Five Easy Ways to Eat More Spinach (Your Muscles Will Thank You, Says Science)

by Siobhan O’Connor

Siobhan O’Connor is a natural beauty and health expert and the co-author, with Alexandra Spunt, of the blog No More Dirty Looks.

It turns out that Popeye was onto something: Besides providing the body with protein, iron, powerful antioxidants, and a natural glow, spinach may also benefit muscle building. So much for the puny-vegetarian stereotype!

And since it’s such a health superstar, we’re going to tell you how to incorporate it into your diet without having to think too much about it. Here’s why.

The Daily is reporting on a new(ish) study published in Cell Metabolism which showed that eating spinach may help muscles work more efficiently during exercise. Apparently the inorganic nitrate found in spinach does this by fueling mitochondria—the little engines in our cells that could—with more energy on less oxygen. The lead scientist on the study, Dr. Eddie Weitzberg, compared it to being able to run a car on less fuel but at the same speed.

Whether or not you’re taking the GOOD 30-day challenge or did our own Vegan For a Week Challenge (and have been following ourMeatless Monday recipe series), eating more spinach is a great idea. Its mild flavor makes it one of the most versatile super foods, and it pairs easily with (or hidden in) just about anything. Because you can buy it frozen it’s also convenient and affordable.

Here are a few no-brainer ways to add it to a meal:

Hidden in smoothies: You can load a smoothie with spinach and still have it taste like vanilla ice cream—it’s truly an incredible trick for anyone who thinks they hate veggies (if you’re dealing with a finicky kid—or as I was, a finicky man—just add blueberries to hide the color). Smoothies are also a happy home for spinach because the iron is more readily absorbed with vitamin C, which is found abundantly in fruits. Go for strawberries right now—they have a ton of C and they’re in season (at least in California).

In omelettes: Whether you want to power up at breakfast, or make a lazy dinner, adding spinach to an omelette will take it to the next level. I like doing a Greek-inspired fast frittata with olive oil, onion, and feta. Just saute the onions in a pan that can go in the oven, then add the spinach and let it cook down for a minute. Then pour in your eggs and let that sit until it looks like the bottom half is cooked; then sprinkle it with feta, salt, and pepper and throw it in the oven under the broiler. When the eggs brown at the edges and the feta bubbles you’re done. Takes ten minutes, tastes gourmet.

With pasta or on pizza: It really doesn’t matter whether you like a red sauce, a cream sauce, or a simple olive oil drizzle on your pasta or pizza—spinach pairs with all. You can easily add it to something store-bought but a recent taste triumph at my house involved frozen peas and spinach sauteed in olive oil and garlic in a pan. To that I added the brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s (cooked of course), some red chili flakes, lemon juice, and lots of salt and pepper. If you’re vegan you’re done (or you can add some nutritional yeast to taste). If you like cheese, throw in some parmesan. If you want meat in there, prosciutto works great.

As a side: This is basically the same as above but without the pasta. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan with some chopped garlic and saute your spinach for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a squeeze of lemon juice (for both flavor and some vitamin C).

In a salad: Spinach can be added to just about any salad—from a caesar to a chopped to a simple olive oil and vinegar variety. I like making a good vegan caesar dressing with the following: 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs vegenaise, 1 tsp dijon, juice of a lemon, 1 tbs of capers (if you like them), 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (if you have it/like it), and salt and pepper to taste. (Note: if you use the capers you may not need the salt, taste it first.) Do a romaine and fresh spinach mix and add anything you like to it: You can go traditional with croutons and parmesan, or make it more of a mixed vegetable salad with artichoke hearts, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Ok, your turn! What’s your favorite way to use this muscle-building age-fighter?

Photo (cc) from Flickr user srqpix

 

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Ten Favorite Juice Recipes

You Ask, I Deliver: My Top Ten Favorite Juice Recipes

by Gena on June 17, 2009

juices1

Hi everyone!

As usual, I hope you’re all having great weeks. I was delighted by the response to my last post on juicing and blending—it sounds as though this question had been on some of your minds for a while! And I was delighted to see that the post provoked this question, from my friend Briana:

“Gena, I would love to see some of your favorite fruit and veg combos for juicing. All of your recipes are so good that I’m sure your juice recipes would be awesome, too :).”

My pleasure, Briana!

