Sunday, January 10, 2010

Getting more greens into your diet

Collard greens leftovers
Originally uploaded by love_yellow

It's January, new year, so like many others, I'm much more conscious about my diet. About 5 years ago I did really well with a detox eating program for 28 days in January with the aid of a nutritionist, but I've never been able to do it on my own. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about what foods work well with my body type and also which foods are good for detoxifying.

I know that those extreme detoxification diets are not proven to help the body necessarily - and that's not the kind of program I did. The program didn't limit the amount of food that you can eat, as long as you didn't eat the foods that were on the banned list. For example foods that are known to be common allergens (like oranges, peanuts) and foods that don't digest easily, (like animal meat and dairy products). And ideally all the food eaten is raw, fresh and organic (free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers).

Trader Joe's Southern  Greens Blend
Green vegetables are one of the best foods to help in detoxification and an easy shortcut is to buy a big bag of collard greens, such as Trader Joe's Southern  Greens Blend and cook it for just 10 minutes. It's hard for me to eat a large amount of greens raw so I figure eating it cooked is better than not eating it at all. So salads for lunch and warm cooked greens for dinner is great, especially in the winter. When I look at this 1 pound bag it looks like it's enough for 10 servings but this is actually 4 servings. My husband and I each ate 1 serving the first dinner and finish it the next evening.

I'm kind of a lazy cook - I'm all about quick and easy. I want to eat healthy and high quality food, and I don't have much patience to follow recipes, especially if they are elaborate or have more than 5 ingredients. So I find simple ways to prepare high quality food at home. It's not organic (not ideal) but it's already washed and cut so it's a trade-off I consciously made.

Here's how I prepare it
- Mix some vegetable broth in about a 1/2 - 3/4 cup of hot water and pour it into a large pot. Bring it to a boil.

- Throw in the greens in, cover the pot.

- Once the liquid starts to boil, turn down the heat to medium

-  Let the boiling broth and steam cook down the greens. Stir every few minutes so the vegetables cook evenly. Takes about 10 minutes.

- Remove from the heat and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil just before serving. EVOO is good for you so if you're not too worried about calories and need a little more flavor to get the greens down, then by all means, drizzle on as much as you need. Also a little bit of lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper is nice.

- You can add a little salt to taste, but remember that your vegetable broth has some sodium, so taste it first because it may be salty enough for you.

If you have a little more time and want to experiment with other flavors then try putting different seasonings in the broth.

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