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VOL. 39 | NO. 27 | Friday, July 3, 2015

Walking on the greener side of the fence

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I’ve amped up my walking recently. I’m trying to combat the middle-age spread and couch-potato effect the long and cruel winter and the wetter than normal spring have impaled on my body.

At least that’s the reason I feel best about using. Never mind that I might have caused some of it because I needed four Oreo cookies every night for my dessert for a while. And never mind that I completely abandoned my exercise.

I know I have to pay the price for such self-indulgence so I’m now in the process of getting healthier. To help my motivation stay motivated, I downloaded an app by Under Armor called MapMyWalk.

MapMyWalk is a GPS app that literally maps the walk you take and counts your steps, the incline percentage (if there was one), how long you took and how many calories you used.

It has more tidbits of information, if you want to pay, but for now, the information I’m getting is keeping me happy.

Also, with the same app, I signed up to receive the email newsletter about health-related things, and received the first one today. I was pleasantly surprised. It had some information on green vegetables I enjoyed reading.

It talked about the current rage of super-healthy kale. I went to lunch with a few friends not long ago and ordered a kale salad. It was good, but I had to pick through the kale to get to the other foods in the salad. There was a ton of kale on that plate.

I have fixed kale at home recently, too. I sautéed a bunch of it in olive oil, sea salt and garlic. It’s really good that way.

But the newsletter also talked about six other super-healthy vegetables you might want to include in your diet.

Bok Choy: This vegetable is very rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A and C. Bok Choy is good sautéed with a bit of garlic. Sauté with garlic and olive oil, then right before removing it from heat, drizzle on a bit of sesame oil.

Edamame and Chicken Greek Salad

8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
8 ounces frozen shelled edamame (about 1 1/2 cups), thawed
8 cups chopped romaine (about two romaine hearts)
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 European cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/4 cup slivered red onion

Place chicken in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until a thermometer inserted into chicken registers 165 degrees (12 to 15 minutes). Transfer to a clean cutting board and shred or chop into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add edamame, romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, basil, olives, onion, and the chicken; toss to coat.

Swiss chard: Usually seen in Italian recipes, this vegetable is also very healthy. It is abundant in vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin E and minerals such as iron and calcium. It can be interchanged with kale in recipes.

Savoy cabbage: I haven’t experimented much with this healthy green, as the word “cabbage” has to be whispered in this house. But I’m going to try, and I think I can do it by just saying “It’s savoy” when asked, “What’s the green stuff?”

Savoy is a fantastic green high in vitamins C and K.

Try purple cabbage for a shot of color in a salad, or add shredded savoy cabbage to a stir fry.

Collard greens: Hmmm ... This one is going to be harder for me to work with, and the recipe that the newsletter gives is definitely not one that would work for my special someone.

But it might for yours, so here it is: Cut the stems off, slice out the tough spines, then submerge the leaves, one at a time, in a large skillet of simmering, salted water for about 30 seconds.

Remove leaves and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Carefully pat the leaves dry.

Fill with sandwich or burrito fillings and wrap as you would a tortilla.

Cauliflower is another very healthy veggie, but if you were around when I wrote about trying to disguise mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes, you’ll remember it didn’t work.

But here’s what they suggest: try it roasted. Cut into florets, toss with oil, season with salt and pepper, spread on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until browned, stirring once or twice.

It also makes a great mash, in place of potatoes. (They don’t know my husband.)

Beets: Beets contain potassium, manganese, folic acid, vitamin C, and fiber, and the bright red color means they’re full of antioxidants.

Plus, they might help bolster memory and concentration.

If they come with greens attached, don’t throw those out!

Chop and sauté the leaves with garlic for a quick side dish.

For the beets, roast them, or you can shred them raw and toss them in a green salad.

Experiment with one of the delicious ways of preparing the above veggies, or try this healthy but very tasty salad from Eating Well magazine.

Kay Bona is an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at kay@dailydata.com.

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