As a part of a clean eating lifestyle, I notice that a lot of people look for as many ways as possible to cook with ingredients like sweet potatoes, quinoa and legumes, but tend to neglect one of the most important real food categories! For me, it’s almost like an alarm goes off if I haven’t had any yet, and it’s getting close to dinner! I just have to have them!
So here’s a brief reminder: don’t forget to indulge (as much as you want) in your green leafies! Always make sure they are a significant component of your daily intake as they have so many of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are important to optimal body function and disease prevention! Got whole grains and organic chicken and fish on your lunch or dinner plate? Make sure to balance that out with a BIG green salad, or a load of sautéed greens too! Half of your plate should almost always be the color GREEN – because these are the most nutrient dense foods feeding your essential bodily functions! Without them – our blood, our organs, and the overall functionality of our body suffers! Not only are they delicious, but they’re also packed with a load of fibre to help prevent heart disease, kidney stones, and to help toxins and waste move through your system!
Here’s an overview of some of the green leafy veggies might choose to incorporate into your meals:
romaine, green leaf, arugula, butterhead (butter)
These are mostly used in salads, and are rich in Vitamins A, C, and K. When they’re included as part of a regular diet, they will help with eye, bone, blood and skin health! Combine them with other raw veggies for a colorful and super healthy salad loaded with fibre!
Cruciferous Leafy Greens
kale, mustard greens, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts
Lots of buzz around these greens lately! These are at the top of nutrient density charts (available nutrients per 100 calories) and help to inhibit the growth of certain cancers. They can also improve heart health and brain function because of their high magnesium content. Cook these greens separately, or combined. Add them to dishes or sauté them with your favorite herbs and spices (especially Turmeric to enhance disease prevention characteristics; especially prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s) and seasonings. Roasted brussels sprouts (with olive or coconut oil, sea salt and pepper are yummy!)
And by the way, if you think you don’t like these greens, here’s a comment from someone who recently tried brussels sprouts again after many years of thinking she hated them:
“I seriously LOVE brussels sprouts! I have to have them at least once a week now. the best part is, I always have leftovers for lunch the next day!” ~ L.A., Minnesota
Spinach and Swiss Chard
Swiss chard and spinach are vibrant leaves belonging to a family of leaves called Amaranthaceae (they actually flower) and they are similar in taste and nutritional value. Spinach and chard are available throughout the year, and both are rich in iron, which carries oxygen to the blood. They are also abundant in other nutrients, such as: Vitamins A, C, E, K, B2, B6, calcium, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, calcium, potassium, lutein, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphoru, zinc, niacin, selenium and Omega-3 fatty acids! Why buy multi-vitamins if these green leafies are a regular part of your diet? Include these leaves in your raw salads, or chop, steam, season or sauté them lightly (with olive or coconut oil, sea salt and pepper) for a great side dish!
Other Edible Greens
dandelion, red clover, plantain, watercress, chickweed
These are sold in some supermarkets, but you may also find them growing freely around your neighborhood or in your yard. Many of those are destroyed with weed killers and other pesticides, but these leafy greens are quite flavorful and highly nutritious. Dandelion greens promote a healthy liver and digestion (critical to longevity), and plantain and watercress keep skin cells healthy. Red clover regulates hormones and chickweed has anti-inflammatory properties. Add these greens to raw salads, stir-fries or soups.
And the best thing about eating your greens? You can eat as many as you feel like and not feel guilty!
Don’t go a single day without your green fix!