Dates (español: dátiles) are an ancient food, mentioned 50 times in the Bible and 20 times in the Qu’aran. They have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in Arabia from the 6th millennium BCE, and fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years. Although they are high in calories, they are an excellent substitute for the empty calories of refined sugar because of their nutritional benefits. Deglet Noor dates are the most common variety seen in the West, but Medjool dates, which are sweeter and softer, are frequently recommended in recipes. They are more expensive and may be harder to find. They are similar in nutritional content.
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 oz (100 g) of dried pitted dates
calories 277 carbohydrates 75 g copper 18% RDI fiber 7 g iron 5% DV magnesium 14% RDI manganese 15% RDI potassium 20% RDI protein 2 g vitamin B6 12% RDI
Cumin (español: comino) is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to a territory that stretches from the Middle East to India. Its seeds, which are contained within a fruit are dried and used whole or ground in the cuisines of many cultures. Cumin has a high content of nutrients such as iron (512% of the Daily Value in 100 g), thiamine, magnesium, and manganese, it is used in tiny quntities (less than 1/2 teaspoon in a typical recipe). Although cumin is thought to have uses in traditional medicine, there is no high-quality evidence that it is safe or effective as a therapeutic agent. It is, however, indispensable in many Mexican dishes and other international cuisines.
Cucumber (español: pepino) is a widely-cultivated creeping vine plant in the Cucurbitaceae gourd family that bears cucumiform fruits, which are used as vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber—slicing, pickling, and burpless/seedless—within which several cultivars have been created. The cucumber originates from South Asia, but now grows on most continents, as many different types of cucumber are traded on the global market.
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 oz (100 g) of unpeeled cucumber
calories 16 carbohydrates 3.63 g fat 0.11 g fiber 0.5 g calcium 2% DV folate 2% DV iron 2% DV magnesium 4% DV manganese 4% DV niacin 1% DV pantothenic acid 5% DV phosphorous 3% DV potassium 3% DV protein 0.65 g riboflavin 3% DV thiamine 2% DV zinc 2% DV vitamin B6 3% DV vitamin C 3% DV vitamin K 16% DV
Huitlacoche is rich in potassium, which reduces blood pressure and protects against stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.
Corn smut (español: huitlacoche) is a plant disease caused by the pathogenic fungus Ustilago maydis that causes smut on maize and teosinte. The fungus forms galls on all above-ground parts of corn species. It is edible, and is known in Mexico as the delicacy huitlacoche, usually served in soups or as a filling in tacos and other tortilla-based foods. It has been called Mexican truffle and Aztec caviar.
Nutrition Facts: 100 g of corn smut
calories 40 carbohydrates 7.88 g fiber 4.4 g potassium 334 mg
One small clementine provides 40% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C.
A clementine (español: clementina) is a citrus fruit hybrid between a willowleaf mandarinorange and a sweet orange named for its late 19th-century discoverer, French Missionary Brother Clément Rodier. Clementines are said to have appeared spontaneously in an Algerian orphanage garden tended by Brother Clément. The exterior is a deep orange colour with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines can be separated into 7 to 14 segments. Like tangerines, they are easy to peel. They are typically juicy and sweet, with less acid than oranges.
Nutrition Facts: 1 clementine (74 g)
calories 35 carbohydrates 9 g fat 0 g fiber 1 g folate 5% DV protein 1 g thiamine 5% DV vitamin C 40% DV
Corn, or maize (español: maiz) is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with the total production of maize surpassing that of wheat or rice. Sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption as kernels, while field corn varieties are ground into corn meal or masa.
Nutrition Facts: 3 oz (100 g) of sweetcorn
calories 86 carbohydrates 18.7 g fat 1.35 g fiber 2 g folate 11% DV iron 4% DV magnesium 10% DV manganese 8% DV niacin 12% DV pantothenic acid 14% DV phosphorus 13% DV potassium 6% DV protein 3.27 g riboflavin 5% DV thiamine 13% DV zinc 5% DV vitamin A 1% DV vitamin B6 7% DV vitamin C 8% DV
A serving of fava beans packs 106% of the daily requirement of folates, important for preventing birth defects.
Fava beans, sometimes called horse beans or broad beans (español: habas) come from a species of flowering plant in the Fabaceae pea and bean family. It is widely cultivated as a crop for human consumption. Eating these beans regularly may have benefits for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, help prevent birth defects, boost immunity, aid weight loss and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 oz (100 g) of fava beans
calories 341 calcium 10% DV carbohydrates 58.29 g copper 41% DV fat 1.53 g fiber 25 g folate 106% DV iron 52% DV magnesium 54% DV manganese 77% DV niacin 19% DV phosphorous 60% DV potassium 23% DV protein 26.12 g riboflavin 28% DV selenium 12% DV sodium 1% DV thiamine 48% DV zinc 33% DV vitamin B6 28% DV vitamin C 2% DV vitamin K 9% DV
Hominy (español: nixtamal) is fundamental to Mexican cooking. Tortillas (and all their variations–enchiladas, gorditas, tostadas and sopes to name a few) tamales, and atole, a thick drink, are made from nixtamal masa (dough). Pozole features the nixtamal grains. Hominy, or nixtamal is produced from dried maize (corn) treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization. Hominy is also a favorite in the southern United States, often served in the ground-up version known as hominy grits.
Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of hominy (165 g)
calories 119 calcium 6% DV carbohydrates 24 g fat 1.5 g protein 2.4 g vitamin B12 7% DV
Cherry (español: cereza) is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe (stone fruit). Commercial cherries are obtained from cultivars of several species, such as the sweet Prunus avium and the sour Prunus cerasus. Cherries contain antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. These support a healthy system and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Phytochemicals protect against certain enzymes that can lead to inflammation. This can help reduce arthritis pain. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Potassium can reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke, and cherries have more per serving than strawberries or apples. Compared to sweet cherries, raw sour cherries contain 50% more vitamin C per 100 g (12% DV) and about 20 times more vitamin A (8% DV). These values are for raw sour cherries:
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 oz raw sour cherries (100 g)
calories 50 calcium 2% DV carbohydrates 12.2 g choline 1% DV fat 0.3 g fiber 1.6 g folate 2% DV iron 2% DV magnesium 3% DV manganese 5% DV niacin 3% DV pantothenic acid 3% DV phosphorous 2% DV potassium 4% DV protein 1 g riboflavin 3% DV sugar 8.5 g thiamine 3% DV zinc 1% DV vitamin A 8% DV vitamin B6 3% DV vitamin C 12% DV vitamin K 2% DV
Coriander (español: cilantro) (Coriandrum sativum), also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro, is related to parsley, carrots, and celery. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most used in cooking. It may help lower blood sugar, fight infections, and promote heart, brain, skin, and digestive health. In the United States, Coriandrum sativum seeds are called coriander, while its leaves are called cilantro. Coriander seeds, extract, and oils may all help lower blood sugar. Animal studies suggest that coriander seeds reduce blood sugar by promoting enzyme activity that helps remove sugar from the blood. Coriander offers several antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. Some animal and test-tube studies suggest that coriander may lower heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Many brain ailments, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, are associated with inflammation. Coriander contains antimicrobial compounds that may help fight certain infections and foodborneillnesses. Dodecenal, a compound in coriander, may fight bacteria like Salmonella, which can cause life-threatening food poisoning.
Nutrition Facts: 3.5 oz of cilantro (100 g)
calories 23 calcium 7% DV carbohydrates 3.67 g fat 0.52 g fiber 2.8 g folate 16% DV iron 14% DV magnesium 7% DV manganese 20% DV niacin 7% DV pantothenic acid 11% DV phosphorous 7% DV potassium 11% DV protein 2.13 g riboflavin 14% DV sodium 3% DV sugar 0.87 g thiamine 6% DV zinc 5% DV vitamin A 42% DV vitamin B6 11% DV vitamin C 33% DV vitamin E 17% DV vitamin K 295% DV
When I switched to plant-based living after a lifetime of meals planned around a main course of meat, I immediately felt positive effects and found it surprisingly easy, even fun, to change my habits and explore new ways of enjoying food. Fruit and Stuff is a collection of some of the many things I have learned since I started the journey.
Even if you are not ready to give up meat, you will benefit from adding more plant foods to your daily meals. I hope you’ll find something useful here.
The most recent articles appear first on the Home page, and the tabs at the top of every page are for locating any article, past or present. The Glossary links to facts about plant-based foods, the Recipe tab will direct you to the recipe index, and the Resources consist of news and opinions about plant-based living.