I love many foods native to Carribean countries. Brothy meat stews, boiled root veggies, fried starches like tostones, those mashed up double-cooked plantain patties . . . mmm, tostones. What's better than fresh tostones from a Cuban restaurant? Not a lot, but honestly the oil they're frying with is probably enough to make our paleo brains melt in dismay. Enter Artisan Tropic and my new favorite snack in plank form: Plantain Strips. Ingredients? Plantains, non-hydrogenated palm oil, salt. Boom. Delicious. ~
For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
Food knowledge and trends can go through interesting stages as folks figure out what they should eat and what they should (mostly) avoid. There was even a strange time window when low-fat was still pretty important but carbs were starting to get the stink-eye. Honestly this wasn't too long ago and it still lingers on. Ask me about the time(s) I told my mom that eggs for breakfast were probably going to help with the mid-morning snacking better than her fat-free sugar free yogurt with dried fruit on top... Anyway, we are seeing more good food knowledge being spread around than ever before and that's a great place to be. It means that we can recognize there is a place for traditional foods cooked with traditional fats (even though fast food chains probably won't bring back french fries with lard anytime soon).
Speaking of traditional foods and traditional oils, how about some rich and starchy plantains crisped up in tropical palm oil? It's a double-whammy of delicious by these folks at Artisan Tropical, a North Carolina company with a Colombia history. It usually takes a lot for me to love chips; they're not my usual go-to snack. But when the bag of plantains just keeps getting emptier and lighter as I ponder the computer screen, I know these are a winner. The flavor is mild with just a bit of sweetness without any added sugar. They won't replace tostones for pure gleeful Carribean eating, but they're pretty handy to keep in the cabinet the rest of the time.
Why Plantain Strips are so good for you
Sustainably sourced palm oil is the frying fat of choice for Artisan Tropic. Why? There are a lot of good things to be said about this oil.
- Palm Oil is cholesterol free and since it does not require hydrogenation, it is also trans fat free.
- It is a rich source of Vitamin E.
- Palm oil is the richest natural source of Beta-Carotene (pro-vitamin A).
- Refined, mostly polyunsaturated, vegetable oils that most people believe to be the healthiest now a days, have very few, if any, available nutrients and are actually oxidized, or rancid and add free radicals to the body. They are most certainly unstable when heated.
Here are some of the amazing nutrients in Plantain Strips
Resistant Starch: it's on everyone lips and almost all Paleo/ancestral nerd's brains. It's the kind of fiber that helps build good gut bacteria, which in turn create nutrients for us as they digest their food (that resistant starch). It's a beautiful circle.
Plantains' yellow hue provides a hint to their vitamin content. There's beta-carotene in them thar fruits. In your body, beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, helping to maintain healthy tissue, support resilient skin and a functional immune system. Eating a medium plantain provides your body with 2,017 international units of vitamin A, corresponding to 86 percent of the recommended intake for women and 67 percent of the intake for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Vitamin C is very well-recognized as a "good thing" but also, still, a critical nutrient to keep tissue growth normal and protect against oxidation. Plantains, like many fruits, have ample Vitamin C. We're not saying that eating a bag of chips every day is a recommended way to prevent scurvy, but these Plantain Strips have Vitamin C as a side benefit to the great taste.
How to eat Plantain Strips
I don't need to tell you how to eat chips, do I? Nah. But putting them all crumbled up on top of a salad or eggs is pretty awesome.
About Artisan Tropic, in their own words
Let's let them tell their own story: "Artisan Tropic is a family adventure fueled by our family’s passion for healthy living. In 1994, we moved to Charlotte, North Carolina from Bogotá, Colombia (South America). Charlotte has become home and is very dear to our hearts. We love to dance. We love soccer. We love family. And we LOVE to eat healthy. Why?
In 2011, our youngest daughter was very sick. After getting many different opinions and undergoing various treatments, we could not figure out what was wrong with her so we took her to a holistic nutritionist. She went through some pretty drastic dietary changes and her body began to heal. It was hard but we are so thankful that we went through it all.
From this experience we learned the importance of whole food nutrition and the way God made our bodies to function and heal with the proper fuel. Our family became very passionate about eating healthy so we decided to create our own brand of healthy snacks.
That’s how Artisan Tropic began. Our desire is to share our family’s healthy adventure with you."
Even more about Artisan Tropic:
Let the Artisan Tropic folks show you how they make their delicious chips: