While tooling around the internet news world, I came across a fascinating story. It has all of the things I look for in news: a real story about a real problem, a real solution proposed and implemented by real people, and a demonstration of a fundamental principle of healthier eating. Who could ask for more? The short version, for those of you who are pressed for time and prefer reading my post to the news story (a girl can dream, right?)… Economist and all around international smarty pants Howard Bouith, when faced with the reality of micronutrient deficiency amongst the world’s most impoverished populations, proposed that rather than attempting to ship vitamins and supplements to these, often remote, populations, communities would be better served by consuming those micronutrients in the foods that they rely on as staple nourishment. The most successful implementation of Bouith’s idea to date: a public health campaign in Uganda and Mozambique that encourages farmers to grow ORANGE sweet potatoes rather than the white and yellow ones that most farmers have traditionally grown there. Why? Because the North American orange sweet potatoes provide the beta carotene needed in the body to make vitamin A, a micronutrient that has been so sorely lacking that it has resulted in death of children in these countries.
The good news? It seems to be working. The farmers are growing North American sweet potatoes, and the people are eating them. Public health campaigns educate parents about the improved nutrition available from the orange spud, and parents demand them at the markets to ensure the health of their children. The better news for you? You are likely living somewhere where the choice of an orange sweet potato can be made at the market. You will not have to wait for your farmers to plant and grow a more nutritious choice. You can simply pick one up. You can simply make that choice – a sweet potato, whole grains over refined flours, water over soda, whole fruit over a juice box, nuts over chips, milk over non-dairy flavored creamer goo. If you can’t find the nutritious choices you seek at your market, ask for them, and ask your friends to do the same. In Mozambique and Uganda, the baby step of eating an orange potato rather than a yellow one can change the fundamental quality of a child’s life. The truth is, a baby nutritional step can fundamentally change the quality of anybody’s life. And all that needs to be done is to make that choice.
While I like sweet potatoes, I must admit that I also really enjoy their less nutritious relatives. I am moved to give myself a kick in the proverbial nutritional pants and so I will embark on a sweet potato romance. I thought I’d share a few recipes that I intend to savor as part of my orange spud flirtation.
I had to do a quick search on OhSheGlows and was quickly drooling at this particular option: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Spinach, and Pepper Vegan Enchiladas
I also liked the look of these Sweet Potato Pita Pockets.
There is always the option, of course, of roasting those bad boys in a little olive oil, salt. And then dip them in herbed naioli… oh yes.
Delish and nutrish, a reality I am grateful to be able to choose.