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nutrition

Are You Eating Your Greens?

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Are You Eating Your Greens?

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Green food. It’s definitely put up there on a pedestal as far as food goes. Getting dark leafy greens in your diet daily is so very good for you in so many ways! They are put on a pedestal for a reason. They play a crucial role in our health!

Are you eating enough greens? Are you eating some green food daily? If you are like most americans, your diet could be lacking in this area, so I’m here today to give you a pep talk about it!

Why eat dark leafy greens?

Dark leafy greens help to strengthen your immune system, they can improve circulation, lower your cholesterol, they clean your blood, they help your body detox through supporting improved liver, gall bladder, & kidney functions, they are known to promote healthy intestinal flora, and can even help prevent cancer.

They are rich in chlorophyll which alkalinizes the blood. A lot of disease and health issues are related to inflammation in the body, so this is a really important aspect of their benefits.

They are rich sources of Vitamins A, C, E, & K. They are an abundance source of phytochemicals, and provide you with great fiber as well. Fiber = a happy colon :)

Examples of dark leafy green vegetables to consider are kale, bok choy, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula, spinach, romaine, dandelion greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe, watercress, endive, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnip greens, and swiss chard.

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How to eat dark leafy greens?

I think that like most things in life we tend to get into habits or routines, and the food we eat is not exception. I encourage you to try new things & mix it up a bit! If you try 1 new green, or one new way of eating greens per week, in a few months, you’ll have 12 news ways to eat greens in your repertoire! Sure, you maybe won’t like some as much, but hang onto the ones that you love and keep experimenting.

If you are not used to eating a lot of greens, adding them into your diet daily can make significant changes for you. Because they are nutritional powerhouses, you get a lot of energy from eating them. You may notice more sustained energy if you have a hearty smoothy in the morning loaded with greens vs the morning muffin that will send your energy crashing soon after you eat it.

You may have improved digestion and elimination from the added fiber in your diet. Some people even experience weight loss simply from adding greens in daily.  If you are adding a serving or two of greens per day, you are most likely crowding something less nutritious out of your diet!

So here is my challenge to you: If you think you could stand to add more greens into your diet, pick one new dark leafy green to you, or one new way of preparing greens per week. Keep this up for a few months, and I guarantee you will end up in the habit of eating more, and you’ll have more ways that you enjoy them. Enjoying them is really the ticket in. Find the ways you like to eat them, and know that the more you eat, the better they will taste to you! Before you know it, you’ll be eating greens every day! Even craving them! 

How I eat my greens changes over time as I like to experiment a lot in the kitchen, but I’d like to share with you my current top 5 favorite ways to eat greens. I make sure that they are in my diet in some way daily! If you scroll to the bottom, you'll find my current favorites. 

I hope this inspires you to get your greens in! Remember that good habits take time to form. Baby steps towards eating healthier is far more sustainable than trying to change it all overnight. Be gentle with yourself, and celebrate the small changes that you make!

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite ways to get dark leafy greens in your diet. Please feel free to share in the comments!

Wishing you wellness,

Shelly

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 My top 5 favorite ways to eat my greens:

#1 - Greens & eggs! Sauté onions, garlic, & greens in olive oil on medium heat.  When they are ready, push them to one side of the pan then add beaten eggs to the pan, scramble with some pink salt & pepper. when the eggs are about done, I mix it all together. Delish! And not just good for breakfast. I’ll eat this for lunch or dinner too :)

*Any greens work, although I’m not fond of cabbage with eggs.

*I LOVE using my cast iron skillet for this. 

* If using broccoli or brussel sprouts start them with the onions & garlic. If you are using heartier green like kale add it in when the onions & garlic are cooked about 1/2 way. For softer greens like spinach, I cook the onion & garlic first and I give the spinach no more than a minute in the skillet before pushing aside and pouring the eggs. 

*To take this to the next level, I’ll top the scramble with avocado chunks, fresh basil, & crumbled goat cheese (my current fav) or salsa & avocado.

 

#2 Steamed Chard with toasted sesame oil, raw cashews, and pink salt.

