flickr | Glory foods

flickr | Glory foods

Master the art of making healthy food delicious with TDAE Performance Recipes.

WHY IT'S SO GOOD FOR YOu

Green Giants: For a food category that has been hyped since the beginning of nutrient hyping, leafy greens are somehow still underrated.  Consider all food categories members of a team that work together to bring nutrition to your plate. Leafy greens are that critical teammate who ties everyone together and makes dietary success possible. 

Leafy greens bring energy-producing, antioxidant-carrying, bone-building vitamins and minerals to the table in a perfectly balanced, low calorie package. Skimping on the greens too often will make it very tough for you to get enough of important nutrients, vitamins or minerals such as calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium or vitamin C. 

Bacon education. We're talking pork bacon because I'm not comfortable labeling any other bacon-like product from an animal other than a pig as bacon. We all know that just about anything tastes better with bacon and as much as we love it for this reason, we fear it is too fatty. The most prominent form of fatty acid in bacon is monounsaturated - the same prominent fatty acid in "heart healthy" olive oil...still think bacon is too fatty?

Bacon is also loaded with saturated fat (I wrote here about which fats deserve to be labeled as villains and which don't.) Saturated fat should be exempt from the list of villainous dietary fats based on this meta-analysis of studies that searched for, but never found a link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. 

I know that you understand that bacon's unjust "unhealthy" characterization is a mistake but feel free to let bacon critics in on exactly what bacon is composed of and why it is far from unhealthy. Bacon comes bearing nutrient gifts including B vitamins, protein, selenium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Together these nutrients are a muscle/bone building, energy supplying, immune/nervous system enhancing cocktail. 

As you know, sourcing animal proteins carefully is important and this remains true with bacon. When choosing pork or pork bacon look for the terms like heritage/heirloom, humanely raised, pastured, pasture-raised, forested, forest-raised/fed and organic. When you see these terms on the labels of your pork it is a good indicator that the pigs were allowed to forage and root in the outdoors for major portions of their diet.

RELATED: Let Them Eat Acorns - Preaching the Gospel of the Forest-Fed Pig

Pigs that are allowed to forage - as pigs are meant to do - will be more likely to eat things like fallen fruits, acorns or other vegetation, which enhances the nutrient profile of their meat. Due to a lack of legally regulated labeling definitions, it is important to look further than just the label. Investigate the source of your pork and determine if the farm it is coming from is in fact taking the steps in managing/raising their livestock that they claim.

Bone broth bonus. Finding ways to incorporate bone broth into your recipes is easier than you think. Adding classically made bone broth to any sauce, soup, stew or other recipe will make it taste better and more nutritious at the same time. 

If you are concerned with the challenge of making bone broth from scratch, you have a few options:

I wrote a comprehensive post on why bone broth is so good for you HERE. 

ingredients and instructions

2 heads organic collard greens; washed and cut into thin ribbons

1/2 large organic yellow onion; diced

2 cloves organic garlic; minced

1 lb humanely raised, pastured pork bacon; thickly diced

4 cups beef stock

salt and pepper to taste

Sauté bacon and onion until bacon is mostly cooked and onion softened. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer to crock pot and set to 'low' (If you have a fancy crock pot with a sauté setting, you can do everything in one pot). Add collard greens and stock, salt and pepper to taste, and cover with lid. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours.

There are many variations to this recipe. It works well with broccoli leaf, swiss chard, or other hardy greens like kale (if using swiss chard, hold off on adding them until the last hour of slow cooking). You can also use chicken stock in place of beef stock.

take home

We've all strolled past the leafy greens at the grocery store and said "I know these are supposed to be good for me but how would I ever make them taste good!?" This recipe is one easy way to turn uncommon leafy greens into the nutrition studs that they are and enjoy them. 

References:

 Christensen, E. (n.d.). How To Make Bone Broth - Recipe. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-bone-broth-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-215311  

 How to Make Beef Bone Broth! (2011, March 17). Retrieved June 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r4ET9qfE0I  

 Shattuck, K. (2013, December 31). Let Them Eat Acorns. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/dining/preaching-the-gospel-of-the-forest-fed-pig.html  

 Siri-Tarino, P. (2010, January 13). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract  

 Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth. (2011, March 2). Retrieved June 20, 2015, from http://nomnompaleo.com/post/3615609338/slow-cooker-beef-bone-broth  


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Enjoy,
TD


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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