Category Archives: Eating

Moocher Makeover Update

Followers may recall that the moocher began dieting and resumed strength training last winter. From time to time, I’ve written about the moocher’s progress or lack there of. There’s bad news and good. I fell off the lifting wagon this summer when yard work, club work, and doctors appointments started cutting into exercise time. The good news is that I’ve kept tinkering with the diet and it is now working.

References

  1. http://www.muscleforlife.com
  2. https://www.youtube.com/user/MattDoesFitness
  3. http://tidd.ly/5226d702 for Matt’s My Protein 15% discount. Link is for the US shop.

Diet Basics

Back in January, I began to track my weight and macros using the Under Armor Fitness Buddy app. Using Muscles for Life as a guide, I picked a calorie target and a protein target and began to actively manage my diet. Since I follow a mostly plant based home cooked diet, I was doing a lot of recipe macros calculations.

For a number of reasons, mostly annoying social network features and continual pestering to make in-app purchases that added no value to me, I chucked the UA app for another, My Macros+ which is considerably less intrusive.

I’m still targeting 1800 calories with 100 grams protein. And about there. I thought I was there back in March but weight was yo-yoing. I discovered that trying to stay plant-based with a little Mitica Parmesan cheese for additional protein, I was way below my protein target of 100 grams per day. I picked this figure above the WHO daily level but below growing-athlete targets of 2 gm per kilo of body weight. I needed to add protein while keeping calories about where they were. This is actually a pretty tight box. Adding something requires removing something less valuable to the macros balance.

Tweaks

It was clearly time to start tweaking the diet to establish weight loss.

My original plant-based diet was leaving me with the munchies. I’d nick some extra cheese or some of the dogs’ pilling peanut butter 2 or 3 times in the evening. This was probably enough to throw the diet into surplus as weight was fluctuating and creeping upward.

Tuna sandwiches for lunch. Tuna is supposedly high in protein but low in fat. Couldn’t get enough additional protein in the diet. I kept missing my macros by about 30 grams of protein. And having mid-afternoon munchies.

Protein shake for lunch. The next change was to start making a protein shake for lunch using vanilla protein powder, frozen mixed berries, and low fat yogurt. The result was tasty, sweet, and filling but weight was creeping up. These turned out to be high calorie with or without yogurt or using plain yogurt. Time for plan C.

Fruit, cheese, vegetable juice, and protein shake for lunch. The shake route was putting me over on calories and macros were better but still low on protein. I basically needed to add more protein and remove some carbohydrates. Sugar was hitch-hiking in the protein products I had been using.

Matt Does Fitness to the Rescue

Matt Morsia, world class 100 kilo power lifter, came to the rescue about 2 months ago. Matt posts twice weekly episodes to his YouTube video log about his training and life as Matt in general. After European Championships (Matt made the podium), Matt began a hypertrophy phase whilst his spouse’s pregnancy came to term. Following the blessed event Matt, Saris, and mini-Matt are going to take a break from training to figure out the Married with Children thing.

Matt is a My Protein endorsing athlete and describes his use of My Protein products in his training. Matt’s Krell furnace metabolism requires careful feeding. Matt has the problem of eating enough to maintain weight and strength, the opposite of my challenge, finding a diet that lets me loose weight and recomp my Jabba the Hut-like physique.

Running low on protein, I decided to give My Protein Whey a try. I ditched the smoothie lunch for fruit, cheese, Whole Foods Vital Vegetable Juice, and a My  Protein whey milk shake. I added a second evening shake as a snack about 1 1/2 hours after meal time.

My Protein Whey, unlike the sugar sweetened products I had been buying in the shops, is sweetened with Sucralose. So the calories in the product are from the whey protein without a similar amount of sugar calories tagging along. This change let me get the protein up to my goal while meeting my calorie target, and slaying the evening munchies.

To my pleasant surprise, my weight started drifting downward about 1/2 kilo a week which was my goal. I’m about 2 kilos below my sticking point and the loss appears sustainable.

Low Sodium Vegetable Juice

Remembering something I’d read in a atherosclerosis self-help book, I began having low sodium vegetable juice as part of lunch. Whole Foods Vital Vegetable is perhaps the best of these. Think Campbell’s V-8 but with an attitude. Whole Foods puts a goodly amount of lemon juice in its vegetable juice. And uses potassium chloride as part of the salt, a common tactic to keep a product salty with  low sodium. Whole Foods doesn’t market its juice as low sodium, it just is. Potassium and sodium work together in the body. A little added potassium helps the body to regulate fluid balance. Adding the Vital Veggie to my diet helps with lower leg fluid retention and water related weight fluctuation.

