Sick of being told what not to eat, Elmhurst-based nutritionist David Grotto decided to write a book about foods that do the body good. The best parts of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life ($14; Bantam) are the recipes—approved by Grotto’s three daughters—that incorporate oddities such as flaxseed into a meal. Here are five of his smartest finds.

What it is: A member of the pea family
Secret benefit: “Give it to kids to help stop diarrhea,” Grotto says.
Sneak it into supper: Use carob powder instead of cocoa powder; they have a similar taste. Stir into milk and serve to unsuspecting children.


What it is: A jam, jelly, or syrup extract.
Secret benefit: The berries contain a tremendous amount of vitamin C, particularly useful during cold and flu season.
Sneak it into supper: Use it as a pie filling.


What it is: A utilitarian plant; the base, stalk, and leaves can all be used for cooking.
Secret benefit: Fennel can be used to treat snakebite. It’s also handy for reducing gas and abdominal pain.
Sneak it into supper: “Chew on [the seeds] after a meal to help with digestion,” Grotto says.


What it is: A seed. Flax oil is more commonly called linseed oil.
Secret benefit: Studies show flax slows tumor growth in cancer patients. It can also help ease symptoms of ADHD.
Sneak it into supper: Send the seeds through a coffee grinder and sprinkle them on cereal, soup, or bread (before baking).


What it is: A leafy green vegetable
Secret benefit: A solid source of vitamin C and potassium.
Sneak it into supper: “Raw, it’s not very good,” Grotto says. “But kale in lentil soup is absolutely fantastic.”

Get the recipe for the book’s elderberry ice cream pie >>


Photography: (Carob) Blackbox Studios, Inc; (Elderberries, fennel, flax, kale)



Fourth of July Elderberry Ice Cream Pie

By Sharon, Chloe, Katie and Madison Grotto

Servings 8 (1/8 of a pie each)
Prep and cooking time: thirty minutes
Freeze until firm: 3-4 hours.

This recipe contains two powerhouse foods


For the crust:
1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter. Melted
2 tablespoons honey

For the Filling:
12 ounces of elderberries
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups low fat strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt
2 cups low fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

Place graham cracker crumbs, honey, and butter in a 9-inch pie plate. Mix and firmly press mixture to form pie crust. Place in freezer for thirty minutes.

DIRECTIONS (filling):
While crust is freezing, dissolve cornstarch in water and mix with elderberries, honey, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cook until thickened (about two minutes). Let sauce cool completely.

Place softened strawberry ice cream on top of frozen pie crust. Layer ½ berry sauce over ice cream. Layer vanilla ice cream over berry sauce. Layer top of vanilla ice cream with remaining berry sauce. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze 3-4 hours or until firm.

Calories: 260; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 3.5g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 160mg; Total carbs: 48g; Fiber: 3; Sugar: 30g; Protein 4g.


Copyright language: Excerpted from 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life by David Grotto, RD, LDN Copyright (c) 2007 by David Grotto. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.