Forget Boring Salads! 3 Ways To Eat More Greens Painlessly

This is a guest post by Heather Rampolla.

Eat More Greens PainlesslyDo you ever feel like it’s a struggle to eat more greens? Perhaps you know you should be eating more leafy greens, but chewing on another (boring) salad… seems so blah!

There are many magical benefits from consuming leafy green vegetables:

  • Full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals;
  • Rich in fiber, an important nutrient for optimal digestion, weight loss, and controlling hunger;
  • Helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and temper blood-sugar swings;
  • Contains a lot of water to help keep you hydrated;
  • Contributes to beautiful skin and hair;
  • May help ward off depression and improve mood

You likely already know all this but struggle with how to make greens fit in without any drastic change to your current lifestyle.

Regardless of what Kermit the Frog has told you, eating more greens can be easy without sacrificing taste.

 

Here Are 3 Simple Magic Tricks To Eat More Greens Painlessly:

#1 – “Chop The Crop”

Sometimes I just want to eat a “normal” meal– not a salad– and sometimes I feel too lazy to chop my veggies by hand. On days like these I gently pulsate my greens in my blender or food processor and throw them into whatever hearty dish I happen to be cooking.

This “chop the crop” technique greatly reduces the volume of my greens. With this method, I can easily get in lots of leafy greens without feeling like I’m eating lots of greens. Plus, it only takes a matter of seconds to chop and toss into any meal.

Here are two of my favorite meals that use the “Chop the Crop” method:
Kale Pesto Pasta
Super Fast Kale Salad

If you’re not a fan of kale by all means switch it out with spinach or another leafy green you love.

#2 – “Green Drink Packs”

If you’ve never tried green smoothies and juices before, they can sound like drinking lawnmower pulp or swamp water. I assure you they’re not. In fact they can be a super way of adding in your greens without tasting them.

But even if you know that you like green smoothies or juices – when you’re busy, sometimes the idea of pulling out multiple ingredients to make a green smoothie or juice can feel overwhelming.

“Green Drink Packs” are so simple to make. One day a week I create 5-7 “packs”. Here’s how you make them:

For smoothies, I use a large plastic baggie that includes all my ingredients to make one green smoothie recipe. I make these packs in bulk and stack them neatly in the freezer. That way when I need a super fast meal or snack, all I have to do is pop a Green Drink Pack out, maybe add some water to the blender, and voila! Literally 2 minutes to make a meal.

For juices, I use an 8-10 cup container, and place all my ingredients to make one green juice recipe. I usually lay the greens first, and use the weight of the cucumber, celery or apples to compact the greens. I also make these in bulk for the week and stack them in my fridge. It takes about 15 minutes max in prep time, but saves me about 15 minutes each day.

Drink Packs are perfect for when you’re busy or on-the-go. You’re getting handfuls of fresh fruits and veggies that without blending or juicing would be time consuming to eat.

Here a few Green Drink Pack ideas to get you started.

#3 – “Roll With It”

Have you discovered that even with the best of intentions that salad that you brought to work gets ditched as you head for the deli? Especially at lunch time we tend to crave foods that we can eat with our hands…pizza, sandwiches, wraps, etc.

Why not change it up a bit and use your leafy greens as the base of your wraps and sandwiches. Fill them as you would any other store bought wrap. Or toss in some of your leftovers for a quick meal.

Collard greens, and Swiss chard are two of my favorites to make wraps with because they are large and can easily fit lots of fun fillings inside. You can also use tender butter leaf lettuce and make smaller wraps.

Sure, it’s not quite the same as eating with bread, but you’re also eliminating the wheat and gluten, which converts to sugar and adds on weight.

Try my Sesame Ginger Wraps recipe that your whole family will love.

Now that you have 3 Magic Methods to painlessly add in more greens, which one are you most excited to try?

NEWCLEARfbprofileHeather Rampolla shows you how to add in more fresh foods into your busy lifestyle without sacrificing taste. Want more help? Click here to discover the 3 Steps To Get Out Of Your FUNK & Stop Eating JUNK!

Get Ready for a Healthy Halloween

It’s my favorite time of the year: autumn and the Halloween season! I love going apple picking, walking along the pumpkin patch, and using lots of cinnamon in my food. This is what autumn is all about, baby.

To help you celebrate this great harvest time and the changing of seasons, I’m putting together a series of fun Halloween themed recipes that are simple, yummy, and fun to make with kids in toe.

Here’s the first one!

Orange Bell Pepper Jack-o’-Lantern

Bell pepper jack o lantern

What’s both fun and functional? Bell pepper jack-o-lanterns, that’s what! You can make them on short notice because it only takes a few minutes, and they serve as a great decoration too.

Bell peppers are high fiber, and contain a slew of goodies to combat all the not-so-healthy halloween candy circulating at this time of year. Notably: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Manganese, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Magnesium. All that, and a wicked smile!

