Smoke the fish, not the leafy greens

fish-spinach-featuredSaturday is usually the day I go shopping for groceries. When you've over fifty and live alone like I do... and maybe especially if you're a man... your eating habits can get in a rut. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to go to the grocery store and buy the same things as you did the last week, and the week before that. But sometimes if you don't have much to do on a Saturday, you might cook yourself up a good meal, which you often don't take time for during the week because you have too many other things to do.

Thought I would treat myself to some salmon today. Not only do I love eating fish, but The American Heart Association's dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat at least two servings of fish, which are high in Omega-3s, per week. So not only is it very tasty, it's healthy -- might even help make up for the quick throw together meals I made throughout the work week. And it also has lower levels of saturated fat than other meats such as beef, pork or chicken. It's also high in protein, and low in calories.

I didn't have a lot of chance to eat fish during my married years. My wife and daughter didn't like it. There were a lot of things neither one of them liked, but the beauty of being alone, means you can eat whatever you want. But then again, if you're over 50, you can't help but think about things like healthy foods. Don't tell me it doesn't cross your mind. I know it does. All of us are thinking more about what we eat now, than what we did 10-20 years ago. And it isn't like I have to force feed myself fish. Growing up on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia means I had lots of opportunities to learn to appreciate sea-food. Although, there are certain types I'm not crazy about. I never cared for smelts, and if I never ate another lobster -- I wouldn't miss it.

After I chose my salmon at the supermarket, I thought about what I might like to eat with it. I would certainly have to bake some potatoes, but what else? Spinach. Haven't had spinach for so long, that I had forgotten I liked it. It's another one of those foods that didn't get eaten when I lived with my family. The reason was simple enough. No one liked it but me. I like to add some butter and vinegar to it. For some reason, I've always preferred some sort of green vegetables with fish. Hey! Spinach isn't anything to sneeze about.

A lot of people don't care for Spinach. Even Popeye only ate it when he had to.... Not only did we see this, in cartoons growing up, but who can forget the movie starring comedian Robin Williams as Popeye? He did such a fantastic job with the part. The video clip below is supposed to be the first Popeye cartoon.

Spinach is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese. You can read all of the nutritional data about it on this factsheet. And, in an article the Globe and Mail published, "Is spinach more nutritious raw or cooked?" they say:

Cooked! Cooking your vegetables can actually boost their antioxidant content. Heating vegetables releases antioxidants by breaking down cell walls. Studies have found that eating cooked spinach and carrots - versus raw - results in much higher blood levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to guard against heart disease and lung cancer.

I may be a little lazy. You see I bought a can of Spinach. Undoubtedly, it isn't as good for you as if you prepared your own. The can I bought will give me 24% of my daily intake for sodium, so if you have the time, it might be best to prepare it yourself. Watch the video below as  George Mateljan shows you a great way to cook and prepare it.

If you like this type of cooking video, you can order the DVD, Healthiest Way of Cooking with George, but note... unfortunately it isn't available to be shipped to those of us in Canada. But if it helps, George setup The George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods and its website offers over 2500 recipes. The website also has a interactive Food Advisor, so in just 5 minutes you can learn what foods are best for you with personalized recommendations.

Interesting to note, that if your family won't eat it as prepared in the video... there are other ways. My daughter refused to touch it when it was served as a side vegetable, but when it was mixed into a Spinach dip and served with breadsticks stuffed with cheese, she loved it. So, some creativity may be involved if you're going to try and encourage children to eat their Spinach. Unfortunately, it's my daughter's opinion that if it's leafy and green, it's only fit for animals.

By the way, I discovered a fantastic website today for all kinds of recipes. Have a look at http://www.thekitchn.com/. For more recipes and articles on food, be sure to check out all of the articles on this site in the Foods Catagory.

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