It's cabinetry installation day at my #foodstudio - my heart is pounding http://t.co/TiXQLYT0df
When your mum used to say to you “Eat all your veggies!” it was for a good reason. Vegetables are a must that should be included your diet to keep you feeling healthy and fabulous. Not only are vegetables rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins, but for those wanting to look as good as they feel, vegetables are low in calories, excellent energy sources, and help maintain a healthy weight.
That’s why it pains me when I often hear that people throw out the stems, tops and skins of their fruits and veggies. You may not realize it, but they usually carry more nutrients than the fruit or vegetable themselves. If you’re going out of your way already to buy beautiful, fresh, or even local and organic produce, then why waste the most nutritious parts? Unless you are composting – you’re getting rid of essential nutrients that could be benefiting you.
Most stems, skins, and even leafy tops to fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber and nutrients. Since the stem is the component that’s rooted in the soil, it contains more substantial vitamins and nutrients. For vegetables such as kale, collards, parsley and swiss chard – don’t get rid of those precious stems!
Then there’s the tops. This is for vegetables like beets, carrots, or any other vegetable that sprouts a leaf or anything green. This is indicating that the vegetable is full of vibrancy and nutrients, so don’t just cut them off and toss them into the garbage. They’re very useful and can be a great contribution to your diet.
The skin of most fruits and vegetables such as apples, oranges, potatoes, squashes and even kiwi, contain antioxidants, fiber and other health promoting properties.
What can you do with your leftover stems, tops, and skins?
Depending on the type of fruit or vegetable – whether it’s a leafy green or root veggie – there are different uses for them.
Uses and benefits for your stems, tops, and skins
- Stems make a great the base to a stir-fry. Add in broccoli and swiss chard stems at the beginning along with your onions and celery. That way they can soften and absorb lots of flavour.
- Stems make are great for the base for a soup stock (collard stems, kale stems, parsley stems). Let them infuse in your water for an hour or so and then remove. They will leach all of their nutrients into your soup stock.
- The skins from citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids, which are amazing antioxidants. Use the zest of an orange into a cookie, muffin or yogurt.
- Put the stems and skins of any fruit and vegetable through your juicer. From collards, kale, broccoli and chard to carrots, beets and apples.
- Bake your potatoes and squash with the skins on. Potatoes skins have potassium, iron, and vitamin C.
- Use the tops of beets and stems of swiss chard to make a wonderful and colourful side dish. Beetroot tops are loaded with calcium, magnesium and iron.
Garlicky Green Stem Sautee
3 cloves of garlic
2 large bunches of whole beet root tops and swiss chard
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
How you make it!
- Fold green leaves in half lengthwise and cut away the leaf from the inner ribs or stem.
- Chop up the stems into small pieces and set aside.
- Pile about 5-6 leaves on top of one another, and roll into a tight roll
- Starting at the top and cutting across the leaves, slice the leaves into needle thin strips.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the stems, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add in the green leaves and cook until they are bright green, and are just short of their wilting point.
Spring is finally here! With the trees and flowers inspiring a fresh, new change of environment, you may be considering giving your body a fresh, new change as well. Cleansing your body is one of the great natural “makeovers” you can do to feel good both inside and out. Approaching a cleanse in a healthy way can help you reestablish a baseline and allow your cells and organs to function at their optimum potential. Cleansing also allows you introduce “healthy”, organic and fresh foods in your diet – giving your digestive system a break and purifying your blood.
Contrary to mainstream belief, cleansing isn’t about depriving your body of food. Instead, it’s a chance to re-train your tongue to acquire the delicious taste for whole foods in their natural state. It’s safe to do a one or two-day juice fast (if you feel up to it) but it’s not necessary. Focus more on eating fresh whole foods as the basis of all your meals. Eating more salads, drinking more smoothies and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day will leave you feeling pure and energized. At the very least start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice to get the process going – this is the easiest and best thing you can do to start your cleanse.
Why Should You Cleanse?
