Yep…you do. Trust me on this one. I know, I know…it makes me sound like your mother, getting all up in your business about eating more vegetables when you were a kid. But, unlike your mother, I am not going to make you sit at the table in front of a forlorn plate of cold, pushed-around veggies until you eat them. No…instead I am going to give you some options for getting more of the green stuff into your diet. Because frankly, you really should get more green stuff into your diet (We all should. Seriously). And more to the point, we all like options.
Why, you ask? I mean, every self-respecting quack on the block has told you to eat more vegetables, specifically those of the dark, leafy green variety. So isn’t this just another plug for the organic spinach industry? Don’t I get enough already, you ask? I even eat Brussels sprouts…and no one voluntarily eats Brussels sprouts.
But in all honesty, I’m not being paid off by spinach farmers to push their produce…I just sincerely believe in the power of the green to improve your life on a lot of levels. And here’s why: out of all the leafy greens, kale is really a nutritional powerhouse. It is low-calorie and high-fiber. It is high in iron, which helps with the production of hemoglobin, the transport of oxygen (Very important. We like oxygen), and proper liver function. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It supports cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol. On top of all this, it has more calcium than milk.
Need I say more?
Maybe not, but I will. Upping your daily intake of dark leafy greens can help you ward off a number of cancers, building your immune system and providing you with tons of micronutrients essential for the proper functioning of multiple body systems. When you consume more greens–specifically kale–(even in smoothie form, which is better than nothing) you boost your brain health, lower your cholesterol, and support your body’s detoxification system. Not to mention reduce your chances of chronic inflammation, which ultimately leads to degenerative diseases later in life.
Ok, ok…I’ll stop ranting. You’ve got the point by now, I’m sure. So here’s the deal: try incorporating kale into your diet at least two times a week. Once that seems like a breeze, try 3-4 times a week. And if you really get tired of kale’s distinctive, earthy flavor, throw in some spinach or something, or find a high-quality supergreens powder to include in smoothies. These powders are readily available at health food stores, and while I don’t recommend relying on them (fresh is better!), I know we are all busy and sometimes a green smoothie as you’re getting ready to run out the door is all you can manage.
With all this in mind, I’ve included a SUPER easy recipe this week that is a great way to include a little more green in your diet: kale chips. There are several recipes I’ve seen for these, and really, you can put whatever you want on them, but this a basic recipe to get you started. If you buy these in a health food store you will pay anywhere from $5-8 for them, so do yourself a favor and skip the snack aisle…head to the produce section instead and spend your dollars on some fresh kale and make your own.
I think you’ll find this quick chip substitute a simple way to satisfy your “crunch” fix, without all the extra calories and crap you find in regular chips. They’re worth it!
1 bunch kale
fresh parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
–Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
–Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (you can use tin
foil; you can also just grease the pan with a thin layer of
olive or coconut oil).
–Tear the kale leaves into smaller pieces, and discard the
woody stems. Lay them out on the cookie sheet, and drizzle
olive oil. Sprinkle salt and parmesan to taste.
–Bake about 8 minutes, or until browning at the edges; let cool
and store in a ziploc bag.