Bobby R. Presents: Diet rehabBobby R. Presents Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
The time period just after the turn of the year always cracks me up. Every food magazine boasting healthy recipes for 20XX, new exercise regimes at every turn, a spike in new or renewed gym memberships and an increased attendance at AA meetings. Of all these things, the tag line “Eat Better in 2011” on the cover of Bon Appétit reached out to me the most.
Eating better is not necessarily a complete change of your diet, but it can be an alteration of the diet that you already eat. Slowly incorporating subtle changes to your diet that are practical, plausible and tasty, may be the key to fulfilling your goal. Instead of a 12 step program to eat better you could focus on ingredient quality, portions size and the environment in which meals are eaten.
When was it that we forgot that the periphery of the supermarket is the best place to shop? If shoppers focus their basket contents on this region, it supplies fresher meat, breads, dairy and vegetables than the processed foods occupying the bulk of the center. And as a side note, pro-cessed foods boasting “low fat” will usually be higher in sugar than their regular counterpart.
There is a general theory called the French Paradox. It presents the co-nun-drum that although French people eat rich foods high in fat, they have a lower incidence of obesity and heart disease than Americans. The consensus is that the French eat less food more frequently and the food consumed is of better quality, with less sugar and fewer processed ingredients. The easiest way to apply this to your diet is to include more vegetables and less meat and starch.
The inclusion of more vegetables to the plate immediately reduces the caloric intake and increases the nutritional content of the meal. Under-used vegetables, easy to prepare and very good for the liver, are dark greens such as kale and chard. They can be braised in some stock or sautéed in oil with salt to substantiate the meal.
Whether as a supplement or an ad-dition to your diet, drinking juiced fruits and vegetables will increase the amounts of nutrients you intake naturally, allowing you to forego supplements that may or may not be able to be absorbed by your body. And not all juicing requires a specialized fruit juicer. Many recipes that have a liquid base, such as orange or pineapple juice, can be easily made using a counter top or hand held immersion blender.
At the Mission Hills Farmer’s Market, a guy sells juiced dark greens with whole apple and apple juice called a GreenFix Organic Smoothie. The greens are kale, dandelion, collard, chard, spinach, Romaine lettuce and parsley. Also included are banana and flax seed. I buy one 32 oz. bottle each Friday that lasts me the four days of its shelf life.
Eating on the go is probably one of the most deleterious habits to a healthy diet. When your mind is multitasking during food consumption, it is not free to assess your body’s doneness. When on the go, the only goal is to consume what you have in hand to fill you up; meaning, you will eat everything in front of you because that is the only goal. No enjoyment, no time spent for you. If you must eat on the go, use a homemade smoothie or the GreenFix from the farmers’ market to supply necessary nutrition.
I suggest reading In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, as an easy to understand manifesto of how to eat better. It has greatly helped me understand and improve my eating habits, as well as supplied many wonderful references for further reading. I hope this column finds you well and all your resolutions are on their way to being successful.
Questions or comments to bobbyrpresents.blogspot.com
One bunch of dark greens at the supermarket will be enough for three people. The only caveat to the greens is that they initially take up a lot of space in the pan until they are heated through and reduce in volume.
Run a knife down the sides of the greens’ stalks, separating the stalks from the leafy product.
Half the stalk lengthwise and run your knife down the stalk chopping 1⁄4 inch thick pieces. Roughly chop the greens and set aside.
In a large sauté pan heat 3Tb oil over a medium high heat until shimmering. Add the stalk pieces and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in 2 minced cloves of garlic and sauté until slightly golden, about 2 minutes.
Add in 1⁄4 c. of chicken or vegetable stock, turn heat to high and add the leafy greens. The greens will probably overflow the sides of the pan but, throw a lid over the greens and let sit undisturbed 3 minutes. Remove the lid, give a good turn with tongs and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue to braise until the leaves are wilted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
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