Here are my top ten favorite juice recipes. All of these are tried and true staples in my home, and they’re also proven to be big hits with my friends. I’ve included a mix of fruitier juices (for newbies) and more alkalizing, vegetable rich juices for my juicing pros out there. All of the recipes yield between 24-32 oz, and the procedure for all is the same: throw the ingredients in your juicer and go!

As with all of my recipes, think of these as templates, not prescriptions! Feel free to modify them as you like by adding or subtracting ginger, lemon, garlic, different veggie mixtures, or – if you do supplements – whatever supplements you like. There possibilities are endless, and now that summer is here, you have many warm months to quench your thirst with top juicer recipes. Enjoy!

Gena’s Classic Green Juice

I drink this juice every single morning, and often twice a day. Feel free to add some lemon if you like (and if you have a Breville, you can put it right into your juicer) to make it “green lemonade.” You can also omit the ginger if you don’t like it spicy.

And if you’re really hardcore about your green juice, go ahead and omit the apple!

1 green apple
1 inch knob ginger
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 large handful parsley
5 stalks kale

green-juice3

The Pink Lady (inspired by Café Blossom)

I don’t typically go for the fruitier juices, but the first time I had this juice – at the lovely Café Blossom on the Upper West Side – I was hooked!

1 pear
1 beet
1-2 inches ginger
1 ½ cups pineapple, in chunks

Veggie Ginger Juice

A standard “mixed veggie” concoction that’s spiced up by the ginger. This is a great “warming” juice for the cold months.

3 large carrots
1 beet
1 green apple
4 large stalks celery
1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green
1 small cucumber
1 inch knob ginger

Carrot Romaine

This is a terrific juice for anyone who is new to juicing! It’s sweet, but it still benefits from the alkalizing romaine. It’s a big hit with kids, too!

6 large carrots
1 head romaine

carrot-romaine

Cucumber Pear Cooler

An amazingly refreshing and simple summertime treat.

And although I’m not a drinker, I must confess that I can imagine this would be a terrific cocktail base! ;-)

1 large or 2 small cucumbers
1-2 pears (depends on size)

Summertime Mojito

A virgin mojito that is fresh, simple, and delicious! ‘Nuff said.

1 cucumber
1 large pear
1 large handful mint
½ lime

Think Pink

A green twist on the Pink Lady.

1 beet
1 green apple
1 pear
6 large leaves romaine
1 inch ginger

Baby’s First Green

This is the perfect elixir for anyone who’s a bit new to green juice! Sweet, but not too sweet.

1 large pear
1 apple
1 cup pineapple, cubed
4 large stalks kale
1 cucumber

Greens and Carrot

A wonderful, nutritionally rich, and cleansing juice.

½ head romaine leaves
4 stalks kale
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
4 large carrots

Sweet and Sour

A sassy sweet combination that awakens the palate, this is equally fun without the grapefruit.

1 apple
4 large carrots
1 beet
1 inch ginger
1-2 cups grapefruit

beet

Sorbet to Help the Flu

‘Flu sorbet’ a tasty way to treat your illness

Published January 21, 2013

New York Post

  • Sorbet
    iStock

Finally, a fun way to fight the flu.

A small-batch ice-cream company claims to have scooped up a cure for the worst epidemic in years — a bold new flavor called “Influenza Sorbet.”

The virus-soothing treat — made by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — blends Maker’s Mark bourbon, lemon and cayenne pepper to mimic an old family flu remedy.

The dessert, which sells for $12 a pint, includes ginger and honey.

Owner Jeni Britton Bauer, who operates Manhattan ice-cream trucks, says it eases sore throats and clears up nasal passages.

“I’ve had people tell me it’s the only thing that makes them feel better. It actually does have a physical effect,” she said.

That’s likely due to a secret ingredient: a small dose of pectin, which is found in cough drops, Bauer said. “It coats your throat. It’s just what some people need,” she said.

The new treat comes after the state last week declared a health emergency, noting that the number of flu cases had more than quadrupled — from 4,404 to 19,128 — in the past year.

“It’s cute but I’d like to see the science behind it,” said Doris Bucher, who helped develop this year’s flu vaccine with a team of scientists at New York Medical College. She added, “It might spice you up or knock you out — but it’s no vaccine,” she said.

Orders have spiked dramatically in the past two weeks, she said.

“It’s not a miracle. It’s an at-home remedy — like chicken soup,” she said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/01/21/flu-sorbet-tasty-way-to-treat-your-illness/#ixzz2IgA4A0BD