Get some more green in your life


Leafy green vegetables are one of the most underused veggies around. Sure, a salad with some lettuce is great but most varieties of lettuce don't contain nearly enough nutrititional value. Leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, kale and swiss chard have some of the highest nutritional value per calorie. The use of spinach in salads is increasing in popularity but there are so many other leafy greens out there that aren't being put to good use. Leafy greens should be consumed on a daily basis for optimal health and at this point most people are lucky if they are getting half of that. It's so important to make sure that each calorie you consume is providing nutrition for your body and consuming plenty of leafy greens allows you to achieve this. Here is a list that breaks down some of the amazing benefits of consuming a variety of leafy greens:
  • High in Vitamin K (essential for bone health)
  • High in beta-carotene (source of vitamin A which boosts immune function)
  • Contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin (carotenoids which play essential roles in eye health)
  • High source of antioxidants (help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases)
  • Source of Quercetin (a flavanoid that helps reduce inflammation in the body by stabilizing histamine releasing mast cells)
  • Great source of dietary fiber for proper intestinal health  
When I first learned about how good these types of vegetables are for you I was inspired to increase my intake. This is were I hit a wall...I had no idea how to incorporate more of these great veggies into my diet. I have slowly, over the past couple of years, come up with some great tips and tricks to increasing my greens. Here they are:

  1. Juicing leafy greens and vegetables -> juicing has become part of my daily routine, for more info check out my detailed posts on the topic (Juicing 101, Get Juiced
  2. Leafy green egg and cheese squares -> This is a great recipe I have recently discovered. A lot of the recipes online call for flour and butter etc. but I like to keep it simple. You need 4 ingredients (3-4 eggs, assortment of leafy greens, feta cheese and 1-2tsp coconut oil) Blend all the ingredients together in a blender so they make a smoothy like consistency, the proportions are up to you. Poor into a brownie pan and bake for roughly 30 min at 350C. The result is a delicious green egg and cheese square which you can make on Sunday and have for your breakfasts for the week. You don't even taste the greens - I swear!
  3. Adding greens to a smoothie -> It helps to blend the greens before adding all of your other smoothie ingredients. Blend a blender full of greens with some water, once blended it will make room for all of your other delicious ingredients.  I recommend this a lot to my patients and most think it will taste disgusting, believe me you will barely taste the greens! For the AAAD teams smoothie recipes check our Smoothie post
  4. Lettuce/Kale wraps-> Instead of using a flour based pita or tortilla for your next wrap try using a kale or boston lettuce leaf. This decreases your intake of refined flour, avoiding a blood sugar spike, while increasing your leafy green intake.

These are just a few ways that I've increased my leafy green intake. Greens are something that can be easily blended into many different recipes. The next time you're blending something up try adding some spinach or collard greens, these are not strong tasting vegetables and can be easily concealed in foods. Be creative and feel good about increasing your intake of greens. Let me know in the comments about any other ways you have incorporated leafy greens into your diet, I'm always on the hunt for more clever ideas. 

Jamie

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