Why green should be your new favorite color!
Here’s one secret of nutrition that I discovered from experience. Your body starts to crave more of the foods you are currently feeding it! So even though you might not crave greens now, sneaking them into your daily diet will transform your cravings and you will suddenly find yourself wanting fresher, greener foods.
Lots of nutritionists have written on the subject but if you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. Your experience is the best teacher. Here are some tips for sneaking greens into you daily diet.
We all know that we should eat more greens because they are so good for oxygenating our blood, cleaning out our liver and adding mood and health boosting vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. But for some of us, eating greens is a chore on your health to do list that lends itself to procrastination.
I find it tedious to chew raw greens and often people with digestive issues can’t handle raw veggies, so I find that cooking or blending greens makes them easier to digest and changes their texture.
Here are some handy ways of sneaking greens into your diet quick and painlessly. You reap the self-health rewards without feeling like you can’t leave the table until you’ve finished your veggies!
Here are a few ways of sneaking kale, mustard greens, collards, spinach and chard into your diet.
1) Kale smoothies: If you have an 8 ounce serving of this nutrient dense smoothie you will be starting your day off with maximum nutrition. The fruit and coconut water mask the bitterness of the greens. You can use any greens you want in your smoothie and you can pick your own fresh or frozen fruit to throw in there. My favorite version of this was made with fresh (about to go bad) melon. You can do this in any blender if you use fresh fruit but more powerful blenders will take on frozen fruit. I make mine with kale, bananas, frozen mangoes, blueberries and coconut water.
Play around with proportions, you may have to start out with a handful of greens and work your way up. If you want it sweet, just add more bananas or a splash of apple juice. My friend uses these smoothies as a cure for a hangover and says they have mild anti-depressant qualities.
2) Green marinara: I find that tomato sauce works well to mask the bitterness of greens with its strong acidic taste. Again, start with just a few greens and work your way up as you taste buds adjust and your body starts craving more. You can used bottled marinara (try to find a sugar-free sauce) or make your own from boiling down fresh tomatoes or using canned tomatoes and adding in garlic, olive oil, onion and oregano.
Saute the greens in olive oil and then add the prepared tomato sauce. I also like to add canned tuna in olive oil to the sauce. You can serve this over veggies like spaghetti squash, or over brown rice or quinoa.
3) Kale chips: Whole Foods sells bags of pre-made kale chips with cashew cheese to add flavor. While convenient, its expensive and its so easy to make your own. The issue with making homemade kale chips is that they are very easy to burn. If you have a toaster oven I would experiment with using it over a regular oven because they heat up faster. Mix lots of olive oil and shredded/cut kale leaves in bowl and lay it out on a cookie sheet with parchment paper underneath.
You can mix spices like cayenne, paprika, curry or garlic powder and a good quality sea salt. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and when it’s hot, put the kale in for no more than 5 minutes. In the beginning you will have to watch and test the kale to figure out how long it takes your oven to krisp the kale. You can also use other firm greens to add variety to the kale.
4) Secret to making kale salads: The secret to eating kale straight is preparing it in right. Massage the kale with salt to make it wilt. Cut the leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Drizzle some lemon juice on the kale. The salt and the lemon softens and predigests the kale so it is easier for the body to break down.
5) Throw them into chili, stew or soups: If you are making a crockpot creation, throw in some greens with you grains, meats and beans. Spinach is delicious when thrown into tomato soup and greens seem to compliment both vegetarian and meat chilis.
6) Stir frys and fried rice: If you are already making a healthy stir fry, throw in some greens. I like to add greens to fried rice dishes. Fried rice might seem unhealthy in restaurants but you can make a super healthy homemade version with good quality olive oil (they use too much bad oil in restaurants) and brown rice. I make the rice in my rice cooker. First I saute garlic and onion in olive oil and throw in the greens. When they are wilted I throw in frozen, peas. Then I toss in the brown rice and a few organic eggs. Don’t forget to add sea salt and if you want protein you can add shrimp or toss in some organic chicken.
7) Use bacon as a secret weapon: I know bacon isn’t healthy but if a little bit gets you to eat a boatload of greens you wouldn’t eat otherwise, then bring it on! The health benefit of the greens balances the unhealthiness of the bacon. If you can get high quality bacon that is free of nitrates, and use it in small amounts, better yet! The point is to use enough bacon to flavor the greens so they taste salty, fatty and irresistible.
I like using prechopped pancetta to give my greens unbelievable flavor. Start with a base of garlic and onions in olive oil and add in a small amount of bacon. Then add in the greens and let them cook down. If you like spice, add in some spicy, fresh peppers like chili peppers or jalapenos. My husband and I like habanero peppers but they are intensely spicy so watch out and when cutting these peppers and wash your hands thoroughly before touching you face or eyes!
6) Hang up some green food porn: What??? This might sound like a funny suggestion, but looking at enticing photos of yummy greens will make them seem more appealing and tantalizing. Here are some examples:
You get the idea, take any food prep opportunity to throw in some greens. If you are worried that they will ruin you meal then simply put some aside and test it by throwing greens into a small portion.
Now its your turn to try these and report back or better yet, create your own and share it with us!
Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.