Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thank God for good directions....and turnip greens

I'm sure you've all heard the country song from Billy Currington's album Doin' Somethin' Right. I don't listen to country music often, but I'm listening to the song right now as I write this post, cooking up some turnip greens.

I used to always think of turnip greens as a winter food. Who wants a big pot of steaming greens in their kitchen in summertime, right? But the nutrition in them is just too spot-on to save them for winter only.

In summertime, I fry my nitrite-free turkey bacon then put it aside and braise my greens in the bacon fat. Then I pour out any liquid when my greens are done, let them cool and sprinkle the bowl of greens with crumbled bacon and apple cider vinegar, stir and serve. I like my greens better lukewarm in summer.

I always braise or boil them with a little avocado oil, butter or nitrite-free bacon. Remember, with greens and most other vegetables too, you need healthy fats to absorb all those fat-soluble vitamins.

Did you know that, as greens go, turnip greens don't get near the credit they deserve. You know the greens are actually more healthier than the turnip.

A member of the family of cruciferous veggies, turnip greens not only outrank their own turnip in terms of nutrition, turnip greens also outrank other cruciferous veggies in calcium content and cancer-preventing glucosinolates. Everybody talks about kale and spinach and broccoli...but the humble turnip green outranks them all in nutrition. Turnip greens are anti-inflammary, filled with antioxidants, healing for cardiac and cancer patients alike.

You should always braise or boil your turnip greens and throw away any liquid to minimize oxylates. Turnip greens are actually low-oxylate as greens go. They aren't anywhere near as high in oxylates as swiss chard, spinach, beet greens or flat-leaf kale (you did know to always cook these greens, right? and throw away the water!).

Of course, most greens should be braised or boiled. Very few greens are best eaten raw because of oxylate content.

The following greens are low-oxylate enough to be eaten raw:
  • watercress
  • romaine and iceberg lettuces
  • all cabbages
  • bok choy
  • dandelion greens
  • arugala
  • curly kale
  • broadleaf plantain weed
Now I've read that people with healthy kidney function and healthy gut bacteria don't need to worry about oxylates. Your body can handle it. Heck, they're in almost everything that's healthy--including blueberries. It seems like the healthier the food, the higher the oxylate content.

Some people suggest eating some fermented food when you eat greens to make sure you have the bacteria to eat up the oxylates. I've decided to try that. So now I put apple cider vinegar on my greens and I drink a swallow of kefir with a probiotic and some enzymes before I eat a meal that is high- oxylate.

I'm diabetic so I try to pamper my kidneys and protect myself from oxylates as much as possible. It doesn't stop me from eating healthy foods, but I take measures to minimize oxylates.

Collard greens and mustard greens are also extremely old-timey country greens that don't get much attention but are super-healthy low-oxylate greens that can revolutionize your health and weight loss efforts.

They're even cheap organic.

But you can always grow your own for even cheaper. Sustainable Seed Company has organic seeds for turnip greens: Those seeds will give you a turnip root too. Don't forget to eat the turnip. Eat the greens first since they can wilt quickly, but the root will keep in your fridge for awhile. Check out this recipe for Buttery Turnips and Chicken: Buttery Turnips and Chicken Recipe on Superfood Meltdown

This old turnip seed advertisement is featured
on Sustainable Seed Company's website.
You can find organic heirloom seeds
for almost anything with the
Sustainable Seed Company.

And no, I don't receive anything from this seed company. I just like them. There are increasingly seed companies that provide heirloom and organic seed. The old-timey seeds (heirloom) are always the best choice. Greens especially are so easy to grow.

And if you don't want to grow them or buy them, become a forager. Check out my recent post on Facebook to learn about healthy greens that might be growing in your backyard:

Backyard greens are free and some of them, like dandelion greens and broadleaf plantain weed, have almost zero oxylates and are true superfoods. That way you can slurp the liquid when you eat them, instead of tossing it out. But when it comes to backyard greens, make sure nobody's been spraying poison around them (like Roundup for weeds) because that will disqualify them as a food source.

Whether you buy them, grow them or pick them out of your yard, just make sure you eat your greens! It's the smart thing to do. You know what's good for you--so do it! I mean, you didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, did you?

PS Who caught the "more healthier" comment above? Now, that's an old country-girl way to say it.


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