Ideal Protein |6 min read

White and Brown Foods

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We certainly can’t leave out the white and brown foods that Mother Nature has provided! Although there are fewer white and brown foods than many of the more colorful options, these foods still bring a lot of flavor and phytonutrients to your table (and to your body).  The two most prominent phytonutrients (or pigments) found in these plants are known as allicin and anthoxanthins, both of which act as antioxidants for your body. However, those are just the beginning of their benefits. Let’s take a closer look at a handful to see what they can do for you.

Cauliflower

Ideal Protein Phase

All phases

Significant Vitamins & Minerals

Anthoxanthins, choline, sulforaphane, fiber

Although I already talked about how great purple cauliflower is, there are many great things to be said about white cauliflower too (and even the orange or green varieties of this veggie). Anthoxanthins are high in this plant, giving your body the tools to reduce the risk of stroke, promote your overall heart health, prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation issues. Sulforaphane is another prominent antioxidant in cauliflower, again helping to combat cancer by destroying damaged cells before they can multiply. Studies have also shown that this antioxidant also protects your arteries (preventing higher blood pressure) and even helps your body fight against diabetes risks. 

Cauliflower is also high in choline, an essential nutrient to your body’s daily functions. Although it’s not a vitamin or mineral, it’s needed for many bodily processes including: cell structure and messaging, fat transport and metabolism, DNA synthesis, and even developing and maintaining a strong nervous system. Much choline comes from salmon, cod, or eggs, but cauliflower provides a significant amount. 

As far as eating goes, cauliflower can be prepared in SO many different ways, and they’re all delicious. It can also give you a low-carb alternative to rice or even pizza crust. I’m partial to roasting these white florets with chicken for a delicious dinner (although they’re pretty darn good raw too). 

Mushrooms

Ideal Protein Phase

All phases

Significant Vitamins & Minerals

Copper, potassium, various antioxidants

So many mushrooms, so little time! Admittedly, it wasn’t until my early twenties that I learned about any types beyond white or portobello, but there are just so many varieties and each kind brings its own magic to my palate. These edible fungi are filled with more benefits than I can actually count, but a couple play a big part in keeping you healthy. 

Copper and potassium are both pretty prominent in mushrooms. Copper does a lot of good things for your body, including aiding in the production of red blood cells, protecting many different kinds of cells, and supporting your immune system among many other processes. Potassium also keeps you going on a daily basis (another reason why we take this supplement as part of our Ideal Protein protocol) by regulating your blood pressure and therefore lowering your chances of hypertension and improving your cardiovascular health. 

From grilling portobellos and shiitakes to stir-frying a Hen-of-the-Woods, mushrooms provide a huge amount of flavor and nutritional benefits without much in the way of calorie count.

Turnips

Ideal Protein Phase

All phases

Significant Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins K, A, B9, C, Fiber

I’ll admit it– I was not a fan of turnips before I got onto Ideal Protein. Just the word “turnip” made me think of those vegetables that my mother would force me to eat because they were “good for me”. Well, not surprisingly, my mom was right (again). Turnips are very good for you due to all of the micronutrients that they provide. Loaded with Vitamin K– a whopping 350% of your recommended daily amount (RDA) in a mere 100g– turnips significantly aid in blood-clotting and bone-building processes when eaten regularly. This means that consuming turnips not only increases bone mineral density in osteoporotic people but also actually reduces fracture rates. As I get older, I certainly love knowing that the foods I eat are helping my bones stay strong!

A fantastic substitute for potatoes, turnips are also really low in calories, and the carbs they provide are more than 50% fiber! That means that your carb and calorie amounts aren’t being affected in the same way as if you were eating a potato of the same mass. In fact, one cup of turnips has 4.2g of carbs (50% of which is fiber) while one cup of russet potato contains 13.5g of carbs (and less than 10% of that amount is fiber)! As for cooking options, they continue their potato substitution here too. Delicious roasted, mashed, or even air-fried, turnips should definitely become a staple of your weekly diet, even during Maintenance Phase.

Onions

Ideal Protein Phase

All phases (with parameters)

Significant Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamin C, B6, B9, Potassium, Allicin, Organosulfur compounds

A member of the Allium family, onions provide much more than incredible flavor. Chives, shallots, scallions, leeks, yellow, white, red… the varieties of onions are many, and each of them provide the myriad of benefits associated with this root vegetable. 

Although they are high in several vitamins and fairly low in calorie amounts, I find that their greatest contribution to my plate is their antioxidants. In fact, onions contain antioxidants and compounds that fight inflammation, decrease triglycerides and reduce cholesterol levels — all of which may lower heart disease risk. These organosulfur compounds have been shown to boost your immune system as well as regulating your blood sugar. 

One of the most surprising benefits of alliums (onions AND garlic) is the added benefits it provides to reproductive health. Studies have shown that consuming onions can increase sexual health and stamina by increasing blood flow and enhancing fertility, especially in men. 

Knowing how many types of onions there are and the MANY ways of consuming them raw or cooked, it’s really a no-brainer to make these goodies a part of your daily food enjoyment. For me, I often top my dinner pork chop with sautéed mushrooms and scallions, or toss a handful of fresh chives onto my roasted turnips. However you choose to eat them, you’ll certainly be getting more than just a flavorful food.

Garlic

Ideal Protein Phase

All phases

Significant Vitamins & Minerals

organic sulfides, saponins, phenolic compounds, and polysaccharides

Garlic is such an amazing guardian from nature. Although we don’t eat it in large quantities, we don’t need to in order to benefit from all it provides. 

Another allium, garlic is loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, lowering your cholesterol levels, raising your antioxidant levels, and therefore helping in your cardiovascular health. It has vitamins too, but only when consumed in LARGE amounts, and we just don’t eat that much of it. 

However, allicin, the prime “ingredient” in alliums, is a significant antimicrobial compound, preventing harmful bacteria from affecting your body. These preventions can take place throughout your body, from your gut to your blood to your reproductive organs! Allicin can also deactivate viruses such as influenza B, herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, rhinovirus… plus inhibit growth of a broad range of parasites.

The more I learn about garlic (and onions), the more I feel like it should just be a part of everyday eating. Alliums do so much for our bodies, and they provide so much flavor too!

If you’re a garlic lover (like I am), chop the top off a head of garlic, exposing the tops of each clove. Then, drizzle it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then pop it into the oven for a slow roast with your chicken or turnip/cauliflower casserole. When fully cooked, those cloves spread like butter across whatever you want!

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