- To help the body as it neutralizes and eliminates toxins though the major organs such as our colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph and skin – our bodies do it everyday! But if our self-cleansing system is overloaded by our unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, it becomes difficult to do it’s own.
- There are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body – (processed, packaged foods, the environment/pollution/ chemicals in the home –shampoo, makeup, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergent etc…). If you give your body a little break from these “toxins”, I can attest to the feeling of feeling much better than not cleansing.
- We have limited control over the environment that we are exposed to – however, we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes. So make new, fresh, and healthy choices with what you’re eating!
- We are over chemicalized, through our diet (animal protein, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol and sugar) and through the environment. Even if your diet is good, a cleanse can restore your immune system and protect against environmental toxins that pave the way for disease bearing bacteria, viruses and parasites.
What you can do (for maximum results):
- Eliminate: bleached and refined flours
Choose: whole grains or gluten free grains
- Eliminate: Refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup)
Choose: natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
- Eliminate: Table salt
Choose sea salt instead
- Eliminate: Trans fats and refined oils (processed corn, canola, sunflower)
Choose: olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil and coconut oil
- Eliminate or Reduce: Meats treated with hormones or antibiotics, farmed fish
Choose: organic and wild varieties and keep to a minimum
- Eliminate: Foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides
Choose: local and organic varieties
- Eliminate: Conventional Dairy products
Choose: organic varieties, goats and sheep’s milk or eliminate and use alternatives like hemp, rice and almond milk
- Avoid: Genetically modified foods and oils (make sure it is labeled, such as “non- GMO”)
- Avoid: Additives and preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, flavorings and colourings) Read your food labels!
- Avoid: Fast foods, fried foods
- Avoid: Sodas, juices with added sugar
- Avoid: Coffee, cigarettes and alcohol
The bottom line is to eat whole foods, fresh foods, lots of green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, whole and sprouted grains, nuts seeds and other healthy oils. These foods should make up the bulk of your diet. Fill in the gaps with herbal tea, fresh lemon water and you’re on your way to superior health!
To find out more about how to transition your diet and learn how to eat whole foods join my Raw Rejuvenation Retreat in Collingwood Ontario this May 2012. There are a few spots left for some lucky participants and early bird rates are currently available! You can also see me on my last Rejuvenation retreat to get a taste.
Kale Slaw Salad
What’s in it:
1 bunch if kale (any variety), chopped into bite size piece with rib removed
1 head red cabbage, shredded2 carrots, shredded
1 beet shredded
2 tbsp hemp seeds
½ cup olive oil or hemp oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2-4 tablespoons raw unpasteurized honey
1 tsp sea salt
How It’s Made
1. Shred the cabbage, carrots, beets and fennel in a food processor with shredding blade or
use a mandolin or hand slice into thin strips.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss in all the raw vegetable ingredients (except the hemp seeds).
3. In a separate bowl mix together the vinaigrette.
4. Combine vinaigrette with raw veggies and toss together until the cabbage and kale are
5. Allow salad to marinate in fridge for a few minutes – or up to an hour, mixing in the hemp
seeds just before serving.
Marni’s Delicious Knowledge:
Full of colour, texture and flavour – this is a highly nutritious salad, especially when it is topped with
mung bean sprouts! PS… the longer it marinates the better it tastes!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Cleansing with Superfoods e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
Have I shared my love for this? Vega Sport Preworkout mix beats any Gatorade or sports drink + combined with Vitamineral Greens it’s the perfect pick me up in the morning. which I could say it was completely caffeine free, but it has yerba mate and green tea, which are low level stimulants (meaning they give you a kick in the pant without make your feel fidgety and cause you to crash).
I have the absolute best energy, mental clarity and focus when I drink this stuff! Here’s a few reasons why:
Coconut oil – A healthy fat that is used almost immediately for energy. This type of fat (medium chain triglycerides) goes directly to the liver to be used for fuel rather than taking hours to digest.
Rhodiola – helps to increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels. It also helps to speed up recovery by regulating your heart rate and boosting protein synthesis.
