living well

Not what you might expect: ONE

5 Comments 02 October 2012

Yes, this is a sweet potato, as you’ve never seen them before.

Some of the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed I have a badge on my sidebar that says I’m a ONEMum.  It’s surprisingly interesting, so read on. Oh, and there’s a giveaway at the end!

When I was growing up in Oklahoma we had lots of sweet potatoes. Usually, we just had them baked in their skins, served the same, with a cut down the length of the tuber, the skin pulled apart to expose the amazing orange insides, then a bit of butter and sometimes brown sugar sprinkled on top. Butter is enough to enhance the sweet earthy flavour, but actually, even without butter these are fairly interesting vegetables and I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of them in restaurants. I hardly saw them at all when I first moved to the UK. (In fact, I dont remember seeing them at all because this is one food I would have bought frequently when feeling homesick, but I’m just saying I don’t remember them in case they were there and I get in trouble for not paying attention.)

Since growing up I’ve seen that people serve sweet potatoes:

  • with mini marshmallows melted on top
  • or they use the flesh instead of pumpkins for sweet potato pie
  • peeled, cut and made into chips (steak fries)
  • sliced wafer thin and deep fried like crisps (chips), which is very, very nice
  • diced up and boiled, then mashed–I often make this when I make salmon baked in soy sauce and maple syrup and served with a sprinkling of chopped spring onions, along side wild rice and mashed sweet potatoes–lush!

But forget all the fab ways to use sweet potatoes, did you know they’re super healthy as well?

Not only are they a low GI food, they are also very high in Vitamin A, and quite high in Vitamins B1, B5, B6, and niacin. They’re also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, iron, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. And although most people only eat the tubers, you can also eat the leaves, which are even more nutritious than the tubers!

You get the picture, sweet potatoes are a *whispers* superfood. I whispered because that’s such an overrated word and yet, in this case completely acurate.

Because not only are they super nutritious, they are also well suited to the growing conditions in many parts of Africa, where people really, really need super nutritious food.

Deficiencies of those vitamins and minerals above cause:

  • scurvy
  • arthereorsclerosis
  • rickets
  • MS
  • some cancers and worse outcomes in other cancers
  • lower immunity
  • anaemia
  • irritability
  • fatigue
  • tiredness
  • apathy
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • water retention
  • increased sensitivity of tissue cells to blood sugar levels leading to Hypoglycemia
  • weight loss
  • weakness
  • irregular heart rate
  • increased PMS
  • increased morning sickness
  • a factor in depression
  • rashes
  • headaches
  • developmental abnormalities such as cleft lip
  • death

So if you live in an area where these deficiencies are real, the sweet potato really is a superfood.

So back to the interesting info about ONEMums. One of the things ONE does is help educate farmers in parts of Africa in new ways of growing different foods, like sweet potatoes.

Here’s where I come to the part about why I’m writing this post–no, stay! Because I’m NOT going to ask for money. Nope. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Here’s what I’m asking for: your voice.

(I know, that sounds like that witch Ursula in The Little Mermaid, right? Well ok, you know I’m not so let’s move on.)

What I mean by that is this: if you believe that our governments can take action to support effective, proven initiatives that are delivering results in the poorest places on the planet, protecting families from preventable diseases like AIDS and malaria, putting children in school, providing economic opportunity and stabilising communities, then you can just click here and add your voice to this campaign.

Seriously, that’s all!

If you want to help, all you do is click. You don’t have to spend any money, you don’t have to dip into your housekeeping budget, you just have to click.

I know! So easy.

And if you want to do one more thing, add your blog voice to this movement. Help people realise that all they have to do to help reduce preventable disease, to help educate children, and to help stabilise economies is to contact their world leaders.

If you write a blog post about this same issue before midnight 13 October 2012 and come back here to leave a comment to tell me and all my readers about it (with a link!), I will put your name in a hat (ok, to win a scarf or a bracelet made by Ethiopian women.

You don’t have to be a mum (or a dad) to enter this contest. So long as 1. you’re writing a post to help show other people how easy it is to help and 2. you come back here to leave a comment to let us know, you qualify!

Oh, and put some sweet potatoes on your shopping list this week, because I’m going to write a sweet potato recipe post soon!

For more about the issues ONE is addressing, click here.


Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Iota says:

    I absolutely LOVE sweet potato. I agree with you – it’s odd that we know so little about it here in Britain. When I was growing up, I think we called it a yam – is that the same thing?

    Does it count as a vegetable, or is it like a potato – a starch/carb and therefore despised by my husband?

  2. They are a staple in New Zealand where they are called Kumara (the Maori name). I put lemon, salt and oil on them and roast them. Yum

  3. Expat Mum says:

    Sweet potatoes are my very fave food. Especially baked as fries. Never really ate them in the UK though.

  4. JoelW says:

    I like them baked whole, then cut them open and add butter inside. It’s a healthier alternative to a regular baked potato. Some people add brown sugar to them but that is too sweet for me.

  5. Thanks Michelle, Mich x

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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