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Life Outdoors
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Green with Envy
by Caroline Stahlschmidt

Latest Update: February 24, 2012


I know you’ve heard it before. You should eat more greens! We all know we should be eating more greens but why don’t we do it?

Do you need some convincing? Here are 5 great reasons to eat your greens!

1.Greens are packed with important vitamins and minerals that help your body function in tip top shape. This includes calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and Vitamins A, C, E, and K. Forget the cheap multi-vitamin. Eat your greens instead and get vitamins and minerals in nature’s perfect package!

2.Every wonder why greens are the color green? It’s the chlorophyll! Why should you care? Because chlorophyll cleans impurities from your blood and reverses damage to your cells that occurs from radiation. Chlorophyll also boosts red blood cell production and increases the amount of oxygen your cells can carry. All of that equals a stronger and more energized body!

3.Let’s hear it for fiber! You need a good dose of fiber every day to keep things regular (yes, you know what I mean) and to clean toxins from your body. Greens are a fantastic source of insoluble fiber, which is like a big broom for the inside of your body. Sweep out the waste and toxins and you are on your way to a healthier body.

4.Do you know that 1 out of 2 Americans will get some form of cancer in their lifetime? Do you want to avoid cancer for you and your family? Of course you do, we all do, so go for the greens. The hardy greens like kale, collards, and cabbage are especially important for fighting cancer. Research has proven that the mighty kale and his leafy green pals can help prevent and stop cancer tumors from starting and growing.

5.Beat the cold and flu season with nature’s medicine chest. Greens help strengthen your immune system and promote healthy intestinal flora. These are both keys to helping your body fight off cold and flu germs. If you feel the start of a scratchy throat, try warm soup with greens or a refreshing smoothie with greens.

Now you know that greens are great for your body and help you fight disease and have more energy. Hooray greens! Let’s talk about getting more greens into your daily diet. Here are my top three tips to get your green on and love your body in the process.

GET SAUCY!

If you are new to kale, collards or other greens, try chopping them thinly and lightly steaming or water sautéing the greens until just tender. Add chopped garlic, onion, or ginger if you like. Top them off with different sauces and dressings like a garlic dressing or curry sauce.

GET SOUPER!

Finely chop up greens like spinach, kale, collards or cabbage and stir them into soup. You can do this with pretty much any soup. Make it standard practice that you add greens to all of your soups, even pre-packaged soup.

GET SNEAKY!

If have you picky eaters in your house, you can get sneaky with your greens. Disguise them and your picky eater will be none the wiser except for the amazing burst of energy they will get from all those greens!

A smoothie is a great way to disguise greens. Sneak some spinach, romaine lettuce, or kale into a vibrant smoothie and it will be your little secret. Here’s a great recipe to start with because the blueberries make the smoothie purple instead of green. Use this as a guide but get creative and use your favorite ingredients.

Green Smoothie in Disguise

1 to 1 ½ cup liquid (water, coconut water, almond milk, soy milk, etc.) 1 banana, fresh or frozen 1 to 1 ½ cups purple or dark red frozen fruit (blueberries, cherries, or mixed berries) 1 – 2 cups spinach or 6-7 leaves romaine lettuce

Bonus: Boost up the nutrition by adding ground flax seeds, cinnamon, chia seeds, or raw rolled oats.

Put it all in a blender and go! Add more liquid for a thinner smoothie. Smoothies are best enjoyed fresh but you can keep them for a day in the refrigerator or freeze them.

Make it a goal to get a variety of greens in at least two or better yet, three meals each day and you are on your way to better health!