The Best Superfoods

A week ago I wrote an article about supporting local farmers by shopping at your local farmers market. Shopping locally helps reduce our carbon footprint on the Earth and is a great way to get fresh, ripe, organic (if possible) fruits and veggies.

I like supporting the small family owned farms that have been around for decades.  These people are passionate about providing great quality produce to their community. Gotta Love’em..

So what did I find when I went on my local farmers market excursion? Keep in mind I’m kind of a veggie nerd. And I am completely nerd’in out here when it comes to veggies.

I found a bunch of leafy green veggies I have never seen, heard of, or tried before.  Score!

What’s the big deal with greens? Eating greens will revolutionize your weight loss diet.

You see, greens are the source of life in so many ways. They are the ultimate superfoods.

I’m talking about greens like spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, chard, parsley, cilantro and more.  And NO, iceburg lettuce is not considered a superfood, sorry. It’s a non nutritive mostly water rich lettuce.  You’re not getting a lot for your money.

I have found a whole new world of greens at my farmers market. Variety is important because different greens have a different vitamin and mineral content.

Why are greens important?

  • they provide minerals you need for strong bones
  • greens can provide a majority of your RDA (recommended Daily Allowance) of vitamins and minerals.
  • stabilize blood sugar, increase your iron, detoxify your body.
  • you won’t have to take tons of artificial and man made vitamins compressed in a tablet that’s harmful to your liver and organs.
  • provides the essential amino acids your body needs to build strong lean muscles, hair, skin, and hormones.
  • low in calories and high in fiber
  • greens give you energy from the high mineral content

I could go on and on about the amazing power of greens. Try them for yourself for 2 weeks and notice how you feel, your energy level, your mental clarity.

Don’t be afraid of greens. Most have a mild flavor but if you don’t know how it tastes then pinch off a small piece and taste it before you buy it. I do this all the time.

IDEAS ON HOW TO EAT THEM:

  1. Make a salad with a base of greens you like then add some of the new unfamiliar greens to the salad. You will acquire a taste for it. Over time your taste buds will get used to it and you can add more new darker greens to your salad and you will enjoy them.
  2. Put greens in your smoothie. Start with a small amount of greens and gradually start adding more.
  3. Make fresh fruit and veggie juice with greens in it. I like cilantro, parsley, and spinach in mine. Check out my video to see me try my new greens.
  4. You can make a stir fry with veggies and greens.
  5. You can make soups with added greens.

I can’t believe I’m telling you this. My clients at the gym see me doing this. I eat a whole kale leaf and an apple together first thing in the morning. What a great pick me up!

Who needs coffee!

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I have a kale leaf in one hand and an apple in the other and I take a bite of one then a bite of the other and eat them together.

Adding greens to your diet is one of the best ways to be healthy, thrive, and lose excess weight.

My challenge to you, eat up to 1 pound of greens a day.

Kardena Pauza

Author, Easy Veggie Meal Plans

I would like to hear your results and experiences by taking on this challenge.

18 Comments Leave a Comment

Comment by Jessica
2009-10-12 20:58:19

I started eating about 4 servings of fresh greens into my veggie diet about 4-6 weeks ago. I am currently 29 weeks pregnant. I had my blood panel done at 28 weeks, along with the gestational diabetes screening (all routine tests). My hemoglobin had actually increased since the beginning of my pregnancy (you have a blood panel done when you are first pregnant, too). My midwife was very impressed (I was too!). Usually doctors allow for lower than normal hemoglobin levels in pregnancy because of the extra blood volume and the fetus, etc., but I was pretty amazed and proud of seeing the results of the blood tests – especially since I have not been taking a pre-natal as I was convinced that I could get all my nutrients via healthy food. :) So, you’re right! Greens are amazing!

 
Comment by Helena
2009-10-13 00:55:13

I went to the veggie market yesterday and got lots of silverbeet, celery. leeks and many different types of fruit. I love packing a lot of greens in a breakfast frittata and I use lots in my veg juice but a whole pound! Guess I could incorporate more into my evening salad. I love your blog – you are such an inspiration! Keep it up!

Cheers

Helena

 
Comment by Anderson Mndala
2009-10-13 04:53:54

I am learning alot from Malawi, Africa. I have been going through blood pressure treatment and what I am learning from you will surely, if I follow your instructions properly, wipe out the problem.

Thank you.

 
Comment by sheridian
2009-10-13 07:42:26

Can you get the all the same benefits by juicing.

 
Comment by Brien Shamp
2009-10-13 10:34:03

Thanks for the post. Support your local farmers. See Food Inc? It is going to be really hard to get organic foods in due time due to the cross pollination of crops. Go to http://www.farmersmarket.com to find out where the markets are in your area.

Brien
http://www.optimalfitnesslifestyle.com

 
Comment by Oliver
2009-10-13 11:58:58

nice idea Kardena!!! but then…how can i tell if the vegetable is organic and does not contain any pesticides, and what’s the best thing i can do to remove any chemicals from it aside from soaking in water with salt?

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-10-14 01:49:28

Thanks Robyn for your input, I don’t know about your area but we have quite a large Asian population and these came from an Asian owned farm so they are unusual to me. People have different greens available to them depending on what part of the world they live in so what we have here may not be relevant in Germany. The idea is to be adventurous and experiment since all greens are all very healthy for you! Kardena

 
Comment by dan pomerantz
2009-10-14 10:01:38

thank you for the info.

