Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vegetable Mind Games - Tomatoes

Many years ago my husband and I reached an agreement. He would learn to like mushrooms if I learned to like tomatoes. At that point I picked them off of everything, and I didn't really care for most tomato sauces unless they were heavily processed.
Now that I'm all growed up I treat them with a little more respect.  After all they are good for me...right?
Right! Did you know that a tomato has more health benefits than an apple?
Let's get nerdy for a moment:
  • The antioxidants in tomatoes are protective against many cancers including colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • Phytochemicals present in tomatoes (like Lycopene and carotenoids) can protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals. Studies have shown that lycopene protects skin damage from UV rays and from prostate cancer.
  • Zeaxanthin helps protect eyes from "age related macular disease" in the elderly persons by filtering harmful ultra-violet rays.
  • They contain good levels of vitamin A, and anti-oxidants such as alpha and beta carotenes, xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Good source of  vitamin-C, folate, iron, calcium, manganese and other minerals.
  • Fresh tomato is very rich in potassium. 
Now I've talked before about my infatuation with Bruschetta thanks to my dear friend Lindsey, but I'm certain I could eat anything that had been marinated in balsamic and garlic. You can find that recipe here.
This is different... my new love is Pico De Gallo. When I eat it I really taste the tomato, but I don't mind it at all. The best part is that this recipe counts as a FREE EXCHANGE according to a similar recipe published by As someone who is struggling with food restrictions, this discovery is huge for me.

So here it is with my modifications...
The Hypo Girl's Pico De Gallo
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 lime, juice only (heat it in the microwave to help release the juice. About 30 seconds does the trick.)
1 teaspoon salt
The instructions are simple....Mix together. Eat.
The hardest part about this recipe is limiting myself to the 1/4 cup serving size. also says you can make and keep it in the fridge for up to a day. I have had mine refrigerated for 3 days so far and it tastes just as great as it did the day I made it.

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