Ginger extract – aside from improving digestion (one of ginger’s long-time uses), ginger also helps to reduce inflammation and acts as a natural blood thinner. This is important, because during exercise there is an increase in red blood cells – which makes the blood thicker, and can slow down your recovery.
And these are just a few of the awesome ingredients in this fantastic product. Here’s my morning one-two punch for getting out of pajamas and into my Vibrams:
Workout Booster Recipe
1 cup coconut water or Kiki Maple Water
1 scoop Vega Preworkout Sport Performance Optimizer (Acai Berry flavour is my favourite)
Shake it up, drink it down and get to work! For more healthy, energy-boosting fitness recipes, come to one of my Fit and Fabulous cooking classes! It’s my first class back on September 12, and there is another one on November 7th. It’s also included in my Healthy Healer class package (3 classes, $250, health for a lifetime!) See you there!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Purely Fit e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
You want to know the secret…it’s coconut. A modern day Pad Thai with pure wholesome ingredients and natural condiments. I would have to say it’s been at at least 6 + years since I have eaten a traditional Pad Thai, loaded with low grade oil, fish/oyster sauce and sugar – those ingredients are long gone from my diet. So the time has come to re-create my own version.
Let’s talk about how Coconut plays a role in my version of a Pad Thai. A new line of favourites have made their way to the organic, raw, veggie market place. That is Coconut Secret’s Amino Acids, Vinegar and Nectar. (You can order them in Toronto HERE!) They are raw low glycemic, gluten free and highly nutritious, oh… and make your meals and recipes thrive with unique flavour. Each one has it’s own versatility and use. Coconut Aminos, can replace traditional soy sauce and even natural soy sauce like tamari. I do love tamari, but it is nice to replace it once in a while. Coconut vinegar can be used for salad dressings and sauces basically anywhere that balsamic, brown rice, apple cider vinegar or any acid would be used. Now the Nectar which has truly become one of my new favourite ingredients is amazing to naturally sweeten desserts, pancakes, sauces, dressings, stirred into yogurt or a smoothie. It is light and has a gooey texture that is slightly addicting. They can all be used individually, but I decided to use them all together in a tangy sweet and savoruy Pad Thai sauce, that is truly like no other! As you may or may not know Coconut it’s recognition as a super ingredient, as it it is loaded with essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals to find out more benefits look here.
So that takes care of the sauce…but the base of my pad was none other than one of my other favourite ingredients, kelp noodles. These can be found at several health food stores or restaurants in your local area. They come in a package and need to be soaked to be enjoyed. I took them one step further and threw them into my wok to soak up flavour and soften even more into my delicious Thai sauce. I had only ever eaten them raw before this, and now, I might just reconsider when and where I use rice noodles over kelp noodles! They are extremely light and easy to digest, they have no calories (not that I care), very little flavour and will adapt to any recipe you choose to use them with. So your options are really limitless.
Then I loaded this dish with a combination of veggies that just seemed to work. Sweet potatoes taste good in anything so those went into the pan. There always has to be some green veggies with my meal – so broccoli and kale it was for this one. I am not big on tofu and use it probably once a month if that, but when I do, it’s got to be sprouted and organic – I take no risks when it comes to Soy and GMO’s. Wildwood has a great brand that I actually enjoy. To be honest, Ryan is the one who loves tofu – so the addition was really for him. I am more of a tempeh fan Then I topped everything off with some home sprouted mung beans, loaded with fiber, enzymes, protein and just bursting with crunch -to liven up each bite!
So there you have it. The secret is out. Now I encourage you to make this and report back to me!
Veggie Pad Thai
2 tbsp coconut vinegar
5 tbsp coconut aminos
4 tbsp coconut nectar
2 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, grated
2 cups of yams, cut into thin chunks
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 bunch of kale, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 block of sprouted tofu, cut into cubes (can also use tempeh)
1/2 cup sprouted mung beans
1 package of kelp noodles, rinsed and soaked in water with 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1 package of brown rice noodles
1. In a small bowl, combine the coconut vinegar, aminos and nectar, almond butter and 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Set aside.
