Food For Thought: Healthy Results You Can ‘See’ With Kale

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I love shopping at the Farmer’s Markets this time of year. There are so many new vegetables available, many of which may intimidate most of us. In comes Kale. Looks simple, like lettuce, and it’s dark green which the brain says, “that’s got to be really good for me. But why? And how do I prepare it so that it actually tastes good?”

First for the “why.” Well, with all the toxins surrounding us, we need to support our liver’s ability to neutralize and detoxify harmful chemicals. Scientific studies have shown that sulforaphane and isothiocyanates, both sulfur compounds, can do just that. And Kale is chalked full of these wonderful compounds.

And, I can’t go without mentioning the benefits Kale can have to eye health….as I reach for my reading glasses. Note to self: buy some kale! Kale contains the most concentrated source of lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids protect the eyes from harmful UV light and also against cataracts.

So let’s “see” how we can prepare a delicious kale dish. I can’t take credit for this recipe, but I can attest to the simplicity and flavor factor that I’ve tested on many a guest.

Dark Leafy Greens with Caramelized Onions, Raisins and Pine Nuts
From One Bite at a Time by Rebecca Katz

6 cups kale, stemmed, and cut into bite-size pieces
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut into quarter moons (about 1 cup)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 clove of garlic
1/3 cup raisins
1 TBS toasted pine nuts

Cover the kale with cold water and set aside until ready to use. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and cook slowly until the onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, just until aromatic. Add the raisins and stir for about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of water to loosen all the flavorful bits from the bottom.
Begin adding the greens to the pan with a pinch of salt, continuing to add as many greens as will fit in the pan. The water that adheres to the greens will be enough liquid to wilt the greens. Taste the greens, add an additional tablespoon of water, if needed, cover the pan, and cook the greens until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste again, adding of pinch of salt or a drop or two of maple syrup, if necessary.

Arrange the greens on a plate and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts. Serve hot. Don’t forget to pour the cooking juices over the greens before you add the nuts—more nutrients!

Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 15 minutes • SERVES 6
Storage: Store for two days in the fridge in an airtight container
Per Serving Calories: 109; Total Fat: 5 g (1 g saturated, 3 g monounsaturated);
Carbohydrates: 15 g; Protein: 3 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 129 mg

(Karen Roth, MS, NC holds a Masters of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition and is an active member of the National Association of Nutritional Professionals, the American Holistic Health Association and the Menopause Type Network®. Offices located in both Santa Clarita and Sherman Oaks, CA. For more information visit: www.karenrothnutrition.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and on Twitter)

About Karen Roth

Hi. My name is Karen Roth, www.karenrothnutrition.com and I’m a Holistic Nutritionist. Okay, I know what you’re thinking… quick, hide the food; the snack police is here! No need to panic. I describe myself as a “practical” nutritionist, one who doesn’t go to extremes one way or the other and understands that life is challenging enough without having to torture yourself by cutting out many of the things you enjoy. Most of us have limited time to shop for food and to cook healthier meals. And a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to what and how we all eat. Trust me, I get it.

In my early years out of college when I was bartending, my eating and drinking habits were anything but healthy. But, then you grow up and start thinking about the bigger picture and listening more to what your body is telling you. My pre-nutritionist days were on the corporate treadmill where stress and snacking at the desk was part of my daily routine. Never enough hours in the day and proper eating was always at the bottom of my list.

It wasn’t until I broke my jaw in a freak accident that my food life really changed. When you’re wired shut for two months and denied the food you need for your very existence, you begin to look at the world a little differently. When I healed myself, primarily by creating my own foods I could sip through a straw, I decided to pursue something that was always of interest to me… nutrition. Pulling the plug on the corporate treadmill, I went back to school for three years to get my Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition. I then opened a practice in Valencia, California, and I’m pleased to say that over the years I have helped so many people improve the quality of their lives by helping them make simple changes in their diets and lifestyle.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or tasteless, and it is my intention to bring you practical tips each week on how to fit in nutrition one bite at a time. In addition to being practical, I’m also positive so you don’t have to worry that I am going to be Debby Downer and tell you that everything you put in your mouth is going to kill you. Instead, I will offer you easy to implement, simple strategies to help you improve your health. I’ll be introducing new foods (that taste good – because I don’t eat anything that tastes like sawdust or is unappetizing) and new habits that are realistic. I hope you’ll join me as a regular reader and together we’ll build the healthier you with FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

(Karen Roth, MS, NC is a graduate of Hawthorn University’s Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition training program. She helps her clients to take control of their health with foods choices that best support their specific health condition and specific metabolic type and believes that every ill health condition can benefit and possibly improve from a solid foundation of healthy foods choices. Visit her website at www.karenrothnutrition.com

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