A New Leaf for the New Year

New Year’s resolutions can be lofty – lose ten pounds, find your soulmate, run your first marathon, or get your life organized. But my resolution for 2011, one I’ve been inviting my clients to join me in, is quite simple. It’s as basic as turning over a new leaf.

Yes, your desire to land that well-paying job of your dreams this year is also turning over a new leaf. Yet I’m talking about a more literal leaf. My resolution is to give every leafy green vegetable I can get my hands on a chance. And I aim to do so each day of the new year. In essence, my ambition is to turn over a new leaf.

nettles | Replenish PDXThink of the budding possibilities! Collard greens, bok choy, escarole, arugula, mizuna and more. Consider the wild greens like dandelion, nettles, and the essential fatty-acid rich purslane.

Why the new leaf? I’m well versed in the many health benefits of these leafy greens. I also know how consuming more of them will change my life for the better. In fact I know this quite well. Every day I counsel folks on the advantages of eating their leafies. I teach them to drink fruity green smoothies, bake crispy kale chips, and saute the plumes of their beets with garlic and lemon or even tart apples and cinnamon. And they love it. They love how it tastes and they love how they feel. And when I walk my talk, I do too.

By now it’s common knowledge that diets rich in vegetables are beneficial for heart health, digestive health and are protective against many cancers.

Yet, I like to put the leafy green vegetables in a category by themselves. They stand apart from the other veggies. It’s easy for me to tout their unique resources in supporting mood, energy, reducing the effects of stress, boosting performance levels and aiding weight loss (in case either of those last two factors remain part of your new year’s resolutions).

The hearty leafy green vegetables are rich in minerals such as calcium and iron to keep us strong, dynamic and fortified. They contain good B vitamins that are key for our mental health. Their fiber helps us to naturally detoxify the internal and external factors that can all too easily burden our bodies these days. The leafy greens are rich in antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that keep our immune systems firing even through the coldest months and most taxing times.

Yet while all of those health perks inspire me to make a promise to myself to devour a bed of greens every day, you may be more stimulated by just how tasty the green life can be. The potential preparation methods are as varied as the leafs. Stretch beyond the salad. You can saute, stir-fry, blanch, grill, bake, blend or eat them raw. Getting your greens through SPUD is a piece of cake. Eating them is even more delicious. I hope you’ll join me for a year full of leafy produce to advance your health and invigorate your taste buds.

Warmly,
Andrea Nakayama



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