The days are getting longer, more brightness means better mood generally all round. Feeling down, tired, unmotivated, apathetic, bored, sluggish, heavy and so can be as a result of a devitalised system. A lack of life within! Emotions, low self-worth and stress are huge factors too of course in all of these things but the purpose of this article is to address nutritional deficiencies and the massive benefits to be gained by going GREEN!!!!
Unfortunately not many can say they buzz around with energy all day long, one reason I find for this with the people I work with is that they simply do not eat enough GREENS in their diet. We are conditioned to understand that green means “go” especially at traffic lights, Green is often used as an indicator for something to start etc.Well that’s because green is associated with vitality, Vibrancy, movement and lots of energy.
When the sun shines, the plants absorb the energy from the sun and trap it in pigments in the form of chlorophyll, this is the green pigment which gives green plants their colour. So the more greens you eat the more energy you will have and the healthier you will be.In effect you are eating SUNSHINE!
Green plants are filled with an abundance of valuable nutrients that your body requires for it to function at an optimum.
Green fruit, vegetables and salads are high in vitamin C, beta carotene, folic acid, Iron, fibre, magnesium and calcium and lots of other mineral and vitamins. These keep the body strong and healthy. Leafy green vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein, high in dietary fibre, high in iron, magnesium and calcium. They are also very high in phytochemicals. The main function of these within the plants is to protect the plants from predators, parasites and other changes in their environment. Phytochemicals are powerful antioxidants, amazing anti-inflammatory agents, they give the plant its pigmentation and so much more.
Hence when you consume them they provide you with all theses fantastic properties too. Protecting your cells, boosting your immunity, giving you energy.Basically all these nutrients help to keep you healthy and fight disease.
The calcium found in green vegetables is very easily absorbed and utilised by the body. Calcium plays a very important role in bone health , muscle strength , calming the nervous system, and keeping the system alkaline to name just a few. If you cannot tolerate dairy produce or choose not to eat it, increase your daily intake of greens and other calcium rich foods to ensure you get sufficient calcium into the system. Calcium does not work alone though! This is where the greens come in as there are lots of other minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, boron, vitamin K and so on within the plants which are crucial for the absorption of calcium.
Add some of these to your daily diet…the more the merrier. Broccoli is really excellent, (The best part is the stem which most people dump, its ideal to use in soups or juices if you do wish to eat it) kale, lettuce ( all varieties and the darker the leaves the better), pak choi, courgette, brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichoke (also great for boosting and reducing burden on your liver), kiwi, limes, green bell pepper…..What others can you think of?
How often do you vary your fruit and veg intake or eat/cook them in different way?
The body loves variety!!! we so often stick to the same 2-3 all of the time. Green veg is the least eaten by most people. Most tend to go for the sweeter things such as carrots, sweet potato, turnip and so on.
Aim to eat some of these raw at least a couple of times a week. Cooking destroys nature’s enzymes so you lose a lot of the natural goodness upon cooking. They can make a really fresh tasting, crunchy snack. If you do not like to eat them, then juice them with a little apple or pineapple for that sweeter twist or blend into a smoothie. I Will share with you two of my favourites green recipes below.
Grate/dice/shred/Spiralise your greens into soups, stews, curries etc where you won’t even taste them!!! Get creative… A wonderful green side salad is a fabulous addition to any meal!!
Another way to be greener is to add some green sprouts and herbs to your diet such as alfalfa, parsley, thyme, basil, sage, rosemary, chives, coriander, peppermint…An ideal way to garnish dishes or add to salads or sandwiches. Many supermarkets and good health food shops/farmers markets now provide ready to eat sprouts.In their raw state all these herbs and sprouts will be bursting with nutrients and stimulate enzyme production in the digestive tract which is essential for maintaining healthy digestion.
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It’s so easy to grow some of your own herbs at home in a pot on a window sill etc Think of the foods being super high in life-force. That means when they are in their growing state they are the most healthy and full of life, rich nutrients and life, so when you pick that leaf/cut that plant you will be benefiting form that immediate energy too as the time between picking and eating is so short. There is no processing or time lost in transportation.
Cooking in as little water as possible and for the shortest length of time is the best way to maintain vitamin and mineral content. Steam or lightly fry are other ways to cook when cooking is necessary and preferred.
Buy your greens as fresh as possible when they are at their optimum nutrient level. If they are wilting, soft or look aged, they will not taste great and will be of poorer nutritional value to you.
Herbal teas especially Nettle , dandelion, tulsi, are fantastic in helping to clean the blood, re-energise the liver thus aiding in the natural detox processes of the body. Aim to have one cup per day as a healthy boost. Green tea! many swear by it but it is high in caffeine so I rarely advise this one as many people are already stressed out from having too much caffeine in their bodies. A high quality green tea can have great anti-oxidant powers but take in moderation.
Finally many greens can act as bitters. Bitters are used less and less these days due to the amount of highly processed foods people eat. A dog will eat grass when their digestive systems are in a knot or they are in pain…how clever are they!!! Bitters (e.g dandelion, chicory, beet root leaves, mint) they act as internal cleansers, can reduce inflammation and act a tonic to the entire system.
You can also add some supergreen powders to your diet such as wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, blue green algae and so on. They are packed with protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins and can act as a wonderful boost if you do not eat or drink your greens. The body needs all the nutrients it can get form the greens so you have to find a way to get them in one way or the other.
If for some reason you are restricted in your greens intake due to hemochromatosis ( iron Overload) thyroid issues etc ensure you are getting the valuable nutrients from other sources in your diet. It’s also important to note spinach in particular is high in oxalic acid. This can combine with calcium and leach your body of calcium or it can form in the body and contribute to kidney stones etc. In my 15 years of experience of working with clients I have never seen it to be an issue ( as I have never et anyone who eats too many greens!!! )but it is something to be aware of and why VARIETY in your diet is crucial to help keep everything in balance as nature intended.
It is very important to note that some herbs can interfere with medication so always ensure you check with your doctor or health professional before taking them.
Maintaining a well balanced wholefoods diet approach is the greatest nutritional gift you can give your body…and of course w sonly have one body so it is certainly well worth looking after.
Here are two Yummy Recipes to help you boost your daily greens…
Electrolyte Re-energising Juice.
2 granny smith apples
x5 sticks celery
x1 cucumber washed and with the skin left on.
large handful greens such kale, spinach, pan choi, watercress etc
x1 lemon peeled
Wash all and prepare as above.
Pass through your juicer and pour into a beautiful glass,
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Super green Smoothie…
x1 small banana
x1 heaped dessert spoon nut butter such as almond/cashew,
small handful greens such as kale, spinach, rocket, watercress, whatever you prefer or if not using fresh greens add 1 heaped teaspoon of super greens powders
1/2 lime squeezed
1 dessertspoon pumpkin seeds
and enough Milk or water or coconut water of your choice to reach your desired consistency.
Add all of the above to your blender and blend until smooth .
Pour over ice if you wish and enjoy.
Having a wheatgrass shot in the mornings is one way I love to boost my extra green goodness…
Green represents LIFE and feeling alive…so if you want to feel more alive and energised ensure you are following as many of the suggestions above as you can.
Get started today… the healthy ‘green’ way! Remember green is to go!
Thanks for reading,
Health for life practitioner, Food technologist, Natural Juice Therapist practices in CLANE. Enquiries or to obtain FREE ‘7 Step Prescription for Health’ click here or
please contact Tel:086-3888535 or Email: Gertrude@kinesicare.ie www.gertrudelawler.com