Remove the stems & chop or tear chard into large pieces. Steam for about 3-4 minutes. Remove with tongs to a large bowl. Drizzle toasted sesame oil (to taste) a bit at a time and toss. Pinch in pink salt (to taste). When sesame oil and salt are to taste, plate up and top with chopped raw cashews. 

*This is SUCH a favorite of mine. I sometimes crave this and will eat a really large pile for dinner with a good piece of sprouted grain toast.

*Sesame oil is a source of good fats, similar to olive oil.

*Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and toasted almond slivers also work great to top them!

*Gomasio is a great addition to this as well, and would replace the pink salt. 

 

#3 Smoothies. My smoothies are almost always different, but they almost always have greens of some kind in. There is a plethora of recipes out there. I always suggest experimenting with things you love. And always add some greens 😃 I also add extra greens into my smoothies via spirulina powder, and various other green powders. My basic smoothie often contains 1/2 banana, apple, berries, almond or hemp milk & greens. 

 

#4 Stirfrys, Curries, and Soups. Whenever you are making any variations of these dishes, be sure to add some greens in! ANY Stir fry, curry, or soup can only benefit from adding some dark leafy green, not just in nutrition & health benefits, but taste as well! Try not to get hung up on how you’ve always cooked something. Add kale to a simple thai curry, or a big handful of spinach into some soup the last minute it’s on the stove, right before it’s served so that it just gently wilts and tastes so fresh & delicious! 

 

#5 Salads! Of course, but I had to mention it. The possibilities are endless. If you feel bored with salad, I recommend looking up some new recipes! Make something totally out of your ordinary to mix it up a bit! The combinations and flavors are literally endless. 

 

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Amaranth For Breakfast

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Amaranth For Breakfast

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Home cooked meals with friends are priceless for me.  Besides it being good quality time, It’s often how I get turned on to new favorite foods! It’s so easy to get stuck in the rut of eating your same favorite foods all of the time, until they are no longer favorites and you are just bored with them. I don’t believe we should ever be bored with food. There’s too many amazing options! Spend time with your foodie friends in your kitchens, and their favorites can quickly become yours & vice-versa.
I credit my friend Nikki for turning me onto amaranth, which was a staple food for ancient aztecs. It’s currently one of my favorite breakfasts, and I want to share it with you!
Like quinoa, amaranth is often referred to as a grain, but technically is a seed. Also like Quinoa, it’s a great source of protein, including two essential amino acids, lysine and methionine, making it a complete protein.  Amaranth also provides your body with iron, magnesium, B-6, calcium, and fiber. It’s a great gluten free choice for people avoiding gluten in their diet, and is easily digestible to boot!
My latest favorite breakfast is cooked amaranth with peanut butter, banana, a touch of maple syrup, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
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 1 & 1/2 Cup water to 1/2 cup amaranth
Cooking time 20-25 minutes
For breakfast, I like the amaranth to be a porridge consistency, so I use 1&1/2 c water to 1/2 cup amaranth. Feel free to add a little more water if you want it even more porridge like. You would use a little less, if you are wanting to have a fluffy grain as a side dish.
Combine amaranth with water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to 20 minutes, until water is absorbed.
When the Amaranth is done, I stir in a spoonful of peanut butter, add some sliced banana, and a sprinkling of cinnamon of you like.  It is delicious! The combination of the amaranth & peanut butter is deliciously creamy. Since I think bananas are the perfect combo with peanut butter and they add some sweetness,  my mouth is really happy! If you have a sweet tooth, adding just a touch of maple syrup is delicious too.  This is a hearty breakfast packed with protein, and a  bowl of this will easily keep me satisfied until lunch!
I’m a huge fan of the peanut butter & banana combo, but feel free to experiment with almond butter or other nut butters, as well as adding any other fruit, dried fruit, nuts & seeds, or cinnamon.
Enjoy!
Shelly

Amaranth breakfast with peanut butter, banana, maple syrup, & cinnamon.

Nutrition Facts
Amaranth grain, cooked
Amount Per
1 cup (246 g)
Calories 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3.9 g 6%
Sodium 15 mg 0%
Potassium 332 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 46 g 15%
Dietary fiber 5 g 20%
Protein 9 g 18%
Calcium 11% Iron 28%
Vitamin B-6 15% Magnesium 40%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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