Magnesium Supplement

Calcium and magnesium are the other electrolyte pair that needs to be in balance. I’ve started taking a 250 MG magnesium supplement off the self at Target. This supplement contains calcium in ratio. I’ve not seen an observable effect from this change. The afore-mentioned self-help book indicates that it helps with blood vessel function and should reduce blood pressure a bit. This hasn’t really been observable amid the other noise affecting blood pressure tracking.

My Evil Scale

I finally figured out how to get my Chinese scale to tell me a useful weight rather than making a random number.

  • Move the scale to the bathroom tile floor
  • Weigh once. Throw first weight away
  • Weigh again. This one will be about a kilo less than the first
  • Weigh a couple more times to confirm that the feet and frame have settled.
  • Keep the final weight.

More about Matt

At his YouTube channel, Matt chronicles his career as an adult competitive athlete. In his mis-spent youth, Matt was a willowy jumpy thing who competed in the long jump and triple jump during Uni and with his local athletic club. A lower back injury sidelined a restless Matt for several months.

Following his recovery, Matt began lifting seriously and discovered that he was actually good at it. World class good. Matt now competes as a raw with wraps power lifter in UK and European events and most recently took a platform position in the WPC European championships this June. Matt has the right mix of genetics, interest, knowledge and attitude to be a genuinely good power lifter.

Matt’s YouTube channel is more about a day in the life of a “bullet headed anglo-saxon mother’s son” than it is about lifting. Matt, with a mix of British irony, sarcasm, and silliness shows how he balances family, work, and sport. Matt shows the value of experimentation. When training isn’t working, change up routine to find a workable training regime. Keep tinkering with intensity and volume to maintain progress.

The other thing I like about Matt is that, when he has a rubbish day, he shows it and gives a candid assessment of what went wrong and how to fix it. If form is going to rubbish, he’ll describe the problem and take a de-load to recover form and resume progress. And admit that he did.

 

 

Makeover update

I’m about 16 weeks in on Strong lifts 5×5 so things are starting to get interesting. Being a retired moocher, I elected to lift after lunch and quickly found that appointments and other activities claimed one workout day a week. So I’ve been lifting 2 times a week rather than 3. For an older person (over 60), this may be good because recovery ability slows significantly after 40.

Progress

Sixteen weeks on, I’m through the easy stuff and the military press and deadlift are becoming challenging. I’m stalled on the military press and had my first lift failure on the deadlift at 225×5. Bench press and rows are still well away from stall point and squats still have a way to go.

I’ve learned to do each of the lifts without discomfort and with decent form but still feel a little goofy in the squat and a little uncertain of back posture in the deadlift. This is where a coach comes in handy. If you miss the technique by a bit, you sense it as you’re doing the movement. You feel off balance and have to muscle the weight back into balance. But if the back is not quite right, you can’t tell.

My weight has crept up the last couple of months. I’m attributing this to two things, trying to add protein by adding a fruit smoothie with whey power to the diet. This added a meal’s worth of calories. The second is that I’ve had Saturday bacon and eggs and weekend waffles for breakfast for a few weeks.This adds a good bit of sodium to the diet and causes a weight uptick until the excess sodium works out.

Last salty food for a while and I’ve dropped back to a chocolate whey milk shake with far less calories than a cup of yogurt with a couple of cups of fruit and whey. Surprisingly this was about 550 calories with unsweetened yogurt and mixed berries. A whey whole milk shake is about 1/2 the calories.

References

  1. David Laid Magic Leg Workout
  2. Qwin Vitale: Building big powerful legs
  3. Jon Candito How to Squat with Proper Form
  4. Jon Candito How to Deadlift with Proper Form
  5. Omar Isuf on Military Press
  6. Mehdi’s Stronglifts 5×5 site
  7. Ars Technica Biggest Loser Study Story
  8. Wikipedia on Body Mass Index

Things I’ve Learned

It has been an interesting journey over the past 4 months. Strong lifts 5×5 begins slowly, good for novice lifters. The slow start gives time to learn to perform the 5 movements correctly. The squat, deadlift, and military press were the harder lifts for me. But I also had to unlearn some 90’s bench press “knowledge” that didn’t stand the test of time. Mostly, the importance of maintaining the lumbar arch during this lift. I’m going to talk about some of these things in more detail.

