Leafy Green for Springtime Clean

Whew! After all those red beets and red beans, I’m ready for a little green food, aren’t you? Spring has just about sprung where I live and I like to step up the green leafy vegetables around this time of year.

I eat green leafies year-round. Love kale, collards, turnip greens and watercress among others. But this time of year calls for some spring cleaning liver-wise and blood-wise. By that I mean it is time to ingest some foods that will help you clean up any gunk you collected last winter.

There is so much to say about eating greens! They’re full of chlorophyl, minerals and phytonutrients! Do you know what those are?  I like this definition from about.com::

“Definition: Compounds in plants (apart from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients) that have a beneficial effect the body. There are over 10,000 of them, and they have effects such as antioxidant, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and cellular repair. Highly colored vegetables and fruits tend to be highest in these chemicals, but tea, chocolate, nuts, flax seeds, and olive oil are all excellent sources as well. Various families of plants tend towards certain families of phytonutrients, for example, orange foods tend to have the caretenoid group.”

Wow! Over 10,000? That’s right. And there’s no way you are going to know all of them and get them through some kind of vitamin pill.

What I’m here to tell you about today is that eating dark leafy greens every day will give your system a cleansing and besides, they are deeeelicious! Now I’m not talking about lettuce. I know for some people “greens” means lettuce. No, I’m talking about the dark leafy ones.

If you aren’t used to dark leafy greens I would suggest starting with the sweeter tasting ones like kale or collard greens. If you want to be more adventurous, get into the slightly bitter tasting ones such as watercress, turnip greens and rapini. Or, for a whole hog springtime cleanse-o-rama, get yourself some spring season young dandelion greens!

You can steam ’em, you can boil ’em, you can do all sorts of things to ’em. My favorite way to prepare the more bitter variety is to saute them with olive oil and garlic. Mama Mia!

Start with washed greens, olive oil, garlic and sea salt.

Start with washed greens, olive oil, garlic and sea salt. These happen to be called “rapini” greens.  Cut the greens, heat up some oil, add some garlic and then add the greens and sea salt. Saute these until they are all shiny and slightly wilted but still retain their bright green color.

I like a little lemon zest with my garlic and greens . . uh . . .I mean greens and garlic!

I like a little lemon zest with my garlic and greens . . uh . . .I mean greens and garlic!

Combine eating those greens with some other light grain and vegetable based meals, cut back or eliminate animal foods, and watch the caffeine and alcohol and you’ll be clean and green in no time!

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