in depth


Go for the Greens

Leafy Vegetable Nutrition

Green means goand not just at the traffic light. The energy of the color signifies a positive action, as well as freshness, growth and abundance. Think about the earth, Mother Nature, green trees, green grass…the color green is rarely linked to anything that is not good for us. The word “green” is closely related to the old English verb, growan, which means “to grow.” Therefore, eating greens is one of the most important things you can do nutritionally for your body.

When I say greens, I mean leafy ones…kale, spinach, chard, collards, baby greens…all those fluffy, cholorphyll-filled beauties that we often use as a simple garnish. But greens are so much more than just a filler salad. Combined with whole grains and legumes, greens bring color, energy and fiber to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Greens pack a real nutritional punch!

Consider this: Dr. Joel Furhman, author of Eat to Live, created a way to measure the nutritional value of food, called the Aggregated Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). Developed and implemented by Whole Foods, this index rates the nutrient density of all the foods we consume. At the top of the list are kale and most dark greens, such as collards, bok choy, spinach, arugula, and romaine. In fact, kale rates a whopping 1,000, which means it is the most nutrient-dense of all foods.

Greens are versatile and easy to incorporate into almost every meal. I love blending fresh spinach in my morning smoothie. Raw leafy green salads become a meal…just add steamed beets, garbanzo beans and some feta cheese. Sauté bok choy with arugula and chard and add spinach or parsley to your fresh juice. I love to stir fry greens or blend them into a rich, winter soup.

Whatever you have to do to get these amazing, healing viridescent beauties into your diet, do it! Greens give you vitality and energy as well as help to protect your body from disease. Get creative, go for the greens and do your body a kindness by giving it such high-nutrient food!

Curried Kale w/Caramelized Shallots & Agave

3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 T coconut oil
1 T curry powder
1 T agave nectar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 bunch kale (about 4 oz), stems removed and chopped into large pieces
2 T tamari or nama shoyu
2 T water

Heat oil over medium heat, add shallots and sauté until dark brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in curry powder, agave and lemon juice. Add kale, soy sauce and water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until kale is still chewy but tender. Do not overcook.

Video: Creamy Tahini Kale with Yogamint’s Food and Flow team

Green Berrie Smoothie Green Berrie Smoothie (138 KB)

Melissa Costello
Karma Chow, Author of The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook: 125+ Delectable Plant-Based Vegan Recipes for a Fit, Happy, Healthy You
Recipe photo by Erika Kerekes

Recommended: Greens Glorious Greens: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens by Johnna Albi


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