Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mango Mania

Been turned on to mangoes yet? This fruit has become one of my absolute favorites. There’s a couple of different types and sizes. There’s large, medium, and a yellow, small size that is kidney shaped. All are wonderful but so far, the small one is my favorite of favorites. Its taste is especially incredible! Make sure they are fully ripe- very soft and wrinkly.

One of the perks of traveling across the country as a school assembly performer is getting to go to places where certain foods are abundant and inexpensive. Especially fun is when I can discover free food! I was in Junction, Texas- a beautiful little oasis town in a valley by a river, in the the middle of nowhere! I was on a walk one evening after a very long drive, and discovered a public pecan tree grove, near a hospital. When I saw that there were many on the ground I found a plastic bag that had been caught in a fence. For the next 2 hours until sunset I gleefully picked up different size pecans. I got a nice bag full. Even though many of them were small, they all taste great right out of the shell.

A week before that, I was in southern Texas near the Mexican border. Mangoes were cheap! The big size were 50 cents each and the small yellow ones were 44 cents each- prices unheard of in Minnesota where I live. I bought 5 of the big ones, and I mean these were the biggest mangoes I’ve seen- green and reddish- beautiful! They were quite firm, so I knew I’d be waiting for many days for them to ripen, a mango’s only drawback. I also bought 5 of the yellow, which were all basically ripe already. I’d never had the yellow ones before. I couldn’t believe how great they tasted! -a richer, even more flavorful, sweeter taste than the bigger mangoes.
I have really made a concerted effort the last couple of years to eliminate sugar and extra salt from my diet. The wonderful taste of the yellow mangoes was a treat to my healthy taste buds- like nature‘s candy. Now the big mangoes have started to ripen. They become yellowish and do get very soft. I’ve had one each evening for the last 3 days. They are so good and juicy. There’s 2 left. I think I will be going through mango withdrawal when they are gone.

I laugh when I think of when I was a kid how much I loved candy, pop, sugar. I never dreamed I would give it up. As a natural food store clerk in Arizona who has also given up sugar said yesterday, “You just don’t need sugar when there are SO many wonderful healthy sweet tastes like fruit and dates.” We high-fived. I seldom run into others who have also given up sugar. I know they are out there. Here is another example:
I was in Flagstaff, Arizona at a big, beautiful natural food store. I asked the guy in charge of bulk items if the dried peaches were natural- no sugar added/not treated with sulfur or anything else. He said they were natural with nothing added, but to him tasted very bland.
He opened a small bag and asked me to try one. We both tried one. He repeated it tasted bland and rubbery. I thought mine tasted wonderful! Very sweet and moist. I asked him if he ate sugar in his diet and he looked surprised I’d asked and said yes. I bought a few small bags. They are a favorite treat to me, wonderfully sweet and chewy- like candy!
You will never know what I’m talking about unless you give sugar free living a try. You’ll be rewarded with natural sweet tastes which I liken to a natural high- tastes like you‘ve never dreamed possible.
Another recent discovery are flame raisins, which are dried red grapes. (Regular raisins are dried green grapes.) Make sure the flames are fresh, soft, and moist, as compared to older, hard ones. I eat these as treats now too. They are wonderful!

I hope you give sugar free living a try. Sweet, healthy, natural tastes will AMAZE you!