Lose Weight by Eating Your Greens
There are tons of books and programs out there that claim to have the answer for helping you to lose weight, reverse disease, and otherwise reclaim your health.
But no one book has everyone’s answer. If it did, there would only be one book.
However, when it comes to achieving optimal health, there are a few basic principles that apply to almost everyone. The most basic universal principle is that we all need to eat more plants. Dark, nutrient dense leafy greens, vegetables and fruits of all colors, shapes and sizes – these natural foods hold the key to health and longevity for us all.
It’s hard, though, to actually consume enough of them in quantities that will make a real and noticeable difference in our lives. That is – unless you throw them all in a blender and drink them!
If you’ve not yet been acquainted, let me introduce you to the Green Smoothie!
If there were only one thing you could do for your health to make a truly noticeable difference right away, and a lasting difference for the rest of your life, I’d recommend you learn how to make and enjoy a daily green smoothie. It is the quickest, healthiest way to gain more energy! When blended properly, it’s a delightfully refreshing treat that transcends the color in the glass. And when you realize all the health benefits of drinking green smoothies, you won’t want to live without them.
The most nutrient dense foods on the planet might seem the least likely. They’re leafy green vegetables. Foods like spinach, kale, collards, swiss chard (and more) are the foods with the most nutrients in the most pure form, with the fewest amount of calories per serving. Want to lose weight? Eat your greens!
Americans eat fewer leafy green vegetables than any other food. We need them the most, but eat them the least, and our waistlines are proof. Part of the reason is, let’s be honest – greens aren’t the easiest food to eat. Not in salads, not when we cook them. It takes some work to prepare them, to make them taste good, and sometimes, even to chew and swallow.
Why Blend It?
Quantity: To get the most out of eating leafy greens, you need to eat a LOT of them. This is actually a time consuming task, and unless you love greens more than any other food on the planet and plan to eat several large salads a day, you aren’t likely to eat them in the quantities that will deliver serious health benefits.
Taste: Let’s face it: with our modern processed diet, many of our taste buds have a hard time appreciating the taste of greens. Some of us love them, but for those who don’t, hiding them in a smoothie is the perfect way to counter that particular objection.
Benefits of Raw: There is a lot of evidence pointing to the benefits of eating raw foods. Most plants, when cooked, tend to lose their nutrients to varying degrees, depending on the temperature at which they are cooked, the method, etc. Since the greens in your smoothie are always raw, you get the benefit of all the nutrients in their purest, whole food state.
Digestion: Greens are called roughage for a reason; they can be pretty rough on our intestinal tracts. And when we chew, we don’t always get all the benefits of the food. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, longtime advocate of achieving nutritional excellence through the consumption of a plant-based diet, “When we simply chew a salad, about 70 to 90 percent of the [plant] cells are not broken open.
As a result, most of the valuable nutrients contained within those cells never enter our bloodstream.” Since the food in a smoothie has already been mostly liquefied from going through the blender, your body will digest the food much more easily, and assimilate the nutrients much faster. When your body gets the nutrients into your system, you will feel it immediately.
The Basic Three Minute Green Smoothie
You’ll need: A blender. The higher powered, the better. But really, any blender that works will do the trick. Don’t delay simply because you don’t have a Vitamix on your kitchen counter!
Two cups of loose, leafy green vegetables. The amount is purely based on what you want to achieve. If you want to ease into the smoothies and are a bit apprehensive about the taste of them in a blended drink, a handful of spinach is a great place to start. If you want to be amazed by the jolt of energy and clarity you’ll feel after drinking one, you’ll want to fill your blender (loosely!) to the top with one or more of the variety of greens listed earlier in this chapter.
1 to 2 bananas and a 6 to 8 oz bag of frozen fruit
1 cup of pure cold water (more or less to taste)
Start by filling your blender with the greens, then add the water and blend thoroughly. If you’ve filled the blender to the top with the greens, the volume should come down about halfway after blended.
Peel and add the bananas. You may want to start with one and see how full your blender becomes, but if the bananas are small, be sure to add the second for the creamy consistency and natural sweetness necessary to counter the taste of any greens.
Next, add your fruit. Because the fruit is frozen, the nutrients are just as powerful, if not more so, than in fresh fruit. The convenience of a frozen bag of fruit can’t be denied – no peeling, no washing, no mess. And the frozen factor means you don’t have to add ice to get the smoothie to be – well, a smoothie!
The first few times you do this, you may find you have to experiment a bit with the amounts of water and greens that feel right to you. So give yourself a bit of time.
Adding Other Ingredients
While you don’t need to add other ingredients, you might want to, for the benefit of taste or nutrition. If you’re looking for more flavor, try an all natural fruit juice. Just stay away from anything that contains added sugar, syrup, or preservatives.
If you want a more creamy consistency, you might try soy or almond milk, or yogurt. The possibilities and combinations are endless if you really want to be adventurous. There are lots of resources out there to help you sort through the options.
When and How To Enjoy
If you’re one of those people who feels as if you don’t have time for a healthy breakfast, well now you do, and research suggests that eating plants first thing in the morning is an extremely healthy way to start your day. Three minutes is all it takes to whip up this recipe if you want it fresh. You can prepare it the night before and have it ready if you or your family aren’t willing to endure the early morning noise.
If you’ve made a whole pitcher, you might also try filling a portable shaker bottle so you can enjoy one before lunch, for lunch, or as a snack. Just store it in a refrigerator, and leave enough room in the bottle to be able to shake the contents, as they will settle and thicken over the course of a few hours.
So, get your sexy on and start eating your greens!
By Jennifer Nyx