Since it’s January and I am guilty of holiday excess, it’s time for a cleanse. Nothing too drastic, just some sensible eating and regular gym time. For several years, we’ve used the South Beach Diet as the model for getting back on track. I like it because it requires you to eat lots of fresh vegetables and some lean proteins — no bars, shakes, or pre-fab meals. I like being able to identify the food on my plate.
The only drawback for me is the “no alcohol or caffeine” stipulation. I’ll give up the wine, (for a few weeks) but if you think I can get through the morning without my dark roast “nectar of the gods”, you’ve got another think coming! I will eschew caffeine in other forms, but I’m having my cup o’ Joe!
I see this plan as simply redirecting my compass – away from the snacks and treats that were so pervasive in December and back to a more moderate diet. And my jeans are a bit snug, so it’s time to trim the fat! Scott and Emily partake in this willingly. Actually, it’s more of a resigned sigh and a shoulder shrug.
Regardless, it’s happening. Egg and veggie omelets for breakfast with low sodium V-8 juice. Salads with some lean protein for lunch and more of the same for dinner. Actually, I try to get a little creative for our evening meal. I use the tenants of the plan, but I don’t follow their menus. I have to have some control. So, I cook the way I normally would — with enthusiasm and flavor — minus the carbohydrates (for the first two weeks).
This recipe doesn’t exactly hold true to Dr. Agatston’s formula, because I’ve added golden raisins (a food to avoid on the plan), but its only a quarter cup so let’s call this a modified South Beach Diet. Skip the raisins if you’re more dedicated than me but I like the little pops of sweetness they add!
Whatever your reason for making this (a New Year’s resolution, just wanting to try something different, or the kale in your fridge is about to go bad) it goes great with grilled or roasted meats or with brown rice for a vegetarian meal. It’s also one of Emily’s favorites.
- 4-5 cups fresh kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium white onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise from tip to root
- 2 shallots, peeled, sliced into thin rings
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- pat of butter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake walnuts on a baking sheet for 15 minutes, until fragrant and toasty.
- Meanwhile, fill a 3-quart saucepan about halfway full, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Blanch the kale for 4 minutes in the boiling water until tender. With a colander or sieve drain the kale and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil to medium heat.
- Add the onions and shallots and cook, stirring about 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender.
- Add raisins to onion mixture and stir, cooking an additional 2 minutes.
- Add kale to onion mixture. Stir to combine and heat through -- about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice, butter (if using) and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss in the toasted walnuts to combine. Serve.
- Obviously, this is better with butter - but I'm thinking of how my jeans fit.