Strong lifts 5×5 Audience

Strong lifts 5×5 is a beginners program designed for general strength building. The program starts light, with the empty bar for squat, bench press, and military press and with a lightly loaded bar for deadlifts and barbell rows. These lifts use bumper plates to hold the bar at the proper height off the floor, hence the light beginning load rather than the empty bar. The light start makes the Strong lifts 5×5 protocol good for beginning seniors like me. I had lifted in the past but not for 10 years so I was pretty detrained when I returned to the gym. Guess that qualifies as a beginner.

Strong lifts is designed to improve your strength, not to turn you into a Greek god. The repetition range and linear progression provide a robust growth stimulus that will increase strength and muscularity up to a point. Eventually, it will become necessary to use more sophisticated protocols and to add some accessory exercises to strengthen muscles that assist the with compound motions. Typically, this happens at the 18 to 24 month point.

Strong lifts 5×5 is fairly safe

The lifts selected are compound (multi-joint) exercises done in a controlled manner making them safe for those who have learned proper technique and are attentive to the proper setup of the power rack safety rails. No snatch or clean and jerk here. An advantage over Starting Strength.

Strong lifts has an app

Mehdi, the Strong lifts promoter, is a software engineer who lifts. He makes egg money selling iPhone and Android apps that are Strong lifts protocol aware. The app knows the weight schedule, stall protocol, and includes warmups (in app purchase) and rest timers. And it keeps progress records that may be plotted. These features free your mind from tracking program details and schedules

Learning the lifts

Most folks start lifting without formal coaching. Even high school athletes such as football players and wrestlers that have lifted as part of a sports program are unlikely to receive significant coaching in the lifts or to have received training in teaching the lifts. Even “personal trainers” have only to do some reading and memorization and pass a quiz to get a certification. So, you are unlikely to find a skilled lifting coach unless you are lucky enough to train at a facility having a college trained strength and conditioning coach on staff.

So I ended up learning the lifts by watching several YouTube videos.

  • https://stronglefits.com has a series of videos that provide basic coaching on the 5×5 lifts.
  • Jon Candito, Qwin Vitale, David Laid have YouTube channels that include instructional videos for the power lifts. All three are young power lifters and rising stars. Jon Candito is world class power lifter in the 83 Kilo class and Qwin and David are rising stars and interesting puppies. I figured out how to take up the bar, proper breathing, etc by watching their training session videos.
  • Mark Repetrope gives a good prose explanation in Starting Strength but his squat video teaches the movement but not addressing the bar and unracking the bar. This is a significant hurdle and merits coverage in how to squat guide written for beginners of any age.

Learning to Squat

For me, learning to squat was hardest. The low bar squat is the preferred training technique for developing strength and for power lifting. This squat style carries the squat behind the deltoids and above the shoulder blades. Once the shoulders are stretched, this is the most comfortable position in which to carry the bar. It also makes the squat more stable. It takes a while for the shoulders to stretch out to carry the bar in the low bar position.

The second tricky bit of the squat is carrying the bar as the load approaches body weight. The bar should be in line with the center of gravity and the center of support in the feet. somewhat forward of the heels and over the arch. This requires keeping just a little bend in the back at the top of the squat, un-racking and re-racking the weight..

The third tricky bit is getting the extension of the hips and the extension of the knees coordinated to maintain balance. If the hips lag a bit, an imbalance forward develops. The hips and knees move together to keep the bar positioned over your feet between your ankles and your bent knees. Your body weight moves behind as the hips bend but the bar moves forward a bit to maintain balance. If the technique feels clumsy, it is because the two joints are not bending at the proper relative rates. Most often, the shoulders come a bit forward. You’ll have to muscle the bar gently back into balance.

Dealing with Failure in the Squat

The fourth tricky bit is figuring out what to do if a lift stalls. I’m not there yet. Unfortunately, Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center does not have a proper squat rack with safety bars. Not being a competitive lifter, flirting with failure is something I can forego.

Warmups

It’s important to do the warm up lifts. They are less about warming up the muscles and more about warming up motor control and executive function to do the lifts properly. I’ve found the warmups helpful on all lifts. In the Stronglifts 5×5 protocol, lifts not from the floor begin with an empty bar warm up. This seems pointless but it is a good opportunity to prepare the shoulders for squatting and to refine the power rack setup for bench pressing. Make good use to find the correct fore and aft position on the bench and to confirm that the safety rests are positioned correctly should they be needed.

