By: Alison Marras
January 8, 2015
(updated October 22, 2020)
We all know greens are important, but do we know why? A few months ago, I posted about Alkaline foods and what getting your body alkaline means. It’s in short, a way to introduce more oxygen into your body through a plant-based and heavy on the veggies diet. Eating and living this way can be seen from two angles- to heal or reverse sickness, or to maintain and prevent sickness. Sicknesses such as: cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, alzheimer’s, and diabetes just to name a few. We’ve known this forever, but have lost our way (to put it mildly). I’ll spare you a rant on clean eating because if you’re here, you know it holds some significance to you and you know you’re going to be the change you want to see in this world. One broccoli floret at a time!
So, we’ve established that eating green leafy vegetables is important… How do we make that a priority in our everyday lives? We all have a ton of important things to do everyday. Trying to keep track of all we need to do, no matter how efficient your day planner or to do list app is, can still get overwhelming sometimes. And unfortunately, our own health or own well-being often gets dropped to the bottom of our ‘to-do’ list when we don’t see an easy way to incorporate these wonderful things we should be doing for ourselves. Through my own ups and downs and challenges with that through the years, I’ve found two keys to minimizing that:
1- Don’t be so dang hard on yourself!
There is a wealth of information out there. It’s overwhelming in itself. “Do this, drink that, workout X times a week, less this, more that” – are you fed up yet?! Who do you even listen to or trust anymore? The quick answer: Your own body. Body knows best… Learning to listen to it in a noisy world is another story, but you can do it. And the fact that you’re thinking about it and are serious about it to try– is already commendable. Kicking yourself for mistakes or missing a gym class, is not what you need. So stop or you may associate doing great things for yourself as a chore with consequences when it’s not done perfectly 100% of the time. Sh*t happens, move on and get it right tomorrow. NEXT!
2- Make it easy and delicious… Or you won’t do it.
Resolving to get more greens into your everyday by keeping in mind all the options you have– makes it a lot more attainable. It also needs to taste delicious, and I’m sure as a kid… being stuck at the dinner table to finish your vegetables may not have been the highlight of your evenings (or maybe it did, and if so, kudos.) — but the bottom line is, with all the amazing recipes out there now-at-days and all the creativity, you CAN and WILL find recipes that will have you CRAVING vegetables that take over your plate, and before you know it… replacing things that your body just might not need much of anymore. Think of it as natural selection… hehe. That brings me to some tips on making it easy!
So we’ve talked about the WHAT and the WHY, let’s talk about the HOW:
TIP ONE: Get daily greens in… a cup
By now, you’ve likely come into contact or near contact with a green juice in your life. If not, you should definitely give it a go. You do not need to be cleansing or detoxing to slurp one up- raw greens broken up in a juice or smoothie is like a shot of energy to the system! It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients if you own a blender, bullet or juicer- you can and should make your own. That way you control the ingredients to your own liking and it’s a great way to use up some of that kale in the fridge. It’s extra refreshing and tasty with: lemon, ginger and even turmeric. My favorite fruits to add are hands down: pineapple (frozen or fresh), an apple or pear. But I just pick one, because it’s a greens veggie predominant juice (a little fruit goes a long way). Here are some of my go-to’s for inspiration, but getting creative is half the fun. So you should absolutely experiment with what you have handy, is in season, and with what you find tasty!
My Favorite Simple 8oz. Green Juice:
If cucumber is in season, throw some of that in there too. Celery? Always welcomed. This is my base that I start with and take it from there. I’ve had a lot of juices with twice the amount of ingredients, and it sometimes ends up being too much sugar or too many carbs for what works for me, so I like to keep it simple and I keep it to 8oz. when it’s being used as a snack or a side to my breakfast.
If you have a store nearby that sells cold-pressed or regular juices- that’s great for convenience too, but I’ve spent as much as $12 on a cold-pressed bottle before, and yes, it was amazing BUT that is an expensive habit and it’s way more cost-effective to try it on your own. I drink juices usually in the beginning half of the day as a drink with breakfast or an afternoon pick me up. It makes a great snack.
