Add Nutrition & Personality to Your Diet

Is salt good or evil? The debate is on. In any case, there is consensus that sea salt is preferable to fine table salt because it contains more essential minerals.

Whether you need to reduce your salt intake or you just want to have more fun with your food, you can add personality & nutrition to your diet by including some uncommon ingredients. These little treasures guarantee excitement for your palate.

Experiment with these colorful, nutritious personalities in your adventures with ingredients.

In the back from left to right: Big, bold salad greens. Drizzle a little simple vinaigrette (page 144 of Take Charge of Parkinson’s) and use as a bed for cooked vegetables, meats or pasta. Try using beds and layers. You’ll be surprised how ingredients work together for a satisfying sensory experience.

If you have lavender, use it in your salads and lettuce beds; Sage is so good roasted in a little olive oil and crumbled on top of potatoes or chicken, or . . . you name it; thyme chopped or added to soups or sauces; rosemary,antioxidant, anti-inflammatory extreme BRAIN FOOD, oven-roasted and crumbled as a garnish, gets 2 whole pages (94-95) in Take Charge. Use it like your brain depends on it.

Feel like a virtual journey to the Sea of Cortez? Quarter a Key lime, squeeze it over anything from tomato juice to poached eggs to chicken, fish and vegetables. Close your eyes, inhale deeply and you’re gone to the tropics.

Nasturtiums are nutritious as well as ornamental. Be sure to eat the flowers and flower buds on top of salads. The remaining seeds taste like a good brand of horseradish!

Right in front of the Nasturtiums are two dried morel mushrooms. I’ve discovered the most economical use for these flavorful morsels. Try  crumbling the mushrooms and pan roasting the bits in the smallest dab of butter. Over low to medium heat, stir the pieces till just tender and you can smell the distinct morel flavor. Dab dry on paper towel and sprinkle on salads, fish, eggs, open-faced sandwiches. It’s one those delicacies that we can stretch for a supreme taste experience.

Lemons, lemons, lemons and don’t go anywhere without your lemon zester.

You can see a delicate pink flower in the photo just above the garlic. That is a rose geranium. If you grow it once, you’ll never be without it again. The flower is eatable and the leaves can be used for flavoring sauces or syrups or scenting your pillow. I share the leaves with children who visit.”Just hold it, squeeze it between your fingers and inhale.” They smile and they’re off to Lalaland.

Just because you’ve harvested all your dill leaves, don’t forget the seeds. Dill seeds are really tasty and nutritious. Fennel seeds are sweet and taste like licorice. Harvest them early while they’re still soft. Add them to salads.

Other unexpected, sometimes ignored, treats in the garden are the coriander flowers and early, supple green seeds. Pop just one seed in your mouth; it will give you a new outlook on life.

Fresh ground pepper, is a worker; it stimulates the taste buds and helps promote digestion (more on pages 91-92 Take Charge).

I’ve been experimenting with smokey chipotle flakes, sprinkled lightly on simple pizzas (pages 152-53 Take Charge), potatoes, vegetables, salads, rubs for chicken, turkey.

Try having some fun with smokey paprika added to almost anything you eat. It is “spicy,” so start out gently until you get to know it.

Arugula flowers resemble antique lace. They have an exhilarating intense flavor.

Garlic makes an appearance because it’s essential to good cooking.

Bon Appetit!