Jun 19, 2013
It's not exactly news that green smoothies have been all the rage over the past few years. After all, the smoothie used to be a sometimes overly sweet, high caloric treat you urged yourself to stay away from.
Now, with the green option, the juiced drink and smoothie have taken on a more nutritious persona. Not only are they becoming more popular in our own kitchens and blenders, but they're also appearing on menus at cafes, markets and breakfast spots everywhere. Seems like everybody thinks raw is the way to go.
And in those smoothies, "superfoods" like raw wheatgrass, sprouts, spinach and (especially) kale top the popularity contest. Kale is the new black, right? It's enough to give other leafy greens, and your body, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" syndrome.
What about poor Jan Brady? And dandelion greens? And a good head of Romaine? Or some mint? Cilantro? Chard? Don't overlook them.
Instead of turning to the same leafy green, day in and day out- just like you flip your mattress, mix up your fitness routines and rotate your tires, learn to rotate your leafy greens.
Remember the phrase "everything in moderation?" Well, that goes for your raw leafy greens, too. Here are some reasons why you should rotate your leafy greens and ways to go about doing that:
RAW LEAFY GREENS ARE SLIGHTLY TOXIC
Small amounts of toxins occur naturally in every leafy green (a defense mechanism for predators; you know, scary bunny rabbits and caterpillars) unless they're boiled, steamed or sautéed away.
In humans, they mostly work to compete with iodine for absorption by your thyroid and they do come in minute amounts so, unless you have a thyroid issue or iodine deficiency, a few bunches of kale in a week is no big deal. However, a few bunches of kale in a week for three months may not be the best thing for your body, which will become overloaded on whatever particular anti-nutrient is present.
But that doesn't mean you need to give up that morning smoothie you've come to love on the daily, just switch it up. It's all about balance.
Mixing up your leafy greens will ensure that you're rounding out all the different vitamins each type carries. Plus, each different type of leafy green contains small amounts of alkaloids so, when you switch them often, you're giving your body a chance to work on the different alkaloids equally.
KNOW THE LEAFY GREEN FAMILIES
Rotate your leafy greens according to family.
- Crucifers: kale, collards, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, radish greens, mustard greens, broccoli
- Amaranth: spinach, chard, beets
- Asteraceae: dandelions, leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce
- Apiaceae: parsley, cilantro, anise, celery, chervil, cumin, dill, fennel, parsnip
- Poaceae: wheatgrass
So don't substitute cabbage for kale right away; dip into a new family, first.
ADD 10 TO 15 LEAFY GREENS TO YOUR STOCKPILE
Keep a considerable list of 10 to 15 of your favorite raw leafy greens that you'd like to make regular appearances in your green smoothie, equally from different families. Rotate them every week or two and enjoy.