Too Many Carrots?

Too much of any one food isn’t a great idea.  

I’m using carrots as an example because of a recent email exchange I had with a blog reader, who reminded me of something funny I experienced myself, years ago.

I began doing a lot of my own cooking at a pretty young age.  I was just drawn to it.  Call it a combination of my mom’s healthy/hippie eating virtues bestowed upon me (much to my own chagrin as a kid), combined with spending time in the kitchen with my grandmother (the type of cook who could whip together a lovely meal from seemingly nothing) and an introduction to entertaining via Martha Stewart’s 1982 book of the same title (yes, I was eight at the time).

Two of my favorite childhood pictures are proof that this started very early on; one of me sitting in a garden as a toddler, wearing a diaper, eating a raw onion and a tomato, and covered in seeds; the other, at age five, standing at a make shift stove (an electric griddle positioned at the proper height on a metal box, cooking a beef burger).

In high school, the trend carried on and I made time every evening to prepare the lunch I’d take with me to school the next day, which was always some combination of chopped fresh veggies, protein and some olive oil or avocado.  Back then, I was still eating other foods I no longer include in my diet, like brown rice, tofu, peanuts, whole grains and raw dairy, too.

Anyway, let me try and steer myself back from this giant tangent.

I found carrots to be particularly enjoyable as part of a snack or meal. All I needed to do was wash and peel them and then I could enjoy them smothered with peanut butter (again- keep in mind this was about 14 years before I found Paleo!), dipped in guacamole or eaten plain.

So, guess what happened after I found myself eating carrots often during the day for weeks?

You guessed it; my hands turned bright orange.  I’m not talking about a slight hint, I’m talking pumpkin color!   High in beta carotene, like yams, too many carrots will cause orange hands.

And here I come full circle back to the original point.

I ate too many carrots, built up a high level of Vitamin A, and the resulting side effect made it very obvious that I had done too much of a good thing.

So, balance is the key!  Don’t eat only carrots, or only chicken or only apples.  Some of each, and some of other foods too.  Any  fresh fruits.  Any fresh veg.  KRemember to include all the colors of the rainbow on your plate and keep the foods in your kitchen as diverse as the campus of a liberal university.