When I was a nanny, over 20 years ago, my youngest charge, Alec, when asked what his favorite color was would so sweetly answer, “Lisa, I choose rainbow as my favorite color because it includes them all. And they are all so beautiful, I just can’t choose one.” Through the years, I think he settled on yellow, but I think of his words so often and I think of rainbows a great deal too. What a sweet lesson from a child not to rank a favorite, but to love things equally.
When it comes to food, there’s a saying in health and wellness circles to ‘Eat the rainbow.’ Certain colors of food indicate an abundance of specific nutrients.
- Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (citrus fruits, gourds, for example) are abundant in vitamins C and A.
- Green fruits and veggies (kale, spinach, asparagus, avocado) are high in vitamins K, B, and E.
- Purple produce (eggplant, red cabbage, grapes) are high in vitamins C and K.
Plants often get their colors from the phytochemicals found in them. Those chemicals then offer us different nutrients when we eat them. So adding a variety of colorful produce to our diet is an easy way to get a lot of vitamins and minerals. Eat the rainbow!
I do my best to eat the rainbow as often as I can. I love color and seeing them all in a bowl or on my plate brings me joy… true joy. I take it a step further. I wear the rainbow! I’m not afraid of color. I confidently wear all the colors, sometimes all at once. I even wear two different colored socks - always - just as an opportunity to get more color in my wardrobe. Why? Here’s the thing, life gives us plenty of storms. And after most storms a rainbow appears. A rainbow is nature’s apology for the ruckus of weather. A rainbow is also the promise that all is well in the world. There are storms all around us that have nothing to do with the weather. These storms of life offer no such apology or promise. So my rainbow menus and rainbow wardrobes are subtle ways to remind myself that all is well, or it will be once the storm has passed.
My Mom always asks me, ‘how do you come up with things to write about each week?’ I tell her that I live my life with my senses turned on and by the end of the week, what I’ve seen, felt, tasted, smelled, or heard makes its way to the page. More often than not, what I ‘feel’ isn’t with the touch of my hands, it’s felt by my heart. That’s our bonus sense! I knew this week I had an inkling of a rainbow theme and within one hour of deciding that was my subject, these four images appeared before me. “Thoughts become things,” said Bob Proctor who wrote You Were Born Rich. ‘What you think about, you bring about’ is another goodie, but has no identifiable source – but that day those quotes were written for me and my found rainbows.
This happens all the time, ideas are planted in our subconscious and then they just start manifesting and showing up everywhere. About a month ago on Instagram I was followed by Babé Farms. I clicked on their page and fell hard for their produce images so I followed them back. They are a farm specializing in gourmet produce in Santa Maria, California. Nearly everyday, I receive a heart from Babe Farms and nearly every day they receive one from me. It’s a sweet little admiration society we have going on. They’ll probably never eat my food, and I’ll probably miss out on their stunning produce on the West Coast, but we admire one another all the same. (I love this about social media, the connectivity.)
This week I went into one of my favorite places in New York City, Eataly - the Italian imports mecca. I’ve also been to the original location in Turin, Italy. Now they are popping up everywhere in the US. Eataly always has stuff I can’t find anywhere else. I picked up adorable baby beets, purple Ninja radishes, white carrots, multicolored baby cauliflower and tiny romanesco. I couldn’t wait to get them home and roast them for one of my weekly clients - a brand new mom who would appreciate diminutive produce!
As I do with beautiful food, I laid it out on my antique desk to photograph. Every single root vegetable I chose was from Babé Farms! I’d never seen them in a market before. I squealed and probably did a little jig. I even texted a friend the purple ninja radishes image I was so excited. Who knew that those even existed? I had to share with someone immediately. Now I’m sharing with all of you! And not just pretty vegetables from an awesome farm in California. I want to remind you to be a rainbow. When you’re sitting in a storm, know that it will pass and that a rainbow is on its way. And if you’re like me, after the real rainstorms, I rarely see the colorful arcs with my eyeballs. (In fact I missed the one in NYC yesterday apparently!) I enjoy them via someone else’s Instagram or Facebook picture. So I create my own rainbows. Eat colorful foods, wear colorful clothes, think colorful thoughts. Thoughts become things, and as Mike Dooley added his famous tagline to that - “choose the good ones!”
No real recipe, buy the most colorful vegetables you can find, crank your oven to 400 degrees. Spread the vegetables out on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, generously salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through. Sprinkle with sumac and za' atar, my favorite middle eastern spices.