Cassava: A tasty good pick for carbohydrate option

Cassava, yuca, tapioca, or Manihot esculenta (Scientific name), is a perennial starch (carbohydrate) rich root or tuber grown in many tropical regions such as South and Central America, Africa, and Pacific islands.  I found it growing all over Fiji when I ran there last year.  It is also prevalent here in Honduras where I’ve been resting and nurturing a metatarsal fracture.

My father has many Cassava plant taking up most of his garden space here in Roatan.   Said he can’t wait for  the 6 months to be up to pull them and eat, and brags to have the “best” and “softest” cassava on this little island.  I’m just not sure who you would consult to validating this claim, so don’t ask.

Cassava is higher in starch, protein, and fiber than other tubers like potato, yam, plantain, etc.  it is gluten-free, rich in mineral, and a good source of vitamin K (young leaves).  Both root and leaves are edible.

It also contains phytochemicals to help lower the cholesterol level.  They claim it also lowers free-radicals (stuff that can cause cancer).  Because of these phytochemical (free-radical fighting agents) properties it helps fight against aging, and age-related diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, etc (chronic diseases).

Instead of eating the usual carbohydrate such as potatoes, and yam, I would like to suggest you go to your supermarket or farmers market and grab you some cassava.  Boil them with a dash of salt (or without salt), until soft.  You can eat it like that or add your favorite seasoning, herb, or spices too.  Some people like to fry cassava, and use it as a substitute for french fries.

Since Roatanians love to fry their food, and we know what this is doing to our waist lines and health, I would suggest you seek a balance with with fried stuff.  Just boil them.  I heard someone say if you boil the cassava, take them out of the pot while hot, and add dash seasoning and along with a few drops of extra virgin coconut oil, you will be in for a tasty surprise.  Gotta try this myself.

Warning:  Although some people like to eat a few cassava raw, and I’ve had it before because I find it tasty, it is advised not to do so because cassava has a compound called cyanogenic glycoside, which if you think about the word “cyano,” a red flag for “cyanide” should be raised.  Cyanide poisoning is nothing nice.  So make sure you prepare your cassava, peel it, cut it, boil it (or fry, bake) and eat it cooked.  I’ve never heard of anyone dying from this poisoning because not many people like eating cassava  raw.  Cassava is tastier cooked.

OYE!  As tasty as cassava is, I have to ease up on it for a minute.  My running activity has came to a halting squeak almost 3 months ago with the metatarsal fracture, and I am waiting to get clearance to run.  My favorite pie is that made from cassava.  If you have a piece in your kitchen on this “Sexy in Stilettos Sunday,” please share!  They tell me giving is better than receiving. And I know many of you Roatanians like your Sunday pie after church.  Just saying…

P.S.  If you’re a runner, ever consider Cassava as a carb load option?