Real Food, Less Fake: Purple Sweet Potatoes

Today, I’m highlighting a really wonderful food that can be added to your diet today. The food that I’m talking about is none of other than the sweet potato, but more specifically, yellow-fleshed and purple-fleshed varieties.

The first time I came in contact with a yellow-fleshed sweet potato (also known as a Japanese sweet potato) was around 5 years ago when I was in college. I visited a multicultural church with some friends and their potluck-style lunch after church included all kinds of foods from around the world. Growing up in a church that spans 6 continents meant that I was really never nervous about trying new foods in this setting, but this sweet potato that was yellow on the inside really threw me off. When I tasted it, I was completely blown away. How could something this good exist and no one had ever told me? It was so delicious that I had another helping.

My first time having a purple-fleshed sweet potato was just a couple years ago. My local Sprouts Farmer’s Market introduced them and I was so intrigued because of the experience I had with the Japanese sweet potato a few years before. When I took it home and baked it, I added just a tiny bit of butter and enjoyed it plain. It was so filling and beautiful that I knew it had to be added to my list of foods to buy on a regular basis. 

Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

In general, potatoes are one of the most satiating foods that exist in any category. According to the study, The Satiety Index of Common Foods,  potatoes outperform all other foods when it comes to how full they make people feel. If you have ever eaten a potato, you know how filling they are. Many people are afraid of eating potatoes because they are considered carbohydrates (which many people still fear), but they are also plants, meaning that they are inherently much healthier than any “foods” we can create or process. They are a great asset to a plant-based diet, especially for those on a budget.

Sweet potatoes are also full of many vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of baked sweet potato can contain a week’s worth of Vitamin A and around half of your daily value of Vitamin C and manganese. It can also contains a quarter of your daily value of dietary fiber and potassium, and just under one-fifth of the copper.

And lastly, Japanese sweet potatoes are one of the primary foods in the diet of some of the longest-living people in the world. In 2005, Okinawa, Japan (along with the Seventh-day Adventist population of Loma Linda, California, the male centenarians of Sardinia, Italy and the elders of Nicoya, Costa Rica and Ikaria, Greece) was identified as a Blue Zone. According to Dan Buettner, Blue Zones are essentially the areas around the world where people live the longest. The people of Okinawa, Japan have a very unique way of living that contributes to their long lives and their diet is one of the factors that makes them incredibly unique. For starters, they eat a 96% whole food, plant-based diet. I don’t know about you, but as someone who adds kale into EVERYTHING (smoothies, spaghetti, juice, muffins, etc.) as I fight to get enough veggies in each day, I am highly impressed by that number. Around 69% of their diet consists of purple and orange sweet potato. In whole, they eat a diet of sweet potatoes, beans, different varieties of soy including tofu and miso, as well as stir-fried vegetables. Pork and fish (around 1% of their diet) are eaten sparingly, with the aforementioned foods making up their daily diet. They also incorporate many medicinal herbs such as mugwort, ginger and turmeric on the daily basis for their healing properties.

According to BlueZones.com, Okinawans who follow the traditional diet have much better health outcomes than Americans. They are 5.5 times less likely to die from breast cancer, have 6-12 times fewer heart disease deaths, 7 times fewer prostate cancer deaths and 2-3 times fewer colon cancer deaths. The elderly population there also experiences much lower instances of dementia than people in most places. If adding more of their plant-based staples can help improve our numbers this way, it is definitely worth consideration.

Recipe Suggestion

My absolute favorite way to eat purple sweet potato is to make sweet potato salad. Potato salad was a staple in my family growing up. My mom & aunts always added russet potatoes, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, relish, celery salt and a variety of spices to make this mouth-watering side dish. Now that I try to eat more a plant-based diet, I wanted a more nutrient-dense version of this food that I love. When I went searching, I knew that Jeneé from the website SweetPotatoSoul.com would have something good. She, too, is a Georgia peach and knows how important potato salad is to a Southern dinner table. She added a new twist on this recipe that I absolutely love. In her recipe, Jeneé uses vegan mayonnaise, white AND orange sweet potatoes as well as all the right seasonings & spices. I decided to make this at home a few months back, but I added a purple-fleshed sweet potato to the mix. At first, my husband turned his nose up a my tri-color sweet potato salad. He didn’t think it looked too appetizing, but after one bite, he took the bowl from my hands and smiled. This is when I know that my food is really good. We ate the entire bowl in three days (so much for a week long meal prep!) and it was undoubtedly the item I was most excited to eat in my lunch. I encourage you to give her recipe a try and add some purple sweet potatoes in, too. You won’t regret it.

If you decide to have purple sweet potatoes for the first time, please tell me how you liked them. If you have eaten them before, I would love to hear about how you serve them. And if you have any questions, please leave them below in the Comments section. I’d love to keep our dialogue going. As always, thanks for reading.

In pursuit of greener foods,

Brittany

Websites & Articles:

Blue Zone Exploration: Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa Centenarian Study

Self NutritionData: Sweet Potato

Study: A satiety index of common foods

Sweet Potato Salad (vegan)

The Okinawa Diet: Eating & Living to 100

Helpful Practices for New Year Success

Can you believe that we are 18 days into January already? It feels like just yesterday that I was sending “Happy New Year” texts to friends and family. The beginning of a new year is always a great time for me. I know that positive changes can begin at any moment, but I love getting a new start on January 1st. This year, I have decided to implement some new practices to help me in areas that I felt I was lacking in. I’m going to share the new practices that are working well for me so far in hopes that some of them may work well for you.

