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The Go Green Challenge Is On {Recipes Included}

by Elise Museles

It’s that time of year again.  Spring renewal, warmer weather, lighter food… and time for me to serve as your friendly reminder to EAT YOUR GREENS.   So I’m bringing back the “7-Day Go Green Challenge”.  If you were a part of it last year, I’ve added different recipes to keep you inspired. I’ve also included some luscious dishes from a few of my green goddess friends, who can most certainly help even the most reticent leafy green consumer get their green on.

You might be wondering why I push greens all the time. For starters, leafy greens are the most missing food in the American diet.

And here is the not so sweet truth: The average American consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar a year and only 8 pounds of broccoli. By eating foods like dark leafy greens, your body will have less room, need or desire for processed, sugary, nutrient-deficient foods.

Whether you follow a high protein diet or adhere to a vegan-inspired one, there is a consensus: leafy greens should play a vital role on your plate. Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food.  By eating and drinking a diet high in chlorophyll-rich leafy greens, you can increase red blood cells, bind and remove heavy toxic metals, ease inflammation and counteract free radicals.

Ready to look & feel great while adding in some delicious new dishes to your repertoire?

Here are the rules (or guidelines as I like to say):  EAT GREENS…and if you’re already eating greens morning, noon and night, then EAT DIFFERENT GREENS. If you’re a self-professed kale addict, go fall in love with bok choy.  Have fun. Be creative. And check out these suggestions and recipes for 7 days of inspiration.

GREEN MORNING: Nothing like waking up and plugging in the high-speed blender. Blending greens ensures that the tough cell membranes are broken down for you so that you not only get instant energy, but you are also deeply nourishing your body from the moment you get up. Try a refreshing Vegan Mint Chip Smoothie from the amazing Pamela Salzman or stick with a Kale & Chocolate old stand-by to start your day off right. Add in some plant-based protein, and you’ve got a meal to keep you sustained for hours.

KALE IS KING: With so many varieties from dark bluish green to red to almost black, there is no excuse not to find one you love. Curly Kale is better for sautéing while Lacinato (Dinosaur Kale) works well in raw dishes. If you struggle to find ways to enjoy this popular leafy, look no further. Try my new favorite Kale, Avocado & Strawberry Salad  from the inspiring Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw. It just may steal the show at the table today, tomorrow and the next day….It’s that good!

GO BABY BOK CHOY: I know…sometimes you may need a break from kale.  Bok choy, also referred to as an Asian green, is a member of the cabbage family with a mild taste. It is high in vitamins A and C and is also rich in folate.  Give the versatile Braised Baby Bok Choy recipe a try as a tasty and nutritious side at any meal.

LIQUID GREEN:  This is the gold standard for leafy green nutrition. Drinking green vegetable juice is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of nutrients filled with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that go straight into your body without having to be broken down.  In addition, green juice can boost your immune system by supercharging it with phytochemicals (micronutrients present in plant foods). Stop by your local juice bar or try making my signature green juice at home. (Juicer required.)

POPEYE-APPROVED: An excellent way to increase your intake of leafy greens is to sneak them into your recipes. By adding greens to nutrient-dense dishes from smoothies to soups to sandwiches, it not only enhances the flavor, but it also increases the nutritional profile with a hefty dose of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.  Check out this Popeye-approved Spring Vegetable Soup from my kindred spirit, Alicia Sokol of Weekly Greens

POWERFUL PARSLEY: Parsley is not just a garnish! It contains anti-cancer, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties among a host of vitamins and minerals.  Next time parsley appears on the side of your plate, remember its abilities to improve your health. Or, try a recipe that includes parsley as a main ingredient, not just as décor.  Experiment with a modern twist on an old favorite with this gluten free Quinoa Tabbouleh.

So, head to the produce aisle or the local farmer’s market to stock up on your lovely leafies, and enjoy your week of blending, sipping, sautéing, baking and chopping your greens.  For daily inspiration and up to the minute ideas & suggestions, join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Ready. Set. Go Green…

Question of the day:  How are you planning on including more greens into your day?  Which one of these delicious & nutritious recipes will be part of your Go Green Challenge?  As always, share your comments and add some recipes of your own below.

5 Responses to The Go Green Challenge Is On {Recipes Included}

  1. Beth R May 15, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    I love just using the pre washed Olivia’s baby kale or earthbound farms zen blend for the base of my salads each day. There is absolutely nothing I need to do but open and eat!

    • Elise May 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      Beth, Thanks for the perfect example of how simple & easy it is to include greens into your day. I love that baby kale!

  2. Meredith May 16, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    Elise! I have been on a quinoa tabbouleh kick lately- I have made it twice in the span of 6 days! Whole family loves it. I can’t wait to try your kale/avocado/strawberry salad. Sometimes I sub in collard greens, which we also love. Thank you for all the great new ideas!

    • Elise May 19, 2013 at 3:48 am #

      Hi Meredith, I understand that Quinoa Tabbouleh addiction! I can’t wait to hear if your family likes the Kale, Strawberry & Avocado Salad. It sounds like you all have figured out lots of ways to get your green on. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

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