A review of carrots. You won’t have to say “What’s up Doc?” after this article. You know… because you’ll be eating healthier!
Bugs bunny wasn’t jacked but he sure had good health and cardio. I credit that to the excessive amount of carrots that furry little bastard ate. So that is why this week I will be looking in depth at one of my and the majority of the worlds, favorite vegetables, carrots. Carrots are nutritionally stacked, abundant, tasty and easy to prepare. If you are doing any sport, let alone Jiu Jitsu, you should be stocking up on your vegetable intake, and the list of vegetables better include carrots. Carrots should be eaten fresh and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways so you have no excuse, just like how you have no excuse to be missing class. Roasted, raw, pickled or hell, even baked into a damn cake, carrots can make their way into your diet. Just do not eat too many, you might turn orange. I guess that might save you some money if you live the Jersey Shore lifestyle. In this weeks review I break down the nutritional benefits, give some tips & tricks and of course my favorite carrot recipe, which is easy for even the white belts of the kitchen.
Carrot didn’t first show up in Bugs’ hand, but rather as “medicine” thousands of years ago. Yea that’s right, what would you do if you went to the doctor today and he sent you home with a prescription to the supermarket for “1 bunch of carrots”? I’d probably high-five him! Because eating carrots will make you healthier and they will be a hell of a lot cheaper than most prescriptions modern doctors issue us. Carrots were popularized as a food and cultivated by the Europeans in the 15th and 16th century for good reasons, they were easy to grow, delicious and had a long shelf life. Now in 2014 they are even easier to buy, cheap and still just as delicious and store for even longer because hell, we have refrigerators and ziplock bags.
The part of a carrot we eat is actually the root section of the plant itself. Carrot flavors vary slightly based on the type of carrot you get but commonly you can assume they will be sweet over savory. The average person consumes roughly one cup of carrot per week. You aren’t average are you? Anyone can learn the armbar, what extra steps are you going to take to make yours better than the next persons? That’s right; you will now eat 2 cups of carrots a week! You won’t gain night vision or super strength, but your body will function better in the long run and you will be in generally better health. That is assuming you eat well to begin with. Eating an extra cup of carrots will not counter drinking a 6 pack of beer a night.
Carrots are packed with the most commonly referred too and beneficial antioxidant, beta-carotene. Hell, it’s even named after carrots! Along with beta-carotene you will find a ton of vitamins A & K, great levels of dietary fiber and potassium. So it is safe to say carrots offer anti-oxidants, cardiovascular & anti-cancer benefits along with improving vision health. All of which are great for our health and training.
Fun Fact: “A carrot is not a flashlight” @RealCarrotFacts
When is the best time to munch on carrots?
Time of year: Summer and Fall are the peak seasons for the best tasting carrots. Granted you will find carrots in bags all year round but if you have ever had a fresh carrot from a bunch rather than a giant “horse carrot” (that is the real term for the giant ones, not the best name if you have an imagination) from a bag, you will know what I mean.
Time of ingestion: Carrots are probably not the most ideal breakfast food but they are the second most commonly used vegetable in the kitchen so your options are far from limited for lunch, dinner or snacking. You could have carrots and hummus for a quick snack, shredded carrots and mixed vegetables with spicy mango salsa in a wrap for lunch, or the delicious roasted carrot recipe below for dinner. Just eat your carrots, but do not go over board. We do not want you turning orange.
Important to note: if you buy fresh carrots from the market or store, remove the stems before storing. Removing the stem prevents the carrot, which is a root, from drying out by the green part sucking the moisture out of it to stay alive. But do not throw away those carrots tops! Pull or trim off the smaller leaves and tops, rinse them and add them into a salad for a nice flavor boost.
- Excellent source of vitamin A & K, magnesium and potassium, to say the least.
- Beta-carotene are not the only good qualities of carrots, they tote cardiovascular health benefits and anti-cancer agents, primarily targeting colon cancer.
- Submit vision deterioration by eating carrots. Beta-carotene levels aid in reducing the risk of vision failure. Contrary to what my friend thought as a kid, eating a ton of beta-carotene won’t make you see in the dark, but it will keep you seeing in general.
- Magnesium means stronger bones, stronger bones mean fewer injuries. I like that.
- Boosted immune system from the vitamin A means more mat time and less time sneezing.
Cooking tips and tricks:
How to train with carrots from start to tap.
- Selecting: Opt for fresh bunches of carrots with the tops still attached. They will be fresher and generally sweet, not to mention more nutrient-packed too.
- Storing: Carrots can be kept for weeks in the fridge as long as you take the steps to ensure they keep dry. Wrap them in a paper towel gi and sink them into a rear-naked-zip lock.
- Utilizing Carrots: Just because you cannot stand prop comedy, it doesn’t mean you should throw aside all carrot tops. They are great in salads or can be combined with basil, pine nuts and olive oil in a blender for a nice pesto. Save some money, utilize what you would normally throw away.
- Peeling: The only waste should be the peelings of a carrot. If you buy baby carrots you skin wont be as developed and you can get away with not peeling them. Bigger carrots should always be peeled. If you want you can also use a clean green dish scrubby and scrub the carrots instead.
- Cutting: When cutting carrots you do not want to have them rolling all over the place. It is good practice to always cut them in half to make a size that is easier to work with. Then no matter what you do, trim one edge of the carrot to make a flat surface and place that side down against the cutting board so you now have a stable carrot to work with.
Fun Fact: Carrots are just like jiu jitsu belts, they come in a plethora of different colors and in fact the level of nutrients change based on the color of carrot. Though in Carrot-Jitsu deep orange and yellow carrots come out as providing the most nutritional benefits.
Flavor pairings: Almonds, butter, chives, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, garlic, honey, lemon, maple, mustard, orange, parsley, rosemary, thyme, walnuts
Cooking methods: Boiled, juiced, steamed, raw, roasted, grilled, broiled, used in soups/sauces/roasts, pureed and even pickled.
Carrots are a no brainer. They should be consumed regularly because they are cheap, tasty and great for you. You take your training seriously so you should always take your diet seriously because no other part of your life is as directly related. Carrots can improve your health, keep you kicking and ticking. But do not consume in excess because yes, you might turn orange and it’s not a flattering color with your gi. Speaking of gis, need a new one? Then use grapplergourmet for 10% OFF at Inverted Gear. Eating a lot of carrots already but not enough protein? Swing over to Q5 and use GOURMET10 for 10% OFF. Like free things? Then sign up below for Grappler Gourmet Weekly and get free offers, updates and emails from yours truly! Until then, eat well, train hard. OSS.