9 Reasons to Fall in Love with Greens



Eat your greens! We’ve all heard that, but so often people ask, “But why?” Let me try to break down the answer for you! It is estimated that only 1 in 5 people actually eat the recommended 5 serves of vegetables per day and this recommendation is only the minimum amount suggested to avoid chronic disease.  Many other countries such as Japan and France are encouraged to eat up to 10-13 portions daily for good health and a large percentage should be greens.

You simply can’t ignore the evidence of how important they are for good health. There are so many ways to enjoy green vegetables in dishes, juices and smoothies, so there are no excuses not to enjoy!

My old favourite saying that my dad use to always tell me was ‘Greens Cleans’ and so it does and more!

1.) High in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Vitamins A, E, C, K, Bs, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, folic acid, carotenoids, Omega 3 fatty acids, chlorophyll and other phyto-nutrient compounds.

2.) Support a healthy immune system.
Studies show that a diet high in green vegetables supports a healthy immune system. One study showed that specialised cells called intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) in the gut and skin layer that support the first line of defence and in wound repair are stimulated by special compounds in green vegetables. After feeding otherwise healthy mice a vegetable-poor diet for 2-3 weeks, 70-80% of these specialised protective cells in the gut and skin disappeared. Otherwise greens also provide nutrients and compounds to support healthy white blood cell production and activity and support other immune functions.

3.) They reduce the risk of cancer.
Cancer unfortunately affects 1 in 4 people at some stage of their life, although we constantly hear reports about new wonder drugs that promise to cure cancer but unfortunately they often don’t live up to their promise. Prevention is key! Many studies indicate a diet rich in vegetables reduces the risk of cancer significantly. Cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli are rich in indoles and isothiocyanates, which protect us against colon and other cancers. A higher consumption of green leafy vegetables has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer and skin cancer.

4.) They support a healthy metabolism and weight control.
They support organ health and provide nutrients and enzymes for an efficient metabolism, thyroid and energy production in the body.

5.) They are high in nutrition, low in calories and have a very low glycemic index.
Anything that offers few calories and dense nutrition is a highly desirable food, since we often see the damaging ill effects of an over feed and under nourished society, greens are a valuable remedy offering an average of 50 calories per cup.

6.) They can reduce cravings.
Due to the high mineral content of green vegetables such as magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and other trace minerals plus fibre they can reduce cravings for less nutritious high calorie foods. So next when you have a sugar craving try a green smoothie or juice instead! You will be surprised.

7.) They are alkalising to the system.
Greens have a cleansing and alkalising effect on the blood which supports the natural detoxifying processes, maintains bone and tissue health, reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.

8.) Supports good bacteria in the GIT.
The nutrients and fibre in green vegetables provide food for intestinal bacteria which in turn supports immune health in the digestive tract, assists with faecal development, reduces inflammation in the gut lining and helps provide small amounts of Vitamin K and B vitamins.

9.) Greens can make you happy!
Last year, scientists at Warwick University found that people who ate seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day are the happiest. They believe it was due to the carotenoid content that is present in dark green, orange and red fruits and vegetables.

It is really important to consume and enjoy your greens and there are many ways to prepare and/or add them to a dish, smoothie or juice. You can:

  • steam your greens then season with sea salt, pepper and add any type of herb or spice
  • add to soups, stews, pies, sauces and omelettes
  • sautéed, wilted or boiled lightly
  • roasted or barbequed
  • diced or sliced raw into a salad
  • blended into smoothies
  • Juiced

Here are some GREEN reboot recipes! ENJOY!

 

Pink Pom-Pom Smoothie

Pink Pom-Pom Smoothie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1

Serving Size: 12 - 14 oz./400 ml.

Ingredients



Looking for a refreshing blend that will fill you up on loads of nutrients and will only take you minutes to prepare? Try this smoothie! Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. Pomegranate juice has shown wonderful results for cardiac patients.  In one study, 1 ounce was consumed for 1-3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis which reduced their blood pressure, arterial plague thickness and LDL cholesterol oxidation so drink up!

Ingredients:
1 pomegranate
1 orange (I used a blood orange of course because I love them so much!)
1 cup/250 ml. of coconut water (or Coconut ice – frozen coconut ice cubes)
1 large handful of leafy greens  (optional)

Directions:

1.)    Remove the pomegranate seedsFollow this easy 3-step, no-mess process from the Pomegranate Council.

