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
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
Guava (español: guayaba) is a tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions. Psidium guajava is a small tree in the myrtle family, native to Mexico, Central America. Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves and white flowers with five petals and numerous stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries. I was a newlywed and had just moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, when I tasted my first guayaba. I was hooked. When ripe, the guayaba, or guava, is very sweet and delicious, peeling, seeds and all. Just wash and eat it like an apple. They are also made into a popular candy called ate. (pronounced ah-tay). Guayabate is one of my favorite sweets. Among the claims for guavas are that they improve heart health; help lower blood sugar levels; relieve painful symptoms of menstruation; benefit the digestive system; are good for your skin; may aid weight loss; may have an anticancer effect; help boost immunity.
Nutrition Facts: 1 raw guava (100 g)
calories 63 carbohydrates 14.32 g fat 0.95 g fiber 5.4 g sugars 8.92 g vitamin A 624 IU vitamin C 228.3 mg
A banana (español: plátano) is an edible fruit–botanically a berry–produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains, distinguishing them from dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size, color, and firmness, but is usually elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind, which may be green, yellow, red, purple, or brown when ripe. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. Among the claims for bananas are that they are high in fiber and antioxidants and relatively low in calories; they moderate blood sugar levels and improve digestive and kidney health. Bananas are good as they are–just peel and eat. They are a delicious addition to a smoothie, and very ripe bananas make exquisite banana bread. Cooking bananas, known as plantains, can be fried, baked, or sliced and added to a stew. In southern Mexico, tamales are wrapped in banana leaves instead of corn husks.
Nutrition Facts: 1 medium banana (118 g)
calories 105 carbohydrates 24 g copper 10% DV fat 0.4 g fiber 3.1 g magnesium 8% DV manganese 14% DV potassium 9% DV protein 1.3 g vitamin B6 33% DV vitamin C 11% DV
Apricots (español: chabacano) are stone fruits also known as Armenian plums.Round and yellow, they look like a smaller version of a peach but share the tartness of purple plums. They’re extremely nutritious and have many health benefits, such as improved digestion and eye health. It’s best to enjoy apricots whole and unpeeled, as the skin boasts large amounts of fiber and nutrients, including significant amounts of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Nutrition Facts: 2 fresh apricots (70 g)
calories 34 carbohydrates 8 g fat 0.27 g fiber 1.5 g potassium 4% DV protein 1 g vitamin A 8% DV vitamin C 8% DV vitamin E 4% 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.