Admittedly, I tried my first Brussels sprout just a few short years ago – crazy, I know.  My parents’ story for not keeping them in the house: they were force fed mushy, over-steamed sprouts in their youth and could no longer bear the thought of eating them, nor the smell. Luckily, I fell in love with my first bite (the bacon sauce probably helped…).

I know a lot of folks that turn their noses up at these tiny cabbage-like veggies, my partner included – and let me tell you I am out to change this attitude! Firstly for your health; Brussels sprouts are seriously nutritious.  One cup of sprouts contains most of your daily Vitamin C requirements, and a whopping amount of Vitamin K; an essential nutrient for maintaining bone density.  In addition to these well-known vitamins, Brussels sprouts are also a wonderful source of anti-cancer compounds – glucosinolates to be specific.  They are such a good source of these plant compounds, that Brussels sprouts are frequently used in scientific studies focused on glucosinolates, dietary intake, and cancer incidence/prevention.  We now know for sure that eating Brussels sprouts, among other cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables, can help prevent the most common cancers out there: breast, lung and colon.  I recommend everyone consumes a minimum of 2-3 servings (1-1.5 cups) of cruciferous veggies per week, and 4-5 if you really want to do something good for your health.  As you know, other veggies in this plant family include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.

So how to get the haters out there enjoying their sprouts, especially with the holiday feasts coming up? Myself I have prepped them in several different ways, and some favourites include thai style: stir-fried with healthful coconut oil, thai chili, lime, garlic, cilantro and soya.  No stinky sprouts here (btw. The notorious Brussels sprouts smell comes from over-cooking them, the anti-cancer compounds contain sulphur which accounts for the odour)! I find sprouts are also a simply divine side-dish when blanched quickly (30 seconds), and then roasted with olive oil, balsamic, and herbs of your choice.  Lastly, after cooked or roasted, try adding them to a cold x-mas type salad.  They can be great friends with all kinds of leafy greens, apples, walnuts and celery in a delicious "Waldorf" type salad.

Seeing as this is my last "Vegitale" of 2012, I want to thank all of you; the Fresh City Farms community for welcoming me and for all of the great work that you do.  This initiative is a true ambassador of local, healthful food, social and community engagement.  It is a pleasure to be a part of this growing movement, and I hope you have enjoyed reading these little columns as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!

Happiest of Holidays to you and your families!

Yours in health,
Bronwyn Hill

Bronwyn Hill, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor & food lover. She is currently in practice in Toronto's Forest Hill Neighbourhood, at Mahaya Forest Hill Integrative Health. She specializes in using food as medicine, acupuncture & traditional chinese medicine & botanicals; and has particular experience treating digestive concerns, women's health concerns including menopause, stress management, insomnia, healthy detoxification, and chronic respiratory conditions including asthma. She can be reached at . Follow her on Twitter @drbronwynnd.