Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Secrets of Spinach!

If RealGirlBeauty were a pop concert, this would be the moment when Real Girl takes the microphone off the stand (adjusting the cord, as they always do), pauses for a second, and then says with dramatic gravitas, "I'm going to take it down a notch, here."

No, I'm not going to play bad guitar like Madonna. No, I'm not going to forgo lipsynching so I can use my God-awful real voice for an exaggerated, emotional ballad (Whassup, Britney?). No, no. Not at all. What Real Girl's going to do is talk about...spinach.

I know. Glamorous! But why not address the "health" in health and beauty? See, I want this blog to be for you guys. And if you're anything like me, you had no idea that spinach was one of the healthiest foods you could eat. And if you're really like me, you also hate the taste (bitter much?). So maybe I can help you out there too. Let's give it a try, at least.

So. Spinach. According to my nutrition bible, "Superfoods" by Dr. Steven Pratt, "If you could develop a pill containing the significant substances in spinach, you'd have a potent weapon against cancer." More than any other food, studies have shown that spinach helps you fight cancer and heart disease. It's also really good for your eyes, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration. This powerful vegetable has all sorts of good stuff in it, including lutein, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and a whole slew of antioxidands.

Wait. Antioxidants, you say, Real Girl? That's right. Spinach helps your body age more slowly. It helps your skin fight sun damage. It helps regenerate cells. This unassuming vegetable may just be...insert drum roll here, please...the world's ultimate beauty product!

As to preparation, I find the tastiest way to eat raw spinach is to substitute it for lettuce in all salads. I make a potently flavorful vinaigrette that's 1 part olive oil, three parts balsamic vineger, a heaping teaspoon of mustard, and a healthy pinch of each of these dried herbs: garlic powder, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and black pepper. With that mixture dousing the leafy greens, they could taste like fish food and I wouldn't notice. Or, as a side dish, I'll saute spinach leaves in olive oil with red pepper flakes, crushed garlic, or onion. Also, whenever I make pasta, I'll throw in a good amount of sauted spinach so the tomato sauce will hide the flavor. Just today, I stuck it in my cheese omelet. Really, any way you prepare it--frozen, fresh, steamed, sauted, boiled, raw--the more you eat, the healthier you are. AND the younger you look. Yay!

Who knew? Forget Dr. Atkins, or Mr. South Beach. All this time we should have been listening to...Popeye? Spinach and Olive Oyl. That sailor knew a thing or two.

Got any super spinach recipes?
Please, pass them along, from one Real Girl to another