Do you remember when I made my big confession, right here a few months ago? You know, about not really liking kale? In case you missed that big moment, here it is again http://www.fitbodynutrition.ca/blog/fibre/230 That was a turning point! Since then, kale chips have become a norm in our household.
If there’s one consistent thing that I tell all my clients and all my friends, it’s that just about everyone should eat more greens. My kids definitely hear this more often than they’d like but the good news is even they’ve jumped onto the kale chip bandwagon!
Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. This simply means you get way more bang for your buck when you load up your plate with spinach, swiss chard, rapini, arugula, romaine, bok choy and, of course, kale. When so much of our diet can be nutritionally empty and leave our bodies starving for more nutrients, adding a cup or two of these green gems to your daily diet goes a long way in promoting your health and boosting your energy.
A few facts and reminders:
- Did you know that leafy greens are a great source of easily digested and assimilated protein? While it is true you’d have to eat a bucket-load to match the amount of protein in a chunk of steak, most of us don’t need as much protein as we’ve been led to believe. Greens such as romaine and spinach contain all 8 essential amino acids, which means they help balance your blood sugar and give you long lasting energy. Another great reason to keep drinking those green smoothies!
- The typical North American diet and lifestyle are very acidic. Stress, processed foods, coffee, even intense exercise all contribute to an acidic state. In turn, this can open the door to a variety of disease states, including cancer and osteoporosis. Eating more greens is a huge step in encouraging a more alkaline state in your body.
- If you can believe it, the #1 selling over-the-counter medications North America are laxatives. Most of our diets are woefully lacking in fibre. Insufficient fibre intake has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and colon and breast cancers. What do you get when you eat more greens? One cup of cooked kale = 7 gms fibre and 1 cup of beet greens = 4 gms. Added bonus: all this fibre helps fill you up and then keeps you full, which may just help you win your battle against the bulge.
- Greens are brimming with Vitamins A, C, K, B’s as well as calcium, iron, potassium and even omega-3 fatty acids (did you know that?) When your body is flooded with all those nutrients guess what happens. It’s no longer starving, it goes into balance and your sugar cravings disappear! It’s true, I’ve lived and I’ve witnessed it countless times. Go ahead and try it.
What really inspired the writing of this blog post was the yummy, crunchy, zesty, energizing (and did I say yummy?) salad I had for lunch yesterday. The original recipe comes from Gail, one of the ladies I coach at our local Running Room. Our group often chats about what’s for dinner tonight or what do you like to eat before your run, and increasingly we’ve started sharing recipes. This one is a hit – easy to make, overflowing with nutrients and it looks as beautiful as it tastes.
Tangy Kale Salad
- 3-4 cups of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 beet, grated
- 1/4 cup sliced fresh fennel
- 1/2 green apple, diced
- small handful of raisins and sunflower seeds, to taste
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive or flax oil
- 1 tsp raw honey
Place the first 6 ingredients in a large salad bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, oil and honey. Add to the salad ingredients and toss well. Best if it stands, refrigerated, for about an hour or you can enjoy it immediately.
Please try it! More kale for everyone!