2. In a wok, satuey the tofu, garlic, ginger, scallions and yams in 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil for several minutes, stirring to prevent them from sticking.
3. When yams are soft, stir in the broccoli and allow to soften.
4. Pour the sauce and the kelp noodles into the wok, stir to combine and cover for a few minutes to meld together.
5. Add in the chopped kale and allow to wilt for a few minutes, while still remaining green.
6. Gently stir the noodles into the vegetables and sauce to combine. Remove from heat and serve.
Garnish with mung bean sprouts and chopped scallions.
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Veggin’ Comfortably e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
Once upon a cold winter’s day there was a dried little green pea. It wanted so badly to be part of something bigger. So it asked a whole bunch of his friends to join him on a journey. Together they went through a very quick but effective trip where they expanded their horizons and joined forces with other friends (carrots, onions, celery and spices). They decided that in order to transform, they needed to stick together in one cohesive space that would meld and bring them all together. But they couldn’t do it alone – they needed a leader – so the called the “great white” (cauliflower) in to the mix and the green little pea had a natural affinity immediately. All stir up and warmed together – they blended flavours, textures and what came out – only 45 minutes later was a gorgeously thick, creamy, light-green soup.
That’s the story, here are the Cliff notes…
Peas are wonderful for a cold winters’ day soup. There is both green and yellow choose from. Both lend themselves well – it just depends on your mood I suppose. Green peas have a very distinct flavour and they go so nicely with fresh and dried herbs. The benefit of using dried split peas, is that they don’t need to be soaked like other legumes and beans. They simple can cook directly in your soup pot. They need a good hour or so, but they will breakdown and will blend nicely into your soup.
Ever thought of thickening up your soup with cauliflower? Well this is what happened here. Cauliflower can replace potato, flour or any other thickener that would typically be called for or used in a soup. Sometimes it is just that simple to think outside the “potato starch” box. Cut up your cauliflower into little florets they make the perfect addition to any soup that you are going to blend up or puree. They add a healthy dose of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C (see more benefits of cauliflower). Just because it is white – doesn’t mean it lacks nutrients! So make use out of this lovely veggie. It is also a great substitute for mashed potatoes!
So there you have it, the world’s simplest soup. Well not really, but it is pretty easy, all in one pot, warmed, pureed and served!
Just toss in a bit of savoury herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano, dash of salt and pepper…
Split Pea Soup
What’s in it?
2 ½ cups green or yellow split peas
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets or try 1-2 small sweet potatoes if using yellow peas (to thicken and sweeten)
2 celery stalks, chopped
Pinch of rosemary
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch of greens, chopped (kale, spinach or chard)
How it’s made!
- In a large soup pot, put 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the split peas, onion, carrots, cauliflower, celery and herbs. Stir and bring to a boil again.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the peas and vegetables are tender, about an hour. If you prefer a creamy soup, transfer half the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and mix well to combine.
- Stir in your chopped greens into the warm soup and allow them to soften in the pot.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
I think brown rice pasta is totally underestimated. I gets the push over because when whole wheat pasta made it’s way to the market years ago, it wasn’t such an easy transition. Whole wheat pasta is gritty, brown and hard to get down. Where as brown rice pasta is light, soft and much closer to white pasta than anything else. However unlike white pasta, brown rice pasta is loaded with fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and it is also gluten free. It does need a watchful eye while cooking it as these noodles like to stick together! But all in all -you can actually sit down to a whole bowl of it and actually feel energized and great as opposed to sluggish and tired. You will never feel guilty eating pasta again!
I was not much of a pasta eater growing up as I never liked how I felt and yes, I did feel guilty eating a whole bowl of carbs without any substance. But since I have discovered brown rice pasta have a new found love and appreciation for pasta. Now I can happily enjoy it alongside my Italian blooded Fiance!
