Learn about the powerhouse of vegetables including types of spinach. Concerns regarding oxalate and blood thinners are discussed. Identify what to look for when shopping and if organic purchases are necessary. Proper washing and cooking for ultimate nutrient absorption is explained. Understand what to add into a basic recipe so spinach can be a quick, easy side dish to any of your favorite recipes.
Learn why baby spinach is your best raw food choice. Understand the importance of adding a good quality fat for proper vitamin absorption. Watch step-by-step instructions for a quick Spinach & Citrus Salad.
The health promoting benefits of Swiss Chard were written about in 4th century B.C. They continue to remain true today with this nutrient-dense whole food. Identify the various types. Learn which stems are most flavorful and how to cook Swiss Chard for ultimate nutrient absorption. Step-by-step instructions include a basic recipe and optional ingredients for variety.
The smoky flavor and hearty, meaty texture of this cruciferous vegetable is frequently only presented when slathered in butter, bacon, and ham hocks. Learn a healthy preparation for this nutrient-dense whole food powerhouse. Watch step-by-step instructions for prepping and cooking. Includes on ideas on how to enjoy Collard Greens raw as well.
Learn how to get the most nutrition out of kale while still making it super tasty and not spending tons of time in the kitchen. As another cruciferous vegetable goitrogens are explained. Identify the various types of kale and how they are best used in food preparation. step-by-step instructions include a basic recipe and optional ingredients for variety.
Don’t discount this nutrient-dense leafy just because it’s popular. Romaine is a great “gateway” from iceburg lettuce to the darker, leafier greens. Learn a simple Caesar salad recipe that is super tasty and extremely healthy – then make it your own with optional ingredients. Video includes instructions for Grilled Romaine Salad.
Spinach Video Transcript
Leafy greens are some of the most vitamin and nutrient dense whole foods we can eat. But most people aren’t consuming enough. We need to eat vegetables, especially leafy greens, every day because they provide an incredible amount of health promoting water soluble vitamins. These are vitamins our bodies can’t store or only store in small amounts so we have to consume them each and every day. We’re going to start with what I think is the powerhouse of vegetables / spinach. But, the only spinach I ever ate growing up was from a can / it was slimy, like something I’d seen floating on top of a pond when we went fishing. And, it tasted about the same as what I thought that floating pond scum would taste like. I wouldn’t touch spinach for years. Until I learned how to properly prepare it. Eating raw vegetables is good but lightly cooking vegetables can enhance their flavor and nutritional benefits / which we’ll discuss today. Overcooking though reduces the flavor and can cause the loss of many healthy vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients as well as alter the structure of the protein and fiber – & making it look like that floating pond scum. It’s a delicate balance but once achieved you’ll be surprised how delicious leafy green vegetables can be. First, why spinach? It’s an excellent source of plant-based iron, and at least 13 different phytonutrients for antioxidant protection. It’s packed with nutrient richness like vitamins A, four types of vitamin B, vitamin C, & K, plus manganese, folate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and fiber. And that’s just the top of the list. Spinach is a truly nutrient dense whole food. There are a variety of types of spinach. The most popular is flat-leaf which has large smooth leaves, is very tender and pretty sweet. Even the stems are tender. You’ll usually find this sold in bags or bulk with the stems removed. Curly or savoy spinach is usually sold in bunches. The leaves are a bit smaller, have a bit of a curl to them, and the root end sometimes has a reddish color. The texture is a bit more firm so it’s great cooked but not the best to use raw in salads. Baby spinach is just immature flat-leaf. It’s mildly sweet and very tender. You’ll usually find this in stores packaged in bags or sold in bulk with the stems included. This is the best spinach for salads and should be eaten raw. It’s too tender for cooking. Frozen spinach is gaining popularity. It’s picked at the peak of ripeness, blanched and frozen. The flavor isn’t as strong as fresh spinach but it’s great for adding to recipes by just defrosting it. I have a fabulous Spinach Frittata recipe on the website that uses frozen spinach perfectly. Now, one down side to spinach for many people is that it is a highly concentrated source of oxalates. There are a few rare health conditions which require strict oxalate restriction. There is a more common health condition where people are overly susceptible to kidney stone formation. Research has been inconclusive if dietary restrictions of oxalates reduces the risk of kidney stone formation, but follow your practitioner’s recommendations. Another area of potential concern is the high amount of vitamin K in spinach as well as all leafy greens. People taking specific blood thinning medications have to pay attention to the amount of vitamin K they consume. Again, follow your practitioner’s recommendations / leafy greens won’t probably be off your plate but the amount you consume may need to be consistent each day and that’s no problem because we have you covered with a variety of ways to eat your leafy greens. For the majority of people, who don’t have these specific health conditions, the benefits of adding dark leafy greens to your meal plan are numerous. And, I’ll come back to how to reduce oxalates in the cooking process.
