Our love affair is approaching the three-year mark. It started when I fell deeply in love with Kale. But soon, I was seeing Bok Choy. Then Tatsoi, Mustard and Dandelion greens. Then came Escarole, Broccoli Rabe, and Swiss Chard. Followed by Arugula and Pea Shoots. If it’s green or anywhere near green, I eat it. Greens for breakfast. Greens for lunch. Greens for dinner. Sometimes I eat greens raw, others steamed, sautéed, in soups and even in juices. I swear I am a better human being because of it.
Growing up, I ate iceberg lettuce on a regular basis. My mom was a big fan of berro (aka watercress), so I remember eating that too. I have a vague recollection of broccoli and spinach. Why is the typical Latino diet so deprived of glorious greens? Our African-American and Asian brothers and sisters are all about them, and it’s time we got on board. Our health depends on it!
Greens strengthen the immune system, rid the body of mucus, move your digestion along, so to speak, and provide lots of energy. They are a good source of calcium, a little known fact amongst Latinos, who often depend on dairy as the sole source of calcium in their diet.
Try this green experiment: Eat greens every day (or even twice a day) and see how you feel. Are you feeling lighter? Less depressed? Are you pooping more (hey, poop talk is important! If Dr. Oz and Oprah can discuss S-shaped poop, why can’t we)? Does your skin look clearer?
Here are two easy recipes for you to try. Let me know what you think and which green you’ll be trying next.
COLLARDS AL AJILLO
1 bunch Collard greens, washed several times and stems removed
3-5 cloves Garlic, mashed aka machacado
2 TbspsOlive oil
Roll the collards like a cigar and slice into ribbons. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and lightly brown garlic. Add collards, toss for 5 minutes over medium heat and serve. Simple and simply delicious!
KALE CON MANGO
1 bunch Kale, washed, stems removed and ripped into small pieces
1 Mango, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup Extra virgin olive oil, less if you prefer a drier version
Vinegar to taste
Cumin, garlic, black pepper and your favorite salt-free seasoning—a dash of each
In a bowl, add olive oil and massage into the kale. Drizzle with vinegar as you would a salad. Add mango and spices and massage again. Marinate for two hours and serve.
You may soon find yourself having a summer fling with bok choy like I did. Happy greening!