For squats, I’ve been using the warmup to develop confidence in squatting deep. I’m not currently confident enough to go well below parallel on the work sets but I do go all the way down on the warmups.

Work Sets

Strong lifts 5×5 takes its name from the work set protocol of 5 sets of 5 lifts for each of the session’s exercises. The program uses two workouts A and B each of three exercises. The A workout is squats, bench presses, and barbell rows. The B workout is squats, military presses, and deadlifts. The deadlift is 1 set of  5.

Strong lifts 5×5 increases the work sets by 5 pounds from one workout to the next, a linear progression. Eventually, the progress will stall as indicated by a failed set or two. If you fail the first set, it is usually because you let the new weight psych you or you rushed the setup or the movement. When a set fails, Strong lifts increases the rest from 1.5 minutes to 5 minutes to allow recovery. Do the remaining sets. Usually, the third workout will succeed. If it also stalls, deload the lift for the next workout.

Stalling

Stalling is failure to complete a work set. When I began lifting, I had no idea how to cope with a stall so I made my newbie gains and little more. The Strong lifts 5×5 protocol has specific procedures for coping with a stall.

  • If the stall is on an early set, increase the wait time from 1.5 or 3 minutes to 5 minutes and press onward.
  • If you stall for 3 workouts in a row, reduce the weight lifted by 10% and resume the linear progression.

Using this protocol, I believe I’ll be able to break the stall and resume progress, all be it, more slowly. I’m trying the de-load protocol to break my most recent Military Press stall. In this lift it may help to drop to 2.5 pound increments since this is a weak lift for me.

Diet and Weight

Like most Americans my age, I’ve allowed a kilo or two to come to stay for several years so I believe I’m 10 to 15 percent over fat. I’m trying to loose weight and build strength at the same time. For the first two months, I continued my vegetarian diet with an occasional bit of meat. For the second two months, I’ve been trying to manage my macronutrient ratios and total calories to be about 500 calories in deficit each day. The goal was to loose a pound a week. I quickly found that I was low in protein so I’ve begun supplementing protein with whey rather than adding in meat. This approach appears to provide the needed protein (I picked 100 grams) without inviting the risks of meat eating and TMAO.

The jury is still out on weight but my waist is definitely getting smaller as indicated by pants fit and belt adjustment. Weight has stayed about constant but my belly is flatter and the region between hips and ribs is loosing love handle fat. Not there yet but looking hopeful. I’m less concerned about the scale reading than looming big blue pants and health risks. For me, the goal is to reach a healthy maintenance weight rather than to look good at the beach.

Biggest Looser Lessons Learned

Weight management is difficult if you allow your weight to get away from you as you age over 40. The  body wants to regain accumulated weight after you take it off. Interesting research is coming out of  a prospective study of Biggest Looser season 8 participants. As they lost weight (some had truly impressive losses), their metabolism slowed. In post show attempts to maintain weight, their metabolism slowed further. Most have had some weight regain but to nowhere near their former morbidly obese weight.

Calorie Counting

I use the Under Armor My Fitness Pal app to count calories and track macronutrient ratios. The app calculates base energy needs from age and target weight, measures activity using the phone’s accelerometers (iPhone) and computes calories and macros and some micros from your eating log. Best of all, it can calculate these for home made recipes.

I’m suspicious that it is over-estimating my base energy needs especially based on the Biggest Looser study experience. I’m not quite there yet but I’m suspecting that I’ll have to cut another 500 calories to have repeatable weight loss.

I’m trying to eat a whole foods cook from scratch diet that is vegetarian with an occasional bit of meat snuck in for variety. Every couple of months, I’ll make a one dish meal recipe with some meat or sausage in it, mostly for seasoning. These are a pleasant switch in routine from rice and bean things and vegetable stew things. I’ve found I don’t like meat analogs. They tend not to work well in stews or soups. I’ve not tried using sautéed firm tofu, as a substitute.

I’m also suspicious that I’m getting the portions per recipe wrong and hence the meal calories. Typically, i’ve been dividing the recipe into pint Zip Lock jars giving more servings than I’ve told the calculator so I should be over estimating actual calories. The scale hasn’t rendered a verdict.