I have now been using brown rice pasta for years, my cupboards are always stocked with Tinkyada pasta. Whether spirals, penne, fusili – what ever I am feeling, I’ve got it. I then top it with anything from a good homemade tomato sauce or a store bought organic local variety, a green pesto sauce (see recipe below) or just with some olive oil and sea salt. You actually wouldn’t believe how good pasta tastes with just these two other ingredients!
But when I feel like making a full meal out of it, that is colourful and fun, my absolute favourite is making pesto. I am overly spoiled now because I have loads of fresh basil growing in my backyard, which makes this sauce extremely fresh. However you can pretty much always get your hands on a bunch or organic basil. Basil can also be subbed in this recipe for kale, parsley, spinach or arugula. Don’t just get stuck on basil because that is what is traditional (and not to mention delicious) but you can also try some other green herbs every once in a while. Then I like to toss in some white beans or chickpeas, or crumbled goat cheese once in a while to bulk it up and give it extra substance.
I guess the secret is out, brown rice pasta is amazing. If you haven’t tried it already – you will be hooked when you do. there isn’t any family member, friend, class participant or client that hasn’t enjoyed their transition to brown rice pasta. Until you try it yourself you will never know.
Pesto Pasta with Wilted Greens
1 bunch or 2 cups of fresh Basil (or other green)
¼ cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white miso paste (optional) but makes it really “cheesy”
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup pinenuts or walnuts, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
What it goes on!
1 package of Brown Rice or kamut pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of spinach or swiss chard, lightly steamed or sautéed
1 can of white beans or cooked navy beans (optional)
For the Pesto:
- Grind the nuts in food processor; add remaining ingredients and process for a few minutes until well combined.
For the Pasta:
- Boil a pot of water, add sea salt and cook pasta until tender or al dente about 7-10 minutes.
Putting it together:
- In a large pot, on a medium or low heat combine the pesto with the cooked pasta, add in the beans, chard or spinach.
- Stir a few minutes until well combined.
Have you tried Brown Rice Pasta?
What do you like to put on it?
Superfoods are the super-powered heroes of the plant world and they have magical properties. They are healing, rejuvenating and immune boosting. They are loaded with nutrients that truly make you super happy and super healthy. I promise! If you have never tried them you may just have a chance to win one of them free…read on!
I have written many a blog post on superfoods. There are various recipes and articles on these foods right here on my blog. That way I can provide you with as much information and ideas of how to use and consume these foods. Superfoods is such a buzz word these days, and it is important to understand why, when and how to use these foods. But the bottom line is to just get them in!
In David Wolfe’s Superfoods book he goes into detail on each of these superfoods (and so much more). So I encourage you to pick up a copy! It is a really comprehensive book as it gives you a detailed outline of how to use these foods, which are “the most nutritious foods on the planet!” David Wolfe.
Here is a mini outline of some of the top ones…
Goji Berries: Goji berries are the most nutritionally rich berry fruit on the planet. They taste delicious and are well balanced for nearly all body types. They are a complete protein source and contain nineteen different amino acids, trace minerals and vitamins. (also great for vision, libido, hormones and an incredible source of antioxidants)
Cacao: The best natural source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, omega 6 – and chocolate just tastes good!
Spirulina: ancient blue-green algae that is power packed with protein and chlorophyll.
Hempseed: contain all the essential amino acids and fatty acids to maintain human life. Enough said!
Coconuts: The health benefits of coconuts is immense, that I can’t even begin to list them all in one line – but in one sentence as quoted by David Wolfe “Coconut water is the breast milk of mother earth”. That should give you an idea! (Click here for More info!)
Honey: unprocessed honey is natures richest source of live healing enzymes and one of natures sweetest treats!
Superfoods may be new to you, or they may already be a staple in your diet….either way:
Tell me which Superfoods you use, how you use them and why you love them!
If I like what you write, you may just WIN! The best answer will get a pack of Goji Berries – compliments of me!
