Since I’m a health coach, people constantly ask me nutrition-related questions. The most frequent question I get is regarding detoxification. Which detox diet is the best one for me to be on? My answer is never what they expect it to be – just eat something dark, leafy and green each day. While a green vegetable detox may not sound exciting, this is one of the healthiest habits someone can start to practice!
Green vegetables are the foods most missing in modern diets and a green vegetable detox is a great way to build a healthy eating regimen. I like to tell my clients to imagine themselves as a washcloth for their internal organs. Each time greens are consumed they literally wipe down the insides of one’s body, freshening everything up, aiding in smooth elimination of toxins and resulting in radiant health. Dark leafy green vegetables literally cleanse your body from the inside out.
Consuming green vegetables regularly have many benefits such as:
Strengthened immune system
Promotion of healthy gut bacteria
Lifted spirit/elimination of depression
Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
Cleared congestion (reducing mucus)
Dark leafy greens are also loaded with micronutrients and photo-chemicals:
Vitamins A, C, E and K
What greens should you eat?
There are so many green vegetables to choose from. Find greens that you love and eat them often. When you get bored with your favorites, be adventurous and try greens that you’ve never heard of before. Broccoli is very popular among adults and children. Each stem is like a tree trunk, giving you strong, grounded energy.
Rotate between bok choy, napa cabbage, kale, collard and mustard greens, watercress, asparagus, broccoli rabe, dandelion and other leafy greens. Green cabbage is great in the form of sauerkraut or when eaten raw. Arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, mesclun and wild greens are generally eaten raw, but can be consumed in any creative way you enjoy.
Spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens are best eaten in moderation because they are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium from bones and teeth and may lead to osteoporosis. Cook these vegetables with something rich like seeds, nuts, beans, butter, high quality lard or a high-heat oil (such as coconut oil, ghee or red palm oil). This will balance the effect of the oxalic acid.
How should you cook greens?
Try a variety of methods like boiling, steaming, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, or pickling. Boil for under a minute so that the nutrients in the greens do not get lost in the water. You can also drink the cooking water as a healthy broth or tea if you’re using organic greens. Steaming helps vegetables to retain their fiber, causing them to move more easily through the digestive tract.
Raw salad is also a wonderful preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling and soft, and supplies live enzymes. Throwing a handful of greens (such as spinach or Swiss chard) into a smoothie is another easy way to enjoy them.
How can you make greens taste good?
You may be thinking, all of these benefits are great, but greens don’t taste good! The good news is the more you eat them, the more you’ll crave them. Greens will actually crowd out the foods that make you sick. Your palate will change the more you incorporate them into your meals each day and you’ll soon find them delicious (believe it or not).
Try to commit to eating one dark green food each day. The more greens you consume, the better. Make this a fun challenge!
Green Vegetable Detox: Salad Dressing Recipes
Check out these three simple dressings to either jazz up a bed of salad greens or drizzle over freshly steamed greens of your choice.
Miso Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon red miso paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup warm water
Fresh cracked black pepper
What to do: Whisk all ingredients together well & dress salad right before serving.
1 handful of ripe, organic strawberries
1-2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Sea salt & ground pepper to taste
What to do: Blend all ingredients together well in blender & dress salad right before serving.
½ cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours in water)
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried dill
¼ teaspoon sea salt
What to do: Drain the soaked cashews and add them to a blender with all other ingredients. Blend well until completely creamy in blender. Add more water for a thinner dressing. Dress salad right before serving or use as a dip for your favorite veggies.