Did you know greens are the #1 food missing in the american diet. Greens are an essential part of our daily living. Green veggies are a great boost to a healthy immune system, they strengthen the blood and respiratory system, are a high alkaline food used to neutralize acidic conditions that are caused by the environment and they help to replenish our alkaline mineral stores and continue to filter out pollutants. In addition, the color green is associated with spring, a time of renewal, refreshment and vital energy. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity.
Greens provide you with an array of nutrients.
- High in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.
- Loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals.
Benefits of consuming dark leafy greens:
- Blood purification
- Improved circulation
- Strengthened immune system
- Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
- Promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy
- Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney unction
- Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus
If you're looking to try out some greens outside of what your daily intake is. How about: Bok choy (high in calcium), napa cabbage, kale, collards, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe and dandelion. Green cabbage is great cooked or raw or in the form of sauerkraut or kimchi. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mescaline greens are generally eaten raw but can be consumed in any creative way. Spinach, swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid which inhibits the absorption of calcium these foods already contain.
There are many different ways you can prepare greens for different benefits. Here are a few ideas:
- Steam, sauté or boil
- Boiling helps greens plump and relax…boil for under a minute so you don’t loose nutrients - drink the broth as long as they are organic veggies.
- Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight - helps you feel fuller longer. This is a great way to curb your appetite
- Raw foods are super important for maximizing nutrients
- Raw salads are also a wonderful way to prepare for greens. Its refreshing, cooling and supplies live enzymes that help with digestion.
- Fiber, vitamins, minerals and clean simple eating
- If you are new to eating raw foods you can always take digestive enzymes in order to help your body digest the full form of the food
- Chewing your food is so important as it is the start of the process of digestion. The more you chew the less work your digestive system has to work and the more energy you have
Juicing + Blending your nutrients:
- Rejuvenating, green, alkaline juices and smoothies are ways to transition into healthy lifestyle
- Quickest ways to reduce inflammation (the root cause of most chronic disease)
- Hydrating your body, drenching your cells in life-giving nutrients and even repairing your DNA
- Amazing energy, glowing skin, clear eyes, improved digestion and
- Say goodbye to toxins, excess weight, sugar cravings, addictions, premature aging and a lackluster appearance
Respected wellness centers like Optimum Health, The Hippocrates Health Institute and Ann Wigmore, as well as countless others build entire healing curriculums around the power of juice. Nature heals and repairs the body.
To Juice or not to Juice?
- Juicing extracts the liquid - leaving the fiber behind (great for veggie chips, compost or to sprinkle over dog food)
- Looking for repair and renewal - juicing takes the cake.
- Juices are easier to digest and assimilate the nutrients
- Digestion uses an enormous amount of energy – which is one of the reasons we don’t want to eat late at night.
- Juices are predigested (the juicer does the breaking down for you!)
- Juices need very little if any digestion.
- Juicing is the easiest way to get phytonutrients in their most absorbable form because the concentrated nutrients go straight into your bloodstream
Now, with this said, juicing is great if you stick with the 3:1 ratio. 3 veggies to 1 low glycemic fruit, like a green apple or pear, lemon or lime. We do this because too much fruit or sugar in your juices leads to a spike in blood sugar. The fiber is what helps your body to slowly digest the sugars so you don’t have those elevated spikes.
Juicing is great to do in the morning as a boost of alkaline, plant power nourishment. Since we are more acidic in the morning due to the process of metabolic waste and repair its best to add alkaline foods or juices rather than more acidic foods. Juicing your greens like wheatgrass or a green juice (no added fruit) could also be a great boost of energy in the afternoon.
What to put into your juice?
- Start with an alkaline cucumber and electrolyte-rich celery
- Next, focus on leafy greens – combo of kale, romaine, spinach, collards, dandelion, parsley etc.
- Romaine and spinach have a milder taste, so they’re great for newbie juicers
- Add a low-glycemic fruit if you like. 3:1 ratio of veggies to fruits will keep you from peaking on too much sugar (pears, green apples, grapefruit, lemon, lime, berries)
- Want a little kick to your juice - add some ginger or radish
- Lemon or Lime helps to tone down the “green” taste
- Add some protein with some sprouts - sunflower sprouts are great
The GREEN CHAMPION: Wheatgrass
- It gets the Olympic Gold Medal in greens. It is highly nutritious and has therapeutic properties
- It contains one of the most potent concentrations of chlorophyll in nature.
