I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of imagining people feasting on a rainbow. For some reason it reminds me of that room in Willy Wonka’s factory where you could lick the fruit wallpaper… How cool would it be rocking up to a summer pot luck picnic and producing an entire rainbow from your basket like a magician?! Anyway, in my head you would eat this magical rainbow, and then be infused with it’s powers. Just like eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruit really? If you break down the job that vitamins and minerals perform in the body, that is pretty magical!
Nutrition groups have adopted the initiative, and ordinarily this concept is marketed at kids, which is wonderful, but adults need it too! Each colour represents different phytonutrients that nourish our bodies, protect against disease and promote health. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds that are found in plants, giving them their colour, and helping to protect the plant from environmental factors like UV and insect attacks. The great thing is, when we eat the plants, we can glean their benefits too. I have written a very brief list below of various colours, the phytonutrients that go with them, the foods where they can be found, and some of their main roles in the body.
Red – lycopene – (berries, red pepper/capsicum, tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit) – contribute to heart heath and reducing inflammation and oxidation.
Orange/Yellow – carotenoids/betacarotene (pumpkin, sweet potato, mango, apricot, corn, carrot, orange, lemon, pineapple, squash) – boosts immunity.
Green – lutein & indoles (broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, avocado, cucumbers, zucchini, green apples, kiwi, green pepper/capsicum) – antioxidant, protect eyes.
White – sulfur & allicin – (onion, garlic, leek) – helps to fight disease and aids detoxification.
Purple/blue – flavanoids, anthocyanidins – (beetroot, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, red cabbage, eggplant, red apples, cherries, cranberries)- targets blood vessels, microcirculation, our eyes and our brain.
Of course these foods do a lot more than I have listed here, which is the beauty of eating the whole food! Each of these foods contain a plethora of other vitamins, minerals, enzymes and health giving properties, and by choosing to make our plates colourful, we are naturally given access to the full spectrum.
Eating a rainbow is a concept that defies food beliefs and dietary principles. Whether your a paleo lover, vegan, raw foodist, LCHF, vegetarian, follow fodmaps, gluten-free, or just generally appreciate food, you still need to eat a rainbow to achieve optimal health. Nature has it all mapped out for us beautifully, all we need to do is choose a variety of her colours. An example might be that instead of eating an apple as a snack every day, mix it up with different seasonal fruit. Or to mix up the veggies that you include in your dinner at night. I find veggie boxes great for this, as they often arrive with particular fruit or veg that you may not normally cook with, and so you are forced to discover a new treasure.
So harness your inner child and come and eat a rainbow with me – the pot of gold at the end is health and wellness – and there is no greater gift I can think of than that!
I had a mountain of colourful veggie and fruit, and had intended to do something artistic with it. Then I thought, I could just make a mountain of colourful pancakes instead.
I made a variety of pancakes here, just for fun, but you could easily just make one variety and add your colour with different coloured fruit and berries too.
The chocolate pancakes were these ones I did for the Urban List.
The green pancakes are these vegan breakfast pancakes, but just blitzed up some spinach with the milk before adding it to the mix.
And the pinky ones are a new recipe.
Raspberry Almond Pancakes
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large free range eggs
1 cup ground almonds / almond meal or any other nut meal
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 – 3/4 cup raspberries
Combine the bananas and eggs and whisk together with a fork.
Add all other ingredients and mash the raspberries into the mix. Allow to sit for 5 minutes while you heat up a frypan on low-moderate heat.
Pop a knob of coconut oil, butter or ghee to the frypan and add around 1/4 cup sized scoops to the pan. Cook slowly, until golden underneath, and flip carefully as they can be fragile until flipped. Cook for another couple of minutes and serve with your choice of excitement! Yum.
Thank you mother nature!! I hope you enjoy. x
Final image via pinterest