Kat Barry: Clean diet clears the head

Published 8:02 am Friday, July 19, 2013

For more than a week, I’ve been on a pretty strict clean-eating diet. I felt like all the sugar from binging on sangria, seasonal fruit, veggie burgers, cookies and cake over the Fourth of July holiday just threw my body over the edge and I needed a sugar detox. I decided to take a couple weeks off booze, coffee, grains, sugar and fruit and see how I felt. Meanwhile, I’ve been amping up my diet with tons of greens, seeds, onions, garlic and roughage. I feel great, my head is clearer and my mood feels a little bit more level. It’s also been fun to prepare some of the cleanest meals possible while pleasing my palate.  I’ve made some excellent fruit-free smoothies, kale salads, quinoa pilafs and cooked greens this week.

One of the best dishes I made was a collard green and broccoli stir fry. It’s been a really long time since I cooked with collard greens. After this delicious meal, I am on a collard green kick. They are extremely nutritious and leafy just like Swiss chard, but collard greens are a lot less bitter than chard.

Since the leaves are hardier, I found it very easy to cook them in a stir fry without the leaves wilting too much.  I used coconut oil for the base, which added a nice richness to this simple dish. Coconut oil works well for stir fries because of its high burn temperature.

To add some protein and omega 3s to the mix, I steamed some quinoa and chia seeds on the side. I made vegetable stock out of the rinds and stalks of my vegetables earlier in the day, so I was able to cook the quinoa and chia seeds in stock, which adds a really nice flavor.

To make the quinoa: Bring 4 cups vegetable stock to a boil, stir in 2 cups rinsed quinoa and reduce to a simmer, covered for about 12 to 15 minutes.

If you want to add chia seeds, stir in ¼ cup after about 10 minutes.
Clean green sautee
Serves: 4
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¼ cup red onion
4 teaspoons minced garlic (or 4 cloves)
2 heads broccoli cut into florets (about 4 cups)
4 cups collard greens, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 pint heirloom grape tomatoes
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh arugula
½  to 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt
Black pepper

Heat a deep-sided skillet or wok over medium heat. Once warm, add the coconut oil until melted, carefully lifting the pan to evenly distribute the oil.
Once the oil is melted, add the onions. After about three minutes, stir in the broccoli.
After about five to seven minutes, or when the broccoli starts to become tender and the onions are translucent, add the garlic.
Cook for another three to five minutes then stir in the collards, about ½ teaspoon sea salt and fresh black pepper along with the red pepper flakes. If you need to deglaze the pan, add splashes of water.
After another one to three minutes, when the collards start to soften and become a little darker, stir in the tomatoes.
Cook another one to three minutes then stir in the fresh herbs. Cook until all the greens are very bright and the tomato skin is a little wrinkly.
Serve over a spoonful of quinoa and garnish with a dollop of tahini dressing (available online in column archive) and some green onions, if you choose.