Greens are the missing ingredient in most people’s diet. Nourishing yourself with leafy greens helps to crowd out some of the foods that make you ill. Eating greens cleanses the digestive tract, detoxifies the liver, strengthens immunity, increases energy, makes skin glow, plus they raise your vibrations enabling us to reconnect to ourselves.
Greens are naturally very low in calories and fats while simultaneously packing powerful vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, and K, folic acid and chlorophyll. These specific nutrients strengthen bones and vision, relax muscles, heal wounds, repair the body’s tissues, and assist in brain development.
Another reason why eating greens is vital for a healthy body is because they are loaded with fiber. Fiber is essential to the body’s digestive system because it rids the body of toxins that become lodged in the intestines and bowels. Fiber also helps the beneficial gut flora to thrive on. Not eating enough greens causes lack fiber in the system, which can lead to inflammatory diseases and skin issues like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Some of my favorite greens are kale, arugula, collard greens, swiss chard, watercress, and mustard greens. Leafy greens have interesting flavor profiles. While arugula is crunchy, spicy and bitter, butter lettuce is tender and mild. Kale comes in green or purple, its curly variety tastes bitter and peppery yet its lacinato or “dinosaur” kale lends a sweeter side.
Start out with the ones you know and continue to explore your palette with others like: Mizuna, spinach, dandelion, endive, red leafs, romaine lettuce, mixed field greens, beet greens, green cabbage.
Leafy greens have interesting flavors and textures. While arugula is crunchy, spicy and bitter, butter lettuce is tender and mild. While kale can be green or purple, its curly variety tastes bitter and peppery yet its lacinato or “dinosaur” kale lends a sweeter side.
There are plenty of ways of adding greens to your nourishment. Most people think going raw is the only way to go when introducing greens to their diet but in reality there is a variety of methods like steaming, blanching, or sautéing in coconut, sesame or olive oil. Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, a great method for those trying to shed excess weight. Blanching makes greens plump and relaxed. I recommend boiling a pot of water and dunking large leafs like kale or collard greens in for under a minute, so the nutrients in the greens aren’t lost. Sautéing greens under a low simmer prevents them from overcooking. Preserving their bright green colors while sautéing is a good way of preserving them from overcooking. Of course, eating raw greens is also a great option. Raw greens are refreshing and contain live enzymes.
There are two simple ways to de-rib those hearty greens that have a thick rib down the center. Simply fold the kale over along the rib and run a sharp knife down the side OR grab the base of your leaves with your hand and pull upward towards the frond of the greens to pull them off.
Eating greens is simple and so often it’s not about eating them but about how to prepare them quickly and tastefully. Here are some tips:
For kale: drizzle olive oil and salt. Massaging the kale leaves with your hands allows for easier chewing and breakdown.
For arugula: toss arugula leaves into your pasta, over pizza, make a pesto, or toss it into soup for texture + bitterness.
For butter lettuce: make a wrap with these soft butter lettuce cups. They are delicious alternative to bread, tortillas, or pitas.
I believe in eating as many greens throughout the day as possible. Try shooting for two servings per day (1 serving + 1 cup or 2 cups raw).
So, tell me…what are some of your favorite greens and how do you like to eat them?