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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Greens, Glorious Greens

Did you know that green vegetables are the foods most missing in the modern diet?

After becoming a mother I've decide that I want to live forever. Okay, not forever but as long as our son is alive, so hopefully that is close to forever. If eating my greens will get me there then I'm first in line.

Here is my current favorite greens recipe ~

Sauteed Kale w. Onions & White Wine:
4 big handfuls washed and chopped kale
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thin
olive oil
a few glugs of white wine
kosher salt

Heat a large (I mean large) skillet over med/high heat. Cover the bottom with olive oil (not a thick covering). Once the oil is hot, add the onion and a big pinch of salt, saute until soft. Add the kale (it should look like your pan is overflowing with kale because it cooks down quite a bit) and toss so the leaves are coated with the oil. Pour in "two turns of the pan" of wine (basically circle the pan twice with wine and that is the right amount).

Cover and let simmer until the kale is the consistency you like. I like it pretty soft with almost all the liquid absorbed/evaporated.

Below is some incredibly important and useful information about going out and EATING YOUR GREENS!

Learning to cook and eat greens is essential to creating health. When you nourish yourself with greens, you will naturally crowd out the foods that make you sick. Greens help build your internal rain forest and strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. They are especially good for city people who rarely see fields of green in open countryside. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals. Whenever possible, choose organic. But eating non-organic greens is much better than not eating any greens at all!

Some of the benefits from eating dark leafy greens are:
Blood purification
Cancer prevention
Improved circulation Strengthened immune system Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
Promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy
Lifted spirit and elimination of depression Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus

There are so many greens to choose from. Find greens that you love and eat them often. When you get bored with your favorites, be adventurous and try greens that you’ve never heard of before. Broccoli is very popular among adults and children. Each stem is like a tree trunk, giving you strong, grounding energy. Rotate between bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other leafy greens. Green cabbage is great in the form of sauerkraut or raw. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way you enjoy. Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium from bones and teeth, and may lead to osteoporosis. Cook these vegetables with something rich like tofu, seeds, nuts, beans, butter, animal products or oil. This will balance the effect of the oxalic acid.

Cooking Greens
Try a variety of methods like steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, waterless cooking or lightly pickling, as in a pressed salad. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea if you’re using organic greens. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a wonderful preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling and supplies live enzymes.
When some people hear “leafy green vegetables,” they often think of iceberg lettuce, but the ordinary, pale lettuce in restaurant salads doesn’t have the power-packed goodness of other greens. Get into the habit of adding these dark, leafy green vegetables to your daily diet. Try it out for a month and see how you feel. A great additional resource for recipes and ideas is Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers.

© 2009 Integrative Nutrition


  1. Kale is one of my favorite dark greens, along with Dandelion greens. In fact just made some last night. Absolutely fantastic! And this is exactly how I make it but with garlic and red chili flake...however if I do not have wine I use some beef broth.
    Glad to see someone else loves kale as much as I do!

  2. My kale intake has always been in the form of soups (I'm Portuguese so it comes in my favorite Caldo Verde, which is thinly sliced kale with pureed potatoes and olive oil, or in a chunkier soup with beans and sausage). Good to have a simple way to use kale when I'm not in the mood for soup making!


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