Updated: Apr 16
How many greens are you really eating? It’s such an important question when it comes to health maintenance.
We all know salads are “good for us”, but it’s also clear that many of us aren’t getting enough of these healing, rich, dark, leafy greens into our diet.
It’s well accepted that consuming greens daily is vital for optimal human health, and could be one of your best places to focus if you want to simplify a healthy approach to eating.
It’s easy to get caught up in the virtually endless sea of new diets and fads, but whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro when it comes to healthy eating, increasing greens is a really great place to focus.
Consider just a few key nutrient densities from only ONE CUP of these popular greens. (RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance, sometimes seen as RDI, Recommended Daily Intake)
-181% RDA of Vitamin K
- 56% RDA of Vitamin A
-82% RDA of Vitamin A
-60% RDA of Vitamin K
-684% RDA of Vitamin K
-206% RDA of Vitamin A
-134% RDA of Vitamin C
Details on even more foods here.
I don’t mean to leave out beet greens, arugula, collards, microgreens, etc - they’re all great! Greens can be rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, folate and much more.
There’s much more to this story, but what matters in the end is are you eating them or not?
**Some people can have trouble with excess oxalates, though it is generally considered uncommon. If you want to learn more about the nuance for sensitive individuals, here is more info on oxalates.
One diet hack I’ve used for over 10 years now is popping a huge handful or two of greens right into a morning smoothie.
I consider recipes to be a great starting place, but there’s no need to follow them exactly. It’s about what you like, and what works for you with what you have available. Never let a missing ingredient or two make you feel you can’t try out a recipe and make it your own.
With that said, here is a basic starting place for a powerful green smoothie:
½ cup of wild, organic blueberries (or any antioxidant-rich berry)
½ banana (smooths out texture)
Handful of greens - spinach, kale, or chard are my favorite for smoothies (bitter greens like mustards would not be the best for smoothies)
1 tablespoon of nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter, etc) or 1 tablespoon of healthy fat like coconut oil or even a quarter of avocado (for consistency, mouthfeel, and fats help us absorb other nutrients)
8 ounces or so of nut milk (I use unsweetened almond, or oat milk, hemp milk)
From there you can absolutely supercharge this with a greens powder or protein powder of your choice, throw in some raw cacao powder, medicinal mushroom powder blends, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. Use the opportunity of the berries and banana to help you sneak in as much nutrition as you can!
Honestly, the smoothies I make are some of the most delicious tasting foods I eat.
And for many people, this could be more nutrition in one glass than they normally get over several days of eating the SAD (Standard American Diet) diet of junk, processed foods.
Remember, if greens don’t sound like the most tempting thing for you or your family to eat, ‘sneaking’ it into a smoothie with fruit, and healthy fats is one of the best diet-hacks to get these powerhouse healing foods into your system...and into the bellies of those you love!