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Posted on 03-14-2013

Four_Leaf_Clover_03.pngWith St. Patrick’s Day coming up this weekend, we thought we’d cover the topic of “green” in this month’s blog. Green is everywhere around us—and not just during this Irish drinking holiday. You have green foods, green cleaning products, green vitamins, and even whole companies that call themselves green. Typically, when it comes to green in our everyday language, we’re not talking about the color as much as we’re referring to something that is natural, free of chemicals, and better for both our bodies and the environment.

One of the completely green things you can do for your body is to up the number of green vegetables in your diet. Although we hear all the time we should have 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables each day, how many of us are really following through? And more importantly, how many of those good-for-you foods are green? Our guess is not many of them.

Green vegetables add a plethora of vitamins and minerals to your diet—and the darker the better! Dark green, leafy veggies such as kale are packed full of nutrients. In one cup of kale, your body will receive 206% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 134% DV of vitamin C, 684% DV of vitamin K, 9% DV calcium, 6% DV iron, and even 4% DV of protein—all for just 33 calories! And kale is exceptionally easy to incorporate into your diet; you can use it as the base of a salad, add it to pizza or pasta, mix it into a stir-fry, or even whirl it into your favorite smoothie.

Some green vegetables you may want to consider adding to your diet, in addition to kale, include spinach, collards, turnip greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, and endive, leeks, and fava beans. Curious how to cook them? Yummly.com is a website that catalogues every recipe on the Internet; just type in the ingredients you want to use, and you’ll find a number of inspirational ways to add some green to your dinner table.

One excellent way to sneak in greens so that even the kids will eat them is in a smoothie or frozen treat. This peppermint patty green monster, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, is posted on the vegan blog ohsheglows.com (along with a variety of other green monster recipes).

• 1-1.5 large frozen banana (peel before freezing)
• 1-1.25 cup non-dairy milk
• Handful of fresh mint leaves, stems removed
• 1-2 handfuls spinach
• 1/8-1/4 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
• 1-2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate, for garnish

Add all of the ingredients except the chocolate into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste and serve with a garnish of chopped dark chocolate and mint leaves. Enjoy with a spoon. Serves 1.

So this St. Patrick’s Day, eat your corned beef and cabbage and drink a green monster. Your body will thank you for being green—inside and out.

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