PATTK1220   66,428
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A New Year

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Few words today - the photo and Emerson quote say it all.

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STUDLEEJOE 1/2/2014 3:34PM


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Friday, June 14, 2013

emoticon QOTD: What are some of your favorite freggies and how do you eat/prepare them? Any tips or tricks?

This question speaks to my soul, so please indulge my long-winded response. Today’s tips are about hearty greens like kale, Swiss chard, and collards. Often referred to as “cooking greens,” many of them are delicious raw. They are among my many favorite vegetables, and my goal is to eat at least one of them every day. Greens, especially collard greens, are a great source of calcium. Lightly cooking them and pairing them with citrus or tomatoes helps your body absorb the calcium. I am always amazed by how much these big leafed greens cook down – 8 cups of Swiss chard doesn’t seem like very much at all for a pasta dish once it has cooked down.

To clean greens, put them in a sink filled with tepid (not hot) water and swish them around; tepid water works better than cold. There is a lot of dirt in greens especially kale and chard, and it will fall to the bottom of the sink. Take the greens out of the water and drain them. Don't pull the plug on the sink before you remove the greens - that will defeat the purpose. Blot the greens dry with towels if you don't have an hour or so to let them drain dry in a large colander. (Towels are your best friends in the kitchen. Stock up on inexpensive bar towels, and use lots of them frequently.)

When the greens are fairly dry, remove the stems and center ribs – they don’t need to be completely dry. You don’t need to use your knife; just hold the stem end in one hand and slide your other hand down the center like this
Swiss chard is more delicate, and some people find the stems and center ribs quite tasty after some extra cooking time - unlike the tough stems and center ribs of turnip, mustard, and collard greens and all varieties of kale. Sometimes I use the chard stems and ribs in soup, but I usually discard them. For removing the center stems from Swiss chard, I sometimes use a knife
Follow the technique in this link to stack and cut the leaves of all of the green varieties into ribbons or bite-sized pieces. If you don’t need ribbon cuts, you can just tear the leaves with your hands. It’s good stress reduction therapy!

Try to buy very fresh greens and use them as soon as possible – when possible, always buy organic for best flavor and quality. When I choose collard greens, I prefer to get medium leaf size bunches because they aren’t bitter. Packaged and frozen collard greens are produced from more mature leaves and tend to be bitter, a quality I have never developed a taste for (even though I grew up in the South). My favorite way to use collard greens is in an amazing vegetarian curry I developed
Always add greens to your dish at the end of the cooking time and cook just long enough to wilt them. That prevents the loss of flavor and color.

The greens mentioned above are the ones I cook with most often, but there are many, many more – a whole world of greens awaits your attention and love. Don’t know kohlrabi greens from bok choy? No problem! And of course, we can’t leave Popeye’s spinach unmentioned! Here’s a visual guide that includes recipe links

PS Here's a really informative video about the whole process from buying to serving from North Carolina State University

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DS9KIE 1/21/2014 10:12AM

    yummy greens...thanks for the great ideas...they were very helpful

Comment edited on: 1/21/2014 11:19:55 AM

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DS9KIE 6/17/2013 9:17AM

    great ideas

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ANU_20 6/17/2013 1:17AM

    Great Blog Patt!! ...Your passion for Healthy food is clearly visible..Thank you so much for sharing such great information. Looking forward to more! :)

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TRUNKJUNK 6/14/2013 3:19PM

    A close friend of my mine was talking about swiss chard to me yesterday and now I read your post today. I think it's time for me try swiss chard. Thanks for sharing.

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JUSTAGIRL45 6/14/2013 1:15PM

    This was great!
I love my greens too, but I obviously haven't had as much exposure to them as you.
I planted mustard greens and swiss chard in my garden this year. I will be sure to give you a shout when I'm ready for harvest. emoticon

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MAMISHELI53 6/14/2013 11:32AM

    I LOVE veggies in any way shape or form. Green beans are one of my faves - fresh raw to crunch on, drained straight from the can (maybe with some poppy seed or ranch dressing), frozen and cooked with just a touch of salt...I'm so glad my grandson also loves veggies. He'll eat a tomato as soon as an apple!
Blessings to you on this journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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RONNIEHUEY 6/14/2013 11:30AM

