A RENEWAL:

SPRING IS ALMOST HERE

March is one of my favorite months.  It is the beginning of spring and my birth month. It is a renewal of our spirit, our bodies, the food we eat and the clothes we wear.

Winter is notorious for gaining the extra 5, maybe even 10, pounds.  March, the month for renewal, is about eating healthier and lighter. There are some wonderful foods to help you loose some weight and get your body ready for the spring and summer months.

At this time of year, I am eager to shed the heavy coats, gloves and boots for lighter jackets and open toed shoes. Not only do we want to shed our clothes for lighter wear, we yearn to shed the pounds we have accumulated in the winter months.

Detoxing is the way to go. We need to rid ourselves of all the fattening and warming foods we have put in our bodies these last few months. Now is the time to start adding cooling foods. We want our bodies to acclimate to the coming warmer, summer months. Foods to eat are dark leafy greens, berries, cucumbers and fresh juices. Sprouts of all kinds are also what you should add to your diet.

A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from seeds of the vegetables above, from seeds of other vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. They vary in texture and taste. Some are spicy (radish and onion sprouts), some are hardy (mung bean, often used in Asian food), while others are more delicate (alfalfa), used in salads and sandwiches to add texture and moistness. If you’re curious, my favorite is Alfalfa.

Why should I eat dark green leafy vegetables?

Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of many vitamins (like vitamins A, C, and K and folate) and minerals (such as iron and calcium). They are also great sources of fiber. Research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancer and promote heart health. It is recommended that teenage girls eat 3 cups of dark green vegetables per week, or about ½ a cup every day.

Your body needs a little dietary fat to absorb some of the vitamins found in these dark green vegetables. Add a bit of oil (such as olive or canola oil) or salad dressing to your dark green vegetables to make sure your body absorbs all of the vitamins you eat.

What are some examples of dark green leafy vegetables and the best way to eat them?

Arugula has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Arugula can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.

Broccoli has both soft florets and crunchy stalks, and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber. Broccoli can be eaten raw, steamed, sautéed, or added to a casserole.

Collard Greens have a mild flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, and calcium. The best way to prepare them is to boil them briefly and then add to a soup or stir-fry. You can also eat collard greens as a side dish. Just add your favorite seasoning and enjoy!

Dandelion Greens have a bitter, tangy flavor and are rich in vitamin A and calcium. They are best when steamed or eaten raw in salad.

Kale has a slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavor and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kale is tasty when added to soups, stir-fries, and sauces.

Mustard Greens have a peppery or spicy flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and calcium. They are delicious when eaten raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups.

Romaine Lettuce is a nutrient-rich lettuce that is high is vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. It is best when eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps.

Spinach has a sweet flavor and is rich in vitamins A and K, folate, and iron. Spinach tastes great eaten raw in salads or steamed.

Swiss Chard tastes similar to spinach and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and iron. It is best stir-fried, added to sauces, or eaten raw in salads.

Quick and Easy Recipe Ideas:

Dark green vegetables are very tasty and easy to add to your daily meals. Look for them at your local grocery store and try some of these recipes!

  • Make a salad: Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and arugula taste great when mixed in a salad with different kinds of veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and your favorite sprouts.
  •  Wrap it up: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken, or turkey and add romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, sprouts and other veggies for some extra flavor.
  •  Add to a soup: Try mixing leafy greens such as collard greens, kale or mustard greens into your favorite soup.
  • Stir-fry: Add chopped leafy greens or broccoli to your stir-fry. Chicken or tofu stir-fried with olive or canola oil and your favorite dark green vegetable is delicious!
  • Steam it: Try steaming collard greens, kale, or spinach. Add water to a pot and place a steamer with the vegetables into it. Next, bring the water to a simmer, cover with a lid, and wait a few minutes until your vegetables are slightly cooked.

Enjoy the beginning of your renewal by shedding those extra pounds and eating all of the foods above. You can also go outside for a walk. Did you know that just 30 minutes of exercise a day brings longevity to your life, lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure? It also changes your state of mind, making you feel great. Walking outside, enjoying the fresh weather and spring-like temperatures is the perfect way to get some exercise, vitamin D and a healthier attitude. Throw on some lighter, brighter clothing and get outside, because spring is a Renewal of energy and spirit. You deserve it!

Be Well…

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