My greens obsession kind of started a few months ago. I’ve never been big on greens, you see, I have had a hard time making them tasty. One day I stumbled upon Kris Carr in my usual internet wanderings. I thought she was an interesting looking person so I decided to read a little bit more about her on her website. I thought her book title was downright silly and that she was a little bit crazy about green juice. So I moved on to something else and completely forgot about her. Then one day, here on Peaceful Dumpling, there was an article about her which resparked my interest. Despite the silly book title, I checked out her book, Crazy Sexy Diet. I’m not going to get too much into it here but, wow, it is amazing. So anyways, she happens to talk a lot about green juice and making sure you eat enough greens. Hmmmm, eating enough greens. Alright I’ll give it a try and without much effort I might add. The winter veggies are in full harvest and my local CSA boxes started coming packed full of this green stuff. I mean, kale, spinach, kale, collards, kale, swiss chard, kale, mizuna, frisee, and kale. I thought, “Awesome, I get to eat all these greens and become a ‘wellness warrior’ as well.” Since I have been getting so many greens, I have been eating them with every meal. After about a week, I started to notice how much more my energy increased, how clear my skin got, and the overall feeling of well being. So the big question is, “What is causing all of this?”
I’ll tell you.
The main part of leafy greens that makes you feel so awesome is all the freaking chlorophyll. That’s right I’m taking us back to high school biology. You see, the darker the leafy green the more chlorophyll it has, hence why kale is at the top of the list of super foods. Chlorophyll is basically the blood of a plant. It is chiefly responsible for photosynthesis, which is how a plant absorbs energy from light. Calling chlorophyll a plant’s blood supply is actually pretty accurate since the cell structure of chlorophyll is so similar to hemoglobin that the only difference is that chlorophyll’s center atom is magnesium (giving chlorophyll it’s green color) and hemoglobin’s is iron (giving blood it’s red color). Pretty cool, huh?
Ok, great, so the answer is chlorophyll. So what exactly does all the chlorophyll do?
-It’s one of the best aides for gastrointestinal problems. It aides in loosening and cleaning out your colon. Read: it will clear you out!
-It promotes healthy function of hemoglobin and red blood cells. It actually helps increase the amount hemoglobin and red blood cells in our system resulting in more oxygen being delivered throughout the body.
-It helps convert calcium and other heavy metals into a usable form for our bodies.
-It acts like a deodorizer and can help treat bad breath. (Try chewing on a piece of parsley or mint leaf after a meal)
-It helps detoxify carcinogens in the body.
-It has many anti-inflammatory compounds which help fight against infections.
Now the best way to consume your greens is raw, either juiced, in a smoothie, or a salad. Juicing helps break down those tough cell walls enough so that you can digest all that fiber better and get the most chlorophyll absorption. If you eat them in a salad, make sure to chew them well. You can also lightly steam them and still get most of the benefits but raw is really the way to go.
So next time you’re about to get down on some kale, take a moment to thank it for being so awesome for your body.
This tofu and kale dish from Sarah Kramer’s La Dolce Vegan is one of my staples.
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Photo: Krystle Troia-Alvarado