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Holiday season, meet the virtuous night

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Dinner, Gluten Free, Plant-Based, Recipes | No Comments

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Man, this season can be tiring, can’t it?! I recently found myself aching and tired after four late nights. In a row. Tis the season for exhaustion and being hard on our bodies. But there really is so much to love about this season – it’s the time of year for quality time with friends and family, good food, and kitchen dance parties.

So how do I keep myself bright eyed and bushy tailed (and able to bust some kitchen dance moves) throughout the madness?

I have what I call ‘virtuous nights’ where I eat lightly, drink lots of fluids, and rest up. I mean, we can’t go out every night. I don’t aggressively plan my time during this season. I let myself go to a reasonable number of gatherings, and plan to have a few nights on my own.

I like to eat lightly to counteract all of the heavy foods of the season. Often, it will be a nice bowl of a veggie-centric soup, such as my Broccoli Soup with Tahini Sauce. But lately, on my virtuous nights, I’ve been craving simple stir-fried greens with a small side of brown rice. Greens + brown rice = a full protein. This recipe will keep you feeling full and virtuous. Greens, as I’ve said before, have basically won the nutrition lottery; they’re full of nutrients, are cleansing, low on the glycemic index, and are alkalizing. They can also help you feel less bloated, so you can bring out the LBD or skinny jeans to your next holiday jam.

A note on supporting your liver during a virtuous night. Do it. Your liver is there for you throughout the heavy-handed cocktails, cheese plates and sugary desserts of the season. While I don’t recommend doing a full detox before or during the holidays, it makes sense to support your liver a little. Eating greens (especially the bitter ones) is like giving your liver a pat on the back for a job well done. Let your liver know that you’ll give it some love now, but will be back with a peace offering in the new year. Perhaps a guided cleanse with a holistic nutritionist. Just saying.

Anyhoo, back to the recipe. Any cruciferous green, such as kale, would be helpful in detoxification here too, as its sulfur content helps to facilitate detoxification pathways in the liver. A bitter green such as dandelion or mizuna would help the liver in a different way, by stimulating bile production, which helps to emulsify fat and helps to move fat soluble toxins out of the body (see ya!). So either way you go with greens, it’s a win/win.

Virtuous Stir Fried Greens

1 bunch greens (such as kale, dandelion greens, mizuna or spinach), washed, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, very roughly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp wheat free tamari
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, greens to the pan and stir until the greens are wilted. This could take 30 seconds if using mizuna or spinach, or a minute or two if using kale. Add tamari and hot peppers, if using. Remove from heat, drizzle sesame oil and a sprinkling of sesame seeds overtop and serve with a small bowl of brown rice.

Depending on the size of the bunch of greens, serves 1 or 2.

I’ll be back soon with some good news. Until then, have a great weekend, and may you have a few virtuous nights.

xo Andrea

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