Fantastic Food: Kohlrabi

k 2Since my breast cancer journey, our family has slowly been changing our eating habits. Cancer has a way of making you think about what you put in your body more intentionally.

When I finished my treatment a year ago, my oncologist told me, “You now need to take three steps to do everything in your power to stay healthy:

1) Eat nutritionally
2) Exercise regularly
3) Keep your weight down and in a healthy range.

Initially I met with the dietitian at the Cancer Center and she gave me great insight into both food and spice choices. I would take in my food log and she’d help evaluate it. I was great about incorporating fruit into my diet but she told me that I really needed to up the vegetables.  One book I read post-cancer stated that for the best cancer-protecting diet, you need to eat 27 different vegetables every week! I thought, “Do I even know of 27 different vegetables?”

At first the transition was slow and frustrating. Both of my daughters were also changing how their family ate so I was learning a lot from both of them.  However, it wasn’t until January when Mark and I decided to do Whole 30 that we really turned the corner and made big changes.  I emptied my refrigerator and pantry of anything that had preservatives, additives, gluten, legumes, and refined sugar. Both were nearly bare!

Then I started to learn how to shop and cook differently.  Fresh vegetables, lean meats, fruit, and nuts….that’s about all we eat now. We’ve added legumes (peanuts and beans) back into our diet on a limited basis, but have pretty much maintained a gluten-free, sugar-free, preservative-free diet.

I never thought I’d actually enjoy this, but I am!  It is challenging me to think differently, make better choices, and learn new skills. Mark and I are both down over 20 lbs each and are still losing slowly. I feel better than ever and am back to my pre-cancer energy level.

I am often asked about the food changes we’ve made. I know many people want to make changes but just don’t know where to start.  So once a week I’m going to do my best to share a Fantastic Food post.  If you’re wanting to make some changes in your family’s diet, just try one new thing a week.

Today’s fantastic food is kohlrabi.  I’d never even heard of kohlrabi until our daughter planted it in the garden!  Our first kohlrabi were harvested a few weeks ago and I have fallen in love with it!

k 1Kohlrabi is a member of the cabbage family. It is a mild tasting vegetable that is VERY versatile.  It’s also quite inexpensive. In fact, it’s so inexpensive, we’ve decided we probably won’t grow our own anymore. At my local Meijer store I can buy a bunch of 3 kohlrabi for anywhere from $1.50/bunch to $1.99/bunch. (I paid more than $1 a plant for the garden which produced only one kohlrabi bulb!)  You can most likely find kohlrabi at your local farmer’s market this time of the year, too!

What do you do with kohlrabi?  Well first you wash it and then peel off the thick outer-most layer of the bulb. The outer layer is a little greener than the white inside of the bulb.  You can either peel it with a vegetable peeler or you can slice the kohlrabi and then use a knife to peel the outside layer off each slice.

Because we are not eating bread and Mark takes his lunch everyday, he now uses slices of raw kohlrabi in place of bread.  We buy nitrate-free, preservative free deli meat (Boar’s Head brand is what we get) and he makes his yummy sandwiches with kohlrabi, sliced tomatoes, and turkey.

We also cut up raw kohlrabi and add it to our salads.  You can also shred it and make slaw. (I make my own slaw with flavored vinegar and oil.)  Steamed, it can be added to stir fry or soup.

k 3You can also cut it into slices or fries, toss it in olive oil, add spices like garlic powder, red pepper, salt, pepper, basil (basically any spice you have on the shelf!) and grill it (see photo above) or roast it for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees.  We love it this way! Sometimes I cut up kohlrabi and sweet potato into fries, toss them both in olive oil, sprinkle with spices, and cook together. Everyone loves them!

If you’re looking to expand your family’s veggie experience, give kohlrabi a try!

What about you? Do you have any ways you like to use kohlrabi? 

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