The Simple How-to Instructions

  • First, cut off the top of the bell pepper and remove any seeds from the inside.
  • Next, use a small knife to cut the eyes, nose, and mouth like you would a pumpkin.
  • You can use the jack-o-lantern pepper as a decoration until your guests are ready to bite into them.

My favorite use for these is to fill the peppers with dip. If you’re going to be putting out some dip for vegetable crudites, why not use an orange bell pepper dressed up like a jack-o’-lantern instead?

Stay tuned for the next 2 Halloween recipes!

I’ve got 2 more great healthy, raw Halloween recipes that both adults and kids will love coming up in the next week and a half. To make sure you don’t miss out, sign up to be notified by joining my free mailing list The Cue.

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food on a Tight Schedule: Tips and Tricks for Students

Raw Food Tips for Students
This is a guest post by Maria Rainier of Online Degrees. | Photo credit

If you understand the benefits of a raw diet, but have to worry about getting to class on time and dealing with short periods of break time between academic obligations, don’t give up yet.

There are some ways for you to stay dedicated to your healthy diet while running on a busy schedule that might make your life a little easier. You may need to set aside a few ten-minute periods throughout the day for food preparation, but you can create raw on-the-go meals and snacks on a time budget with the following suggestions.

[Editor’s note: I went raw during college, and my best tip is to think ahead and prepare food ahead. Having food on hand is the first step to eating right, and Maria is going to share some great simple recipes and tips to eat right on a tight student schedule.]

Breakfast Ideas for Raw Curious Students

Bananas with granola nut clusters: Mix raw oats, raw nuts (like slivered almonds or cashews), stevia or raw honey (which has the most nutritional value of any type of honey), and any spices you might like (such as cinnamon) and form into small clusters.

Let them set on some waxed paper until they’re dry, then keep them in a container for convenient use. If you have a dehydrator tray, this will work even better. For a breakfast treat, try them with almond milk and sliced bananas. (Hint: to maximize the enzymes in your almonds or cashews, soak them in room-temperature water for 8 to 12 hours.)

Lunch and Dinner for Busy Students

Stir fry (minus the “fry”): Chop up some broccoli, then add some cashews, teriyaki sauce (not raw), and any other vegetables you might like (peppers, mushrooms, and celery are good choices, as are water chestnuts – just remember to peel them if you get them fresh).

You can also add chili sauce or dried red pepper flakes if you’d like to add some heat, along with grated ginger or other spices. Just mix all of these ingredients together, and if you have time, let the mixture sit for 20 minutes, allowing your sauce and spices to fully flavor the dish. It still tastes great if you’re hungry and stuck on a tight schedule.

Seasonal fruit salad: Start with baby mixed greens, spinach, romaine, or any other lettuce of your choice. Next, chop up any fruit you have available, or if you have time, make a run to the farmer’s market or grocery store for whatever happens to be in season.

Apples with dried cranberries and raisins can be delicious, or try peaches, blueberries, and raspberries for a summery treat. You can make your own dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt, and pepper in proportions of your choice. Just keep a bottle handy so you can whip up quick salads when you need them.

Raw Snacks for College Students

Fruit and nuts: These are the obvious choices, and they’re easy to take along with you when you’re pressed for time. Just keep raw nuts in your kitchen or room, along with a good stock of fruit, and you’ll be ready to grab a snack as you run out the door.

Cashew balls: Check out how to make the raw snowman, and adapt to make smaller individual portions of these delicious cashew crunch balls. Think of them as yummy donut holes and enjoy!

maria

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

If you’re a student, what’s your best tip for eating right on a tight schedule? Let us know in the comments below!

Why It’s Important to Rotate Your Greens

Why Rotate Your Greens?
Photo by Rachel

I write a lot about green smoothies and the benefits of drinking green smoothies. I’m also a huge advocate of juicing your greens. But one of the important aspects of drinking your greens is the rotation of plants.

Let me explain.

When you consume the exact same variety of green leafy vegetables, your body is always getting the same nutrients. Each variety of plant will give you different nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.

But it goes even further than that. You see, each plant has a self-defense mechanism to keep animals from completely devastating their favorite plant. For example, if monkeys loved spinach and decided to eat all the spinach around then the plant could not procreate and it would die out.

Nature’s system is so smart because it knows that it’s important to keep greens around (hello! most nutritious food pound for pound!). So green leafy plants actually have a minute amount of alkaloids, which act like a poison if ingested regularly.

That’s where rotating your greens comes in! If you switch between different types of green plans, your body’s immune system is actually getting a boost because it is working on different alkaloids all the time.

So my recommendation, backed up by Victoria Boutenko is to switch between at least 10-12 types of greens. You can have say two or three days on one green like spinach, and then two or three days on kale, then two or three days on gai lan, you get the picture.

This actually ties in well with the Traditional Chinese Medicine system of hot and cold foods. Some people do well on certain types of greens, while others are better off with different types.

