As I mentioned in my last post, my family has recently moved. We now live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is a pretty large place compared to our home town of Sacramento. Choosing exactly where to live in the Bay Area was difficult, but guess what it ultimately came down to? I'll be honest: lasagna and falafel.
We found a neighborhood with a wonderful downtown, and happened upon an Italian restaurant that served the best vegetable lasagna I'd ever had. (As you know, I'm not a proponent of cheese, but every once in a blue moon I'll indulge myself, especially when eating Italian food). We also noticed a Greek restaurant across the street that serves homemade falafel - and in my opinion, that was reason enough to choose the neighborhood.
So before you think about relocating to a neighborhood with better restaurants, know this post is really about why Americans need to eat more "ethnic foods", both when dining out and cooking at home. Here's why:
1) True ethnic food contains more vegetables and grains. For example, most people love lasagna and would enjoy meatless lasagna since it's so flavorful. The high amount of marinara sauce makes lasagna a healthy food in my book, and it's easy to ask for it served "light on the cheese, heavy on the marinara". Another example is falafel, since its comprised of garbanzo beans (and therefore is high in fiber, protein and myriad other nutrients). Same for other mid-Eastern foods like hummus, Indian and Asian foods like Thai.
2) Ethnic foods have spices, and spices are LOADED with antioxidants. Actually, the strong flavors and aromas that come from spices really come from the antioxidant compounds (also known as phytochemicals) they contain. From hot chili peppers found in traditional Mexican food and salsas, to cumin, coriander, fennel, rosemary and oregano, the list of herbs and spices found in ethic foods is phenomenal for building our immune system and warding off chronic disease.
3) It's easier to eat less or no meat when consuming ethic foods. From a bean burrito to falafel to Tom Yum soup, other cultures know how to make choosing meatless options easy. And what American couldn't benefit from less meat (and more fiber?).
And tonight we made a delicious curry from my weekly Nourishing Nutrition meal plan (www.nourishingnutrition.com). Thank you Jennifer Brewer!