Grow & Eat Green this Spring!
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hall Borland
Welcome to Spring, the season of greens. When you hear “leafy green vegetables,” you may think of iceberg lettuce, but the ordinary, pale lettuce in restaurant salads doesn’t always have the nutrient-dense goodness of other greens such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Spring is the ideal time to introduce more power-packed vegetables into your diet. It’s nature’s time of rebirth, and the greens that grow during spring are designed to rejuvenate and cleanse your body.
This season is also my absolute favorite time to cleanse and detoxify, and I invite you to join me in my whole-food, 14-Day Transformation focusing on spring’s naturally detoxifying greens this season offers us. Find out more here!
Leafy green health benefits include everything from improving circulation and liver function to strengthening the immune system, clearing congestion, and promoting healthy gut flora. Greens provide a whole host of valuable nutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients.
Chlorophyll (found in all green vegetables) is a powerful blood builder akin to liquid oxygen! If you need to increase your calcium intake, leafy greens are a great alternative to milk because they don’t promote an acidic state in the body. Greens with significant amounts of calcium include: cooked beet greens, kale, dandelion greens, collards, parsley, and watercress.
Prepare your greens steaming, boiling, sautéing in water or oil, waterless cooking or lightly pickling, as in a pressed salad. Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for less than a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. If you’re using organic greens, you can also drink the water from cooking as a healthy broth or tea.
Get into the habit of adding the following leafy green veggies to your daily diet, and notice what happens to your energy levels, your complexion, and your waistline! If you have a garden bed or a container, use the tips provided below:
- Tolerates partial shade and a range of soils
- Keep soil consistently moist
- “Bright Lights” rainbow variety is beautiful
- Leaves AND stems are edible
- Enjoy raw or cooked
- Mild flavor when cooked; a tad bitter when raw due to oxalic acid content
- Adds zest to omelets and frittatas
Note: If you have problems with your kidneys or gallbladder, Swiss chard, spinach, and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalates. Cook with tofu, seeds, nuts, beans, butter, animal products, or oil to help balance the oxalic acid.
- Does best in moist, nitrogen-rich soil
- Cool-weather crop; tolerates partial shade and will bolt in hot temps
- Plants form a deep taproot; loosen soil at least 1 foot before planting
- Enjoy raw (baby leaves) or cooked (mature leaves)
- Toasted pine nuts and golden raisins taste great with cooked spinach
- Drink a spinach and frozen organic berry Superfood smoothie
- Grow the same way as cabbage
- Space plants 8–12 inches apart in the row and 12 inches between rows
- Harvest entire small heads or larger individual leaves
- Leaves and stalk are edible
- Lends itself to quick cooking techniques like stir-frying
- Delicious when added to soups or one-pot dishes
- Pairs well with tamari, shoyu, toasted sesame oil, and hot red peppers
- Direct seed or put in transplants
- Varieties include curly, lacinato (dinosaur), and red russian
- Rich soil promotes a faster-growing, more tender crop
- Harvest outer leaves or lower leaves and the plant will continue to grow
- Strip leaves from stems by pulling your hand down the rib
- Kale chips are a delicious—highly nutritious—alternative to potato chips
- Retain bright color by cooking in boiling water for 4 minutes; drizzle with lemon-tahini dressing
- For raw kale salad, massage chopped kale with lemon juice and sea salt to break it down
SALAD MIX / LETTUCE
- Many different varieties: From romaine and butterhead to mesclun mix
- Will do well with only 5 or more hours of sunlight a day
- Grows easily in containers
- Pick when young for best-tasting lettuce; older leaves tend to taste bitter
- Get creative with dressings and mixing different types of lettuces (i.e.: spicy varieties with mellow varieties)
- Use lettuce leaves as wraps for other food
- You can cook lettuce, too—sauté or stir-fry it if you find you have a surplus!
ARE YOU READY FOR A TRANSFORMATION THIS SPRING?
As I mentioned before, in my 14-Day Transformation, you’ll shrug off the winter blues and emerge feeling as bright and fresh as the spring season itself. We’ll incorporate lots of cleansing greens discussed above, as well as lifestyle tips to jump start metabolism for the upcoming summer season.
During this 2-week experience, you’ll receive one-on-one support from me as well as a wellness bag of essential, nutritional products to help you along with way!
To your good health,