Glorious Greens!

Through my studies at The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, I learned that green vegetables are the foods most missing in many modern diets, and I was given a ton of great resources to inspire others (and myself) to consume more of these powerful foods. When you nourish your bod with greens, you will naturally crowd out the foods that make you feel icky. It's pretty cool...if you look at the leaf of a piece of kale or spinach, you can see lines that may resemble veins or tiny rivers or pathways, and it's no coincidence that greens help to strengthen the blood and respiratory system. They are especially good for those folks who live in a city and rarely see the open countryside. Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, creativity and emotional stability.

Greens are alkalizing and loaded with high amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, vitamins A, C, E & K. They are jammed with fiber, chlorophyll, folic acid and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Eating non-organic greens is much better than not eating any greens at all, but if possible, choose local and organic.

Some of the benefits of eating dark, leafy greens are:
~ improved circulation
~ lifted spirit and elimination of depression
~ strengthened immune system
~ blood purification
~ cancer prevention
~ promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy
~ healthy intestinal flora
~ improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
~ cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus

With so many to choose from, find greens that you love and eat them often. When you get bored with your favs, be adventurous and try greens that you've never heard of. Rotate between kale, watercress, mustard greens, napa cabbage, collards, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other leafy greens. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, wild greens and mesclun are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way that you like. Broccoli is a super green veggie ~ each stem is like a tree trunk, giving you strong, grounding energy. Green cabbage is great cooked or raw, or in the form of sauerkraut. Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid which depletes calcium from bones and teeth, and may lead to osteoporosis. To help balance out the oxalic acid, cook these veggies with something rich like grains, tofu, seeds, nuts, beans or quality oils. 

Try a variety of cooking methods like steaming, sautéing, pickling or boiling. Steaming makes greens more tight and fibrous, which is great for people who are trying to lose weight. Eating raw veggies is cooling, refreshing and supplies live enzymes. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. If you are using organic greens, you can also drink the cooking water as a healthy broth or tea. See below for a simple soup recipe that is loaded with the benefits of glorious greens...

Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

~ 2 heads broccoli
~ 1 head cauliflower
~ 2 handfuls spinach 
~ 1 yellow onion 
~ 2 cloves garlic
~ 1/2 head cabbage 
~ 1/4 bunch of parsley
~ salt & pepper to taste
~ 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1. Rinse all veggies, chop and set aside.
2. On light heat, warm grapeseed oil in bottom of soup pot. 
3. Add chopped veggies to pot and saute on light heat for a few minutes.
4. Cover veggies with filtered water and bring to a light simmer.
5. Turn off burner and let veggies sit in water for about twenty minutes.
6. Blend vegetables and one cup of cooked veggie water. (use less water for a thicker soup)
7. Season with salt & pepper, serve & enjoy! (I added some lemon couscous right into my soup to give it a little more texture and oomph!)

Now, no excuses! Eat your greens! :)

Bean Radness!

Bean Radness!

The Vibrant's on!

The Vibrant's on!