“Why do greens get a section all to themselves on your plan?”
I get asked this question a lot.
Most plans talk about the importance of eating vegetables for various health reasons, but I have actually carved out a dedicated section of my Power Plate Formula™ to greens. In this post, I’m going to share WHY greens are so important and how you can add them to your lifestyle.
What are greens?
On my plan, greens include any of the leafy, green vegetables that we often don’t get enough of in our diet.
What are the best sources of greens?
- Bok Choy
- Collard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Brussels Sprouts
- Mustard Greens
Unfortunately, iceberg lettuce doesn’t work here, as it is mostly water.
Why do we need greens?
Greens are alkaline. Meat and grains are acidic. We need lots of alkaline foods to offset the acidic nature of most of the other foods we eat. Diseases like cancer can NOT live in an alkaline state, and our bodies are always trying to find a balance between being overly acidic or alkaline.
Greens are also full of highly absorbable fiber and magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in America, but it is essential to a host of bodily processes, including the relaxing of muscle fibers and proper electrolyte balance. Most importantly, it helps regulate our calcium, potassium, and sodium levels.
Greens are also a great source of other absorbable vitamins and minerals imperative to our health, like iron, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin C, and folate.
How do I prepare these greens? (Rather, how do I make them taste good?)
Herein lies the challenge. If you are like me, you didn’t grow up eating these kinds of greens (outside of broccoli), so you are clueless as to how to prepare them, much less how to make them taste good. Because greens are such an important and unique part of my plan, I want you to have confidence cooking greens and making them taste great.
Further, it’s important to understand digestion. We are not just what we eat, but also what we absorb. Slightly cooking these greens breaks down the plant’s cell wall and releases the nutrients for better absorption.
It just so happens that I have a secret process for making greens taste good. If you do not follow this process, there’s a good chance that your crew is going to reject the greens.
First of all, greens can be used in almost anything. If cooked properly, they will not have that bitter, unpleasant taste that you may think of when I mention green, leafy vegetables. You can even buy greens whole or bagged and pre-washed in the produce section of most grocery stores nowadays.
So, here is my secret cooking process:
- Remove and discard the fibrous center vein from the leaf – this will dramatically reduce the bitter component of the green. You can do this by stripping and/or cutting it out. Most people skip this step… DON’T!
- Tear greens into pieces, then rinse in a big pot of cold water. (You can skip this step if you are using a bag of pre-cut, pre-washed greens.)
- Boil greens in a pot of water with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or agave syrup for about 10-12 minutes until they are a vibrant, rich green. (Light boiling, as opposed to leaving them raw or overcooking them, will aid in the absorption of vital nutrients.)
- Strain water and then chop greens into small pieces. Most people serve greens in pieces too big for kids to handle. This makes a BIG difference.
- Serve alone with butter, salt, and any seasonings you’d like, or put the chopped greens in something else, like rice or soup.
If greens are chopped and cooked in this way, you can throw them into anything that doesn’t have much-added flavor, such as rice, eggs, potatoes, or soups. And remember this: It typically takes multiple instances of exposure to a new food for people to like it, so don’t give up on the greens!