It’s becoming fashionable to be green. More and more of us are becoming more aware of ways to have less impact on the environment. We’re driving hybrid cars, using compact fluorescent bulbs, and recycling our garbage.
We don’t often think of the way we eat as a way of being “green,” yet our food choices can have a greater impact on the environment than any of the other actions we take. One way to green your diet is to eat greens!
Dark leafy green vegetables are among the healthiest foods on the planet, and some believe they should be designated as a separate food group because of their high concentration of nutrients. Sometimes called “nature’s scrub brush,” greens are an abundant source of insoluble fiber that acts like a sponge, gathering toxins from the colon and transporting them out of the body. Greens also alkalize the body, which helps prevent and reverse inflammation and disease.
Greens – Beyond Salad
For most of us, the only greens we eat on a regular basis are found in a tossed salad. Typically, these salads contain some kind of lettuce, baby greens and/or spinach. But there are many ways to enjoy your greens beyond salad.
One of the simplest ways of eating substantial amounts of greens is in a blended form. The benefit of blending greens is that they can be consumed raw, thus retaining all the nutrients and enzymes, and they are more digestible because the cellulose is broken down in the blending process.
My favorite way to get daily servings of greens is in a green smoothie. This is a delicious, nutritious way to start the day. Green smoothies typically consist of fruit, greens and a liquid. You may add other ingredients, but these are the basics.
When you are new to green smoothies, I suggest using small amounts of mildly flavored greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, baby bok choy, mesclun mix, Swiss chard or collard greens. Try not to be put off by the color, especially if you add a red fruit, which will cause your green smoothie to turn brown! (Think about what happens when you mix red and green paint.) If you can’t get beyond the color, pour the smoothie into an opaque cup with a lid, and sip it with a straw. Actually this is a good way to introduce resistant children to this healthy alternative to sugar laden breakfast cereal.
Green Smoothie Smile
(to go with the green shirt and balloon!)
Here is one of an infinite number of ways to prepare a green smoothie.
Chef Marilyn’s Green Orange Julius
1 orange – cut off peel, leaving some of the white pith
1/4 lemon, peel and seeds removed
1 – 2 medjool dates, pitted (optional)
1/2 – 1 cup water, depending on how thick you want your smoothie
small piece of ginger, peeled (optional)
large handful of coarsely chopped greens – if using kale or collards, strip the leaf off the stem
- Place the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend at the highest speed until smooth. You may add ice for extra thickness and to chill the smoothie.
- Be sure to “chew” your smoothie – digestion begins in the mouth. Savor the flavor in your mouth for about 10 seconds before swallowing and allow the enzymes in your saliva to begin the digestive process.
This is just a basic recipe. You may vary the fruits based on what’s in season or personal preference. You may also add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds for a dose of omega 3s.
So green up your life with some greens!
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MarilynChiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.
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