Week five of my real food challenges is over and, as expected, we had fun trying out new foods that we had never had before. Just as a reminder, last week’s challenge was Week 5: Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before. A whole food is something that has one ingredient and is not refined. For this challenge we were total overachievers and tried four new foods instead of just two. I have to say, though, that it was hard to find new foods that neither us us had tried. We looked at the produce sections of both Whole Foods and Earth Fare, and couldn’t find anything at all that was new to both of us. That would not have been true a year ago. It made me really happy and proud of the changes we have been making. We may not necessarily be losing the weight we want to right now, but we have been making healthier choices and experimenting with fruits and veggies.
Anyway, we finally found some imported fruit at Harris Teeter that was completely foreign to both of us. It was pretty funny trying to decide on which fruits to choose. How do you know when something is ripe if you don’t know what it is supposed to look like? We finally made our choices and walked out with the three pieces of fruit pictured at top. Here is the breakdown:
That funky spikey football shaped fruit is called a Kiwano. The inside of the kiwano is slime green with a thin membrane that sections it off, sort of like citrus fruit.
Also like citrus fruit, it has little sacs of juice, very similar to an orange, but larger. Kiwano is technically in the melon family, I believe, and it tastes like a slimy cucumber. The larger juice sacs pleasantly burst on the tongue, but the flavor is very mild. Tim didn’t hate it, but he didn’t really like it either. I am still not sure what I think about kiwano. I can see mixing kiwano into a tropical juice drink, or maybe as a palate cleanser. But frankly, if I wanted to eat something that tastes like cucumber, I’d probably just eat a cucumber.
The green apple looking fruit on the right is called Sapote. It seemed like a cross between a pear and a banana. The sapote had the best flavor of all the new fruits that we tried. The skin is edible, but slightly bitter, and has a similar consistency to a pear’s skin. The flesh has a very creamy, custard like flavor. It was strange, but tasty. Tim seemed to really like it. I wouldn’t necessarily buy sapote again, but I would certainly eat it if offered to me.
The third new fruit we tried, the yellowish striped piece on the left, is called a Pepino Melon. Pepino Melon is supposed to be sort of a cross between a cucumber and a honeydew, according to wikipedia. Personally, I thought it was disgusting. Maybe my pepino melon was not ripe enough, but I thought it was both bitter and tasteless at the same time. I only managed two bites before giving up on it. It was just gross. Tim hated it more than I did. The Pepino melon was an epic failure for us.
The final real food that we tried was steel cut oats. Obviously we’ve had oatmeal before, but we’d pretty much only have eaten instant oatmeal or quick oats. I wanted to give steel cut a try. At the beginning of the week, I made a whole crock pot full of oats. It was great because I didn’t have to sit and babysit a pot on the stovetop. One of the drawbacks to steel cut oats is that they take so long to cook. With the crock pot, the problem was easily solved. The oats are much heartier and chewier than the oatmeal we are used to eating. We both ended up liking them very much. I’ve been trying to get Tim off the instant oatmeal packages that are loaded with sodium and other funky ingredients, but he’s been resistant. This week, though, he saw how easy it is to have a healthy oatmeal breakfast pre-made and ready to heat up. His favorite mix, so far, has been to sweeten the oats with honey and cinnamon and top it with apple chunks. I prefer honey and blueberries, myself. Steel cut oats were a big hit, and we will definitely be purchasing them in the future.
I’m not 100% sure what the point of that challenge was, other than to have fun experimenting with food. I’m all for that, though. Food should be fun. Anyway, on to week 6. The Real Food Challenge for week 6 is: Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat”,”light”, “lite”, “reduced-fat”, or “non-fat”. There are several reasons behind this challenge that I will discuss in depth later, but in general, the idea is that we have replaced the fat in these products with things like hydrogenated oils and corn starch which are even worse for us than the fat we took out. Plus, we tend to overindulge on “safe” foods. Healthy portions of healthy “real” food is the answer to weight loss. At least, that is the philosophy behind this week’s challenge. Wish me luck.