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Great Stuff!

There's loads of great stuff out there to enhance your physical and spiritual health. Every two weeks, All Spirit Fitness brings you something we've found useful. Sometimes it's a brand new fitness tool, sometimes it's an everyday item that you can find at the store. Whatever it is, rest assured that if it's on this page, we think it's great!


Sophie Allport - Artichokes, 1998
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All too often, people serve up vegetables with little thought or imagination. The typical selection of green beans, broccoli, carrots, spinach and the like can become pretty mundane. Many unusual vegetables get unfairly neglected and among the best of them are artichokes. A steamed, fresh artichoke is a deliciously indulgent experience. You pluck the leaves and scrape off the fleshy bottom part with your teeth. Eventually you reach the heart, which has a rich texture and a bit of a tang. For all its good taste, a large artichoke contains just 25 calories and no fat, and it contains a good selection of nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium - and fiber, too.

The only nutritional landmine you'll risk when eating an artichoke is contained in what you use to accompany it. Dunk those leaves in a high-fat dip, or the classic butter and mayonnaise combo and the calories shoot sky-high. Try marinating them in low-fat Italian dressing instead, or whipping up a low-calorie dipping sauce. Whatever you do, it's best to go easy on the dip - let the artichoke's unique taste shine through.

When buying artichokes, choose those that are bright green in color, with leaves that are tightly closed. Avoid artichokes with brown circles inside the stem. Go for the medium-sized ones - the large ones generally aren't the most flavorful. Some people say the thorned artichokes have a superior flavor over those without thorns.

For more information about artichokes and artichoke recipes, visit the California Artichoke Advisory Board and Ellen's Kitchen.

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