The Hemp Connection + [vitamin C]

Food of the week: breadfruit

Why would I pick such an esoteric fruit for this blog? I've got several reasons.

1. I have been asked to be part of a committee here in Phoenix that organizes Get Your PHX, monthly events promoting local businesses. Because my specialty is nutrition, I've been assigned the task of finding food for these parties. It's a great opportunity to give my fellow Phoenicians a chance to try some of the principles promoted on this blog--eat a variety of foods, organic and locally grown when possible--and to see that it actually tastes great!

The restaurant I am working with for next week's event is called The Breadfruit. It's a small but very popular joint in downtown Phoenix that obtains quite a few of its ingredients from the farmer's market around the corner. I joined The Breadfruit's Facebook fan page, and Sasha Ottey of PCOS Challenge, who is originally from Jamaica, commented that the breadfruit is a staple of Jamaica. So, for Sasha, I'm highlighting this food.

2. Women with PCOS often cut back what they are eating to just a small list of foods that they've culled from the Internet, at the expense of their dietary variety. I worked with eating disorders before specializing in PCOS, and my observation is that there is a lot more fear about food with PCOS than with eating disorders. I would guess, it has to do with wanting so badly to conceive, or lose weight, or whatever, that (unrealistic) magical powers to help or hurt PCOS start to be attached to certain food. There is no such top ten list of PCOS cure foods. In fact, the more varied your diet, the more nutrients you can get. So I wanted to pick a food that challenged all of you to think outside of that top ten list.

3. Dietary regimens for PCOS take all the fun out of food. It becomes a chore, eating the same foods over and over becomes boring, and eventually the backlash is likely to become a binge on foods that are counterproductive to PCOS. I encourage you all to have fun with food! Even if you're not coming to Get Your PHX next week, if you have an opportunity to try Jamaican food, or Korean food, or Bolivian food…don't pass it up! You might find something you like that you can add to your routine.

Back to breadfruit. What is it? It's a starchy staple of tropical nations around the world. It is typically cooked before eating, and it gets its name from its bread-like flavor. It can also be stored, fermented, and turned into a paste.

In economically disadvanted countries, breadfruit is consumed in large quantities that would not be appropriate for someone trying to balance their carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake. As a side dish, in moderation, it does provide vitamin C, choline, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and a lot of dietary fiber--11 grams per serving! And even though it is starchy, its glycemic index is not high, likely due to its fiber content.

So if you're out having fun, and the menu includes something exotic, don't pass it up just because it's not salmon, broccoli, walnuts, or blueberries. Mother Earth has a bounty of options that are good for you, fun to try, and pleasing to your palate.