Everybody knows they should be eating more vegetables, in particular leafy greens, but it can be difficult to stomach green stuff on its own. It’s worth it, though; as well as being full of iron, they also have high levels of vitamin K to prevent age-related conditions developing, can reduce cholesterol, and have more protein per gram than meat. The more bitter a green veg is, the more calcium it contains, meaning it’s perfect for keeping bones strong. The jury’s out on whether greens help to prevent cancer, but as some studies indicate yes it’s in our best interests to aim for a couple of portions a day.
Lots of green food is classed as a superfood, too – chlorella, spirulina and wheatgrass are words you’ll oft-hear in health circles, and for good reason. They contain the most concentrated levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, as well as having their own unique benefits (did you know that studies have shown that spirulina can help control blood sugar levels? Now you do!). It can be difficult – and expensive – to get enough leafy greens and green superfoods into our diets, so I thought I’d share my strategy for getting as much green is as possible.
Blend your greens into a smoothie or juice, mix it into an omelette or hide it inside pasta sauces. Okay, it’s a bit of a giveaway as whichever vehicle you are using will more than likely turn bright green – and green omelettes definitely take a bit of getting used to – but after the first bite or sip you barely even realise the green-ness is there. I like to hide the taste with sharp flavours, like lime or pineapple in smoothies, or turmeric and cumin in sauces; in the below smoothie I even added half an avocado which made the smoothie really thick. You can hardly mistake it for a milkshake but it tasted like a treat nonetheless!
I LOVE broccoli, Brussels sprouts, marrowfat peas, raw spinach, and kale crisps, so I use them in as many meals and in as large a quantity as possible. In fact, the other day I had such an enormous pile of sprouts on my plate that I just couldn’t finish them, which is saying a lot for me. Find the green veg you love then use it aaall the time. If you’re a green hater, are you sure you’ve tried all of them, in all of their forms? How about Swiss chard, artichoke hearts, okra..? The latter is an acquired taste, but worth a shot at least.
I’ve long since added wheatgrass powder to smoothies, and I look forward to the day I can buy afford all sorts of different superfood powders for different jobs, but for now I’ve found an even easier way to get extra greens into my diet – MyVitamins Total Nutri-greens tablets*. These bad boys contain spirulina, wheatgrass, alfalfa, chlorella, spinach, and broccoli, amongst others, so they cover a lot of superfood bases. The package recommends 2-3 tablets three times a day with a meal, which seems a little excessive as they’re big, chalky tablets, so I’ve been taking one at breakfast and one at lunch. Makes sense to me as they’re just an addition to my all-round healthy diet, which is what any supplement or vitamin should be.
I’ve been feeling good lately, but whether I can attribute it to the higher level of green stuff in my diet, I don’t know. I do know that getting in my quota of greens each day makes me feel better about the occasional burger or chocolate bar!