Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flash greens with red pepper, olives and bacon + Why I switched to a Paleo diet


Fast, easy and delicious is the name of the game this summer. If truth be told, who wants to spend time slaving over a hot stove when the weather is sparkling bright and a host of outdoor activities beckon? Yet we also don't want to substitute convenience for good food. Man (nor woman) can live by protein bar alone. So a happy medium is struck with a medley of colorful vegetables and a smattering of bacon with a few choice olives tossed in. A squeeze of lemon along with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and you're set. For those who have the time and inclination, roasting the red peppers is a nice touch – although it isn't necessary. I am not a big fan of pork for health reasons, but thankfully we live in an abundant age where convincing organic and nitrate/preservative free turkey alternatives are available.
Applegate Farms has a nice product in this arena.

I'm really moving away from "creative" processed natural fare (i.e. meat substitutes, tofu, noodles, any type of ready-made concoction) towards real food in the spirit of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Think pastured butter and eggs, free-range meats, bone broths, sardines and wild-caught salmon, healthy fats (cod, extra-virgin olive and coconut oils), a few soaked nuts and seeds along with fresh berries and a variety of non-starch vegetables.

Granted, I would suspect this confession may raise the hackles of a few vegetarians. I understand, I truly do. After all, I was vegetarian myself for almost a decade, fluctuating between vegan and pure raw back to a standard meat-free protocol. Although I have the highest respect for each, in the end I had to face the fact that it simply wasn't working for me. My health was poor, emotional state erratic, energy nonexistent and my teeth began to suffer. And I am not talking about some pseudo-vegetarian diet where I was living off potato chips and fake meats – it was nutrient dense and balanced with loads of variety.

The long and short of it is I scrapped everything and began from a totally new perspective. Using a combination of Paleo, GAPS and the research of Weston A. Price, my health has steadily improved. I am not saying it's for everyone – diet is very personal. Each one of us needs to research, learn and experiment to find what encourages the most energy, clarity and well-being. But for now, vibrant vegetables with highlights of turkey bacon works for me. I hope you give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Flash greens with red pepper, olives and bacon

Serves: 4 as a light main course

*As always, choose organic and locally sourced ingredients for ultimate flavor, nutrition and health.

Ingredients . . .

2 bunches of greens (collard, kale, swiss chard or a mixture of all) coarsely chopped

1 cup olives of choice

3 medium red bell peppers cut into large chunks

1/2 cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons for cooking

1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

8 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled

Himalayan or Celtic sea salt + coarse ground pepper to taste

*optional: crumbled feta or gorgonzola cheese

Method . . .

Whisk 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside. In a large fry pan over medium heat, quickly sauté greens with 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic (about 1 minute) until bright green. Remove from heat and divide greens between 4 plates. Add bell peppers, olives and bacon. Lightly drizzle with olive oil/lemon juice mixture. Serve immediately with joy to those you hold dear.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
                                                   – Virginia Woolf




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