WANT TO GET RICH? Eat Collards!
Collard greens are a late-winter crop mostly grown and eaten in the South. Traditionally, collard greens were turned into sauerkraut by fermenting them with nothing more than salt and water. Supposedly they bring you money if you eat them on New Year’s Day. In the Southern tradition, each bite of greens you eat will bring $1,000 in the coming year.
Collards are a relative of cabbage, and their greens were eaten by everyone from caesars to the Egyptians to aid in digestion, and for nutrition to prevent scurvy.
Collards, native to the eastern Mediterranean countries and the Near East, are one of the oldest members of the cabbage family. They made their way to the New World in the 17th century with the slave trade. Extremely hardy and adaptable to both hot and cold climates, collards are unfussy growers and abundant producers of greens.
The deep bluish-green leaves, each on a fairly long, heavy stalk, resemble cabbage, but they are oval, fairly flat, and paddle like, not round and curved like a cabbage head. Despite their long history and nutritional benefits, collard greens have never gained wide acceptance except in the south-eastern United States.
When buying collard greens, choose relatively small, firm, springy leaves that show no yellowing or insect holes. Collard greens are more tender than kale and less pungent than mustard greens, with an earthy flavor.
Young greens can be eaten raw, chopped into a mixed-green salad. Most people in the South would recommend cooking collards with bacon or salt pork, but these greens are delicious when not cooked at all but marinated in lemon juice with some garlic, onion, Himalayan salt and olive oil. The raw greens are quite naturally alkaline and nutritiously dense, but they become acidic and lose much of their nutrition when cooked.
Collards contain dithiolethiones, a group of compounds that have anticancer and antioxidant properties; indoles, substances that protect against breast and colon cancer; and glucosinolates which can impede the cancer process for lung, colorectal, prostate, esophageal and pancreatic cancer; and sulphur, which has antibiotic and antiviral characteristics. They mildly stimulate the liver and other tissues out of stagnancy.
A low intake of vitamin K has been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture. The vitamin K in collard greens improves calcium absorption and helps reduce urinary excretion of calcium. Collard greens also contain the antioxidant alphalipoic acid, which can lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and help prevent changes in patients with diabetes that are linked to oxidative stress. Consumption of collard greens has been shown to improve liver function in people with high blood pressure. Iron deficiency, a common cause of hair loss, can be prevented by an adequate intake of iron-containing foods such as collard greens.
When shopping for fresh produce, choose organic collard greens — those that have been grown using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Prepare this marinated collard green recipe with lots of love and with the intention that once they are eaten, they will bring prosperity to your life.
4 cups collard greens
1/2 cup sweet onion
1/2 cup zucchini
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/3 cup coconut aminos
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame oil
pinch cayenne pepper
dash of cumin
Chop all the vegetables into very small pieces. Combine the coconut aminos, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, cumin and oil into a dressing. Toss the dressing with the vegetables until they are well coated. This can be eaten right away, but it seems to get even better after marinating in the fridge overnight. As they marinate, the collards become very tender and the flavors pop.
Brenda Cobb is author of The Living Foods Lifestyle and founder of The Living Foods Institute, an Educational Center and Therapy Spa in Atlanta offering healthy lifestyle courses on nutrition, cleansing, healing, anti-aging, detoxification, relaxation and cleansing therapies.
For more information, call 404-524-4488 and visit www.livingfoodsinstitute.com See ad, inside front cover.