We are now eight days into the new year and I’m sure you’re still going strong with your resolutions, right? So 2017! Follow this column for any length of time and you don’t need to crash and burn when it comes to post-holidays. You’re already on a healthy path, which is long-lasting and sustainable.
That being said, I thought I’d share a few recipes that are of the green persuasion. You know, recipes filled with nutrients, fiber, and flavor. The first two are staples in my diet plan, and the broccoli dish is a winter favorite (remember, eat what’s in season). They are all prepared in the blender, which means easy to make and easy to clean.
I use frozen fruit, which acts as ice without dilution. This recipe is dairy free, but you can add yogurt or kefir for extra calcium and probiotics. Sometimes I use almond or walnut butter when I don’t have avocado (but you can also freeze them in small chunks). Get creative with your flavors – use chocolate almond milk and vanilla extract; coconut milk and pineapple; peaches and cinnamon. For the ultimate treat, I serve mine over homemade granola.
1 3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 10-oz. bag organic spinach or baby kale
1 banana (preferably frozen in chunks), or 2 Tbsp. tahini if, like me, you don’t like bananas
2 cups frozen fruit
2 Tbsp. flaxseed
1-2 scoops protein powder (optional—just make sure it’s sugar-free)
Blend the ingredients. Serves 2.
OK, this is quite possibly the easiest recipe ever! Except for the smoothie. I also use cilantro or parsley or cumin, depending on what I have on hand. I’d love to hear what additions you make.
1 bunch organic spinach
1 medium avocado
3 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 Tbsp. miso
1 Tbsp. raw tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 cups warm water
Put all ingredients into blender and whirl away. Serves 2.
As with most frittatas, you can really use any combination of vegetables. I just love the broccoli and cheddar combo. And they’re great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!
1 cup organic cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup broccoli, steamed but slightly firm
3 farm-fresh eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups milk (I use unsweetened cashew)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously oil a 9-inch pie plate.
Spread shredded cheese across bottom of pie plate. Cover cheese with broccoli.
In a blender, combine eggs, flour, salt, garlic, parsley, and milk. Blend until smooth, then add olive oil. Blend until combined, then pour mixture over broccoli layer. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving
Here are just a few reminders why greens are so good for you:
— Reduce inflammation: Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids, which are crucial in any inflammation-fighting diet. Greens are also incredibly alkaline, and help neutralize the acids in your body.
— Don’t worry, be happy: Leafy greens are an excellent source of B-vitamins, which help our brain produce chemicals that affect our mood for the better. For example, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B9 (folic acid) assist in the production of serotonin (the “happy” chemical), which can ward off depression and improve mood.
— Heart health: The high folate concentration in leafy greens can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The higher calcium levels in greens like collards and kale, and potassium can also aid in blood-pressure management. And because greens are high in fiber, they slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals (helpful for diabetics), and can also help lower cholesterol levels.
— Bone booster: Calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese are all major contributors in the maintenance of bone health, and thankfully, leafy greens are abundant in all of these minerals.
— Strengthen the immune system: Seeing as how leafy greens help control immune cells vital to healthy digestion, we can see how crucial it is that we consume these plants in order to steer away colds, the flu and other illnesses. Leafy greens are also a wonderful source of antioxidants.
— Enhance brain function: Again, the trusty B vitamins come to the rescue with their incredibly brain-enhancing abilities. Greens will promote healthy blood flow to the brain, allowing nutrients to arrive to your brain faster, and improve your decision-making capabilities. I eat a hearty dose before any serious meeting or presentation.