1. Please Post A Comment Below
2. Post it in on Twitter and Link To this Blog Post
3. Share it on Facebook and Link this Blog Post
4. Share on Your Blog and Link Back to My Blog
RAW WALDORF SALAD
1-4 cups of arugula or mixed greens
¼ cup peeled jicama
3 stalks celery diced or cucumber chunks
1 apple, diced – I like granny smiths
1 cup sunflower sprouts
½ cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp goji berries
1/4 avocado, sliced
Waldorf Dressing – makes over 1 cup
¼ cup hemp oil
2 tbsp raw tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoon tamari
2 tbsp – ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Filtered water (add slowly only if needed without hemp oil)
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour over salad ingredients and toss until well coated.
Learn how to make your next smoothie!
It’s official – making smoothies is my favourite way to start the day!
Also, with spring on the horizon, the desire to eat a heavy meal diminishes. So making a daily batch of liquid goodness seems like the perfect plan!
Not only do refreshing smoothies give you energy first thing in the morning – they are also so much fun to make. Everyday I create a new theme in my blender using different flavours and textures – but they all have one thing in common – they are packed full of raw, organic, fruits, vegetables and superfoods!
Making a smoothie is the easiest way to absorb a whole bunch of nutrients all at once. They can be full of fiber and vitamins and depending on what you put into them you can also get your daily dose of protein, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Why not indulge… and drink your next meal? What could be more delicious than a creamy smoothie that fills you up and gives your body the nutrition and vitality that it requires to thrive? There really is no better answer…so let me tell you five simple reasons why you should be making smoothies and blending your way to health!
Time Saver – Smoothies take all of 5 to 10 minutes to make (depending on how prepared you are), can be taken on the go and will last all day in a stainless steel bottle.
Easy to Absorb – Liquids are easier to digest and allow nutrients to absorb into your cells for immediate uptake.
All -in -One – You can get a “whole” lot of goodness into one blender – Vitamins, protein, carbohydrates and fat!
Super Fun– Enjoy the “process” and get creative with colourful ingredients and textures (add granola and eat it with a spoon!)
Liquid Energy – Use superfoods to give you a boost (no booster juice!!!). Make your own blend and enjoy in the morning, afternoon or pre/post work out!
You are in luck because I have provided simple steps on to make the perfect smoothie every day.
How to blend your way to health:
These can be made in any blender (but a Blendtec is highly recommended!).
- Start with 2 cups of liquid – rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk or coconut water
- Choose your protein (2 tbsp. or more)– raw brown rice protein (I like Sun Warrior), hemp protein, hemp hearts or almonds
- Choose your fruit (1/2 – 1 cup of either)– blueberries, raspberries, banana, mango, avocado or dates
- Choose your green (one handful)– spinach, kale, chard, sprouts, cucumber or (1 tsp) greens powder, spirulina or chlorella
- Choose your superfoods – (1 tablespoon of one or more) goji berries, cacao nibs, maca, mesquite, hemp seeds, raw honey, chia seeds or matcha green tea
Have fun and get creative!
My Article in Tonic Toronto, December 2009 Issue
But Greens are relevant all year round…read on!
My clients always ask me, “if there is one thing I can do to better my health or one food item I can add in that is amazing for me…what is it?” My answer is always greens! If there is any place to start – it is with greens. No matter what your diet currently consists of – whether you are an omnivore, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian (little bit of this and a little bit of that), or raw foodie – it doesn’t matter. Getting your greens in is the first step to optimal and long-lasting health.
Most people do not eat enough green veggies, even though they have immense nutritional value. Recent studies have confirmed that populations with diets rich in green leafy vegetables run a far lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Not to mention that they support bone health, aid in detoxification and are an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber. Leafy green vegetables are one of nature’s richest sources of nutrients, so look beyond spinach and broccoli and get familiar with things like kale, collards, Swiss chard, arugula and bok choy.
Depending on what you like, there are so many ways to get your green veggies in. The good news is that each one offers a very different, unique taste and texture. Even if you have to sneak them into a smoothie for the fussy ones in the family, I promise you – there is always a way!
