Whole Life Magazine

October/November 2014

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/390790

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Page 17 of 43

taste of health W e've all heard the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." In my version, bitter greens replace the fi brous, red-skinned fruit. After fi ve years of sticking religiously to this practice, I can honestly say I've not suffered so much as a single common cold. Full disclosure: I also meditate and exercise daily and enjoy a largely macro- biotic diet, but no day for me would be complete with- out bitter greens. Sometimes they appear as a handful of kale in a morning smoothie, a smattering of arugula in my lunch, or wilted chard as a savory side dish for dinner. After a weekend of revelry, they might appear in the form of dandelion leaf and root tea, brewed on a Monday morning to help me recuperate and tonify my liver. Regardless of how bare my refrig- erator may be at any given time, it's always bitter greens that remain the stalwart in my crisper. Bitter greens are a part of the larger "leafy" green family, differentiated by only a few discernable traits. They tend to be darker green in color, but are not always, and they bear a signature bitter and astringent taste and oftentimes biting tex- ture. Their shining glory is that they are nutritional superfood bombs that are low in calories—they contain vitamins A, C, K as well as calcium, potassium and magnesium. Bitter greens facil- itate a smooth digestive process because they ignite the taste buds, which then kickstart enzyme production, and they contain high fi ber for a well-oiled waste elimination system. They also promote natural detoxifi cation of the organs. Here's a quick primer on different varieties and ways to incorpo- rate them into your daily diet: Salad and sandwiches: Peppery arugula and watercress are great tossed fresh on top of fl atbreads or in addition to butter on simple cheese-and-sliced-vegetable sandwiches. Curly endive, amaranth, frisee, escarole, dandelion and mizuna are perfect fancy accompaniments to regular old salads. Special appetizers and side dishes: Endive is wonderful stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts, then drizzled with honey. Radicchio and chicory are both lovely grilled and then tumbled with caramelized mushrooms and vinaigrette. Bowls: To spice up everyday rice, grain or pasta bowls, wilt bitter greens such as beet tops, radish greens, tatsoi or broccoli rabe (rapini), and stir them in to add cohesion and a vegetal bite. Wilted: Some of the sharper varieties, such as chard and mus- tard greens, are great sautéed with ginger and garlic to reduce the sting, or wilted and mixed with sweet ingredients, such as dried fruit and nuts, for stuffi ng baked apples or veggies, or tempeh and seitan burgers. Smoothies: Robust lacinto and regular kale are great in smoothies with copious amounts of frozen berries and apples. Soups: Thick and hearty bitter greens, such as collards, can be braised and added to soups. Teas: Stinging nettles boiled in water and then steeped for at least 45 minutes make a sooth- ing, stomach-mellowing tea. Lastly, spinach packs a dynamite punch of vitamins and goes well in all of the applications above. The best thing about bitter greens is that there are so many varieties that boredom is a non-issue. Committing to just one serving a day will make a serious positive impact on your health. By Kimberly Nichols Amp up salads and shakes with these superfood bombs BITTER GREENS THYROID ALERT S hould people with thyroid issues eat raw cruciferous veg- etables? The question is hotly debated. On his website, www.drfuhrman.com, author Joel Fuhrman, M.D. (Eat to Live), states that based on animal studies, "Certain breakdown products of glucosinolates could interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis or compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid." How- ever, he adds, the scientifi c consensus is that it can only be detri- mental to thyroid function in cases of iodine defi ciency or insuf- fi cient iodine intake. Other experts say that due to the presence of naturally occurring goitrogens, some bitter greens (as well as some other vegetables) promote goiter formation and can slow thyroid function, ultimately causing or exacerbating hypothyroid- ism. Goitrogens are partially destroyed by heat, making cooked greens a safer bet, but all sources agree that average consump- tion (several times a week) should not be problematic. Tip for Finding Bitter Greens in L.A. • Consult the database maintained by the Los Angeles Times to fi nd a farmers market near you: www.projects.latimes.com/farm- ers-markets. • Ethnic stores, including the 99 Ranch chain of Asian markets and many small Armenian grocers, are always overfl owing with greens, which are central to their culture and cuisines. They often offer great deals due to customers' high demand. 18 wholelifetimesmagazine.com

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