Current trends in nutrition preach the benefits of eating a seasonal diet in accordance with where you live. This nutritional theory encourages eating locally grown food, preferably native to the geographic area you reside in and in accordance with what is in season for best health. Eating papaya in February in Wisconsin doesn’t exactly jibe with this.
We’re so used to seeing bananas in our produce section, at our health club snack bar or even at the gas station check out stand that it doesn’t usually occur to us that bananas are not indigenous to North America. There was a time when air-shipped bananas from the Chiquita farms in Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala were not found in an American grocery store produce section – so, people did not eat them. The modern convenience of importing and exporting our food supply is something we often take for granted.
I totally "get" and embrace this "eat local" trend – it’s a throwback to a "natural" way of living and consumption. It encourages community food production and support of your regional economy – both of which I am all for.
But, sometimes cravings win out.
In complete rebellion against seasonal or local eating, I have been indulging in some major pineapple action. Maybe it was the anticipation of our recent trip to Oahu, where the Dole Plantation produces a bounty of this spiky fruit. We drove by the pineapple fields, which surprised me with their low profile. I somehow envisioned that pineapples grew on trees, not on short, stocky plants.
Or perhaps this pineapple frenzy was the product of an instinctual pull toward the enzyme Bromelain in response to my hand injury that is still plaguing me. Pineapple contains tons of this enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Forward-thinking surgeons often prescribe Bromelain as a post-procedure supplement to assist with bruising and swelling.
Bromelain also helps with digestion, which can be wonky while traveling, so consuming pineapple can help with digestive distress at home and when on the road. This property of being able to break down protein makes it a killer marinade for meats. Anyone remember Dos Bandidos’ steak fajitas? The pineapple-based marinade made them the most tender in town.
Get the most benefit by eating freshly cut, raw flesh of pineapple or unpasteurized, fresh, raw juice. Pineapple makes a great smoothie – especially with kale and cilantro. Or blend frozen chunks of the tangy fruit for a fresh, pineapple sorbet. And if the enzymatic benefit doesn’t concern you, try grilling pineapple for a tangy side dish with fish or a soy/pineapple marinated chicken breast or steak. Be sure to invest in a "Pineapple Corer" for the fastest, easiest extraction of scrumptious morsels of this intimidating-to-peel species.
Pineapple has external beauty benefits, too! You can apply fresh, mashed or blended pineapple as an all-natural face mask! The enzyme action acts as an exfoliant and will leave you with smooth skin! Plus, the high Vitamin C content provides anti-oxidant benefits that may help reduce the by-products of sun damage and aging.
If the fresh option is not for you, there are tons of pineapple-based retail beauty products that can be found in stores and salons. One of my favorite natural brands, Alba, makes an incredible Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser.
Additionally, there is scientific evidence that if you say "pineapple" before someone sneezes, they will not sneeze. And the Kardashians swear by the effect of pineapple on female personal hygiene. (Come on y’all – big wink from me.)
Pineapple may not be on the local foods list for most of us, but its tangy taste, bright aroma, Carmen Miranda-esque exterior and health benefits make me wanna ride the Pineapple Express.
Lindsay Garric is a Milwaukee native who calls her favorite city home base for as long as her lifestyle will allow her. A hybrid of a makeup artist, esthetician, personal trainer and entrepreneur all rolled into a tattooed, dolled-up package, she has fantasies of being a big, bad rock star who lives in a house with a porch and a white picket fence, complete with small farm animals in a version of Milwaukee that has a tropical climate.
A mishmash of contradictions, colliding polar opposites and a dash of camp, her passion is for all pretty things and the products that go with it. From makeup to workouts, food to fashion, Lindsay has a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends and is super duper excited to share that and other randomness from her crazy, sexy, gypsy life with the readers of OnMilwaukee.com.