    Thank you for the info

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Friday, June 14, 2013

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What’s for dinner? Meal planning doesn’t have to be stressful, but it’s helpful to know how to strike the right balance of foods to get proper nutrition. If you don’t use the nutrition tracker here on SparkPeople, you should. Using it can be time consuming at first, but the payoff is huge. Why? You know exactly how many vital nutrients you consume in a meal and over the course of a day. For example, if you don’t get enough fiber, your bowel movements will be infrequent. That’s very bad. Protein is essential to maintain muscle and bone mass, to keep the immune system strong, and to prevent fatigue. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and are crucial for brain health. Several years ago, low carbohydrate diets were popular for quick weight loss – but they’re not healthy. Here’s a handout with some information about carbohydrates, fat, and protein

If you have children, you probably tell them to slow down if they’re eating too fast and to chew their food well. As adults, that caution is often forgotten. Most experts say it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain it has enough food to be satisfied. The more you chew your food, the more your body can extract the nutrients – especially fiber. That is one of the reasons many doctors, including Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr, caution against drinking smoothies. In his words, “Avoid smoothies. The fiber is so finely pureed that its helpful properties are destroyed. The sugar is stripped from the fruit, bypasses salivary digestion, and results in a surge of glucose; and the accompanying fructose contributes to inflammation and hypertension.” Here’s an article from Three Fat Chicks – “5 Benefits of Properly Chewing Food”
(Bonus: You’ll find some excellent recipes on this site.)

When you use the nutrition tracker, you can see the ranges of many of the nutrients your body needs and how much you have consumed of each one based on your food entries. The daily tallies are at the bottom of the tracker, and further down on the page is the Weekly Progress. I suggest tracking additional nutrients like fiber. You can change ranges and add nutrients by clicking on the “Change Nutrition Goals” icon. After you enter your food intake for the day, run “See Today’s Full Report” for a detailed report that breaks down each item you entered. It’s a great resource for tweaking your intake.

Now that you know a bit about a few nutrients and how to track your food, the next step is to figure out how to get enough of what you need but not too much. What should your plate look like?

An ideal meal that includes meat/fowl/fish/dairy should look like this:
Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate
is accompanied by some delicious recipes to help you meet daily nutrition goals

An ideal plant-based meal should look like this:

Tackling any single nutrient is tricky, but today’s focus is on fiber. There are some foods that contain no fiber, specifically meat/fowl/fish/dairy products. If you base your meals solely on these foods, your body can’t function well. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables keep your body healthy. It’s important to include a variety of those foods in every meal. There are 2 kinds of fiber – soluble and insoluble; most plant based foods contain both. Here’s a useful list

This is a very good article about fiber nutritiondiva.quickanddirtyti
Another way to think about fiber is that you get to eat a lot more food than you would if you just ate meat, for instance. Have a look at the difference

Now you have the tools to put together a healthy meal that will fulfill your nutritional requirements and help you reach your weight loss goal. Here are some of my favorite recipes that are high in fiber and delicious in taste:

Pasta with Tuscan Kale and Cannellini Beans (Whole wheat pasta adds a rich flavor and extra fiber to this dish.)

Chilaquiles Casserole (I could eat this every day! Sometimes I add kale or spinach.)

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa (This recipe has directions for the perfect way to cook quinoa.)

Shepherd’s Pie (You won’t miss the meat in this vegetarian version.)

emoticon emoticon TASTY THURSDAY CHALLENGE!!!
Last week I posted some information about greens; this week I gave you a wee bit of info about fiber. Now it’s YOUR turn to post something about them. Make a dish with greens as an ingredient and include at least one more ingredient that is high in fiber. You can use any variety of greens; it doesn’t have to be one that was featured in the tips. Sorry, smoothie recipes don’t count for this challenge.

***Post the recipe on the BLC Recipe Team True Blue thread. Be sure to credit the source – author, book or other source - and the url if the recipe is online.

***After you post your recipe, come back to our team chat thread and post these icons emoticon emoticon followed by the recipe title and any comments you want to share about the dish - tips about making it, if your family liked it, if you would make it again, changes you would make, etc.

***Post your recipe no later than next Wednesday (our next weigh in day). I’ll assemble a list of your dishes and share it on the thread next Thursday. Have fun!


Mark Bittman's VB6 - My Thoughts and Some Recipe Links

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Mark Bittman’s latest book is "VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good" (forward by Dean Ornish, MD). I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the concept of only eating a plant-based diet part-time. For many people who are trying to eat healthier after a lifetime of consuming the Standard American Diet (SAD), this is a mainstream way to transition to what might someday become a full-time plant-based diet. Bittman points out in the book and in interviews that his consumption of meat and dairy products is much less these days, even after 6. He has days when he is completely vegan; one of his recent article was about vegan fast food (recipes in box on the left)
Since he began this method of eating, he has lost about 35 pounds, less than he had weighed in over 30 years. That's no small accomplishment for a professional food writer!

