Top 5 Leafy Greens

Green and leafy vegetables have a wide range of health benefits. They are a rich source of beta-carotene, iron, antioxidants, vitamins, chlorophyll, and dietary fiber.  Below are my favorite 5 that are a must to incorporate any and all diets!

The dark green color of these vegetables is due to their high levels of chlorophyll which is essential to photosynthesis in plants, helping them to absorb energy from light. Chlorophyll oxygenates and detoxifies the blood and is rich in amino acids and enzymes.

Leafy greens are so important to our diets and shouldn’t be missed or overlooked.

KALE is considered one of the most nutrient dense vegetables on the planet. It’s also one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals. Kale features antioxidants, lutein, carotenoids, and beta-carotene which all help prevent diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cancers from oxidative stress. This leafy green is also high in alpha linolenic acid which is an omega-3 fatty acid. Cooking Kale can reduce its benefits, minerals, and vitamins. Try adding kale to a chickpea salad with a lemon juice based dressing!

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SWISS CHARD is rich in vitamin K, supports bone strength, and can help reduce type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. It also has anti-inflammatory and phytonutrient antioxidant properties as well as potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. Try adding swiss chard to soups or stir-fries!

SPINACH is known for its high iron content but it also contains vitamins and minerals like folate, vitamin K and A, and manganese. Folate is important for pregnant women and those planning on having a baby, as low folate levels are linked to neural tube defects in fetuses in early stages of pregnancy. Try Spinach raw or cooked from pastas to salads!

COLLARD GREENS are a type of cabbage but have a sweeter and fresher taste to the traditional cabbage. Collard greens have high levels of vitamin C and K, supports your immune system and bone health as well as being full of iron, potassium, and fiber. Try shredding collard greens and adding them to stir-fries!

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BEETROOT GREENS the leaves of beetroot have high levels of potassium, calcium, riboflavin, fiber, and vitamins A and K. The greens of beetroots also have high levels of magnesium, copper, and manganese which supports your whole body. The beta carotene and lutein are known to help prevent eye disorders. It’s also higher than spinach in iron. Try adding beetroot greens to salads or soups!

All leafy vegetables can be eaten in salads. The darker colored greens are more nutritious and have higher amounts of beta-carotene which could also make them taste stronger. Blanch the stronger tasting greens in broth and add to soups and stews.

Leafy greens have the added advantage of being excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber while being very low in calories, and reducing overall calorie consumption is one thing that has been clearly associated with a longer life span.

Balch CNC, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal.

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Nourishing Nutrition: Kombucha

Kombucha also known as Booch is fermented tea full of microbes, amino acids, organic acids, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients. It’s brewed using black, green, or combination of both teas (Camellia sinensis), cane sugar, and a microbial community of ethanol-fermenting yeasts and acetic- and other organic acid-producing bacteria commonly referred to as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts).
Sometimes referred to as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East over 2,000 years ago, Kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits for your heart, your brain and your gut.
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by the SCOBY and turned into a sparkling probiotic tea similar to cider.
It’s tart, refreshing and the flavor combinations are endless!
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You know from my previous posts I hate free-radicals. Kombucha has antioxidants which counteract the free radicals that can cause harm to our digestive system. What’s not to love??!
Kombucha is a probiotic-rich tea with many health benefits.
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You can purchase it in the store or make it yourself at home. However, be very careful to prepare it properly.
Common mistakes found in home brewing:
1. Using vinegar *it’s too different to Kombucha and has it’s own bacteria. It can cause you to brew Vinegar
2. Not rinsing off soap properly *Soap is antimicrobial and kills bacteria which is the SCOBY.
3. Not covering the booch right *no cheesecloth, you’ll allow tiny bugs through the loose weave.
4. Letting your batch brew too short or too long *too little = sweet tea, too long = Kombucha vinegar
5. Your Kombucha gets too cold or too hot *too cold = dormant yeasts/bacteria, too hot = kills yeasts/bacteria
6. If adding flavor, not using the right glass bottles *can cause explosions or not the right fizz amount
Basically, do your homework and you can have some delicious booch. Or not, support local brewers in your area for the best!
*Kombucha SCOBY eats sugar so there isn’t much left for us to have to drink. Also, it also contains a small trace amount of alcohol. Usually between .03%-1%. Home brewing may increase this to 1%-2%.

