Followed by one fairly healthy way from my own kitchen
Breaking news: Jason, Lisa and I will have a 4Leaf table at the VegFest in Worcester, MA, this Sunday, April 15, from 11 to 5. Dr. Campbell and Kathy Freston will be speaking. Spread the word.
Mark Bittman has done it again. Although he has an incredible amount of knowledge about the harmful, inefficient and unsustainable nature of our typical Western diet, he rarely offers his readers any clarity as to what they should be eating to be healthy. He knows that we’re digging our graves with our knives and forks AND destroying our planet, yet he continues to shamelessly promote animal-based foods in most of his work.
The latest is an article in last week’s New York Times about spinach—and his suggestions for how best to prepare this super-healthy food. He likes spinach but not necessarily eaten raw in a salad. So he offers four ways to cook the spinach along with three suggestions for each method: wilted, steamed, braised and super-slow cooked. From the article:
Here, spinach undergoes four completely distinct treatments: superfast wilting in a pan; not-much- slower steaming in a pot; braised and almost a full meal; and superslow, a technique I really love, and one that results in astonishingly fine creamed spinach and the like. (These are generally so high-fat that they effectively neutralize spinach’s supposed health benefits, an interesting paradox.)
His list of 12 spinach dishes, all of which have oil, most of which have butter and half of which have meat, eggs or mussels. Notice that I labeled the three without butter as “healthier options.”
- Wilted with skirt steak
- Wilted with bacon
- Wilted with chicken
- Steamed with parmesan (and butter)
- Steamed with anchovies (and butter)
- Steamed with cashews (and sesame oil) Healthier option.
- Braised with eggs
- Braised with mussels
- Braised with soy and ginger (and sesame oil) Healthier option.
- Slow-cooked with cream (and butter)
- Slow-cooked with Indian spices (and oil) Healthier option.
- Slow-cooked with rice & carrots (and butter)
Want a really healthy spinach option? This is what I often prepare as a light dinner or as a healthy item to take along on the train or while sailing for the day. It started out as part of my Sailors Super Lunch; this is the “spinach-pita” portion of that lunch. Here’s the way I do mine. (If you’re nervous about microwaves, then you can use Mark Bittman’s method of wilting described above.)
- Fill a large salad bowl with raw spinach. Squeeze some lime or lemon juice on top, spray with a bit of Braggs Liquid Aminos and sprinkle some Kirkland organic no-salt spice on top. Microwave for 30 seconds.
- Slice a whole wheat Joseph’s Pita in half and warm both halves along with the spinach for about 15 seconds. Spread a little hummus (preferably homemade) inside the two halves of pita.
- Start stuffing the pita with spinach; add a row of sliced avocado and olive, finish stuffing with more spinach.
- This meal can be a little high in fat if you’re liberal with the avocado and olive. I try to use just 1/4 of an avocado, which will take care of both half-pitas.
As for the Joseph’s bread. One full round of pita contains 230 calories, with less than 10% from fat. It’s not a whole plant, but it is made from 100% stone ground whole wheat flour. It has 8 grams of fiber and has slightly more sodium and a few more ingredients than I would prefer.
While this is not a super-healthy 4Leaf dish, this great little meal can be prepared in five minutes and is a much healthier spinach option than any of Mark’s oil-soaked, animal food medleys shown above. For more details on Mark’s cooking options, see the link below.
Spinach Salad? Finally, I disagree with Mark about the spinach salad. I think that there are many options for a highly delicious raw or slightly wilted version with the right mix of veggies, legumes, grains, seasonings and color. Just remember that if you’re going to call it a meal, you’re going to need more than just the spinach—anything from avocado to zucchini to make sure that you get the 400+ calories that you need. Enjoy!
So what’s the story with Mark Bittman? He probably knows more about the need for plant-based eating than any prominent journalist in America—yet his work is often confusing, misleading and lacking clarity. He is referenced many times in our book and mentioned often in this blog. Just a few weeks ago, I featured him in a blogpost: Mark Bittman. Does he ever take a stand on anything? As for the article about spinach….
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.