Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Posts tagged ‘greens’

Healthy Eating at it’s Finest

I will be the first to admit that going that extra distance on healthy eating is a challenge. When we look at the typical Western diet (what a cliche that’s become!), there is much about it that is more about convenience, profit or taste rather than health. Lets review for a second what we know about good food:

  • Fresh is best, followed by frozen, dried and canned.
  • Vegetables are the powerhouses of nutrition, and what is least consumed in a typical diet.
  • Vegetables, being low in calories, should form the bulk of our diets, since we all love to eat.
  • Fresh food is best locally grown, since then it isn’t wasting gas being shipped, and losing nutrients on the way.
  • It is good, if possible, to avoid pesticides, and other chemicals in our diets

Knowing all this, we should all be growing as much of our own food as possible. However, once you grow all this goodness, what do you do with it? Learning about canning and freezing is it’s own field of learning. Also, what do you do with all that kale?

So that is what this blog article is about. My experiments to get as much of the green stuff in as possible. Lets start with the garden:

broccoli in the garden

Broccoli- the leaves are greens too.

lettuce and chard

lettuce and chard- all greens can be used interchangeably. Yes, you can cook lettuce.

Beet greens and kale

more greens, kale and beet tops.

As you can see, you can be harvesting from your garden from early spring- don’t wait to put the lettuce, peas and spinach in, all through the summer, but much of that is just the greens. Those are the most nutritious parts, but how often can you have them sauteed or in a salad before you get tired of them? So I have been experimenting with getting ways more greens in. I have my little magic blender knock off, and I’ve been pureeing the greens and adding them to my morning oatmeal. Many people make green smoothies, blending the greens with fruit and milk. When kale is blended, it has a lovely fresh green taste, like eating summer. However, I realize that many people would not find that appealing. I’ve also chopped them and added them to my tuna or pasta salads. I think that is great, but again, I would add a little at a time, gradually increasing the amount to get used to it.

As you can tell, I’m all about grinding them up and using them as biomass. First, you can get a lot more in you in an unobtrusive fashion.  If I stuff my little blender full, it grinds down to about 1/4 cup. This also gets you past the texture problem, as kale and broccoli can be a bit tough. I’m still working on how to get this mixture into other foods, to get the less enthusiastic members of the family on board. Today I tried adding it with eggs.

First, I ground the greens, then I threw them on the griddle with dried tomato and basil:

ground greens on a griddle. Looks like baby poop.

M-m-m-m, looks yummy, doesn’t it?

Well, I’m thinking “this is not looking like a winner”. But, I persist, adding some chopped onion, egg and cheese:

greens and eggs

Now, that looks better. Not.

But, me being me, I go through with it and eat it:

finished egg dish

I don’t know how it looks to you, but it looks better than it has a right too and wasn’t bad tasting.

So this was the finished product. It tasted better than I hoped. My biggest complaint was that it was a bit dry. Don’t blend your eggs- it takes all the structure out of them, taking away that “eggy” texture. It was odd that it was dry, since you have to add some liquid to blend the kale, and veggies are mostly liquid. I probably cooked the greens too long. I will try this again, it was good enough to do that.

In other veggie cooking news, kale chips are all they are cracked up to be, and more. Very addictive. I wonder if my other greens can be cooked the same way? I’ll try and let you know.

How Far Would you go to get Healthy?

This is a challenge. You know I’ve mentioned, more than once, that a healthy diet is critical to your overall health. I don’t think people are surprised when they hear that. This isn’t a newsflash. However, knowing something and doing something about it are two different things. The importance of your diet has been brought home to me by watching the people around me. And no, if your my friend, don’t get paranoid, I’m not studying you. I just mean, people talk about their health and I see how the average person lives. It isn’t hard to draw a correlation.

You can say “I’d rather die fat and happy, than deprive myself”, I’ve heard it before. Fine, but what quality of life would you like before you die? Do you like painful joints? Diabetes, arthritis, colon cancer, other cancers, and many more health issues are either caused by, helped by or hurt by diet. If you clean up your diet, you will feel better. Are you overweight? By how much? Find something that weight and pick it up. Can you even do it? Imagine your life without carrying all that around right now. You can say to me “I hate physical activity, I don’t care how I look, so why should I care about my diet?”. Ok, do you have your nursing home selected? I know eating right is no guarantee that something else won’t blow on you, but it is one of the things you can control. The last argument I often hear is “It’s in my genes”. I won’t say genes don’t play a large role. But we can’t control those. All we can control is our environment. To sit here and say “I got dealt a bad hand, I can’t do anything about it” is ludicrous. I was born hairy, does that mean I shouldn’t shave my legs? I was born with bad eyesight, should I not wear glasses?

So I ask you, how far will you go? Will you try and find a way to eat greens every day? Get rid of fried food? Educate yourself on the best ways to eat? Learn to like fish? I’ve gone rather extreme. I blend kale in order to add it to other foods. My morning oatmeal is bright green. I’m not asking you to go that far. However, get a bunch of dark green veggies, put them in your food processor and add them to your next tuna salad. Cut back on the mayonnaise and add some oil based dressing, or just oil and vinegar. Use wheat berries instead of pasta. Or Quinoa.

Whatever health problems you deal with, they can be helped by how you eat. Just getting rid of the sugar- or any form of sweetener, the white flour and baked goods, will go a long way to helping you. Most illnesses either cause or are caused by inflammation. The food you eat can increase or decrease the amount of inflammation. The “western diet” with its massive amounts of processed foods is implicated in causing inflammation. Vegetables, for the most part, are anti-inflammatory.

I exercise 3-5 times a week. I couldn’t do what I do if I ate what most people eat. The pain would be unbearable. I have a replaced acl and can do a full squat, with weight. I attribute much of that to my diet. Sure, you can go to the doctor and get pills, and pay for them, and get stronger pills, and more pills, and keep eating junk. Most people do. However, there are alternatives. Even if you still have to take pills, eating greens and veggies, cutting down on processed foods, staying away from sugar, flour, and hydrogenated fats, not frying your foods, and eating less red meat will all help most conditions. Of course there are exceptions to any rule- once you are on massive amounts of blood thinners, leafy greens with their good doses of vitamin k can be counterproductive. But, if you eat those leafy greens ahead of time you might not need those massive doses of blood thinners!

You have three meals, and a snack or two to make decisions about. Ask yourself, “Is this food I’m about to eat doing my body good or harm? Is it worth my health to eat this? Is there a better choice I can live with?” I’m not saying you can never eat junk again. However, once you start eating healthy, the junk gets a lot less appealing. Once you start feeling better, it gets even less appealing. So here’s my challenge- How far will you go? What changes will you make? Can you at least get rid of the worst offenders? Cut them from daily to weekly? Cut amounts in half? If anyone reading this does make changes, keep me posted. I have every confidence that your health will improve, and I’d like to hear if it does.

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