The Magnificent 12 Vegetables

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Eating more vegetables can dramatically reduce and prevent disease. The twelve vegetables, known as the cruciferous vegetables are particularly powerful protectors against cancer, heart disease and strokes.
Cruciferous plants have flowers with four petals that resemble the crucifix.
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The magnificent twelve cruciferous vegetables:
Broccoli– Broccoli is best known for its ability to prevent cancer by protecting cells from free-radical damage and carcinogens.

Kohlrabi– A cross between a turnip and a cabbage, kohlrabi reduces the incidence of hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, uterine, and endometrial cancers, and helps to reduce the carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoke. It is good for treating indigestion, jaundice, diabetes, the lymphatic system, and alcoholism. An excellent source of vitamin C, kohlrabi can help the body to ward off infection.

Kale – It is the richest of all leafy greens in carotenoids and contains an abundance of lutein, a phytochemical that scientists think may be more protective against cancer than beta-carotene.
Rutabaga – Rutabaga, a cross between a turnip and cabbage, is loaded with cancer-fighting compounds. Slightly more nutritious than its distant cousin, the common white turnip, rutabaga is a good source of complex carbohydrates that supply energy to the body.
Brussels Sprouts – Chlorophyll, dithiolthiones, carotenoids, indoles, and glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts that prevent cancer and tumors.
Radishes – Radishes stimulate the appetite; relieve respiratory infections; cleanse the gallbladder and liver; ease cold and flu symptoms; and are a natural diuretic. In Chinese medicine, radishes are used to promote digestion, break down mucus, soothe headaches, and heal laryngitis. Radishes contain salicylates, the same compounds used to make aspirin. Researchers believe these compounds may help to discourage the formation of unwanted blood clots.
Collards – Collards improve the function of the glands and the nervous, respiratory, skeletal, and urinary systems. They protect against estrogen-related cancers, retard tumor growth, and minimize the effects of cigarette smoke.
Turnips – Turnips balance the calcium in the body, reduce mucus, help ease asthma and bronchitis, and relieve sore throats. Turnip root helps protect against heart disease, cancer, and viral infection, and can be helpful in controlling blood cholesterol levels.
Cabbage – Cabbage stimulates the immune system, and kills bacteria and viruses.
Mustard Greens – Mustard greens help to inhibit tumor growth; protect against cancer and heart disease; and help strengthen the immune system. Their high iron and calcium content helps to prevent anemia and build strong bones and teeth.
Cauliflower – Cauliflower helps to protect against stomach, rectum, prostate, colon, and bladder cancer.
Radishes – Radishes stimulate the appetite; relieve respiratory infections; cleanse the gallbladder and liver; ease cold and flu symptoms; and are a natural diuretic.
Mustard Greens-Mustard greens help to inhibit tumor growth; protect against cancer and heart disease; and help strengthen the immune system. Their high iron and calcium content helps to prevent anemia and build strong bones and teeth. Mustard greens are superior to spinach. The calcium benefit is not lost because of the lower oxalic acid content. The part eaten is the leaves. Key nutrients in mustard greens include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), pantothenic acid, fiber, folate, and small amounts of lipids and amino acids. Phytochemicals include beta-carotene, indoles, lutein, zeaxanthin, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, chlorophyll, tocopherols, and tocotrienols.

Watercress – A member of the mustard family, watercress is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer.
Consume three one-cup servings from this list each day. Eat one cup raw and two cups slightly steamed, except for horseradish. Add increasing amounts of these vegetables gradually so that your digestive system learns to tolerate them. Start by adding one-half cup twice a week and gradually increase from there.
Balch CNC, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal. Penguin Publishing Group.

