We are excited for the ongoing contribution of certified health and wellness coach Penina Bareket. Penina joined our team over the winter and has already contributed many great articles, from managing holiday stress to combating the common cold. This week she continues to offer valuable insight about welcoming in the green of spring.
|It's time to go green|
Spring is finally here! We feel it with warmer temperatures and see it in longer hours of sunlight. The heavier foods we crave during the winter months are starting to lose their appeal, and new vegetables are coming into season! Spring is the season of new beginning, renewal and growth.
Mother Nature knows that we gain weight when it’s cold out. This used to be a mechanism of survival, and spring is a time to shed our winter coats! Mother Nature provides us with an abundance of foods to help our bodies cleanse and renew.
Spring is the greening season. Leafy greens and green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets and are some of the easiest and most beneficial vegetables to incorporate into your daily routine.
Members of this royal green family include:
• Collard greens
• Swiss chard
• Mustard greens
• Dandelion greens
• Broccoli rabe
• Beet greens
• Bok choy
• Napa cabbage
• Green cabbage
How do greens benefit our bodies? They are great sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc and are a powerhouse for vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed full of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Greens aid in purifying the blood; strengthening the immune system; improving liver, gall bladder and kidney function; fighting depression; clearing congestion; improving circulation and keeping skin clear and blemish free.
Densely packed with energy and nutrients, they grow upward to the sky, absorbing the sun’s light while producing oxygen. Chlorophyll gives plants their green color. When ingested, it is known to increase red blood cells, improve circulation, oxygenate the body, reduce the effect of free radical damage and ease inflammation. Eating foods rich in chlorophyll, especially dark leafy greens, is a great way to cleanse and alkalize our bodies.
Adding greens to your daily diet is a wonderful way to look and feel great! Here are a few simple ways to incorporate greens into your daily routine.
Try green juice or a green smoothie. Blend raw greens with fruit and water for the perfect start to your morning or as an afternoon snack. Juicing is a great way to load up on nutrients that are easily digested and immediately absorbed into your bloodstream. This “liquid nutrition” provides an instant shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen. To avoid a blood sugar spike and to maximize the benefits of juicing, use three vegetables for every piece of fruit. Drink your juice or smoothie on an empty stomach, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating solid food to maximize the digestive process.
In case you’re wondering, buying a pre-packaged bottle at the store isn’t the same thing and provides very little, if any, benefit. Pasteurized juices are cooked at a minimum of 145 degrees and have a longer shelf life but lack the enzymes needed to make any positive impact on your health. If you check the ingredient list, you might also find of artificial ingredients added to your juice like sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives.
3 stalks of kale
About 4 inches of a cucumber chopped into slices
1 banana (frozen is recommended, but fresh works well too)
A handful of frozen blueberries
1 cup of water
Tear kale into big pieces and place into a blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly.
Pour into glass. Add some ice to your glass if you prefer it chilled.
Try Kale as a Snack
Finally! You can eat an entire bowl of chips and still feel good!
1 head of curly kale
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Wash and dry curly kale thoroughly
Tear into large pieces and place on baking dish
Spread coconut oil over kale leaves
Use hands to evenly coat oil on kale
Sprinkle nutritional yeast as desired
Place in oven until leaves are crispy – about 10 to 15 minutes
Ordering pizza, wings or burgers from your favorite place? It’s cool. While you wait for the doorbell to ring, sauté some kale or whatever green vegetable you fancy. Dark leafy greens are super easy and quick to whip up. Pour some oil into a pan. While it’s heating, use your hands tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Pour the greens into the pan and add a little salt and pepper, or whatever spices sound good to you. Once the greens are wilted, they’re done!
With the warmer temperatures, raw and cooling foods might sound more appealing. Give this raw kale salad a try!
Raw Kale Salad
1 head of curly kale
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.
Wash kale and use hands to remove leaves. Pat dry with towel before placing in large mixing bowl.
Add lemon juice and raw apple cider vinegar.
Add avocado. It helps if you cut the avocado into cubes first.
Use your (freshly washed) hands to mix all ingredients together. Feel free to mash the avocado.
Season if necessary.
Place in refrigerator and let the acidity do its thing for at least 1 or 2 hours.