Bullet type blenders are excellent for quick juices or smoothies, they’re also very cost-effective. That’s a great starter option and you can often use it for soups, dips, and other minor food processing work so your dollar goes a long way!
High performance blenders can be a bit pricier but are a wonderful investment. I just recently got one, and it does EVERYTHING. Soups, smoothies, nut butters, juices, plant-based milks, etc. It handles everything very well. Depending on the ingredients, you may (like with any non-juicer) want to use a strainer to make a smoother juice which I do use sometimes. Play with it!
Juicers are great for juicing alone, and you have a couple of options – the ‘cold-pressed’ route or the more traditional centrifugal route. Here is a good resource for determining what might be right for you, but make sure you have a blender for the smoothies 😉
Smoothies I usually pack with more stuff like almond or hemp milk, maybe some protein powder, bananas, etc. so that’s usually filling enough to be my breakfast with a little coffee. Test out to see what satisfies you.
Try my favorite… Green Galaxy Smoothie
TIP TWO: Get daily greens on the go
We talked about buying juices and that is definitely a good option for on-the-go but it won’t be accessible everywhere you go. I’m lucky to live in NYC where there are juices in any neighborhood I go to, but if I’m traveling… forget it, it’s anybody’s guess. So I like to be prepared. Clearly packing a homemade green juice in a tightly sealed mason jar can work for about a day (for freshness) but if I’m going on a flight where they’d toss my precious green juice OR I’m on an extended trip and want my daily greens that I can depend on… Im packing my Aloha daily greens pack.
Powders like these are perfect for travel. These were specifically made for convenience and they SO are. They’re in my luggage on every trip and never disappoint. Simply mix with your favorite milk or even water- BOOM, green smoothie. My favorite is chocolate because it’s like an adult milkshake 🙂 Much better than a crappy airplane snack that’s going to make me sick and sluggish for the remaining hours of my flight.
TIP THREE: Get daily greens on a fork (or spoon)
Eating greens! Of course! Raw or cooked – you’re getting a wealth of nutrients regardless. Some are best raw and some are better cooked actually… so you get to have fun with both.
One rule of thumb, boiling – not really bueno… a lot of the nutrients stay in that water. So go for: raw salads, sautéed greens, soups where you’re drinking the water too, lightly steamed, and roasted for amazing flavor. Another ‘freshness-seasonality’ rule of thumb I follow is: Spinach in the warmer months, kale in the colder months (unless it’s frozen spinach in the winter). You’ve got that memorized now, right? I also adore arugula in the spring and summer, and of course any kind of lettuce when it’s available, but I’m just scratching the surface with all the options you have – keep this in your back pocket.
For kale… The best raw salad advice I can give is to MASSAGE THAT! It tastes better, the texture is better and it digests easier. All you do is chop, cut or rip your kale into bite-size pieces or even smaller… Then pour over a little olive oil and start massaging like its had a rough day. You can stop when all leaves are coated and taste test. It can take about 5 minutes. It’s also a free manicure. BOOM.
Pictured above, I have dandelion greens which are SO healthy, it’s ridiculous. I also find them to taste bitter so sautéing with some olive oil, salt and pepper until it’s nice and wilted is ideal. This is probably my favorite way to have cooked greens, add onion, shallots, garlic and more to jazz it up too. It makes a great side dish or base. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice to serve and add your favorite protein for a perfect dish. Sauté kale and spinach the same way. Here is a ‘non-recipe’ recipe to follow for anything you have on hand- this is your answer to weeknight dinner, folks!!
And there you have it. 3 easy ways to easily get your daily greens. These have definitely worked for me and have made a big difference. Trying any or all of these tips should help you add more greens to your diet to the point you won’t even have to think about it anymore. Leaving you free to daydream about that trip that isn’t in frigid winter weather and how good you’re going to feel and look!! GET IT.
Happy AND HEALTHY New Year, guys! Xo
P.S. FACT- Greens cure Mercury Retrograde too. So. Get on that.
Use #foodbymars to tag your FBM inspired creations! I’d love to see!
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