Green Foods Tips from Drs. Rick and Karin Dina D.C.
Welcome, March! This month has long been associated with the color green, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the appearance of grass through melting snow, and other sure signs indicating that spring is right around the corner. On a culinary note, one of our favorite aspects of spring is the availability of spring greens for our salads and raw recipes. Fortunately, living in California, we have the opportunity to enjoy high quality fresh greens year round.
Green vegetables are some of the most health promoting foods one can consume for a variety of reasons. To name just a few, greens have no cholesterol, are low in total fat but contain the heart healthy omega 3 fat alpha-linolenic acid, are high in fiber, and are a great source of certain vitamins and minerals. Leafy green vegetables, in particular, are a great source of magnesium due to their chlorophyll content, and are generally rich in certain antioxidants such as beta carotene. There is a wide assortment of green vegetables to choose from along with a variety of ways to prepare them.
Here are some of the ways that we enjoy our greens: raw and fresh, steamed, juiced, blended in a green smoothie, and in concentrated powdered form. Eating greens in the fresh, whole and raw form is one of the best ways to consume greens with all of their nutrients and vitality intact. There are a great variety of lettuces and spring greens to choose from to make green salads anything but boring. We also enjoy raw bok choy and Chinese cabbage. We consider a daily extra large salad with plenty of greens to be one of the foundations of our healthful eating program. Our personal salad bowls are the size that most people use as large mixing bowls.
Although there is some nutrient and enzyme loss with steaming, its fiber softening effect can help one consume larger amounts of certain greens such as broccoli, which some people find to be challenging to digest raw. Steaming can also improve the taste of some greens that are too bitter in the raw and fresh form, also allowing for greater consumption and therefore greater benefit. We consider lightly steamed green vegetables, especially when consumed in conjunction with plenty of raw vegetables, to be some of the most healthful foods one can consume, far healthier even than many raw foods, all things considered.
Juicing is another great way to enjoy greens quickly and easily. We like to use greens such as kale or Swiss chard as the basis of our juices, and then add appropriate amounts of celery, cucumber, and a little bit of carrot to make a juice that is as incredibly delicious and it is health promoting.
Greens blended into fruit smoothies can be amazingly good as well. Our personal favorite green smoothie consists of fresh orange juice and ripe bananas, frozen mangoes, and several large leaves of kale. If you add extra frozen mango to a high powered blender you can create a very thick consistency that is best consumed with a bowl and spoon. We consume several of these delicious creations every week.
We find consuming green foods in their concentrated powdered form to be a very convenient way to enjoy nutrient dense greens, with a variety of benefits to consider. Good powdered green products often contain a wide variety of land vegetables, sea vegetables and grasses, as well as a variety of other healthful ingredients. They can offer a synergistic nutrient profile beyond what one would find in any one particular green, or even in a variety of greens that one might find in their local area. We find the convenience factor of powdered greens invaluable when we are teaching on the road, and for those busy days when time does not allow for the consumption of greens in other forms. Powdered greens can also be very useful for people who live in areas where year round access to fresh greens is challenging.
So for March, and for all the other months of the year for that matter, GO GREEN! You will be glad you did.
Drs. Karin and Rick Dina, D.C.