As we discussed in the shopping guide videos, look for vibrant, bright green leaves with fresh crisp stems. No yellow. No wilted or bruised leaves. No slimy coatings. Don’t wash spinach or any leafy greens until you are ready to eat it / this will help it last longer.
Spinach is one of the foods that I would only purchase organically grown. It is always one of the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen that contain the highest pesticide residues when conventionally grown. There is also less risk of E. coli bacteria when grown organically. Conventionally grown spinach can use raw animal manure at any time during the growing cycle. Organically grown spinach cannot use it less than 120 days prior to harvesting which helps prevent contamination.
- Spinach should be washed very well – the leaves and stems tend to collect sand and soil.
- Show trimming off roots / separate leaves.
- Place the spinach in a large bowl of water and swish with hands to remove any dirt.
- Repeat 2-3 times until there’s no dirt residue and the water runs clear.
- Don’t leave in water because nutrients can leach out.
- Spinach sold in bags has been pre-washed and only needs to be rinsed.
- If you are going to use it in a salad, dry it using a salad spinner so you don’t dilute the dressing.
One of the main reasons people avoid cooked spinach is because it’s usually overcooked. When you create that pond scum about 50% of the nutrients are lost. Disgusting and not as nutrition / that’s a no win. According to investigators at Rutgers University that presented their finding at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society the availability and absorption rate of iron increased between 10-15% when vegetables were cooked rather than raw. This isn’t a lot but I think it’s an interesting reason as to why we need to be consuming both raw and cooked vegetables. My preference is a very quick boil / between 30 seconds and a minute. This is for full leaf spinach / not baby spinach / eat your baby spinach raw & I’m going to show you a fast, tasty, highly nutritious salad with baby spinach in another segment. A quick boil is just enough to soften the cellulose and hemicellulose fibers so it’s easier to digest and the nutrients are more readily available for absorption. This also kills any E.coli bacteria that might have contaminated the spinach. Boiling without the cover on, also reduces the oxalates. The sweet taste is still there but no slimy, stringy disgusting texture. Boiling is best because the oxalates will leach into the water and the air reducing oxalates by between 5-15%. I know this isn’t a tremendous amount but it’s a benefit for those that have to restrict their oxalate intake. I’m not a fan of steaming spinach as it creates a slightly bitter acid taste. I also don’t like sautéing / except sometimes after boiling if you’re including certain ingredients / like in my Spinach with Raisins & Nuts recipe / which is on the website. Spinach doesn’t contain enough liquid so you end up having to sauté it in a lot of added fat. Now, as you know I’m not against fat, it’s just that most sautéing uses high temperature that can damage oils and potentially create harmful free radicals. Not good for our health. Plus, when sautéed the oxalates in spinach are intensified / so it’s just not the best cooking method. Stick with a quick boil for best nutrient absorption. After cooking spinach should still be bright and green.
Usually boiling isn’t the preferred method of cooking vegetables but we want to remove oxalates. So don’t use the water for anything else afterwards / this is a time when you toss it. The question of stems – The nutrient content of the stems is based on a lot of variables and is all over the board but they do contain lots of fiber / even more than the leaves. So, eat them if you’d like or discard them if want. Most of the time the stems are tender and can be cooked right with the leaves.
Spinach is available year round in most areas. It has the sweetest crispiest leaves in the winter when frost gives it more flavor. In warmer months or climates, spinach is a bit tougher so expect to cook it a little more.
