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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Artichokes

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

The artichoke was prized as a health food by the Egyptians for its dietary benefits. Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used as a natural cleanser for the liver and gallbladder. Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, described it as the "food for the rich" because of health ailments, like gout and cirrhosis of the liver, attributed to a "rich" lifestyle marked by an excess of foods, fats, and alcohol. The main producers of artichokes today are Italy, Spain, and France. In the United States, California provides nearly one hundred percent of the country’s commercially grown crop.

Artichokes are an excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, and fiber. An artichoke rich diet has been shown to help promote liver function, and prevent arteriosclerosis, and gout. Additionally, the wonder veggie also aids in digestion, and may provide relief to migraine sufferers by cleaning out toxins in the blood. Radiant skin is an added side benefit of artichokes due to their diuretic qualities.

Artichokes can be cooked whole, halved, or chopped, and enjoyed steamed, boiled, or fried. Try them alone dipped in a healthy sauce, tossed with some of your other favorite veggies in a refreshing spring salad, or as a succulent side dish to your favorite meal.

Succulent Steamed Artichokes

2 whole artichokes

2 tablespoons organic butter

2 cloves garlic, sliced

dash of sea salt and fresh paper

Fill a pot with enough water to cover bottom. Boil over high heat. Trim and discard the stems and hard outer leaves of artichokes while water is heating up. Tuck pads of butter and garlic slices into artichoke leaves. When water is boiling, set steamer insert in pot and place artichokes in steamer, stem-side down. Cover pot with lid and steam artichokes for about 20 minutes, until tender. Dig in and enjoy!

Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a certified holistic health counselor. She works with clients on nourishing their body and soul by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. She conducts special sugar seminars at Radu’s Physical Culture gym in NYC. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com, or you can email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com, or call her at (212) 799-4169 for a FREE initial holistic health consultation. Phone consultations and group seminars available.

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