving them the college try.

Lately at home I’ve been slicing the Brussels and then stir frying them in canola oil, sprinkled with low sodium soy sauce, and some garlic, but once again it’s just me who eating them. Oh, well….

So why do I keep trying to lure my family over to the Brussels side?

Basically because I love them, and because they’re very good for you, but so are the rest of the cruciferous family members: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, rutabaga, and turnips.

They all contain antioxidants that are cancer fighters.

Eating any one of them has been linked to reducing your chances of developing cancer of the lung, prostate, stomach, colon, breast and ovaries. Not only do they block the enzymes in your body that are involved in the initial stages of cancer development they detoxify cancer-causing compounds in your body. Pretty darned amazing for something you can buy in the produce department.

So if you are a Brussels sprouts lover please stand up and order up a side dish, the rest of you? Eat your broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, rutabaga, and turnips and know that you’re still fighting the good fight.

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