Eating dark leafy greens is vital to a balanced diet. Greens provide some of best sources of essential nutrients on the planet and they should be much more prevalent in our daily food intake. The key is learning how to make them palatable!
Most leafy greens are high in alkaline-forming minerals. They are loaded with chlorophyll, which is essentially "green blood" as their chemical composition is identical to hemoglobin in our red blood cells, the difference being a mineral molecule at the core of the nucleus; iron in hemoglobin and magnesium in chlorophyll.
A short list of benefits from consuming more leafy greens:
- Leafy greens are an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants
- Eating more kale promotes healthy digestion and elimination by sustaining healthy gut bacteria
- Chlorophyll is a natural body and breath deodorant
- Greens are not calorie-dense but they can fill you up through their fiber content
- According to medical research, many leafy greens and vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds that reduce oxidation, inflammation and the formation of free radicals.
It's good to aim aim for two full servings of greens per day; One of them is easily accomplished by having a glorious Green Smoothie, which is what I always call a "painless, brainless" serving of green. A blend of about 40 percent leafy greens and/or vegetables and 60 percent fresh or frozen fruit blended with water or coconut water is a great way to get that first serving in first thing in the morning.
Here are five "creative green-ing" ideas to get more greens effortlessly in your diet:
1. It's a wrap
For a low calorie/low carb wrap and surprisingly wonderful taste, use a collard leaf as to replace breads and other glutinous wraps. Simply cut along each side of the rib and you have two instant wraps!
It's best to spread a sticky base (horizontally) and then add more greens and veggies (vertically) and wrap up from the bottom to the tip. The recipe pictured above it is a great way to use collards as a wrap. Watch a demo of how to use collard greens as wraps..
2. Serve it "Raw Fusion Style"
Raw Fusion Living is the blending of the incredible benefits of the raw foods diet with the comfort and convenience of cooked foods. Whenever I am craving something cooked like beans, soup, sautéed veggies or curries, I fill a large bowl with a variety of leafy greens, like spinach, sprouts, chopped kale or salad greens and ladle the cooked food on top, mixing gently. I love the variety of different tastes, textures and temperatures this creates as the heat of the cooked foods slightly carmelizes the greens. Here is one of my favorite recipes using this technique.
3. The Art of Camouflage
Pulse the more bitter greens like collard, dandelion or kale leaves in a food processor for just a few moments to break them down into small pieces. Not only easier digest that way, they are virtually undetectable under larger salad greens and taste is camouflaged by the dressing. For kale and collard leaves, tear leaves away from the center rib before pulsing. I call this "invisible nutrition" Learn more in this video.
4. Add Sprouts
Sprouts are similar to leafy greens and super abundant in chlorophyll as they contain all of the elements a plant needs for life. Experiment with a wide variety of sprouts: Brocooli, sunflower sprouts, pea sprouts are some of my favorite and can usually be found in health food stores. It is also fun and easy to make your own! Add them to salads, pile them on sandwiches or mix them in with cooked foods or stews.
5. Build 'em Up
Spreads and patés make very satisfying treats when you serve them on crackers and flatbreads, but. It's easy to get carried away and eat too many. I make a point of adding a layer of greens on top of the spread, and sometimes top that with a tomato slice, some sprouts and a sun-dried olive. By building up your snacks you add more nutrition and get filled up faster without going overboard on the higher carbohydrate foods, like crackers and breads.
LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D. aka Dr. L J has over 25 years as an expert in subconscious dynamics and is a pioneer in the education and certification of hypnotherapists worldwide She currently trains coaches in Holistic Health, Life Makeover Strategies and Subconscious Dynamics through her Natural Wellness Academy specializing in an approach that encompasses Body, Mind and Spirit.