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Hey Edgeville, Have You Had your Greens Today?

greensAs cliché as it sounds with KALE being ‘the new black’, consuming daily greens is an easy way to improve your overall health. Dark leafy greens are responsible for a wide array of health benefits such as purifying blood, preventing cancer, improving circulation, strengthening your immune system and improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function.

While kale is certainly all the rage right now, there are a plethora of greens to choose from. It is important to rotate your greens to ensure you are getting a balance of nutrients and not overdoing it with one variety. Leafy greens actually contain a small amount of toxicity used to protect themselves in the wild from predators. Although the amount is so slight it doesn’t have a negative impact on us, if eaten in mass quantity the toxicity could build up and cause issues. In addition to this, the more variety you have, the less likely you are to get bored and stop eating them. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula, and romaine lettuce are all excellent choices. In addition, anyone with a thyroid issue needs to be careful how many cruciferous vegetables (which includes kale) they consume. Be sure to check with your healthcare professional about what is safe for you to consume if this pertains to you.

So, now that you know you should eat greens daily, how do you accomplish this? My favorite way to get people adding more greens to their diet is through green smoothies. It may sound a little weird at first, but after the first or second time of drinking one, I promise you will never stop. Simply add a handful of leafy greens (any of the ones I mentioned above or your personal favorite) to a blender, add in some fruit (banana, mango, apple, pear, kiwi, figs, berries) and a liquid and blend.

If you are completely scared at the idea of adding greens to your smoothie, start with one baby spinach leaf, just to get used to the idea. Slowly you can start increasing your greens and decreasing your fruit. Other vegetables like carrots, beets, avocado and cucumber can be good in smoothies too but start slowly and then begin exploring other options. In addition to the fruit and veggies, you can add seeds (pumpkin, hemp, chia, etc) for added protein. There really isn’t a right or wrong way, its all a matter of taste. If you start having green smoothies for breakfast or a snack each day, you’ve got your daily greens covered!

Here are a few green smoothie recipes to get you started:

Banana Kale Smoothie

2-3 kale leaves

1 banana (frozen is best or add a handful of ice cubes)

1-2 Tbs nut butter (almond, peanut, etc)

1 cup almond milk (can substitute for your favorite milk)

1 Tbs hemp, chia or flaxseeds

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until a smooth consistency is reached

Ginger Pear Smoothie

1 handful of greens
1 banana (frozen or add ice if you like your smoothies cold)
1 pear
1 inch knob of ginger (if you don’t have a high speed blender, grate the ginger or use 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 TBS flaxseeds or chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup Almond Milk

What is your favorite green smoothie?

Jen Loboda is the owner of Nutritious in the City and a health coach in Edgewater. For more healthy green smoothie recipes, follow her on Facebook.

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