Raw Energy: Green is your friend

By Brenda Richter

Why do we eat? Responses may vary, and they include: hunger, fuel for energy, nourishment or enjoyment. Many of us lose sight of the primary reason to eat, which is for nourishment and energy.

Greens play an important role, and many of us do not get enough greens into our diet, particularly leafy greens.

Green, leafy vegetables are important for a number of reasons. They are a great source of chlorophyll, which helps you become healthier, have better skin and often is thought to detoxify the blood. Green, leafy vegetables have the highest percentage of minerals per calorie of any other class of food, and also have the fewest number of calories.

A number of options can help you incorporate more greens into your diet. Green juices, green smoothies, green, leafy salads, and green salad dressings are just a sampling of options.

Fresh is best for both nutritional value and for taste. Nutritional value decreases as time lapses. If making your own, using a juicer that operates at low speeds and temperatures is ideal for keeping essential nutrients and enzymes. Adding lemon or half an apple is often a great way to enjoy your green juice even more. Try kale, parsley, cucumber, celery and carrot.

Green smoothies are fast and easy to make using a blender. Try starting with 60 percent fruit and 40 percent greens. Using a mango, banana and a handful of spinach is a tasty and hearty smoothie, and is beautifully green. The more greens you include in your smoothie, the better, so keep increasing those greens to your smoothie to your desired taste. Try it. Many are surprised how delicious and satisfying it is, simply a bonus to being good for you.

The possibilities of a salad are endless. Vary your greens in a salad. Use spinach, romaine, arugula and mixed greens. Iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value, and any other leafy green is ideal. If you get bored with salads, change up your toppings and keep it to two to three toppings per salad for daily, weekly or monthly variety. Try marinating the greens such as kale or collards. This is a great alternative to cooking or sautéing them, and also makes them tender and delicious.

Upcoming ‘Why Raw?’ talks and events

Unless otherwise noted, pre-registration is required by calling (815) 543-1207 or e-mailing myrawenergy@yahoo.com.

Thursday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m.—Ida Public Library, 320 N. State St., Belvidere, Ill. Cost is a $5 donation.

Brenda Richter is a graduate of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, where she received her certification as a Raw Culinary Arts associate chef and instructor. She’s passionate about sharing the living foods lifestyle with others, and teaches raw culinary arts classes in the Rockford area.

From the October 21-27, 2009 issue

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