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Think turnips, not testosterone therapy, for Valentine's Day fun

Visit your farmers' market, not your pharmacist, for a safe and satisfying Valentine's Day frolic. A major study published in PLOS ONE last week found testosterone therapy doubles the risk of heart attacks for all men over 65 and doubles or triples the risk for younger men who have a history of heart disease. But as Dr. John La Puma recommends in his New York Times op-ed piece about the study, men can improve their hormone balance by staying slim, drinking water instead of alcohol, and eating more collards, broccoli, and other cruciferous vegetables such as turnips.

At the end of the day, eating more of the right foods and fewer junk foods improves mood and energy -- which may be the only fix many men need.

Indeed. That's the premise behind my practical romance: Fifty Weeks of Green. This spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey helps readers get healthy and feel frisky with sixty plant-based recipes, such as Sweet and Tart Collard Tangle. I share La Puma's alarm at the number of physicians who prescribe low-T therapy instead of a good diet and exercise, often without even checking for heart conditions that can significantly increase the risk of deadly side effects. And according to an NPR report on the study, low-T therapy costs $300 to $400 a month -- enough to cover the entire grocery bill for two adults using the Wildly Affordable Organic green plan!

The high-flavor dishes surge with Cupid's own nutrients: glucosinolates in greens, zinc in beans, diallyl disulfides in garlic, and fiber and protein in pretty much everything. Fortunately, these recipes lack artery-clogging fat and cholesterol that slow circulation everywhere, even in your tingly bits. Using fresh, organic ingredients also avoids what La Puma calls "gender-bending chemicals like BPA."

So skip the steak house and the drugs this Valentine's Day. Consider toasting your sweetheart with sparkling cider, then sharing a big salad, roasted vegetables with hummus, some crusty bread, and this easy, make-ahead collards recipe from Fifty Weeks of Green. Top it all off with a piece of warm Cocoa-Coconut Flip Cake, also from the book. You'll be well fueled for whatever other delights come to mind. 


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