Say Hello to the Superfood, Yuca

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Welcome to Yuka

A global health movement is growing. People are more health conscious and are looking for alternatives to traditional eating habits. The realization that there are many different superfoods that are virtually untouched by the average populace has sparked a desire to experiment and try new exotic foods. Many of these superfoods were imported from South America, Asia and Africa. Indigenous peoples have thrived off the land and sustained huge civilizations with the use of superfoods. One is gaining momentum, particularly in North America.

On the right is the yuca root (Quechua name spoken in Peru). This root goes by many different names depending on where you are geographically: cassava, cassava, cassava, yucca root, casaba, and tapioca. It is currently an essential root vegetable in the Caribbean diet.

Yuca is a perennial plant found in tropical climates. In Africa, Asia and South America it was used as the main food source. Indigenous peoples use it along with other starchy foods like sweet potatoes, taro, plantains, and potatoes. Although little known outside the tropics, it accounts for about 30% of world root production. Recently popular in America is tapioca. Grinding the yuca root into small powder balls forms tapioca balls, which are enjoyed in boba teas and various beverages.

To clear up some disputes, YUCA and YUCCA are two very different plants. Yuca is the root while yucca is a scrub.

Why the sudden interest?

As the world becomes more connected, people can enjoy the benefits of fruits and vegetables that were previously unattainable. Not so long ago, if you hadn’t been born in the tropics, Yuca would have been virtually intangible. But now people all over the world can benefit from it.

The general public also has access to an infinite amount of new information. This opens up new possibilities for integrating them into everyday life. Once upon a time you would have walked into a grocery store and couldn’t have deciphered what that long brown root was. With a quick Google search, the information is now available to you. Recipes for this root are endless. The endless recipes allow you to experiment and diversify your diet.

The energy it delivers is amazing!

In Peru, South America we visited a local family. They were simply the most hospitable, humble and hardworking family I have ever met. In many cultures around the world, it is common for large families to live together. In one house you can have your mother, father, grandparents, great-grandparents, children and grandchildren. It is very common to take in family members and live as one big family unit. What we saw in this family was that everyone was extremely hardworking. Even the great-grandparents helped around the house. While the activities they participated in were more limited than those of younger generations, it was incredible to see how agile and energetic these men and women were.

I remember asking them one day how they found the energy to work so hard at their age.

With a smile, the older lady said, “comer bien.”

That was it, a simple explanation. “Comer bien” means “eat well”. These families eat fresh and powerful superfoods every day. Yuca root is just one addition to the other superfoods Peruvians have enjoyed for centuries.

How come this simple answer: comer bien, can lead to a long lasting and healthy life.

I thought back to the United States, where much of our older generation is forced to live in foster homes or never make it to great-grandparents. These older generations thrive in Peru and are highly respected. Their persistent activity and nutritious diet help them excel in life.

Processed vs. natural

Now comes the inescapable truth that many demographics suffering from obesity are reluctant to admit. You are what you eat. What we now see among the people of Peru is that most families eat a diet consisting of fresh grains, fruits and vegetables purchased from the local open air markets. These families feed their bodies with unprocessed, natural ingredients. A meal is prepared from scratch and all meals are considered family events. Everyone eats together and eats the same. There is little overindulgence because the quality of the food creates a sense of satisfaction and wholeness. There is no need for a cookie after dinner as there is no addiction to sugar like we find in the US. Because the food is unprocessed, the meals lack added sugars and preservatives. Their bodies run like a well-oiled machine – not one driven by desire. Imagine how strong your body would feel if you energized it with whole foods – superfoods! Can you imagine how powerful you would feel? No lack of energy, no craving for fries or cream puffs. Slowly incorporating superfoods like yuca into your diet can show you just how empowered you can feel. It takes one small step that leads to endless healthy choices.

Don’t be afraid to try yuca. Your body will thank you!

Thanks to Britanny Jocius

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