It’s Not Easy Being Green

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By Monica Auslander MS, RD, LD/N 

Not everyone loves to dive into a kale salad on a regular basis. In fact, I’ll admit kale tastes AWFUL raw. Didn’t think you’d ever hear a dietitian who despises raw greens? Think again.

Raw is for rabbits. Green vegetables are bitter and not even meant to be eaten raw. If you eat raw greens – without any fat or protein – you’re hardly absorbing any of the Vitamin A, D, E or K from these colorful floras because these vitamins require fat in order to be processed in your body. That’s why restaurants add beautiful things, like all-natural homemade dressings, nuts, seeds, avocado and seasoning, to our salads.

Still giving greens some serious side eye even though they have hefty amounts of Vitamin A, D, E, K, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and fiber? And phytochemicals (plant chemicals, like antioxidants, catechins, lignang, etc.) with numerous health benefits we don’t even understand yet?

Still not a fan of greens with all the delicious fixings added to your salad? Try juices! Although it’s always better to eat a vegetable rather than drink it, it’s better to have your veggies juiced, with a bit of fiber and nutrients lost, than to never have veggied at all.

If you simply refuse to consume anything green, there are options! There are other green foods, besides vegetables, to incorporate into your diet. Anything grown or harvested from the Earth, in general, has a nutritional benefit.

– Mint, basil and oregano are spices which are potently anti-inflammatory
– Mint can also freshen breath
– Oregano may prevent viral and bacterial illnesses
– Pistachios, a great healthy fat, may lower cholesterol or stabilize blood sugar
– Matcha contains powerful antioxidants which may aid in cancer prevention
– Edamame is a vegan, complete protein alternative to meat
– Pears are incredibly filling and a wonderful dessert replacement

We all know fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs, and spices may be expensive –frozen fruits and vegetable are just as nutritious, last longer, and are much more affordable.

– Frozen spinach is an easy dinnertime accompaniment or smoothie ingredient
– Frozen edamame can be microwaved into an easy snack
– Dried spices still retain anti-inflammatory components

Some tips to incorporate more greens into your meals:

– Toast edamame or pistachios in your toaster oven for more of a crunch
– Spices and fruits like mint and cucumber can be added to water for flavor
– Avocado is an excellent substitute for cream in chocolate mousse

Google some recipes if you don’t believe me. Green goodness is truly everywhere! Here is one of my favorite green juices for you to try!

The Essence Glowing Green Goodness Smoothie

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup avocado
1 teaspoon chia seed
1 ripe banana
1 handful of organic spinach, frozen
1 4 inch stalk celery
Dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon matcha powder
Fresh mint

Optional: 1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder
(Gluten-free, non-GMO zumbashake.com; use the promo code ESSENCE at checkout!)

Blend and smile!

Monica Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N is the founder of Essence Nutrition, a concierge nutrition practice in Midtown Miami. She sees private clients, corporate clients, and consults for various local restaurants and businesses with her signature programs, including 24/7 concierge access to her. She is the dietitian for Soho Beach House, Ocean Reef Resort and Club, Cold Pressed Raw, Tempe Beth Am, and Raw Republic. Monica has been featured in various national publications, maintains an active blog and social media presence, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami. Her own e-books have enjoyed national publication and syndication.