"Ewwwwwww! GREEN stuff!" Why do people (okay, mostly children) tend to respond this way to God's most nutritious gastronomic gifts? I mean, it's not like you have to sit down to a plate of plain, dry spinach, and eat it a leaf at a time. And although a good parent will insist on children eating their green vegetables, I can't say that I see a lot of adults craving collard greens over coffee break or slurping a spinach green smoothie as a Saturday afternoon snack. Let's face it: we all need some encouragement and inspiration to get our daily dish of greens.
Getting your daily ration of green leafy vegetables does not necessarily mean subsisting on "rabbit food," munching on plain salads three meals a day, although I am a big fan of salads. There are all kinds of options-- delicious too!
- Green Smoothies: A great start for the day! Green Smoothies are an excellent and satisfying breakfast. See an earlier post devoted entirely to the subject of Green Smoothies: how to make them, and their health benefits.
- Salads: Think they're boring? The possibilities are endless!!!! ~Time to get CREATIVE!!!
- A Variety of Greens: mixed baby greens, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, arugula, swiss chard, bok choy, mache, endive, escarole, collard greens, curly kale, dinosaur kale, purple kale, spinach, foraged greens... whatever you can get your hands on! Really try to buy organic greens. They are lower in, if not devoid of, pesticides and other toxins, and higher in nutrients. You get more "bang for your buck."
- Vegetables of all Kinds: carrots (shredded, coins, matchsticks, etc), beets, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, zucchini or yellow summer squash (use a vegetable peeler or even a large-holed cheese grater to make noodles!), onions (white, red, yellow, scallions, chives, shallots, leeks), garlic, asparagus, celery, green peas, roasted butternut squash... whatever is available and delicious!
- Vegetable-like Fruits: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avocados.
- Fresh Fruits: apples, pears, plums, peaches, berries, kiwis, oranges, pomegranate seeds, star fruit, persimmons... whatever is ripe and in season!
- Dried Fruits: dried pineapple, dates, dried figs, dried apricots, craisins,
raisins, dried peaches, prunes, dried mango, dessicated coconut... whatever you can find that isn't sweetened with sugar or fructose, and that is unsulfured.
- Mushrooms of all Kinds: lightly sauteed in olive oil or marinaded.
- Sprouts of all Kinds: Try bean sprouts (lentil sprouts, chickpea sprouts,
adzuki bean sprouts, mung bean sprouts), seed sprouts (sunflower
seeds, clover, broccoli seed, radish seed), or grain-like seed sprouts (buckwheat, quinoa). That's only a small sampling of what's available. Learn more, including how to grow your own sprouts, at http://www.sproutpeople.com/.
- Herbs: "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme"... or cilantro, basil, oregano
- Nuts and Seeds: especially soaked and sprouted and then dried in the dehydrator to make them nice and crispy. See the "how-to" here: Crispy Nuts. Try almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, or ground flax seed.
- Dressings: try different combinations of oils (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil), vinegars (balsamic, red wine, white wine, apple cider, raspberry, herb), citrus juices (lemon, orange, grapefruit), blended avocado, soaked and blended nuts, tahini, and other additions such as herbs, chopped shallots, and citrus zest. (Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste).
- Other Interesting Additions: Dehydrated sweet potato or beet "chips," a dollop of guacamole, hummus, pesto, or fresh salsa.
- Green Leaf Wraps: Use cabbage (green or red) leaves, collard leaves, or butter lettuce leaves for excellent "low-carb," gluten-free, grain-free wraps! Fill as you would any wrap, maybe some tomato, avocado, sprouts, yellow peppers, cucumbers, and fresh basil!
- Steamed Greens: Kale, collard greens, chard, bok choy, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens... even broccoli and their greens. Add a drizzle of olive oil or coconut oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
- Egg Dishes: If you eat eggs, try adding greens to scrambled eggs, quiches, or omelets. Spinach, chard, mache, broccoli, parsley, basil, and rosemary are excellent additions. Sauteed greens alongside poached eggs are an elegant pairing.