Balance Heavy Holiday Meals with Dark Leafy Greens

Posted in NEWS

IMG_4072Bitter Greens such as kales, collard greens, arugula, mustard greens, and dandelion greens, are not only amazing nutritional powerhouses, but they aid digestion, reduce sugar cravings, help metabolize fats, and work many other magical effects on the human body.

Half a plateful of steaming kale is what I believe is missing alongside our proteins, unrefined carbohydrates, and good fats everyday in this modern world of fast food & packaged food…especially alongside rich holiday meals! Rural Asian and Indian people who experience vital health late into life, eat diets of 60-70% seasonal vegetables, and one person commonly eats an entire bunch of bitter greens daily.

Bitter greens help cleanse and tonify (strengthen) the liver and gallbladder by pushing bile out of the gallbladder and into the stomach. This action aids in the digestion of fats and proteins, especially high-purine proteins like meats. Bitter greens also act as a gentle diuretic to purify the blood and thusly help cleanse the entire body, which often leads to weight loss, clear skin, normal bowel function, and lower blood pressure. Along with all these wonderful effects, bitter greens also provide us with a wide scope of bio-available minerals (especially iron), they help lower our serum cholesterol, and they greatly reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup.

LIST OF BITTER GREENS
All Kales & broccoli family dark leafy greens (always steam or cook at least lightly)
Amaranth greens
Arugula
Beet Greens, Spinach, & Swiss Chard (always eat raw instead of cooked)
Endive
Broccoli Rabe
Dandelion Greens
Escarole
Frisée
Mizuna
Mustard Greens
Turnip & Radish Greens
Nettles
Radicchio
Rapini
Rucola
Tatsoi
Watercress

To counter the bitter taste, try lightly sautéing greens with a small amount of salt and good fat. Adding unrefined salt and high quality fat like virgin coconut oil when cooking reduces bitterness, enhances digestibility, and even releases nutrients for easy mineral absorption. Also, as a general rule of cooking, the sweet flavor balances the bitter flavor, so cook them or serve them mixed with bite size pieces of carrot, yam or winter squash.

RECIPE: Steamed Veggies & Dark Leafy Greens
In a deep, medium sized stainless steel saucepan, place a fitting steamer basket and about 2 cups of water in the bottom. Wash and slice about 2 cups of any sweet veggies like carrot, yam, fennel bulb, or winter squash into 1/4 inch pieces. Place the sweet veggies in the bottom of the steamer basket, and steam for about 3 minutes until almost tender. Next, add about 2 cups any medium-dense veggies like broccoli, fresh green bean, bok choy, or cauliflower, etc. and steam for another 2 minutes. Lastly, stuff big handfuls of washed & chopped kale, collards, or any cruciferous greens on top of the other veggies, cover again, and steam for another minute. Uncover to make sure all greens are slightly wilted and wet-looking. Steam another 30 seconds if not. Remove lid immediately, and carefully (so you don’t burn your hands with the steam) turn all the veggies out onto a plate. Drizzle everything with lemon juice and a high-quality virgin olive oil. Voila! After you eat this with your heavy holiday meals, or with your meats or eggs or brown rice/beans/avocado, you’ll feel invincible all year long!

Here’s some salad dressing ideas which are great for the kinds of bitter greens which should be eaten raw due to the oxalic acid content like spinach, beet greens, & Swiss chard.

Sweet Fennel Salad…2 cups each: chopped celery, grated carrot, and sliced fennel bulb. Add 3 cups each chopped arugula and spinach, and toss.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing…3Tbsp olive oil, 3Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2Tbsp lemon juice, and 1tsp grade B maple syrup or raw honey.

Italian Salad Dressing…Making this dressing is so simple – it just depends on your preference for each ingredient. You can make it extra lemony or extra herby if you like. Here’s the basics: 3Tbsp good quality virgin olive oil, 1Tbsp lemon juice OR raw apple cider vinegar and finely minced fresh herbs of choice (marjoram, sage, rosemary, parsley, dill, fennel, etc).

Good Quality, Extra Virgin Olive Oil drizzled over salad with a squeeze of Meyer Lemon Juice is simple & tastes fantastic!

For a No-Sugar, but Pleasantly Sweet Dressing…3Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar, and 5 drops Nu Naturals brand vanilla stevia.