- Book – “The Wheatgrass Book,” author Ann Wigmore (the big kahuna of chlorophyll) explains that wheatgrass juice “increases red blood cell count and lowers blood pressure. It cleanses the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract of debris.”
- Stimulates metabolism
- Reduces over-acidity in the blood
- Relieves many internal pains, such as peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation, diarrhea and other complaints of the gastrointestinal tract
- Protects us from carcinogens
- Strengthens our cells
- Detoxifies the liver and bloodstream
- Neutralizes environmental pollutants.
Blending you get all the benefits of juicing for the most part but with the presence of FIBER it also balances the body’s pH and blood sugar. The fiber soaks up toxins and moves them out of your system. I blend more than I juice but I will dabble in juicing from time to time but I don't really add fruit, but if I do it's a pear or green apple or just some lemon that way that my blood sugar doesn't spike.
Smoothie Tips to Combine Flavors for Your Tastes
- Avocados are a great staple - add good fats, which lower blood cholesterol, plus Vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acid. They also make your drink creamier.
- If you make your own nut butters you can add them to give your smoothies protein and a creaminess. If you cannot make your own, please check the ingredient label to make sure your jar contains nuts only - no added fillers or oils. You can use almond, cashew or sunflower butter etc.
- A tsp of cinnamon adds flavor + helps to balance blood sugar
- Cacao adds a coco flavor, which could be a lifesaver for those transitioning from coffee
- E3Live is blue-green algae that is said to restore overall body/mind balance by improving immune, endocrine, nervous, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems. E3Live provides 65 easily absorbed vitamins, minerals and enzymes and contains a powerful kick of chlorophyll.
- I like Healthforce nutritionals Spirulina to put in my shake for 70% protein - it too is a blue green algae that has a very similar list of health benefits as E3Live. I use the powder and I suggest slowly adding it to your smoothies. Its potent so the taste is strong and so is the super food power. If you take too much it could upset your stomach. Half a tsp to start and work your way up. Because of its high iron content…make sure you are drinking lots of water otherwise you could get “backed up”. ;)
A little bit about our nutrient buddy Chlorophyll:
Our plant friends use chlorophyll to convert majestic sunlight into pure energy. When we eat or drink veggies, chlorophyll helps us perform the energy-boosting functions. Chlorophyll—the “blood” of plants—is actually quite similar in molecular structure to our own blood. Think about the power of adding these health-enhancing functions to your daily life: healing and detoxifying your blood, increasing red blood cell production (more oxygen!), easing inflammation, the ability to bind and remove toxic heavy metals (like mercury) and strengthening your immune system. Plus, juicing and blending break down plant walls, which makes the chlorophyll more bio available, therefore increasing its ability to enter your bloodstream and work its magical powers.
PH levels are important for our bodies to function properly.
A nutrient dense, plant-based diet should be a big part of our lifestyle. It does’ have to be 100% but getting greens into every meal is great for the health of your body. When we eat lots of anti-nutrients - processed foods, sugar, too much animal protein + dairy (which is acidic in nature), we create blockages and clogged arteries, bad circulation, weight gain, lack of oxygen and energy and the list goes on. When our bodies don’t have the right nutrients to function like calcium, magnesium, iron etc imbalances occur and our bodies try to help by pulling nutrients from our bones or tissues that results in other issues.
Our cells in our bodies function at optimal levels when our PH levels are slightly more alkaline (a pH between 7.365 and 7.45). Seven on the pH scale is neutral. Lower than 7 your body become more acidic, higher than 7 more alkaline. Of course, balance is everything. The American standard diet AKA SAD is filled with inflammatory foods that are acidic by nature and causing us damage in our bodies. As your body works hard to get the right nutrients it takes these nutrients from your bones, teeth and tissues to neutralize acids but leads to a slew of other health issues such as Osteoporosis.
Fresh juices and smoothies flood the body with enzymes that can be used for digestion and repair. So, get your green on today and start working toward a healthy + happy body of yours!
Cheers to you green gods + goddesses,