The fastest way to turn your diet around? To go from not-so-great to almost perfect?
The answer is organic leafy greens.
Those life-supporting, health-inducing, nutrient-packed edibles that should take up most of the space on your plate at every meal—not just at dinnertime. Eat them or drink them, but just get them into your body every day—that’s my leafy green mantra, and I hope you will make it yours. Need a little more encouragement? Here’s the top-line low-down on my favorite health-promoters, the “leafys”:
It’s incredibly simple: they improve health—benefitting virtually every cell in your body! What’s so amazing about the leafys is that calorie for calorie, they deliver more nutrients than just about any other food on the planet. Loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, leafy greens give your body the artillery it needs to fight off potential killers like heart disease and cancer.
MEET THE LEAFYS
My favorite leafy greens, from both a nutritional and taste standpoint, are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard and dandelion greens. You can toss them into virtually anything, as long as you give them a good washing first! Eaten raw or cooked, my favorite leafys (as well as many others in the leafy green family) add just-right doses of vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium, and calcium to every meal.
CODDLE YOUR LEAFYS
As most leafy greens come straight out of the soil, the majority, if not all your leafys, should be organic. If price is a concern, combine organic with conventionally grown leafys, to reduce costs as well as the toxic load. Once you’ve gotten your leafys home from the market, don’t let them sit around in the crisper too long or they’ll start to lose some of their nutrients. To minimize nutrient loss, when cooking your leafys, be gentle and don’t overcook—do your steaming and sautéing as quickly as possible.
LEAFYS—MORNING, NOON, AND NIGHT
One way to boost your leafy green intake is to add a lot of them to your breakfast. Recently, during a stay on the West Coast, I was very pleasantly surprised by a room service veggie omelet that was stuffed with lightly steamed greens, and accompanied by a spinach side salad. It was a good reminder, even to a greens fanatic like me, that salad shouldn’t be limited to just lunch and dinner.
SNEAK THEM IN, OR DRINK THEM IN
OK, so you’re not a huge salad eater? Not nuts for greens? Then, try upping your intake by basically tricking yourself into eating leafys. Start by dropping a few fistfuls into soups and tomato sauce or tucking a pile of greens under fish, chicken, or grass-fed meat. You can also cut to the chase and just drink your greens by blending a few fistfuls into your morning fruit smoothie. Short on time? Traveling without a blender? Then try my pre-measured powdered “greens-to-go” for the perfect caffeine-free, crash-proof way to start the day. They come in convenient single-serving packets, are delicious and tasty, and you can take them wherever you go.
Dr. Frank Lipman is an acclaimed Integrative Physician and the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. For over 20 years his personal brand of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest for life. Focused on sustainable wellness—instead of quick fixes—he offers patients a customized blend of Western medicine with acupuncture, nutritional counseling, vitamins and herbs, relaxation techniques, physical therapy, and bodywork. In 2010 he developed Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman, a line of leading-edge supplements and health programs. He is the author of Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again and Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health.