2.)    Place all ingredients in blender.

3.)    Blend until smooth for about 45 – 60 seconds and serve!

Substitutions:
Pomegranate – red grapes, raspberries
Orange – blood orange, pink grapefruit
Coconut water – almond milk or water

Fresh & Sweet Green Salad w/ Tangy Dressing

Fresh & Sweet Green Salad w/ Tangy Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 - 4

Ingredients



An easy and delicious way to add fruits and vegetables to family meals is by combining them in salads.   Fruit and vegetable combinations are delicious and appealing to kids so try this fresh and sweet salad the next time your family needs a boost of nutrients (that they will enjoy eating!).

Ingredients:
6 cups greens  (try a combination of lettuces and hearty greens like spinach, kale (Tuscan cabbage), chard (silverbeet), chicory, arugula (rocket))
1 wedge of thinly sliced red cabbage
1 apple, julienned
1/2 -1  cucumber, sliced into half rounds
1/3 cup red grapes, halved
1 small handful of toasted pistachios (optional) 

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients on a platter or large salad bowl and toss to mix together and then make your dressing. 

Tangy Dressing
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon organic dijon-style mustard
½ cup/125 ml olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon juice)
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:
Add all ingredients in a jar or small mixing bowl and whisk together until well-combined. Then top over your salad and toss well.

Meatless Monday: Chopped Cranberry ‘N Collards Salad

Meatless Monday: Chopped Cranberry ‘N Collards Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients



Thanksgiving might be over but the chance to enjoy the season’s wealth of fresh foods hasn’t gone anywhere. Try this tart and tasty salad, perfect for your leftover turkey day ingredients.

Collards are a member of the cruciferous family, just like kale and cabbage.  Crucifers are well known for their liver detoxification and cancer fighting properties.

Cranberries  are probably best known for treating or preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) for their phytonutrients like proanthocyanidins and tannins that help prevent the E.coli bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract cells and flush it out.  Cranberries, a good source of fiber, are also rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants that can protect our arteries from the damaging effects of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, plus peel for zest
1 apple, honeycrisp or other sweet variety works best
1 bunch collard greens or 16 leaves
1 Tbsp. honey

Directions:
1.) Wash cranberries and collards well.
2.) Chop collard green leaves and place into bowl, save stems for your next green juice.
3.) Peel orange, wash apple and juice both in your juicer.
4.) Place cranberries and honey into food processor.  Chop them coarsely adding orange/apple juice in small batches.
5.) Pour cranberry mixture over collards.
6.) Zest orange peel with a grater over salad.
7.) Serve and enjoy!

Looking for a juicy version of this sensational side?  Try the Cranberry Citrus Juice!

Substitutions:
Cranberries – raspberries
Collard Greens – mustard greens, kale, green cabbage
Orange – lime, tangerine, grapefruit
Honey – maple syrup, agave nectar, stevia

 

 

Refreshing Summer Smoothies


By: Lisa Roberts-Lehan (Clean Plates Author)

Smoothies made with organic, quality ingredients are easy to prepare, can be full of vital nutrients and won’t heat up the kitchen on a hot day. Armed with a blender and a little imagination, it’s easy to create your own refreshing, healthful drink out of the ingredient options here, or try the Blueberry Bliss recipe below. Who knows? You might be on your way to starting a smoothie food truck enterprise!

SMOOTHIE STYLES

Fruit Smoothies
A thick, fruity drink made from (ideally) organic, local and fresh — or frozen — fruits blended together with filtered water, coconut water or coconut milk, or other unsweetened alternative milks like almond, hemp or oat.

Creamy Smoothies
For a richer and satisfying drink, blend avocado, organic yogurt, or bananas with fresh or frozen fruit and a little water, milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk.

Green Smoothies
A surprisingly delicious way to get your greens and fruit in one shot. Blend fresh fruit with dark, leafy greens and water or a little fresh juice.

