Vegetables


1. Cayenne pepper:

Contains the ultimate fat-fat burning compound – capsaicin. Try chili power, paprika or jalapeño peppers; which also contain capsaicin.

2. Cinnamon:

This thermogenic spice is linked with curbing cravings, controlling blood sugar levels and burning fat.

3. Curry powder:

The turmeric found in curry powder is a well-known fat-burner. It will keep you sweating as well as burning calories.

4. Spinach:

Magnesium and B vitamins are extremely important for all body functions – metabolism included. Spinach provides both nutrients.

5. Nuts:

Walnuts and almonds are full of fat-burning omega-3’s.

6. Grapefruit:

A compound found in grapefruit (naringenin) is being linked with fat loss.

7. Berries:

A handful of fibrous berries helps keep your metabolism going by providing the necessary sugars to curb cravings, with fever calories.

8. Zucchini:

This vegetable is fibrous and water packed, meaning its fills you up and is easy to digest.

9. Yogurt:

Combines carbs and protein. Perfect for snacking, warding off hunger and building muscle.

10. Edamame:

The isoflavones found in edamame (a.k.a. soybeans) are linked to less belly fat. Edamame is a great alternative to fried appetizers.

Nutrient-packed, dark leafy greens grow best in cooler weather – making them in season right now. Many people often shy away from dark greens such as arugula, collards, and kale because of their bitter reputation, but when you pair them with a sensible amount of flavorful ingredients like bacon, feta-cheese, garlic, walnuts or even a little butter (shhh, I said a “little”) its easy to balance their bitterness. Study the list below to learn about the various winter greens and determine which of them you might enjoy best. Try the Bold Winter Greens Salad located under the “recipe” tab.

ARUGULA

Taste: pleasantly pungent and peppery.                                                                                                                                                             Best in: Salads and sandwiches.  Also known as rocket (in England, rocket salad is used as a garnish on just about everything – even eggs!), rugula, and rucola, the leafy green is a staple of Italian fare and often found in musclun (young tender greens) salad mixes. I like to think of this green as a cross between lettuce and herb.

Substitutions: Watercress, endive, or young mustard greens.

BROCCOLI RABE

Taste: Broccoli rabe, a cooking green popular in Italian cuisine, resembles tiny clusters of broccoli florets amidst bunches of leaves which have a slight bitter flavor.                                                                                                                                       

Best in: The leaves are best cooked or sautéed to bring out the flavor (the stocks can often be too bitter to eat).           

Substitutions: Chinese broccoli, dandelion greens, or Swiss chard

COLLARDS

Taste: At no surprise, collards taste a bit like cabbage – since collards are a variety of cabbage.                                             

Best in: A variety of world cuisines. If you’re from the south, you’re probably making your greens with bacon or ham hocks; Italians simmer them in bowls of minestra.

Substitutions: Kale, mustard greens, or turnip greens.

ENDIVE

Taste: Prickly texture and slightly bitter taste.     

Best in: Salads or stirred into soups and bean dishes.                   

Substitutions: Escarole, mustard greens, arugula, or spinach.

ESCAROLE

Taste: Like its relative, Belgian endive, its slightly bitter.      

Best in: The young tender leaves are best in raw salads. Because escarole is more delicate than other hearty greens, it doesn’t require a long cooking time – great if you want dinner on the table in a hurry.

Substitutions: Mustard greens, arugula, or spinach

KALE

Taste: Earthy and cabbage like.                 

Best in: Kale’s sturdy leaves are excellent sautéed and added to casseroles like lasagna, for example. 

Substitutions: Collard greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, or spinach

MESCLUN

Taste: Mildly tangy              

Best in: A mixture of baby greens served raw as a salad.              

Substitutions: Arugula, romaine, and spinach

MUSTARD GREENS

Taste: Spicy and peppery; the smaller the leaves, the sharper and hotter the taste.         

Best in: Stir-frys or sautés. To tone down the mustard greens’ assertiveness, blanch the leaves in salted water before incorporating them in a recipe.        

Substitutions: Escarole, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach

SPINACH

Taste: Mildly bitter and earthy            

Best in: A wide variety of salad and entrées. Be sure to wash spinach thoroughly as dirt and sand tend to cling onto the leaves. 

