There was a time, and not such a long ago, when I went through obsessive bouts of eating greens. I tried hard to have as much as possible.
I ate them raw, steamed or cooked, so I could get all their benefits everyone was so crazy about.
But after a few days of my green mission I fell off the wagon, closed the green door, turning back to the sweet veg instead.
The earthy and bitter flavour of greens just didn’t do it for me and never mind what I added, it didn’t change them into carrots. What I didn’t realise was that I was bit too harsh wanting to change my personal tastes and likes, in just a few days, that had developed over the years.
The result? I felt guilty that I wasn’t giving my body all it needs. Possibly I was even making myself more vulnerable and likely to fall sick. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I was so obsessed about getting in as much as possible that I quit before I could create a new habit and turn eating greens into a rewarding pleasure.
If you’re on the same page thinking how on earth one can eat lots of greens while enjoying them at the same time, keep on reading. When done, pick your favourite way of eating these earthy gems, so you can become a green goddess in the blink of an eye!
The Whats and Whys
But first things first. Which ones are the dark green leafy guys? They’re all your collard greens, kale, swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens and spinach. You can easily find them in a supermarket in the veg section but what makes them real fun to get, is visiting a local market (organic ideally) and pick a bunch or two there.
Because as you look at the whole table of fruits and veg they do stand out. And it’s not only because of their colour but because of their health power too. They’re full of carotenoids which make your skin glow and sharpen your eye sight. Their phytochemicals and antioxidants strengthen your immunity arming you against infections and cancers while making you clean up and detox at the same time.
If cravings are an issue, greens offer you the remedy. And if your energy keeps dropping, they boost your performance too. Their deep green colour stores the energy of the sun light and once you eat them, it gets unleashed inside your body. And as the greens grew and absorbed Calcium and other minerals from the ground, they naturally turn your bones into strong and flexible pillars supporting your muscles wherever you go.
How to eat greens so you get all their benefits? For a start, go easy, don’t force it. Give yourself at least 3 weeks as that’s how long it may take for your taste buds to get used to their distinctive flavour. Don’t forget that the same way you acquired a taste for sweet, spicy, rich or creamy flavours, you can learn to appreciate a hint of bitterness too.
Ask yourself why you find greens difficult to eat? Is it the taste, texture or simply an old habit? When you know your personal whys, you’re only a step away from answering the how.
If you can’t get over the bitter and earthy flavour, add a splash of lemon juice to your green salad. Lemon takes some bitterness away so it’s easier to pass it through your picky taste buds. Another way to tweak the flavour is to mix in some fresh or dried fruit with your greens. You get extra nutrients from the fruit while matching the sweetness with the earthiness. Now, how’s that for balance? 🙂
Is it the texture?
Do you feel your delicate tongue gets a bruising every time you bite into rough green leaves? Then chop them and chop them hard. Chop them so not even your mama can say what it used to be. The mission is to get them into your body and that’s exactly what you’re going to do. So whether you add them to stews, chillis, meat loaves or simply make a smoothie, once cut into fine pieces you won’t detect the hard texture some of the greens can have.
Don’t you like any?
If you can’t pick your favourite, simply start with baby spinach. The leaf is small, tender and the taste is rather sweet. Once this passes, move onto rocket (arugula) and add it to your sandwiches. Its peppery taste will give the overall flavour some kick.
When you’re ready for more, slowly try the others. There are so many varieties that I’m sure you’ll find the right one for you.
And since it would be a huge shame if you got bored and slipped away from greens the way I used to, it’s important to call your creativity to the table. A small dose goes a long way making you appreciate the unique flavour of greens but also discovering what a great chef you are!
You can eat them:
- As a salad (together with some fresh or dried fruit and your favourite salad dressing)
- In a green pesto
- As a filler for your sandwich
- As a wrap (use collard leaves and firmly wrap around hummus, cooked veggies and add your favourite salsa)
- As an addition to stews, chillis, loaves, burgers
- Chopped up in smoothies (it’s ideal to combine 1 cup of greens with 2 pieces of sweet fruit like a pear and mango or banana and grapes)
Now, I’m sure you can come up with your own ways of enjoying greens, so please go on and cook, stew and chop as much as you like. Choose the type you love the most and stick with it. When you feel like adding more, go on and explore. In that way you’ll make the habit stick, getting all the goodness from the greens they’re meant to give you.
Now I’d like to hear from you! Share with me in the comments below:
1. How do you like to eat your greens?
2. What type of greens are the most difficult for you to munch on?
As always thank you so much for sharing.
Cheers to greens and to you!
PS: If you love smoothies, here is my smoothie making friend you can invite to your home too.