SMOOTHIE OPTIONS

Ripe local fruit
Summer brings succulent local fruit to most farmers markets across the country. Fresh, organically-grown berries, melons and peaches add great flavor and nutrients. Choose sweet-smelling, un-bruised fruit; peaches and other stone fruit should slightly yield to the thumb.

Tropical and citrus fruit
Most of the country doesn’t grow oranges, grapefruit, bananas, mango or coconut. If you live in one those places, go pick some fruit and enjoy the delicious, healthful benefits! For the rest of us, chose the most local, organically grown fruit possible for your smoothies.

Frozen fruit
In a pinch, choose from the organic frozen fruit at the supermarket; most carry strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, and some also sell açai, mango, coconut meat and peaches.

Leafy Greens
Farmers markets are overflowing with healthy summer greens; grab a small bunch of kale, chard, collard or spinach leaves and let the blender whirl away. You’ll get an extra shot of nutrients with a gorgeous, chlorophyll-green hue.

Healthy additions
Let the creativity begin! For an extra boost, try adding a scoop of organic raw cacao, goji berries, maca powder, a little extra virgin coconut oil, almond butter, spirulina, blue-green algae, bee pollen, aloe vera or hemp, flax or chia seeds. Half an avocado provides a luscious creaminess and extra potassium.

Thick or thin
Add more or less filtered water, coconut water, or yogurt to taste.

Ice is nice
Add some ice cubes for a lighter, frosty treat guaranteed to cool down a hot day.

SMOOTHIE EXTRA CREDIT

DIY dessert
Make popsicles from your smoothie creations. Learn more about healthy summer treats and find a recipe for Strawberry-Watermelon Paletas here.

Take it to go
Freshly made smoothies are best, but can also be stored in the fridge for up to three days in a sealed container. Bring a smoothie in a travel mug for a healthy mid-morning snack or quick pick-me-up.

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie Recipe (adapted)
Serves one
– 1 organic banana, peeled, broken into two pieces
– ½ cup organic blueberries
– ½ cup young coconut meat or ½ cup organic blackberries
– 2 ice cubes
– Water or coconut water to thin

Combine all ingredients in blender. Process on high until smooth.

For full post and more from Clean Plates, click here.

Great Green Fruit Blend – Smoothie

Ingredients

2 cups Beet Greens, Red Swiss Chard, Kale, Spinach or a combination, roughly chopped and packed into the measuring cup
1 Banana
1 Golden Delicious Apple
1/2 Comice Pear
10 Strawberries, green tops cut off
1 cup Coconut Water

 

Directions

Make sure to set the blender on the liquefy setting for this recipe.

Great Greens Juice

Ingredients

 

2 Green Apples
2-3 cups Spinach
6-8 leaves Swiss Chard (Australia silverbeet)
1 Cucumber
4 stalks Celery
1/2 Fennel Bulb
1 bunch Basil

 

Directions

  1. Wash all produce well
  2. Juice
  3. Pour over ice
  4. Enjoy!

Reboot Rainbow Salad

Ingredients

1 cup Spinach
2 cups Spring Mix Greens
1/2 cup Red Peppers
1/2 cup Carrots
1/2 cup Cucumber
1/4 cup Red Onion

 

Directions

Wash all produce well.  Once chopped, mix in large bowl and finish by adding your favorite Reboot Dressing.

Roasted Beet (Australian Beetroot) Salad

beet saladIngredients

1 medium beet, roasted and sliced
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded (green or red)
1/2 medium apple, chopped
1 1/2 cup mixed greens
1/2 cup arugula (Australian rocket)
1/2 cup kale (Australian tuscan cabbage), chopped
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
(after your Reboot or for a complete meal your family can enjoy add 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, 1/4 cup wheat berries or quinoa and 1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds. If you choose to include dairy add 1 oz organic goat or feta cheese)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Wash all vegetables well, especially beets including the ends of the root.
Place washed beets into aluminum foil, drizzle olive oil over beets (Australian beetroot), wrap foil around beets (Australian beetroot) tightly.
Place foil wrapped beets (Australian beetroot) on top rack in oven. Cook for 50-60 minutes, until beets (Australian beetroot) are tender – pierce with fork to test.
Remove from oven and let cool. (In the meantime, prepare the rest of your salad: Cut skin off of beets (Australian beetroot). Slice and add to salad.)