After your 30 second to 1 minute boil – make sure you spin the cooked spinach to remove excess water / you don’t want to dilute any of your dressing or add-ins flavors. Toss with the dressing while still hot. Must add a fat to absorb the fat soluble vitamins that are abundant in spinach. Make sure it is a high quality oil because you don’t want to cause any free radicals / we’re using the spinach to get rid of free radicals and increase our health, not make it worse.
Some of my favorites:
- Avocado or extra virgin olive oil + lemon juice + pressed garlic + salt + pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil + coconut aminos
- oil + balsamic vinegar
- oil + apple cider vinegar + pressed garlic + paprika + cinnamon
Additional add-ins: kalamata olives & chopped sundried tomatoes for a Mediterranean feel or chopped anchovies with pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, really any nut, add a bit of sweetness with raisins, or make it creamy with feta cheese or goat cheese, add it to eggs for breakfast, or try onion, chili peppers, fresh grated nutmeg, roasted red peppers, curry powder, turmeric. The options are limitless. One of the greatest things about spinach is that the taste is very mild so it will absorb the flavors you add to it. So think about your favorite flavors then add a bit of fat & you have a dressing for your spinach. You could eat cooked spinach almost every day and experience a completely different flavor. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .
Baby Spinach Video Transcript
Leafy green vegetables / we’re not eating enough of them and we need to get more of them into your meal plan. Spinach is at the top of my list because of the incredible density of nutrients. Of course it’s got the iron that we already talked about in the first spinach video and that will help increase your energy and vitality, plus there’s vitamin A & C to promote heart health, brain health and help lower blood pressure, and all those phytonutrients providing antioxidant protection. It’s the best powerhouse of nutrients in my opinion. Now, baby spinach we don’t want to cook. This is your raw vegetable choice. It’s too tender for cooking because it is just immature flat-leaf spinach. It’s mildly sweet and lower in oxalates so eating it raw is a healthy choice. Plus baby spinach is a great source of dietary fiber to help improve digestive health. Again, spinach is a truly nutrient dense whole food. The stems of baby spinach are very tender so you don’t need to remove them. Since baby spinach is usually in packages or bulk it’s still a good idea to rinse it and then just spin it dry. Again, you have to dress it with a fat. You can make a basic salad with whatever type of foods you like. I have a spicy watermelon spinach salad recipe with a video on the website, which is a nutrient dense salad that also helps banish cravings. But, I’m going to show you another of my family favorites.
Spinach and Citrus Salad
/ make your dressing with juice from ½ of an orange + ½ of a lemon + oil + citrus rind (optional) + sea salt + white pepper Top your baby spinach with sections from the other ½ orange, a handful of nuts (I’m using one of my favorites from Living Nutz /?), maybe a few raisins or cranberries (just make sure they are not sugar added), a little raw goat cheese, and if you want more protein leftover chopped chunks of cooked meat (think chicken, turkey, shrimp, or an excellent choice with this type of salad is scallops). Again, just think about your favorite flavors and experiment. The more you play with spinach the more you’ll love its versatility as well as its health promoting benefits. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .
Swiss Chard Video Transcript
If you’re watching all of these leafy greens videos I don’t want to keep hammering on how fabulously nutrient dense leafy greens are – but well, that’s what I do. All leafy greens are packed with an amazing amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. We covered my number one nutrient powerhouse, spinach. Number two is Swiss Chard. The health promoting benefits of Swiss Chard have been known since Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about it in the 4th century BC. It’s one of the most popular vegetables in the Mediterranean region, but still under appreciated here in the United States. So, let’s change that! Swiss Chard is very similar to spinach in nutrition, taste texture, and cooking. Again, it’s a powerhouse of nutrients including Vitamins A, Bs, C, E & K, plus magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, fiber, calcium, copper, zinc, and a host of carotenoids (car-ot-ten-oids) like beta-carotene and lutein. If I just listed stuff that you don’t know about or why it’s important / that’s okay / just know this is a really nutritious food to be adding to your meal plan. If you love spinach / you’ll probably love chard. Swiss Chard is grown in a variety of types and usually as a more bitter flavor than spinach with a slight acidic undertone. The texture is more robust and full-bodied than the more delicate spinach so I like serving chard with slightly heavier foods. It can have smooth or curly leaves with many different colors for the thick stem. The most common variety of Swiss Chard is also my family’s favorite, rainbow chard. (Mason story). Rainbow chard’s name comes from the rainbow of stem colors / there can be white, orange, purple, pink, yellow, red / they’re just beautiful. I also like this because you get a combination of milder flavors with white & yellow stems and a bit more pungent with the reds. No matter what color, the leaves are sweet and pretty tender / not as tender as spinach, but similar. The white & yellow stems are a bit tougher than the leaves but add a nice change of texture to the dish. I cut off the leaves from the red stems as these are pretty tough and we don’t like to eat them. You may see bunches of red, yellow, or white chard sold separately. As well as the fordhook variety which has crinkly leaves. You won’t usually find baby Swiss chard for sale but it’s frequently used in salad mixes. Similar to spinach, it’s just immature Swiss chard and should be eaten raw in a salad. The sweetest Swiss Chard is found in the colder months, just like spinach. Warmer weather Swiss Chard may take a bit longer to cook. But, it’s usually available year round. Look for vibrant, bright green leaf color and vibrant colored stems / including the white. The stems could be crisp and not soft. Think about celery you can snap in half versus old celery where the stems are flexible. You want the snap in half crispness. Skip any with blemishes, yellowing, wilting, or browning / it’s been sitting too long. And don’t wash Swiss Chard until you are ready to use it. Swiss Chard isn’t on the Environmental Working Groups Dirty dozen for pesticide residue but spinach, kale, romaine and collard greens are, so just to be safe, Swiss Chard is a vegetable I would choose to definitely purchase organic. Swiss Chard is about the same prep time as spinach. With this you are going to just run the leaves under water. Shake off the excess. If you have any blemishes or yellowing / pull those pieces off. Then just stack the leaves. If you are not using the stems, cut down each side, discard the stems, and cut the leaves into about 1 inch slices. If you are using the stems, you can stack or roll the leaves, then cut about 1 inch slices until you get to the stem and then make them about ½ inch so everything cooks at the same time. The thinner you slice Swiss Chard, the faster it will cook so take that into consideration when you are prepping. Again, similar to spinach, a quick boil is my preference. All the same reasons apply here. Somewhere between 2-3 minutes is all you’ll need / it’s a bit longer cooking time than spinach because it’s a heartier leafy green. Remember it should still be a vibrant green when you pull it out. Don’t overcook it or you’ll lose the color, texture, flavor, and a bunch of the nutrients. It’ll end up soft and mushy / yuck. We’re looking for softened cellulose and hemicellulose fiber so it’s easier to digest with better nutrient absorption / we still don’t want pond scum. Then spin dry so you don’t dilute your dressing or add in flavors.
You must add a fat in order to absorb those fat soluble vitamins which Swiss Chard is especially high in / vitamins A, E, & K. Toss with the dressing while still hot. Some of my favorites are the same as spinach
- Extra virgin olive oil + coconut aminos + pressed garlic that has sat for at least 5 mins. + salt + white pepper
- Avocado or extra virgin olive oil + lemon juice + pressed garlic + salt + pepper
- oil + balsamic vinegar
- oil + apple cider vinegar
Additional add-ins: chopped tomatoes are a nice mix as they hold up well with the heartiness of Swiss Chard but may overwhelm spinach, chopped apples, kalamata olives, pine nuts, walnuts, a strong flavored hard cheese like Romano or Parmesan, raisins, feta cheese or goat cheese, dried oregano, and eggs. In fact, I have another video that can walk you through poached eggs over Swiss Chard / who says vegetables aren’t for breakfast. Again, think about your favorite flavors then add a bit of fat & you have a dressing for Swiss Chard. Simple, tasty, and nutritious. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .
Collard Greens Video Transcript
I want to introduce you to my third powerhouse leafy green / collard greens. I just love that name. It’s so fun to say and it’s even more fun to eat. Collard greens have a smoky flavor and a hearty, meaty texture which is why you will frequently see them slathered in butter with ham hocks or bacon. I’m not saying that doesn’t taste good but it isn’t the healthiest way to enjoy one of the best nutrient dense leafy greens. Collard greens are a different kind of leafy green. They are actually a cruciferous vegetable so they have great sulfur compounds which can help assist the liver’s ability to produce enzymes that neutralize toxic substances. Basically, they are a whole food detoxification so of course you’ll find them in my book, Cleanse & Detoxify Your Body: 28 days to better health using nutrient dense whole foods. Collard greens are one of the best plant based sources of calcium. They’re also packed with powerful vitamins like A, Bs, C & K plus manganese, folate, fiber, potassium and more of those great carotenoids (car-ot-ten-oids). In fact they are one of the most concentrated sources of lutein and zeaxanthin (zee / a /zen- thin) which are potent antioxidants that help protect the eye from free radical damage. This combination is frequently prescribed in a supplement form to reduce the risk of cataracts and age related macular degeneration / and here you can get it in the form of a whole food. There’s usually only one variety of collard greens available for purchase. Look for firm leaves with bright vibrant green coloring. You may find a darker blue-green leaf as well. I like the smaller leaves as they tend to be milder in flavor and a bit more tender. There shouldn’t be any yellowing or wilting or other discoloration. Collard greens are available year round, but just like our other leafy greens winter season will produce a sweeter flavor. Collard greens are also one of the foods that I would only purchase organically grown. It is always one of the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen for containing the highest pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Similar to the other leafy greens, some people with certain rare but serious health conditions may need to restrict their consumption of oxalates, which collard greens also contain. Additionally because collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable they are a source of goitrogens which can interfere with the function of the thyroid. Research varies regarding the effect of goitrogenic foods and health but if you have any concerns, check with your practitioner.
Run the leaves under water and shake off any excess. Tear off any discolored or damages parts of the leaves. The nutrient content of the stems varies but they do contain lots of fiber / more than the leaves. So, eat them if you’d like or discard them if want. I like eating the stems as they seem to be juicier so I’ll show you how to cook the stems right along with the leaves. If you are using the stems, you can stack or roll the leaves, then cut about ½ inch slices until there is no more leaf / then cut the stem in ¼ inch slices. Discard the last inch or so of the stem. Now, this is ½ the size of what we cut the Swiss Chard / just so you notice. Then chop the other direction. You want pretty small pieces when it comes to collard greens. The thinner you slice the collard greens, the faster it will cook so take that into consideration when you are prepping. You should be able to cook the stems and leaves together. If the stem seems really thick, chop it down smaller or cook those pieces for a couple minutes before adding the leaves. Now, just like onions and garlic, which we’ve talked about before, you want to let the pieces sit for 5-10 minutes. Chopping the collard greens breaks down the cell walls and begins the activation of the enzyme myrosinase (miro- sin- ease). This enzyme converts some of the nutrients into their active forms which will enhance your health. Another great option is to add some lemon juice to the collard greens while they sit since vitamin C will increase the activity of myrosinase so you get even more phytonutrient concentration. Once these active phytonutrients are formed, they are fairly stable but high heat or prolonged heat will inactivate them so we are looking for a quick method. That method is going to be steaming for no more than 5 minutes. More than that and they begin to get soft and mushy / they can even begin to have that rotten egg, sulfur smell and who wants to eat anything that smells like that. They should still be bright green, tender on the outside but soft on the inside. Again, we’re just looking to soften the cellulose and hemicellulose fibers allowing for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption. Unlike spinach and Swiss Chard boiling isn’t so great because collard greens absorb too much water and they become soggy. Then they don’t have the same great taste and texture. Plus a lot of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients end up in the water instead of in you. Sauteing can be problematic because it usually involves too high of heat with the potential for damage to the oils. I really like collard greens with onions so we’re going to start with chopped onions and cook them for 2 minutes before adding the collard greens. Remember to have your onions set for the 5-10 minutes too. You must add a fat in order to absorb those fat soluble vitamins which collard greens are especially high in / vitamins A, E, & K Toss with the dressing while still hot. Some of my favorites:
- With the heartier meaty texture of collard greens they can handle a little spice so try:
- Extra virgin olive oil + coconut aminos + a couple drops of hot sauce or a pinch of cayenne + pinch of turmeric + pressed garlic that has sat for at least 5 mins. + salt + white pepper
- Avocado or extra virgin olive oil + lemon juice + pressed garlic + salt + pepper
- oil + balsamic vinegar
You can add in: chili peppers, curry, or roasted red peppers if you want to add the heat, but the old stand ups are nice too, like kalamata olives, chopped anchovies, nuts, feta cheese or goat cheese, eggs, chopped tomatoes, dill weed, and eggs. So, you may be wondering about raw collard greens. They are a bit tough. So if you are wanting raw you are going to have to cut them, massage them with your dressing of choice with maybe a touch of sweetener, like a local raw honey and let it marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight. I like some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a touch of honey, pinch of dill, sea salt, & white pepper / whisk together and massage it into the chopped collard greens. When you’re ready to serve, throw in your add-ins: olives, tomatoes, nuts, anything you like You’ll find it’s surprisingly tender. Another option, which I love is use the collard green leaf in place of a tortilla / talk about a truly low-carb wrap. Give collard greens a try and see how leafy greens can complement your meals. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .
Kale Video Transcript
If you’ve been joining me for the whole leafy greens video series you know that leafy greens are some of the most vitamin and nutrient dense whole foods we can eat. But most people aren’t consuming enough. So that’s what I’m here to help you with / finding ways to get the most nutrition out of these vegetables while still making them super tasty and not spending tons of time in the kitchen. We need to eat vegetables, especially leafy greens, every day because they provide an incredible amount of health promoting water soluble vitamins. These are vitamins our bodies can’t store or only store in small amounts so we have to consume them every day. Another amazing powerhouse of nutrition is kale. In fact, kale is the reason I built this kitchen. When I first started my business I went to people’s homes and was limited to my local geographical area for clients. I’d talk to people about the health benefits of leafy greens and when I talked about kale, people’s eyes would glaze over and I’d lose them. My best reference was to explain that the big dark green leaves usually around a salad bar were kale and yes, I wanted them to eat those leaves. I’d ended up returning the next visit with kale in hand and showing them how to prepare it. The whole experience taught me, I needed a place where it was easy and convenient for me to show people how to create great, healthy foods. So, we built a kitchen, all because of kale. And now, luckily, I’m no longer tied to just my geographic location, people all over the world, just like you, are learning from their homes and finding their optimal health. But, back to kale. Kale, just like collard greens is a cruciferous vegetable. So, it’s got those same great sulfur compounds to help the body neutralize toxins. It also is a great concentrated source of lutein and zeaxanthin (zee / a /zen- thin) those potent antioxidants that help protect the eye from free radical damage which we discussed in the collard greens segment. And, just like all the other leafy greens it’s an excellent source of vitamins A, Bs, C, & K, fiber, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, tryptophan for better sleep, and minerals like copper. But, since just like collard greens it’s a cruciferous vegetable they are a source of goitrogens which can interfere with the function of the thyroid. Research varies regarding the effect of goitrogenic foods and one’s health but if you have any concerns, check with your practitioner. They also have oxalates so for those rare health conditions that must restrict oxalates, again check with your practitioner. For everyone else though, these types of vegetables really pack a punch nutritionally and that’s why I want you to add them to your meal plan. I think choosing your variety of kale depends on what you are using it for. For example, curly kale, which is one of the most common, is frilly on the edges, can be a variety of colors from green to red to almost black or blue. It’s a little bit bitter and has kind of a pepper undertone. I love this type of kale for kale chips. I’ve already done a video for kale chips so watch that on the website for one of my favorite foods to snack on. Kale chips are the type of thing that you can make, leave on the counter in a bowl and they will just disappear. Such