Nourishing Nutrition: Lemons

Are Lemons your favorite go to? They should be and here’s why.
Lemons are acidic to the taste, but are alkaline-forming in the body.
Lemons cleanse the bloodstream and liver, aid digestion, boost the immune system, prevent heart disease and cancer, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, stimulate the liver, soothe insect bites and migraines, and reduce inflammation.
The health benefits of lemon are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and protein.
They are useful in the treatment of influenza, common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, heartburn, gout, neuritis, diabetes, scurvy, fevers, and rheumatism.
One of the major health benefits of drinking warm lemon water is that it paves the way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy.
The parts eaten include the flesh and the zest (shavings from the outermost part of the rind). The white part of the lemon peel can be rubbed against the gums to prevent bleeding. Another good use for lemons is to place freshly squeezed lemon juice in ice cube trays, freeze, and store the cubes in plastic bags in the freezer. The lemon juice cubes can then be added to herbal teas or defrosted to use whenever you need fresh lemon juice.
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A glass of lemon juice contains less than 25 calories. It is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fibre. It also has medicinal values and antibacterial properties. It also contains traces of iron and vitamin A. It is always important to support our bodies by drinking enough water, especially in the morning. Lemon water won’t be a miracle cure but it might be a better alternative to caffeinated drinks!
Select firm and heavy fruit with a rich yellow color. The skin should be smooth, with a slight gloss. Avoid lemons that are dark yellow or dull in color, have hardened or shriveled skins, contain soft spots, or have a moldy surface.
Lemons can be stored at room temperature for two weeks, or in a plastic bag, in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator, for up to six weeks. They can also be stored in a tightly sealed jar of water in the refrigerator.
If lemons are chilled, leave them at room temperature for at least thirty minutes before juicing or eating them. Wash lemons under cool water before slicing or peeling them to rid them of any mold or bacteria, which can be carried on the knife from the skin into the fruit. For easier juicing, roll lemons back and forth across the countertop for a few moments. Even better, submerge them in hot water for fifteen minutes—they will yield nearly twice as much juice.
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People who have or are prone to urinary tract infections should avoid citrus fruits, as they produce alkaline urine, which encourages bacterial growth.
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Balch CNC, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal. Penguin Publishing Group.

6 Steps to Welcome Wellness

Wellness is a holistic concept that encompasses a person’s physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual components.
Living well gives you the energy to engage with life in a meaningful and fulfilling way.
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A holistic approach to life shows a deeper understanding that actions are felt by our body, by others, or by our environment as whole.
How to live well:
1. Eat clean.
2. Do things for others.
3. Grow yourself.
4. Pause and take your time.
5. Love your life!
6. Connect with others.
Through Forage & Nourish, I’ll be sharing my tips and information that you can apply immediately to live well.
I’ll be covering everything from nutrition to exercise to spirituality and more!
So stay tuned
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6 Plant-Based Musts

The process of cooking food depletes vitamins, destroys enzymes that help digestion, and damages vital fats and proteins. It also results in the creation of free radicals, which are a major contributor to cancer and many other illnesses.
Raw food or plant based eating has a natural balance of the fiber, nutrients, and water that your body needs.
Raw foods are unprocessed, so fat, processed sugar, and additives are not a worry.
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Raw foods contain live enzymes needed for healing as well as many nutrients, proteins, and substances that speed the healing process and the longer you keep them, the less “life” and nutrients they contain.
Six plant-based must-haves:
1. Fruits such as blueberries, oranges, bananas, and avocados.
In-season vegetables.
2. Leafy greens, including kale, spinach, cabbage, and romaine lettuce.
3. Raw nuts and seeds.
4. Steamed gluten-free grains such as quinoa, millet, and buckwheat.
5. Sprouted or cooked legumes, including lentils, peas, chickpeas, and beans.
6. Probiotic-rich foods such as raw sauerkraut, miso, and raw yogurt.
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You can use blenders, food processors, and dehydrators to prepare your meals. Thoroughly clean your vegetables and fruits to avoid food poisoning or try using a vegetable and fruit cleanser, available in health food stores. Either treatment helps to removes bacteria and pesticide residues. Scrub root vegetables well with a stiff brush that you use just for food.
Make sure to get all of your nutrients when eating plant-based meals. Also, there are some nutrient-rich super foods that can’t be eaten raw, such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Balch CNC, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal (Kindle Locations 638-640). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.