There’s room at the table for everyone; and along with vegan recipes, VB6 includes some healthy non-vegan meals that can easily be converted using seitan, tofu, tempeh, or beans. I am a longtime Mark Bittman fan. His recipes are straightforward and always good. You never have to worry if one of his recipes will fail if you make it as written. To make the recipes Fuhrman/Esselstyn/McDougall friendly, you need to modify them to reduce oil and salt. If you know someone who’s on the fence and isn’t willing or ready to consider something like The Engine 2 Diet or Eat to Live, this is the perfect book. If you just love delicious plant-based dishes, this is also the perfect book – just convert or skip over the few dishes that contain more than plants.

Here are some recipes:

Homemade Cold Cereal

Eggplant Un-Parmesan; Scrambled Tofu with Spinach; Steak and Broccoli Stir-Fry (use your imagination to veganize this one); Carrot Candy

Baked Falafel with Tahini Sauce; Spiked Guacamole

Breakfast Pilaf, Sweet or Savory; Creamed Mushrooms on Toast {a great recipe that includes beans as the "sauce"}; Spiked Guacamole; Vegan Creamsicles; Carrot Candy

One-Pot Pasta and Vegetables; Chickpea Ratatouille; Eggplant Un-Parmesan

Easiest Vegetable Soup

Chickpea Ratatouille; Now-or-Later Vegan Burgers; Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches with Zesty White Bean Spread; Lentil Salad

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction

Live long plant-strong!

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FIT_MELISSA 7/11/2013 9:07AM


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    I bought this book recently and I really like it for all of the reasons that you outlined. It's a great way to discipline one's self to make better choices and with the promise of a "splurge" in the evening, it feels more reasonable. And with some success, the "splurges" become more and more reasonable and healthy. He is really on to something with this approach.

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GABBY308 6/8/2013 11:26AM

    What a helpful blog! I'm not sure I can do ETL for very long so this is a good alternative. Regardless - the recipes are great!

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LADYBUG0805 6/7/2013 8:46AM

    For some people this is a great way to start to eat nutrient dense, especially those who would never consider a plan like Eat to Live, Enging 2 Diet and Forks over Knives.
Great review!

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CYND59 6/6/2013 2:57PM

    Sounds like a book I just might have to read!

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ARKPLE 6/6/2013 12:26PM

    I saw Bittman promote this on TV. As long as people realize they should NOT go non-plant-based overboard after 6 PM, I think it's fine. It is not free reign to overdo it with meat and processed foods post 6 PM! Love that you reviewed this. xo

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 6/6/2013 12:25PM

    Thank you for the review! I, too, really love Mark Bittman's work and have several of his books. I'll probably get this one as well.

And thank you for all of the links!

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What's On My Salad?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer is in full swing, and there's nothing like a cool salad made from fresh summer produce for dinner. I try to find the best organic veggies to put in my salads, and I might add some yummy grains or pasta along with beans and whatever else looks good. When it comes time to serve dinner, what's the best choice for a dressing?

I like light salad dressings though I find myself using salsa, vinegar, or squeezes of lime or lemon more and more now that I am paying attention to everything I eat, not just some items. I read the salad dressing labels. Hmm, 10 grams of fat - I put that bottle back on the shelf. Eew, what are those round things floating in that bottle? Oh, here's an organic one - great! I'm glad I bought that one. Oops! I didn't read the nutrition label - 10 grams of fat! Organic doesn't nessarily mean healthy, does it? Whew! Safe! Everything on this label seems to be OK. What! What's in that fine print on the ingredient list? Ingredient list?! Does anything on this list occur in nature? Why isn't reading the nutrition label enough? How small is that print?! I'm going to need new glasses just to read the label! It's just salad dressing! Arg!

After reading this article, I think I'll just make my own

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DS9KIE 7/17/2012 12:24AM

    great article

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LUVSBULLDOGS 7/12/2012 11:37PM

    I make my own, too. It's the best bet.

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KNITTABLES 7/1/2012 1:24PM


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RHEYNKLW 6/30/2012 8:54PM

    Great observations. We don't use dressing, either, unless I make it. Having a restaurant-style squeeze bottle helps. emoticon

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DEBBIEDAY 6/30/2012 2:22PM

    So true and making your own salad KNOW what is in it... emoticon

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