an easy way to get more nutritious leafy greens into everyone’s diet in the family. Then there is Italian kale, which has a lot of different names / Tuscan, flat, dinosaur, Italian, black, Tuscan cabbage, black Tuscan palm, Cavolo nero, and lacinato (la-sin-ato). But, it’s all the same. The leaves here are a dark blue-green color with an embossed texture that you want to make sure you clean well as little bugs can get stuck in there. It has a more delicate flavor and is a bit sweeter which is why I love this one for salads / I have two of my favorite recipes on the website using this type of kale, Kale and Fruit Salad and Pickled Kale Salad. These are always homeruns when served / so delicious and so nutritious. Oh, this kale is also the type I recommend chopping up and adding to your soups and stews. It’s an easy way to get extra nutrition and flavor into a recipe you already love. There is also ornamental kale / which used to be what was around salad bars. You can eat this one too and you may see it labeled as Salad Savoy. The leaves are great because they come in green, purple or white and they look like a big flower almost. It’s the tenderest of the kales with the mellowest flavor. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any for today’s video, but it cooks the same so, if you see it, give it a try as part of your weekly experiment with a new vegetable, because you are doing that, right? Of course you are. When you’re shopping look for bright deep colors with strong stems that don’t seem overly dry / think celery stalks again. There shouldn’t be any yellowing, browning, or wilting on the leaves. No matter which variety, just like the other leafy greens, kale is available year round but has the sweetest flavor and crispest texture during the winter months thanks to frost. Kale is one of the foods that I would only purchase organically grown. It is always is one of the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen that contain the highest pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Rinse kale under running water right before you’re ready to prepare it. I like the stems as they are juicier and contain good fiber. But the nutrition is a bit less than the leaves so, if you have folks that don’t want the extra crunch, slice out the stem and cut the leaves into ½ inch strips. If you want to try the stems / which I recommend / stack up the leaves, cut them the ½ inch strips until you get to the start of the stem, then cut them into ¼ inch strips. This way you can cook them all together. If the stems seem really thick, chop them down smaller or cook those pieces for a couple minutes before adding the leaves. Throw away the last inch of the stem. Just like collard greens, garlic and onions, you want to let the pieces sit for 5-10 minutes. Chopping breaks down the cell walls and begins the activation of the enzyme myrosinase (miro- sin- ease). This enzyme converts some of the nutrients into their active forms which will enhance your health. Another great option is to add some lemon juice to the collard greens while they sit since vitamin C will increase the activity of myrosinase so you get even more phytonutrient concentration. Once these active phytonutrients are formed, they are fairly stable but high heat or prolonged heat will inactivate them so we are looking for a quick method. Again, just like the collard greens, the best choice is steaming for no more than 5 minutes. More than that and it’s going to get soft and mushy / even beginning to have that rotten egg, sulfur smell and no one wants to eat anything that smells like that. When finished cooking there should still be vibrant color with great flavor and maximum nutrition / no browning or sliminess. We’re just looking to soften the cellulose and hemicellulose fibers allowing for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption. Again, boiling kale will make it soggy and you lose taste, texture, and nutrients into the water. Sautéing is the same as the other leafy greens / too high heat and potential for damage to the oils. I really like kale with onions too so we’re going to start with chopped onions (again they’ve sat for 5-10 mins) and cook them for 2 minutes before adding the kale. You must add a fat in order to absorb those fat soluble vitamins which collard greens are especially high in / vitamins A, E, & K Toss with the dressing while still hot. Some of my favorites:
- Avocado or extra virgin olive oil + lemon juice + pressed garlic + salt + pepper + chopped roasted red peppers + grated parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil + coconut aminos
- oil + balsamic vinegar
With the heartier meaty texture of kale they can handle sturdier add-ins so try: sweet potatoes, squash, soaked seaweed, sesame seeds, chopped red pepper, avocado, chopped tomato, chopped apple, walnuts, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, plus any of the other add-ins we’ve already talked about. Give kale a try / whether you choose to eat it steamed and seasoned, add to your favorite soup, baked into chips, or as a salad / it’ll be a wonderful nutritious addition to your meal plan. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .
Romaine Video Transcript
As we are talking leafy greens today, I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss romaine. Now, I know, it’s not the dark, leafy green of Kale or the meaty texture of collard greens or the delicate balance of spinach and Swiss Chard, but it’s hugely popular, and it’s actually quite healthy. So don’t dismiss it just because it’s not super darkly green. In fact, romaine is a great gateway between the not-very-nutritious iceburg lettuce that is the most commonly purchased lettuce to the dark leafy greens we’ve already discussed. So, if you’re ready to make just one change / switch from iceburg to romaine and you’ll immediate improve your nutrition. You might actually be surprised to learn that romaine is really nutrient dense. Just like other leafy greens it’s high in vitamins A, B, C, & K and one of the highest in folate. Plus it is very high in chromium which is a hard-to-find mineral that helps maintain blood sugar levels. It’s still got all those good carotenoids (car-ot-ten-oids) which are powerful antioxidants. Romaine is it’s own variety of lettuce with a wonderfully crunchy texture that I love. Unique to romaine is a white, milky liquid in the leaves and stalk which will leak out when you broken. This gives romaine a slightly bitter but juicy taste that I love. It is another one of my favorites for raw salads, but it’s also tasty very slightly cooked but in a completely different way than we’ve done so far. Romaine is one of the foods that I would only purchase organically grown. Lettuce is always is one of the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen for that contain the highest pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Look for tight heads with crisp leaves. There shouldn’t be any yellowing, browning, or wilting / you may find a little at the bottom of the stems but it there shouldn’t be too much. Let’s start with a simple raw salad / the classic Caesar made healthy. Now this recipe is from the World’s Healthiest Foods / I couldn’t improve on this recipe if I tried / it’s fabulous! Discard any outer leaves that are discolored or wilted. Run the leaves under cold water. You can tear apart as you go and then spin dry. Or you can chop it / cut in fourths, slice up to the root end & toss the hard part at the bottom then spin dry. Either way is fine / just make sure the romaine is dry so it doesn’t dilute any dressing. The old myth about not cutting lettuce was based on reactions with the metals in knives of that time / there’s not health implications so do whatever is easiest and fastest for you.
Caesar Dressing from the World’s Healthiest Foods:
2 Tbs tahini, 1 2 oz anchovies, 4 cloves garlic, 3 Tbs lemon juice, 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil / now here is my change, I like to use Udo’s 3-6-9 blend as it has almost a butter flavor that really makes this dressing pop, sea salt and fresh black pepper. / blend. Then just toss it with the amount of Caesar dressing you like, top with pine nuts and shaved parmesan if you’d like. A super healthy, extremely tasty salad. Romaine is the base of many salads so you can make any of the salad dressings we’ve discussed and then some add-ins: tomato, cheese, avocado, nuts, anchovies, carrots, celery, peppers, cooked meats, seafood, anything you like in a salad. You can also use raw romaine anywhere you would use iceburg lettuce / leaves on burgers or sandwiches, chopped in tacos or burritos, it’s a more nutrient dense substitute. Or, you can use the leaves as a wrap instead of a tortilla or bread. Another super quick and easy way to use romaine is by grilling it. This is one of those recipes that people always think is something complicated and special, but is so fast and tasty, it’s amazing. Discard any outer leaves that are discolored or wilted. Rinse the leaves as far down as you can reach without breaking the leaves off. Shake out excess water / holding the romaine upside down. Cut the lettuce in half or fourths depending on big a serving you want. Carefully dry off any excess water with a paper towel. Heat up a grill on high. Place the romaine, cut side down, on the grill for a couple minutes / until the leaves just start to char. If you are using quarters, turn so the other cut side is on the grill for a couple minutes. Remove to plate. Here’s where you can get creative. Drizzle with a high quality oil that matches what you’re serving. My favorites are avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and extra virgin olive oil / but any will be great. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and grated parmesan. Or you can drizzle the Caesar dressing over the grilled romaine. This salad is fast and tastes great. So don’t discount romaine / it’s a truly nutrient dense whole food that is often overlooked. Make the change from iceburg lettuce for better health or just revisit this old stand-by of romaine when you need a quick and easy side dish. For more healthy recipes just like these, articles, forums, nutrition tips, and Q & A support / visit therightplan.com and remember . . .