 
Comment by Chawls
2009-10-19 21:57:59

Kardena-

You rock! I’ve never participated in a blog or forum before … so know that you have motivated me. I have so much I wish to say; however, I’ll write more posts for you other topics. I love greens and as an ex-professional cook from the New Orleans restaurant/hotel business … I know and love food! In New Orleans … one may attempt to eat “vegetarian”, but you’ll always have some “side meat” laid up in your greens. But …

I learned a neat trick for making salads in the muscle-building world to use different greens for that. I’ve found that most folks think Collards, Kale, Turnip Greens, etc. are for Soul Food. They make fantastic greens for salad … AND, they are not particularly popular so their price always stays way down below more well-known lettuces. I make salads with Romains, Collards, Kale (Mustard Greens are spicy) and they’re awesome. Also …

As far as getting a lot of veggies in my diet–after training in the morning I juice 1/4-1/2 head of Romaine, Collard stalks, 1/2 bunch Celery, 1 pound Carrots, 1/2 bunch Parsley, and one Apple. It’s an ugly color of brown, but tastes like ambrosia! And that makes one quart of real green-good-for-you-juice.

Rock on Kardena … you’re awesome!

Ever Thine,

Chawls

 
Comment by Chuck Maddin
2009-10-20 08:31:21

Kardena you rock!

Thank you so much for this site and what you’re doing for people here. I get a lot of my greens in by juicing. I make a green juice (funky brown actually) that tastes great everyday. I juice a couple of Collard leaves, 1/4-1/2 head of Romaine, 1/2 bunch celery, 1 lb carrots (that’s about 6), 1/2 bunch parsley, and 1 apple. This makes a “heaping” quart of juice to start the day.

I’ve found that some greens that aren’t as well-known or as popular as the lettuces– such as Collard, Turnip, Mustard are usually lower priced than lettuce, etc. Romaine in Tulsa right now is $1.50 per head; however, I can get a bunch of Collards, Kale, Turnip & Mustard greens virtually year round for .99 cents! The make great salad greens by mixing them up with good lettuces (no Iceburg for me!!).

Keep Rockin’ Kardena!

Ever Thine,

Chuck

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-10-21 00:10:29

Hi Chuck!
I’ll send one email to respond to your 3, haha… I love your passion and enthusiasm and thanks for the kind words! I’m glad I have a fellow greens fan- your the man! Sorry about the delay on posting your comment, it’s just how the system works. I really like what you said about eating greens for the muscle building world, you are right on. So many people don’t realize the power of greens for strength, endurance, and muscle building. It’s really cool you took the time to write to me and to share this great information with hundreds of people who read this. I like your idea of juicing to get your greens since you can maximize the amount of super nutrients your body receives. I make green juice whenever I can and I really like your recipe. That sounds like a real energizer!
Variety in salads is key and even putting a splash of bitter greens is a great accent to a salad. Bitter greens are great for cleansing the liver also, which pretty much everybody needs! I wish our greens were that inexpensive in Orange County. But hey, I invest in my health now, not pay doctors later.

Your the man!
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:12:18

Jessica!
Awesome work Girl! You defied the odds AND you are being responsible for your own health and the health of your baby. You are giving your baby a solid foundation of health! Congratulations! Question- because your hemoglobin (iron containing- oxygen carrying red blood cells, for those who don’t know) or iron count increased, do you notice your energy is staying high?
Have a passionate day,
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:15:14

Hello Helena,

You sure could add in more greens! I love a green veggie soup for dinner, it is light, energizing and easy to digest. Meals that are too heavy make me restless and makes it difficult for me to go to sleep. Light is better.
Put in veggies like, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, celery, cumin, salt/miso, garlic, almonds, and avocado. Wakes up your taste buds!
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:17:34

Hello Anderson,
Please keep me updated. Remember, the road of Someday leads to a place called Nowhere. Set your goal and go for it!
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:20:43

Hi Sheridian,
You can get the benefits of the high nutrient levels. You are eliminating the fiber. We all need fiber so as long as you are getting it throughout the day in other meals, great! The benefit of juicing is that your body doesn’t have to try and break down the cellulose (fiber) to get to the nutrients. Your body can directly absorb the juice and utilize it to build, energize and regenerate your body.
Great question!
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:37:49

The Brien,

I will direct people hear to farmersmarket.com. We definitely need to support the organic farmers and help them stay independent. And I am ashamed to say I have not seen Food Inc yet. I’ll get on that! Love the reminder.
Have a wonderful day,
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2009-11-24 16:53:44

Hi Oliver,
How do you tell if the vegetables are organic? Depends, are you at the farmers market or at the grocery store? At the farmers market, all organic farmers must have the organic certificate with them at the market and the manager of the market must approve them as organic. Some farmers will have it dangling in plastic on the pole behind the table for easy access. If they don’t have their certificate, you can report them to the manager of the market. It may mean they are not being truthful or hopefully they just forgot. I would say thank you and walk away and not but from them.
At the grocery store, the way to determine organic vs. conventionally grown is the number on the sticker. If it start the the number 9 then it is organic. If the number begins with the number 4 it is conventionally (chemicals/ pesticides are used) grown and 8 is genetically modified. Unforutnately I don’t know any other way to remove pesticide residue. If you find a way please let me know. Has there been any studies on this? I’m curious.
Thanks,
Kardena

 
Comment by Kardena
2011-03-16 14:54:15

Chawls,
You are on the track to superfood energy heaven. We share a love for food and healthy food! The variety of greens in salads makes them taste great and gives you so much variety. That juice sounds so really good and probably gives you the best natural energy boost :)

Thanks for sharing!

 
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