With school season beginning, it is the perfect time to get fall off to a good start and integrate new healthy patterns into your life! In the summer, we naturally eat more fresh green vegetables and lettuces. However, in the fall and winter when we need the nutrients the most, we tend to gravitate towards more hearty fare. The single most important thing that most of us could do for our health and immunity is to add more greens to our diets!Below I will tell you why and how to easily do it.
Greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, Vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll. Greens help purify the blood, prevent cancer, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, improve liver function, clear congestion, improve skin quality, lift spirit, eliminate depression andincrease energy and vitality.
Are you convinced yet? Greens are especially good for people who live in cities and do not see the countryside very often. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Who wouldn’t want to have all that?
First, it is important to eat more greens! There are so many greens to choose from so first of all find ones that you love. When we eat more greens, we naturally crowd out all the other unhealthy foods that make us sick! The favorites in our house are spinach, romaine, kale, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Others include bok choy, collard greens, watercress, the cabbage family, beet greens and dandelion. Lettuces such as mesclun, arugula, endive, chicory and wild greens are also included in this category. Steam, sauté or cook any of the above with olive oil and a dash of sea salt and you have a delicious and easy to prepare dish!
As a side note, spinach, swiss chard and beet greens are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium, so cook them with rich foods such as tofu, seeds, nuts and olive oil, which will balance the effects.
Secondly, try to drink one green juice per day. This is easier (and more enjoyable) than it might sound! Of course, I recommend that you purchase a juicer (Green Star or Breville) and make healthy green juices every day (see my Green lemonade recipe). However, I also recognize that this is way too much for some people. And, even for those people who do make their own juices there needs to be variety. I recommend that most of my clients purchase a powder called BerryGreen, which can be found in your local health shop or in Whole Foods, or another brand called Nature’s First Food, which can be purchased at www.oneluckyduck.com. You can mix it in with your favorite orange juice or apple cider or follow the below recipe for a quick, delicious meal on the go. My daughter and I make these in the afternoon almost every day!
Integrate greens into your diet and you will immediately see an improvement in your mood and energy!
1 head of kale (can be red or green)
Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Cut kale into small pieces and wash and let fully dry so it does not wilt. Coat a casserole dish with olive oil and place the kale in the dish. Slather with olive oil and place in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until looks a bit “crispy”. Slice a lemon and squeeze over and add a sprinkle of sea salt.
We usually serve this with a grain such as brown rice or quinoa. Or, if you want a quick light dinner, it can be a meal unto itself. This is delicious and one of my husband’s favorites!
Soya Kaas cheese (optional)
Place grated carrots, then sliced avocado, then a handful of dried cranberries and pecans on top of the spinach leaves. For a heartier lunch add cubes of the Soya Kaas cheese. Liberally douse with olive oil and lemon.
Green Lemonade Recipe
Juice the following:
Handful of romaine lettuce and/or kale
Stir in agave nectar for sweetness if needed. You can also add a carrot if you want to cut the astringent flavor more. Drink this and your skin will be glowing!
Green Powder Smoothie
Berry Green or Nature’s First Food Powder
Vanilla almond, soy or rice milk (I prefer almond)
Silk Milk vanilla creamer
Frozen banana (optional- or use ice to make thicker)
*** If you use regular soy milk then add vanilla and a dash of agave nectar
Add green powder, 1 cup of the milk and ½ cup of the creamer and the frozen banana or ice in the blender and blend. My 5-year-old daughter and I make this all the time for a healthy snack in the afternoon before or after sports!