Remember learning about the food pyramid at school? How it was the model for a perfectly balanced diet?
Well, I’d like to take exception to this received wisdom if I may, for a couple of reasons. For one it’s a total carb party (carbs make up the biggest portion of the pyramid), and for two, the best food on the planet, greens, are nowhere in sight. (And for three, animal products feature heavily, but that goes without saying doesn’t it? 😉 )
Here’s an updated food pyramid for the 21st century, by raw chef Matthew Kenney:
As you can see, greens make up the biggest portion of the pyramid here. So, rather than a weedy little garnish on top of a carb-fest plate, greens should actually be the bulk of what we eat, the foundation of our nutrition. Grains and other starchy carbs are better off in the supporting role. And animals? Better left to roam free than be turned into ‘products’ of course!
Basically, it’s all about getting a nutritional bang for your buck. Greens are mega dense in nutrition, and low in calories. Grains (especially refined ones) can be a bit ‘meh’ in the nutrition department, but are quite hefty. So if you want your meals to be nourishing and uplifting, bread and pasta and all that jazz ought to be pushed to the side, leaving enough space for a divine, crunchy, deep green forest on your plate.
Now I am aware that this info isn’t what you’d call a major scoop. We’ve all been nagged by our elders about eating our greens. But do you really know why you ought to be chowing down on the maximum amount of greens at every meal?
Here are six reasons why greens are your best friend:
Greens are chock full of this magical substance that captures and stores the energy from sunlight. Without chlorophyll there’d be no life on earth. Chlorophyll is what makes green things green, so hunt down and chow down green food (excluding Haribo) like your life depends on it – because it sorta does. Why wouldn’t you want to flood your body with edible sunshine?
Greens are super great at boosting circulation and detoxing the blood. The chlorophyll in greens has the exact same cell make-up as haemoglobin, the red blood cell. So when you give your blood a dose of green goodness, your lovely cells will be getting more oxygen, which tends to lead to a cellular happy dance, making you feel all zingy and alive.
Greens are powerfully alkalising because of their super-high mineral content. You’ve heard of the acid/alkaline balance in the body. What with stress, pollution, processed food and alcohol, our bodies can all too often reside in the acidic danger zone. Drink and eat your greens like nobody’s business, and you’ll win the daily pH balance game.
Greens make your teeth strong and pearly white. Because of the high concentration of calcium and other awesome nutrients, greens fortify teeth and enamel, and encourage healthy regeneration of the teeth.
Eating greens will make you feel balanced and can help with cravings when you’re feeling a little ‘off’. Cravings are actually a sign that you’re in the process of detoxing a not-so-great food/drink choice from your past. So combat your cravings with greens and I promise you’ll get over that hump and come out the other side feeling marvellous.
Since greens are majorly nutrient dense, you probably won’t get those ravenous hunger pangs that can lead you to dive into a big plateful of heftiness. Flooding your body with greens will keep you on an even kilter nutritionally, since your body will be so well nourished from all that mineral and phytonutrient goodness. So if you’re looking to lose weight, greens are definitely your best friend.
Personally I’ve been on a green mission for the past few years, and the more I eat the better I feel. These days I’m acutely aware of the difference when I don’t have access to my daily dose of chlorophyll. I’m more lethargic, my digestion is sluggish, my skin is dull, and I’m just generally not a happy bunny. (This happened to me the whole of last week. It was awful. So sorry to those patient folks who hung out with my hangry self during the slump.)
So, how does one go about incorporating major amounts of greens every day? Here are a few top tips:
Last word on greens – variety is the spice of life, so make sure you’re switching up the types of greens you use in your drinks and salads.
So, what’s your favourite way to enjoy greens? Have they changed your life like they’ve changed ours? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Here’s to your chlorophyll-fuelled super health 🙂