Whether you are following a vegan diet or just want to take your nutrition to the next level, greens should be an essential component to your day. Choosing a leafy green such as kale, will boost up your meal, give your body an extra dose of much needed calcium, magnesium, iron and fiber, and compliment anything and everything on your plate. Kale is fantastic when it is just lightly steamed, sautéed or chopped up and marinated raw into a salad. They even make great ‘chips’ (see recipe below). This goes for any green by the way, so the possibilities are endless and you really can’t go wrong.
It is very common to get overwhelmed when it comes to greens. My suggestion is to start basic. Pick one new green a week to ‘play’ with until you have found a way for you and your family to enjoy it. The number one complaint is that greens are too bitter. Well, yes collards and kale can be bitter, especially if they are new to your palette. Once you find a way to get them into a meal – whether they are added to a smoothie, tomato sauce, chickpea stew, chunky vegetable soup, grain dish or simply dressed with olive oil and sea salt, there is no turning back. You will be hooked because you will suddenly start to feel better, have more energy and you may even lose weight. That doesn’t sound bad does it?
Experiment with nature’s emerald gems, have fun and to make sure YOU get your greens in everyday. Just remember that a meal isn’t a meal unless there is something green on your plate!
Zesty Kale Chips
- 2 head Kale, washed and torn
- ¾ cup Tahini
- ¼ cup Tamari
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ cup of Nutritional yeast or hemp seeds
Place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. You want this mixture to be glued to the kale.
Place kale onto a Teflex sheet, on top of a mesh dehydrator screen, and dehydrate for 6 hours at 115 degrees F. You’ll need to use two trays. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly.
Place on parchment paper on a sheet tray, and bake on a low temperature for about 30 minutes (or more). Keep an eye on it and turn often to ensure even drying.
~ is a natural personal chef and holistic nutritionist
If you have been reading my blog for over a year then you would remember that I have a garden. Last year was the first year that I had a full edible garden with all the fixings…it was great. The growing beauties in my garden made for amazing local produce in my cooking classes and supplied greens for my morning green juices everyday (all the way until December – can you believe it!). But this year my garden is going to be bigger and better (literally)! I am so excited that I want to share this experience with you – from it’s very early sprouting stages…right now – all they way until its full growth! So right now I have all kinds of goodies germinating and starting to grow – along with a barrier or garlic to protect my little green babies from rabbits, squirrels etc… at least that is what the gardener said – let’s hope it works. I am going to have a full yield most likely starting the end of April – so if you are lucky enough to be attending one of my DELICIOUS COOKING CLASSES this spring and summer- you will have the honour of tasting veggies right from the source! Planted and sprouting so far is radishes, arugula, Swiss chard, parsley, kale, collards, carrots and at least 3 different kinds of lettuce. There is more, I know there is! Of course there is also more to be planted at different stages throughout the season…looking forward to that!
I also have a compost system going in place, so that all the goodies from my organic waste in my kitchen can be recycled right back into the earth as it makes new soil for growing seasons to come. Very exciting!
I can’t emphasize how exciting it is to see growth in my backyard! To be able to harvest and use greens and veggies right away – there is no comparison! I wish I had the knowledge of how to do this myself but luckily I am getting some help. That way hopefully at some point, I will have an understanding of how to do it myself…but for now – I love having the help and the education and I will just need to stick to what I do best – using the veggies from my garden in delicious and nutritious recipes!
April 12th/2010 – Stage 1
Little sprouts of arugula and parsley starting in a mini greenhouse!
Arugula, garlic shoots, and chard starting to pop up
Newest addition to the garden – for more yield to maximize sunlight!
Most herbs will be here, basil, dill, rosemary, thyme
JUNE 2010 UPDATE ON MY GARDEN!!!
Look whats growing….so exciting!
All my herbs and extra lettuce!
New Garden Bed with Lettuce, Cucumber, Kale, Chard, Peas and Stevia
The Main Garden – Zucchini, Lettuces, Kale, Chard, Beets, Cabbage Leaves
I LOVE Golden Beets!
Please let me know if you have a garden or compost!
What are you growing?
What do you love to make, cook, prepare with your organic veggies?