Substitutions: Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, turnip greens, escarole, and arugula (for salads).

SWISS CHARD

Taste: Chard is in the same family as the beet, so you may detect some beet-like flavor in the ribs of the leaves. The leaves have a tendency to taste very intense, much like spinach.                 

Best in: Swiss chard’s hearty leaves are excellent when added to cooked dishes such as casseroles, stews, and lasagnas.

Substitutions: Beet greens or spinach

TURNIP GREENS

Taste: Cooked, turnip greens can be pleasantly pungent and bitter.

Best in: Braises, stews, and sautés.

Substitutions: Mustard greens, collards, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach

WATERCRESS

Taste: Peppery with a touch of mustard (its a member of the mustard family).

Best in: Salads and as a garnish

Substitutions: Arugula

For many years I have been able to maintain a mostly “corn free” diet. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally butter up a cob of fresh sweet summer corn or pass up a melt-in-your-mouth corn tortilla and while I have heard both good and bad things about corn, its what is lurking in food products that has caused me to refrain from purchasing and consuming foods that are processed with unhealthy, high-fructose corn syrup, cornstarch, and corn oil. As the largest produced crop in the world, corn is found in nearly everything we eat and it is being used as a cheap source of calories and taste. Ketchup, salad dressings, cola, whole-grain breads, yogurt, crackers and even beer contain corn or corn by-products. But wait a minute! Don’t forget that the majority of the nation’s livestock is corn fed too. What does that mean? It means that you are still ingesting corn and its carbons.

So now what? We can’t eat meat? No, just remember that while most of us don’t have the resources to buy free-range, grass-fed meats, we should still be taking into consideration that the average diet already consists of a moderate amount of corn intake.. If you are not buying grass-fed meats, be mindful that you are still ingesting corn and that its carbons will still be recorded into your digestive system and absorbed into your tissues and muscles.

Now that we know that high-fructose corn syrup and corn products have weaseled their way into most of our supermarket foods and are the number one reason for America’s sugar habit, how can we fit corn into a healthy diet without sacrificing its beautiful flavor and texture?

Well, many Botanists and Nutritionists will argue over whether corn is actually good for you or not. Organic corn? Good. Big corn (boxed corn)? Bad. Well, which is it and how do the average folk who are trying to mind their diet decide? We could spend a week dissecting corn kernel for kernel and while I would love to, I don’t want the topic of corn to turn into a debate about ethanol or land conservation (that’s someone else’s blog). There are, however, many websites out there that both protect corn’s identity and also protest it.

Corn often gets a bad reputation due to its high carbohydrate (starch) content or high glycemic load; however, whole corn is packed with delicious, slowly digested complex carbohydrates, fiber, and antioxidants. Corn is one of the ultimate sources of fiber, therefore, a cup of kernels or any corn rich recipe will account for all of the daily fiber requirements, keeping you full and raising your energy level. Fibers found in corn can also significantly lower total and LDL(“bad”) cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fibers can also reduce the risk of colon cancer while providing essential vitamins such as C, B5, B9 (folic acid), and B1, which are important for maintaining optimum health.

Bottom line, raw corn and whole corn grain are a valuable part of our diet, while processed corn and corn products can be harmful. Consuming large quantities of processed corn will result in unwanted pounds and like most foods, too much of anything thing isn’t good. So be mindful. You don’t want to increase the risk of developing digestive upsets, allergies, or other health problems.

When corn is best for you and your diet

Take pleasure and indulge in the colors, flavors, and versatility of corn when it is at its best. Purchase and consume corn in its harvesting season, which is mid to late summer, and try to find local farm fresh corn if possible. Choosing organic corn over conventional corn not only tastes better but reduces your risk of overexposure to potentially harmful pesticides.  By buying whole produce in its original form and staying away from food that comes in a box or package, we can easily take a break from the dominating corn kingdom.

Now, I can hardly wait for next summer’s corn harvest!

Nutritional Values of Fresh and Cooked Corn, Yellow or White
Serving Size: 1 medium (7″) ear

Calories 77
Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat <1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 19 g
Protein 3 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sodium 13 mg
Vitamin C 5 mg
Folic Acid 41 micrograms
Niacin 2 mg
Potassium 243 mg