Committing to use a bullet journal

One of the best decisions I’ve made this year so far was to start a bullet journal. I originally heard of bullet journaling over a year ago, but at the time it seemed incredibly time consuming. During my two weeks off from work, I decided to go ahead and see what it was all about. Setting up my bullet journal required much thought but there were many YouTube videos & blog posts that made the process much easier. Bullet journaling has provided me the space to write down goals, trackers, budgets and so many other types of data that I’d like to keep up with. It provides a special type of accountability that I can’t get by simply saying “I’m going to do this” to myself. In the last couple years, I have seen that I will do more and do better if it is written down. And, I have already accomplished some of the things in my journal. Here’s to knocking out this year’s goals by writing the vision!

Finding new streams of income

Ever since learning that the average millionaire has 7 streams of income, I have become dedicated to researching additional streams of income for myself. Although so many in my family are great at creating side hustles that work for them, I’ve never really found that thing that worked for me. Yes, I’ve sold a few items on TeachersPayTeachers or a textbook to another student in college, but I do not like directly selling things to people. However, I realize that everyone is selling something. People on YouTube are selling us makeup in their tutorials, some of my favorite Instagram influencers are constantly trying to get me to purchase sponsored healthy foods and even my Facebook friends are selling school fundraiser items on behalf of their kids. The economy only flows if money is being circulated through buying and selling. So far this year, I’ve made extra money through selling items I no longer use and mystery shopping. It’s really amazing how someone will find value in the things I don’t need anymore. I’ve sold shoes that I haven’t worn in years, clothes that are too small and even wedding gifts that were collecting dust in our closet. It has felt great to declutter our space and make money doing it. I have also completed one mystery shopping assignment that took me about 45 minutes and earned me $23. I was able to complete it by going somewhere that I needed to go to anyway and it wasn’t labor intensive. I have only done one mystery shopping visit so I don’t have too much to share yet, but if you are interested, Tai & Talaat McNeely have a great blog post with videos on reputable sites to mystery shop for here. I would highly suggest it for those who have pockets of extra time in their week.

Taking supplements daily

I know that taking supplements doesn’t sound that exciting and if it wasn’t flu season, you’d probably really roll your eyes at this one. But I have found that taking vitamins are an easy way that I can ensure that I am getting what I need. I work in a profession where I come in contact with a lot of germs. And whether you work with children or not, the reality is, we’re all coming in contact with germs and harmful bacteria. This year’s flu season is already projected to be one of the worst on record, with hospitals setting up triage tents and school districts closing school to prevent the spread. I am hoping to do everything I can to keep myself healthy. My primary supplements are Vitamin C with Rose Hip to boost my immune system, Vitamin D to supplement for missed sunlight, Vitamin B12 to give me energy and wheatgrass because it helps everything. I also take a probiotic for gut health and St. John’s Wort for mood. I take some of them every day and some a few times a week based on my diet and the season. These supplements help me to feel my best and ensure that I’m not lacking in any vital area. I hope that they will help me continue feeling my best and have another sick visit-free year!

Which new practices have you incorporated this year? Did you commit to anything new? If so, how are these things helping you so far? Have you tried any of the practices I mentioned above? Please let me know in the Comments below. And as always, thanks for reading!

In pursuit of a greener year,

Brittany

Oh yeah, I just created an Instagram page for The Green Pursuit. Please follow at @thegreenpursuit. Let’s keep the conversation going about health, green living & sustainability there.

Why I Am Blogging Again…

Hello friends,

I hope that you are doing well and are having a prosperous new year thus far. I had big hopes for 2018 and I must say that the year has gotten off to a great start for me. In this blog post, I want to share why I’m blogging again after a long hiatus.

This year makes 6 years that I have been in the blogging space. I ventured into blogging back in 2012 as a way to share my spiritual journey, as well as the information and resources that were shared with me with the world. Blogging has helped me to make friends & acquaintances in other countries, learn from others, and from what readers have shared, bless people that I will never meet.

Over the last couple years, I have struggled to find balance between blogging, working & being in a relationship. This was when teaching, getting to know my now husband and settling into a new area were really my focus. I simply didn’t make much time for writing. Now that my life is a bit more settled, I am back because I feel that blogging regularly will be good practice in building consistency. One of my best friends, who I’ll call “A,” continually reminds me that all of my health & fitness goals are on the other side of consistency. I believe that she is right.

However, consistency isn’t the only reason I am blogging again. I am back because I believe that I have interests that others might share. In the past few years, the  words “healthy,” “green” and “sustainable” have all come to mean a whole lot more to me. I am committed to taking care of myself, inspiring those around me to take care of themselves and caring for the planet that we inhabit. There are so many people who do not have much knowledge in these areas and I hope to be able to share what I have learned through this blog.

And lastly, I am blogging because I believe that it is a great way to allow those that I don’t get to talk to regularly get to know me better. I am a deep thinker but also an over thinker who tends to be very introverted. I am in my own head a lot and I have discovered that this is both good and bad. I want to share more of who I truly am with those around me.

So what can you expect me to talk about here on The Green Pursuit? I plan to build this blog around 5 different domains that I think truly encompass what it means to be healthy, sustainable and green. The 5 domains are food, green living, health, service and faith. When I dive into green living, for example, I’ll be discussing non-toxic product swaps, minimalism, zero-waste swaps, thrifting and how to lighten one’s ecological footprint. And of course there is much more to share.

I am excited to see where this blog goes and the people it connects me to. If you are interested in the topics I shared, please don’t hesitate to follow my blog. I plan to share new content here weekly and I hope that you’ll tune in.

In pursuit of all things green,

Brittany