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Detox with Leafy Greens

Incorporating cooked or raw leafy greens into your diet is a requirement if one is serious about losing weight and increasing energy and immune support.

detox leafy greens rainbow chardLeafy greens are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine, especially in the Spring season.  Their color is associated with spring, which is a time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy.

Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Members of this royal green family include kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, broccoli rabe, watercress, beet greens, bok choy, napa cabbage, green cabbage, spinach and broccoli.

detox leafy greens kale saladHow do greens benefit our bodies? They are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc, and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.  In traditional Asian medicine, the color green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Greens aid in purifying the blood, strengthening the immune system, improving liver, gall bladder and kidney function, fighting depression, clearing congestion, improving circulation and keeping your skin clear and blemish free.

Leafy greens are the vegetables most missing from the American diet, and many of us never learned how to prepare them. Start with the very simple recipe below. Then each time you go to the market, pick up a new green to try. Soon you’ll find your favorite greens and wonder how you ever lived without them.

If you’d like further inspiration and support for incorporating these power foods into your diet, email me to set up an appointment to cook together in my office or your home.

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How to Party with a Low-Calorie Pomegranate

Enjoy the low-calorie pomegranate and its powerful punch of antioxidants

The pomegranate fruit and its treasured ruby-red seeds are only available about three months out of the year, and December is prime-time.  There are many uses for this fruit despite its limited availability. You can use it as a garnish, with a few seeds sprinkled in a fruit cup or rice pilaf to add some dramatic flare. Or, imagine the bright red seeds embedded in a green salad or guacamole, you’ll have a healthy and delicious holiday dish in a flash! You can also eat the seeds by the handful as a sweet & sour crunchy treat that packs a powerful supply of antioxidants, not to mention a low-calorie, which makes it a handy weight loss snack.

See the full recipe below.

Low-Calorie Pomegranate

6 Steps to open a pomegranate:

  1. Cut the crown and bottom end off the pomegranate.
  2. Lightly cut 4 lines from top to bottom of rind, creating four sections
  3. Immerse fruit in a bowl of cold water
  4. Hold fruit under water and break sections apart, separating seeds from membrane. Seeds will sink while rind and membrane float.
  5. Skim off and discard membranes and rind.
  6. Pour seeds into a colander; drain and remove any remaining membrane.

Warning: the juice makes a permanent stain, so protect your clothing with a bib apron.  If you don’t want to cut your own pomegranate, you can purchase just the seeds from most grocery stores and Trader Joe’s, but their shelf life is very limited.

You may also want to watch this YouTube video that demonstrates the above 6 instructions.

A Recipe to Prepare a Low-Calorie Pomegranate Guacamole Snack

guacamole-with-pom-seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of one fresh lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. of pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

  1. Mash avocados in bowl or food processor.
  2. Add other ingredients and stir gently.

Uses

  • As a dip with cut, fresh vegetables or inside tortillas & pita
  • As a smear on a fresh piece of gluten-free bread and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds on top

Seasonal Eating as a Strategy to Stay Cool

Drink to Your Health

Find a Way to Love your Water and Keep it Nearby

The importance of consuming enough water cannot be overstated. The standard recommendation is to drink eight glasses of water per day in order to adequately support the function of your organs. If you are not drinking enough, you may experience poor digestion, dry skin, headaches, bad breath and fatigue. Furthermore, you need to pay extra attention to keeping your body hydrated in the winter, when the indoor air is dry, in the summer when you sweat more, in dry climates, and at any time when you are exercising. Even with this knowledge, it can still be challenging to drink all the water your body needs.

The key is to like the taste of the water you are drinking, and to feel confident that it is clean and health-promoting. Purified water tastes better which may motivate you to drink more of it. Some people like purified bottled water with added minerals and electrolytes. Others prefer to use water filtering pitchers or water filtering systems to provide clean tap water from home. Distilled water is not recommended for hydration because of the trace minerals that have been removed. For those who need a bit of flavor added to their drinks, it’s easy to add a squeeze of lemon or lime, or mix in a little fruit juice to make it more palatable. Sparkling water or seltzer water are also great options.

Six Guidelines for Filling Up on Water

  1. Drink a glass of water when you first wake up in the morning, when you are generally the most dehydrated.
  2. If consuming eight glasses of water per day is not realistic, drink enough so that your urine is very light in color. On the days that you are traveling or are exposed to a lot of germs, you should drink more.
  3. Drink a glass of water if you feel sleepy or sluggish during the day, and are tempted to reach for coffee, soda or a sweet treat. Thirst can feel like hunger, so wait fifteen minutes to see if that perks you up before consuming something else.
  4. Herbal teas and vegetable juices count toward your water goals and have the added benefit of providing vitamins and minerals. However, soda, coffee and alcohol do not count toward daily fluid intake because they dehydrate your body and can cause nutrient loss. Check the nutrition labels on bottled water to determine if other ingredients have been added, such as sugar or artificial sweeteners and colors.
  5. Keep water available wherever you are, i.e. your car, computer, desk and nightstand, so that you won’t forget to sip throughout the day. Avoid keeping plastic bottles of water in a hot car so that the hazardous chemicals do not leach into the water.
  6. Foods with high fluid content, such as fruits, vegetable and cooked grains, also count toward your daily water intake and can help to eliminate waste from your body. The recipes in this cookbook will help you to increase the quantity of water-dense foods in your diet.

If you would like to talk about how to improve your diet or health, contact me for a free 20-minute phone consultation at 908-242-3763 or Sharon@recipeforahealthylife.com.

In the meantime, try this easy recipe featured in my cookbook to start getting more water and nutrients into your routine.

Colorful Kale

There are many ways to keep kale appealing and always satisfying with its ability to complement any dish or ingredient. Sautéed broccoli slaw adds crunchy texture and color to the kale.

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of Mann’s or Trader Joe’s Broccoli Slaw (or any pre-shredded carrots or cabbage)

Salt to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Detach the rinsed kale leaves from the stalks by hand or with a knife and discard the stalks. Set kale aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli slaw or shredded vegetables and cook until softened, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add kale and 1 cup of water to the skillet. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until greens are tender and bright green. Drain any remaining water. Toss the vegetables so that the slaw is mixed into the kale, and serve.

 

Variations

  • Combine cooked kale with an equal or smaller amount of cooked pasta or whole grains.
  • Replace the kale with collard greens, spinach or Swiss chard, and adjust cooking time of the greens until they are tender.
  • Sauté onions and/or a few garlic cloves instead of the slaw or shredded vegetables.
  • Serve with fish or meat and whole grains, or add pre-cooked chicken or turkey, cut into small pieces, to the skillet and heat through for an additional 1-2 minutes.