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The Produce Aisle
Walk into any supermarket and the first thing you see is produce. It's no accident that bounteous displays of brightlycolored vegetables and fruits greet you: Your first impressionis surely one of variety, freshness, and healthful, wholesomefoods. These are the core carbohydrate foods you willbe eating on the Atkins Nutritional Approach™.
Vegetables and fruits, of course, are the bulk of the produceaisle, but some supermarkets also stock soy-basedfoods, like tofu, soy cheese and vegetarian hot dogs, here(often near organic produce), as well as Asian specialtieslike wonton wrappers. You might find imported cheeses,cured meats, and bakery breads and crackers, and perhaps anolive bar, in this area, too.
The problem with produce is that almost nothing bearsa Nutrition Facts label. Unless you're armed with a carbohydrategram counter, you have no sure way of knowinghow many grams of Net Carbs are in a particularfood. And while most vegetables are acceptable at allphases of Atkins, starchy ones such as sweet potatoes andpeas, and most high-glycemic fruits (those that cause agreater rise in blood sugar), are usually added back onlyduring the Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenancephases -- unless you're one of the lucky folks with a highCritical Carbohydrate Level for Losing (CCLL) who canintroduce them during OWL (see "Fruits and Vegetables:What's the Difference?" on page 54).
Because most produce lacks packaging with descriptive copy about the vegetable or fruit, recipes, tips on how tocook it, or nutritional benefits, we'll go into more detail forfoods in this section.
With few exceptions, the vast majority of vegetables can beenjoyed at any phase of Atkins. If you're not sure, go for theparts of plants that grow above ground. Roots and tubers likecarrots and potatoes provide energy for growing plants, sothey're usually higher in carbohydrates than leaves (lettuce,kale), flowers (broccoli florets, asparagus), and "fruit" or seedcontainers (tomato, zucchini, pepper). Vegetables that fall intothe leaves, flowers, and fruit categories are the most nutrient-dense carbohydrates and, in the early phases of the Atkins Nutritional Approach, they're the major source of carbs.
Another clue to choosing nutrient-rich vegetables is toreach for the darker, more deeply colored ones. Pigments inplants contain compounds that can promote health in a varietyof ways (see "Phytochemicals" on page 35). If your grocerylist includes a vegetable with pale flesh -- zucchini,say -- be sure to leave the skin on to maximize nutrition aswell as flavor.
Get to know the incredible array of vegetables out thereand experiment with using them in your meals. For recipesand meal ideas, visit www.atkins.com.
Dark, leafy greens
An important source of folate (think foliage), dark, leafygreens are low in calories and Net Carbs, and high in flavorand nutrients.
Beet Greens (Phases 1-4)
3.7 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
If you purchase beets with the greens attached, separate them when you get home and store them individually, asthey lose nutrients if left intact. Beet greens are high inbeta carotene, vitamin C, and iron; they provide some calcium,too. (Note: While beet greens are perfectly acceptablefor Induction and beyond, the beet root is notacceptable until the later phases of the ANA; see "Beets"on page 36.)
Bok Choy (Phases 1-4)
0.2 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
One of the many varieties of Chinese cabbage, thismild-tasting green is often found in the Asian vegetablessection (usually near the tofu and wonton wrappers).Choose a head with lots of dark green leaves; the stemsshould be pearly white. Baby bok choy looks like its fullgrowncounterpart except its stems are greener, not white.This versatile vegetable can be chopped for a salad, orstir-fry it until the leaves wilt and the stems are tender.For a more flavorful side dish, braise it with soy sauce,rice wine vinegar, gingerroot and a touch of low-carbsweetener.
Chard (Phases 1-4)
1.8 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
Chard is a member of the beet family; it's grown for itsleaves and stems rather than its roots. Chard is an excellentsource of beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and iron. Ifyou're taking an anticoagulant medication, opt for a differentdark green leafy vegetable, since chard is also high in vitaminK, which can interfere with drugs that prevent bloodclotting.
Collard Greens (Phases 1-4)
2 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
Collard greens are high in folate and beta carotene, butthey're particularly high in calcium -- ½ cup cooked weighsin at 113 milligrams of this essential mineral.
Dandelion Greens (Phases 1-4)
1.8 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
Related to the sunflower, dandelion greens are indeed thesame at the market as they are in your yard and a delightfuladdition to a salad of mixed greens. Unless you're certainyour yard is untouched by pesticides and fertilizers, play itsafe and go with the ones at the store. Choose small leaves;they become bitter as they grow.
Kale (Phases 1-4)
2.1 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
Many types of kale exist, but the most common is curlykale. This dark green leafy vegetable is remarkably high inbeta carotene, as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.Kale tastes somewhat sweeter after it's been exposed tofrost, so purchase it in the winter. Choose bunches with slenderstems -- they're younger and milder in flavor.
Mustard Greens (Phases 1-4)
0.1 g Net Carbs per ½ cup cooked
This crucifer looks like smaller, brighter kale, but its flavoris much more assertive. Mustard greens are high in calcium,folate, and beta carotene.The Atkins Shopping Guide. Copyright © by Joseph Atkins Health & Medical Information Services. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Excerpted from The Atkins Shopping Guide by Atkins Health and Medical Information Staff
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.