I think it’s super important to swap greens regularly! Oh, and the reason we don’t need to focus on swapping fruit as much as greens is that fruit were designed to be eaten and spread by animals. Greens would rather grow, and have their seeds blow in the wind or be pollinated by insects.

Greens are the most powerful healing foods out there, so it’s great to make them a staple part of your diet!

List of Greens to Get You Started

Your best bet is to go to a farmer’s market and look a the vast array of colorful greens. Pick some up, smell it, ask the farmer what it tastes like, and give it a try! If you’ve got the space and inclination, I’d highly recommend you start a garden. Plant a few of these vegetables and see which ones you like!

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Gai Lan
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Carrot Tops
  • Yu Choy
  • Sunflower sprouts (sprouts in general)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Buttercrunch lettuce
  • Boston lettuce
  • Arugula (Rocket)
  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Watercress
  • Purslane
  • Sorrel
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip Greens
  • Radish Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Basil leaves
  • Coriander / Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Mint leaves

What other greens do you enjoy?

There are literally hundreds of different green edible plants out there. Which ones are your favorites and what have you tried that you didn’t quite like?

Love, Nathalie

Favorite Raw Spring Recipes for Healthy and Glowing Skin

This is a guest post by Ingela Johansson.

What I eat is determined by how delicious it is. How healthy the food actually is, comes second. I think we’re all in the same boat, which is why it is so crucial to make delicious raw food recipes.

The last couple of years I have been experimenting with raw and vegan foods, trying out people’s recipes and making up my own. To the amazement of both my boyfriend and I, we are able to eat delicious foods without processed sugar, dairy products and wheat.

Sure, my taste buds might have changed a few times along the road and gotten used to and more sensitive to different flavors. But I don’t care. What matters is that I love the food I eat.

Below are three recipes I enjoy on a regular basis. My measurements aren’t 100% accurate as I go by feel a lot, so feel free to experiment and find your own special formula.

Fresh Spring Salad
Photo of Spring Salad by Ingela

1. Fresh Spring Salad

When summer is around the corner, I start craving salad. I love this spring salad recipe because it is so fresh and light, perfect as a side-dish or just as is. I like to make a big batch of it and have it ready to snack on whenever I want.

The sweetness of the carrots and peppers eliminates the bitterness of arugula, which is always good. Arugula is loaded with powerful minerals. Alongside with the immune boosters, garlic and ginger, it’s a match made in heaven.

Here’s the recipe:

  • About 200 g Arugula
  • 1 Bunch of Radishes
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • A Little Fresh Ginger
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste

Slice all the vegetables and combine in a big bowl. Crush the garlic and chop or grate the ginger. Combine the rest of the ingredients with the vegetables, and taste it to see if it needs more vinegar or salt.

2. Simple Frozen Berry Smoothie

This one is a regular breakfast for me. I usually make it big, about 1 liter, because I’m so hungry in the morning.

It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from the berries and spinach. I don’t actually like the taste of raw spinach, but it is covered up by the tasty berries. You won’t even notice it.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3-5 Bananas
  • 2 dl Frozen Raspberries, Strawberries or Blueberries
  • 100 g Spinach
  • 1 dl Water

Put everything in your blender and blend until smooth. Increase the amount of water if needed. Pour into a tall glass, sprinkle a few berries on top and enjoy!

[Editor’s Note: If you want to start ramping up the greens, you can get more information on green smoothies here.]

3. Apple Pie

Oh my, of all the apple pies I’ve had this one is my favorite. When I first tried this recipe, I couldn’t believe it was actually healthy for me. The dates can be switched to dry fruit (raisins, apricots, figs etc.) if you so desire.

The crust:

  • 2 Cups of Brazil and Pecan Nuts
  • 1 Cup of Fresh Pitted Dates
  • ½ Tsp Cardamom
  • ¼ Tsp Nutmeg
  • A Pinch of Sea Salt

Put the nuts in the food processor for a few seconds, until they are small crumbs. Add dates and spices and process until the dates are in small pieces and everything is nice and crumbly.

You can process it longer if you want it more like dough, but I find it yummiest when it is like crumbs.

At this point I usually taste it to see if I’d like to add a little more salt or cardamom. Now press the crust into a round form of 9 in/22 cm and freeze until it’s firm. While I wait for the crust, I make the filling.

Filling:

  • 6 Large Apples (or 8 Smaller)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup Fresh Dates

Slice 4 apples and put into a bowl. Cut 2 apples into chunks and put in the blender with the lemon juice and the dates, and blend until smooth. Now combine the mixture with the sliced apples and mix it together. Take out the pie crust and spread the filling evenly in it. Eat instantly or refrigerate, it keeps at least a few days in the refrigerator.

There are so many tasty raw recipes that you have no excuse to keep eating unhealthy foods.

Ingela Johansson is in love with taking care of her skin naturally. If you want more health and beauty tips, you can visit her blog, where you will find topics ranging from how to prevent oily skin to removing age spots.