Per Calorie, Spinach Has More Protein Than Beef!

Photo by timsackton from Flickr.com

I am so over Popeye. I mean, really, telling me to eat my spinach while puffing on a cancer-inducing pipe that may even be filled with an illegal recreational substance. Think about it. What else could cause those delusions and momentary episodes of crazy strength? So, there will be no Popeye quips as we consider spinach. Rather, we ask that you and Popeye put down the pipe.

Prepare yourself for a crazy fact about spinach. Per 100 calories, spinach has 12 grams of protein versus beef which has 10 grams. What the heck? Tis true, tis true.

But, you ask, “Well, how much spinach exactly is 100 calories?” 100 calories of the green leafy vegetable is about a pound. That, admittedly, is a lot of spinach. You may think there is no way you could pound a pound of spinach to get all that plant-based protein, particularly when it takes just a nibble of beef to obtain the same amount. So for now, you think it best to sprinkle your meals with spinach when possible to get the benefits of its protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and vitamins A, C, K and B6! But, it’s not that difficult, lovely reader!

Buy yourself a pound of spinach and make the following wilted spinach recipe. If you are on a low-sodium diet, do be aware that spinach has a naturally high salt content. Much like you, me, and Popeye, spinach is great, but not perfect.

Grow your own! Photo by OakleyOriginals from Flickr.com

Jenna’s Wilted Spinach

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound pre-washed spinach (remove tough stems)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Saute garlic in oil 2 or 3 minutes. Add spinach to the pan in stages. Fill the pan with leaves and turn leaves in warm oil until they wilt. Add more spinach to the skillet and repeat the process until all of the spinach is incorporated. Season the wilted spinach with salt and pepper. I serve this dish either over brown rice with a splash of soy sauce, or as a side to salmon, or gasp, a bit of beef.

Consider:
Topping spinach with slivered almonds or sesame seeds. Some cooks use nutmeg, but nutmeg makes my stomach churn… so you’ll never get me to add it to something as good as wilted spinach.

Steel Cut Oats Make the Best Brain and Body Food

Rolled vs. steel cut oats. Photo by little blue hen from Flickr.com

Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Methionine.

When I say this list, I somehow become a palpably nerdy and decidedly feminine version of Jay-Z in my wee brain and then I mutter, “Hit me!” as if asking the nutrition gods to drop that dope list on me again. Why begin this
entry with this list and let you in on what my husband calls an, “(sigh) embarrassingly private moment?”

Well, dear eater, this list is the complete list of the 10 essential amino acids (proteins) your body must get from outside sources. These 10 essential amino acids are also, wait for it, found in STEEL CUT OATS. That’s right, I’ve pulled up my hoodie and murmured, “Hit me,” again.

What else should you know about your oats? Don’t get them rolled or boxed as “quick cook” versions. That squishes the goodness right out of them. You want them to be steel-cut, pinhead, Irish, or Scottish. These labels mean that your dope oats have undergone minimal processing and that mighty fine list of essential amino acids is present to increase brain and body function.

Oats also contain beta-glucan, a fiber that has the ability to lower cholesterol and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Beta-glucan has also been linked to enhanced immune system responses. Oats also have antioxidant compounds called avenanthramides that further reduce cardiovascular disease. High fiber diets including steel-cut oats are also well known to reduce blood pressure risks, aid in diabetes prevention and treatment and reduce asthmatic symptoms. Also, if packaged in a gluten-free facility they can provide a great grain alternative for those with celiac disease/gluten tolerance issues. Que my hoodie and a, “Hit me!”

Packages of steel-cut oats always have a recipe for my favorite breakfast food. So, rather than repeat the easily found, I’ve included my recipe for vegan haggis that I fondly call “Vegas.” It is a different yet yummy use of oats and is a riff off a recipe found at allfoods.com online and with a bit of hotsauce is also mighty fine with tortilla chips in front of a good basketball game on the telly.

Jenna’s Vegas, A.K.A. Vegan Haggis

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry red lentils
2 tablespoons canned black beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
3 tablespoons ground peanuts
2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 1/3 cups steel cut oats

Directions

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and saute the onion 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in carrot and mushrooms, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Stir in broth, lentils, mashed black beans, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Season with thyme, sage, cayenne pepper, and mixed spice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in oats, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 5×9 inch baking pan. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Bake 30 minutes, until firm and the moisture is completely absorbed and the oats and lentils are al dente. You may need to add more broth if the mixture dries out before the oats and lentils are done.