Body Mass Index and Healthy Weight

The lazy like to calculate body mass index and use it to determine if subjects are overweight. Unfortunately, BMI is 100 year old junk science. It is a many to one mapping of body size and weight to a scalar number. BMI is unable to differentiate between me and a competitive strength athlete of similar height and weight. I’m 20 to 25% fat vs 10% or so for the competitive lifter of similar height and weight. I’m talking weight-class lifters, not open class.

A better means of determining healthy weight is needed. The things tried to date are either costly (whole body counting to determine radioisotope ratios, etc) or inaccurate (calipers, impedance, etc) or inconvenient (dunking to measure average density).

Perhaps the best for now is just tracking the waist anatomy. If the hip to rib joint gap is filled in with tissue, you’re over-fat. The key is not to fill in that gap as you build muscle or age. If you are near a “normal” weight and the new year finds you up a kilo or two, take it off rather than letting it come to stay. It is the accumulation of weight from 40 to 60 that gets most of us unhealthy. This happens a kilo or 2 a year adding up to significant weight gain that becomes hard to loose and keep off. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Foo on Electronic Scales

Integrated circuits and load cells are cheap. Spring balances with calibrated springs and moving parts are expensive and fragile. But the old mechanical scales had the advantage of being relatively insensitive to subject technique. The scale was damped and settled quickly to a repeatable weighing. You could weigh 3 times in a row and get the same reading to the width of the pointer.

Not so the electronic scale. The load cells and the load make a spring mass oscillator that is relatively undamped and sensitive to how one stands on the platform and the wobbling to establish balance. These electronic scales can give a 2 percent spread just with position on the platform. They hasten the settling process by grabbing a number and remembering it. They’ll give you that number back the next day. And the next and the next.

If you are loosing or gaining weight, you’ll see the scale trying to settle to a new number , then suddenly, it will repeat yesterday’s number with a visible jump. It is impossible to see a trend up or down. It takes a month of weight loss or gain for it to appear reliably in the scale’s reading. Pure crap.

A Makeover for Dave

I’m a retired moocher who’s become annoyed with the increasing aches that come as one goes out of warrantee. That, and I’m trying to hold Homer Simpson’s Big Blue Pants and the sawbones at bay. To that end, I resumed lifting weights about a year ago and have revised my diet. In the spring of 2015, I dropped 10 pounds as the vernal equinox approached. In the fall, they all came back as the autumnal equinox approached. It could be a seasonal thing or it could be the fall candy corn crop.

There’s a lot written for training high school and college athletes but not much for training retired moochers. The 17 year old trainee is still under warrantee and and still growing. Almost anything works. The 60 year old trainee is most likely returning to training with different goals aimed more at quality of life and remaining active than athletic performance or appearance. And the 60 year old trainee is in need of an overhaul so a soft start and systematic training protocols are important to success.

Continue reading A Makeover for Dave

The Science Behind My Diet Change

This is a link to an NPR story that explains why I’ve changed my diet to be largely vegetarian. This article describes all of the biology that shows that humans are not designed to be every day carnivores. It is safe to have a meat meal every now and again but our daily diet should be plant based and may include fish and shellfish.

References

  1. Dr Oz Blog
  2. NPR Story

It’s all about critters

As you know, our digestive track is on the outside, topology speaking. The exterior surfaces secrete acids and enzymes that digest our food. The intestines absorbs nutrients from the food we eat. We live in symbiosis with a diverse colony of bacteria that help us to digest our food and, occasionally, some that are less than helpful. Most obviously, eating spoiled food introduces the bacterial that cause garbage gut, a technical term well known to those of us having dogs in the household.

It turns out that what we eat establishes conditions that allow different types of bacteria to be our guest helpers. Researchers have found that the gut bacteria colony changes in composition pretty quickly with a change in diet. This change completes in about four days. Unfortunately, some of the colony produce toxins as a byproduct of metabolizing the food we eat. It is this process that causes garbage gut when we eat spoiled food.

The catch is that eating unspoiled food can produce toxins that have less immediately obvious effects. Bacteria present in regular meat eaters metabolizes a specific amino acid into a specific toxic metabolite that the gut can absorb. That metabolite is responsible for establishing the conditions that spawn arteriosclerosis plaques. The involvement of the metabolite in plaque formation is partially understood.

TMAO

TMAO is the acronym for trimethylamine-N-oxide. Bacteria present in regular meat eaters produce this compound by metabolizing lecithin (a popular mold release agent in baking) and L-carnitine, an amino acid commonly found in meat. L-carnitine takes its name from the Latin root for meat, carnitas in Spanish and is present in animal meat and eggs.

