Greens, glorious greens
I love them. Can't live without them. But why?
Dark green leafy vegetables have, calorie for calorie, more concentrated nutrition than any other food group on the planet. They are teeming with minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium; and packed with vitamins including K, C, E, and a range of B vitamins. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats.
Greens contain trace levels of carbohydrate, surrounded in layers of fibre, making them very slow to digest. Therefore greens have very little impact on blood glucose levels.
And then there's chlorophyll. The stuff that makes greens green is hands down remarkable. Its molecular structure is almost identical to hemoglobin, which means that when ingested it can actually help to do the job of hemoglobin - to cleanse, rebuild and replenish red blood cells, boost our energy and increasing our well-being almost instantly.
Phytonutrients. But it's not just the green in greens which makes them glorious. You know how Autumn leaves go all kinds of pigments? These are the 'true' colours of the leaves, only masked by chlorophyll most of the time. They indicate the presence of a vast array of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which strengthen our immune system, provide antioxidant protection and rejuvenate our cells and eyes.
Protein. You might also be surprised to learn that greens have high-quality, easily-assimilated amino acids – the building blocks of protein that support muscle mass - how does the grass eating cow and the leaf munching Silver Back Gorilla get so big and powerful? Greens!!
A note on Oxalates
If you google "Green Smoothies," number three on Google ranking is a post entitled “How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health,” by the Healthy Home Economist blog. The post attempts to freak readers out stating that green smoothies can cause oxalate toxicity, resulting in fibromyalgia, kidney stones, sexual dysfunction and even oxalate stone formation in the brain. Don't worry! This is a clever "shock" post which results in tonne of traffic to that site, but the facts aren't straight.
Oxalates are are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. They are what's called 'organic acids', and are routinely made by plants, animals, and humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. Eating way too much of one type of green could result in too many oxalates. Perhaps you'll get a feeling of nausea and, very rarely, the conditions noted in the Healthy Home Economist blog. But on the whole, it's not a big deal.
Rotate your Greens!
The reason plants product oxalates is to prevent animals from eating all the leaves off a single tree or bush. If you observe say, a giraffe grazing, he'll nibble a little off one tree, then move on to the next. Nature made it this way to ensure the plant's survival. So, in order to minimise your risk of oxolate toxicity, simply do as the giraffe does! Rotate your greens! Kale one day, spinach the next. Mix it up with herbs, sorrel, romaine, rocket, silverbeet, bok choy, anything you like! This has a whole stack of other benefits, like optimising your antioxidant, vitamin and mineral intake and supplying your body with a smorgasbord of different phytonutrients.
The Green Goodness Smoothie
Would you like to get your 5+ a Day done and dusted before you leave the house in the morning? If you are looking to incorporate more greens into your diet – look no further! The Green Goodness Smoothie will help you get your glow on. It has you sorted for about 3 servings of veg in one go!
Pour the water and all the greens into your blender. Whiz it up for at least 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. Add the rest and blend until really smooth.
Need a high speed blender? I use and recommend the Optimum 9400
Homemade Bounty Bars
Chocolate Coconut Kale Thickshake
Dinspiration - my favourite throw together meals
Raw Vegan Lime Cheesecake
The Original Green Smoothie
Plant-powered Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream
DIY Three Ingredient Facewash
Creamy Cashew Berry Smoothie