The liver metabolizes TMAO into several harmful substances that are believed to have a role in plaque formation. Without TMAO, these substances are not found.

The interesting bit is that high TMAO levels are present only in frequent meat eaters. Those who seldom eat meat (both vegetarian and vegan) are able to consume lecithin and L-carnitine without producing TMAO. Those who eat meat invariably have TMAO in their bloodstream.

Some get the double whammy

Most body builders eat a high meat diet (yes, chicken counts but fish doesn’t). Many also take supplemental L-carnitine. Individuals eating a diet high in meat and supplementing L-carnitine, are in double jeopardy by throwing fuel on the fire with their L-carnitine supplementation. As we will see, high meat consumption and L-carnitine supplementation explains the high mortality rate to stroke and heart disease among strength athletes.

Several high profile boutique cardiologists were, before this was known, recommending L-carnitine supplementation as was a leading ubiquitous supplement seller. They are no longer making these recommendations.

The Detective Work

One quarter of all fatal first heart attacks occur in patients with none of the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease. Researchers have long suspected diet but were looking at the obvious cholesterol rather than in the shadows. Recently, researchers realized that it couldn’t be LDL, HDL, and triglycerides because these were similar in the two populations. So, they began looking for something that was common in the heart disease population but uncommon in the healthy population. They compared the blood of patients with similar lipid profiles but with and without the disease. The difference turned out to be TMAO. Patients with heart disease had high levels of TMAO. Healthy patients had low levels of TMAO.

From where did the TMAO come?

The researchers fed a diet of red meat and eggs to subjects. They found TMAO. They placed the subjects on one of the antibiotics commonly used to treat garbage gut and the TMAO level dropped sharply. So red meat, eggs, gut bacteria and TMAO are now strongly linked and bacteria are known to produce TMAO from these foods. We don’t know which bacteria or exactly how TMAO initiates plaque formation but we don’t need to know. Those that seldom eat meat and eggs had low TMAO levels and low rates of coronary artery disease and stroke.

We Know Why Boutique Low Fat Vegan Diets Reverse Heart Disease

Dr Dean Ornish and Dr Neal Barnard, among others, advocate a strict vegan no added fat diet. This diet has dramatically lowered blood lipids in patients that adhere to it and most undergo remission of their blockages. We now know that these diets worked by lowering TMAO and we now know that these benefits can be achieved while eating a more normal vegetarian or vegan diet. No red meat, low TMAO. Regular meat, high TMAO. It’s that simple.

Personal Conclusions

You can eat nuts. You can put oil on your salad. You can have steak or chicken for Sunday dinner. But fish would be better and oysters, clams, scallops, etc are OK. Even when fried as long as you don’t eat beef, pork, or chicken, regularly. Once a week is probably OK because consumption for several days is required to change the gut bacteria to a harmful population.

Yankee Greens

My new diet requires me to eat more salad stuff. With just me to feed, I’m losing a lot of salad greens to decay before they are consumed. Keep them too long and you risk garbage gut so I needed to find an alternative. On impulse, I bought a pound of Trader Joe’s mixed greens (collards, mustard, turnip, and all that other good Southern stuff). On the back of the bag was a receipt for Mediterranean Greens so I gave it a try. It is easy, keeps in the fridge once cooked up, and proved to be quite tasty. The secret is olives, garlic, and tomatoes.

So, why is the title of this article “Yankee Greens?” My southern aunts cook greens with salt pork and that’s about it. And they boil them beyond recognition to the color of an old sea bag.  So this is a bit of a tease — yes, Nancy, I’m teasing you!

It may be possible to cook the greens for less than 30 minutes. When they first wilt down, they are a bright green and look terrific. Trick is that you have to cook them enough to permit them to be digested. Thirty minutes is clearly enough. Is 15 minutes too little?

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb mixed greens or any winter greens
  2. 1 c sliced olives, green, black, or kalamata
  3. 4 cloves garlic
  4. 1/4 c sun dried tomato strips in olive oil
  5. 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, plum is best
  6. olive oil as needed to sauté everything

Pans:

7 qt Dutch oven or other pan that will hold 1 lb of greens

Process:

  1. Press the garlic, slice up the olives, and dried tomatoes.
  2. Wash and dry greens as needed
  3. Sauté the garlic, olives and dried tomatoes over low heat for about 5 minutes. Use sufficient oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and sauté until hot (2 minutes more)
  5. Stir in the greens and let them wilt down
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes