The Elixir SOUL Food Series: Glorious Greens

BY Eileen Z. Fuentes (@theSPEACHgal)

Photo Credit: SheKnows.com

Do you know what is the #1 missing item on the American plate? Would you like to eat healthy but say you can’t because it is too expensive? Do you believe eating healthy takes too much time and effort? Well, I am here to give you the green light and encourage you to start eating SOUL food.  By now Uptown Collective regular readers should know that my definition of SOUL food isn’t the traditional version associated with deep-fried and hearty dishes.  SOUL food can be defined as foods that are:

Seasonal,

Organic

Unprocessed

Local

The missing item on your plate is likely dark green leafy vegetables and I am happy to tell you it is cheap and requires very little effort to prepare. I should add that eating dark green leafy vegetables has other sought after benefits including weight loss and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Greens can help to purify the blood, strengthen the immune system, eliminate depression, clear congestion, and improve liver, gall bladder and kidney function. Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phyto-chemicals.

The winter season is when greens such as kale, broccoli, collards, leeks, spinach, dandelion and chard are abundant. My personal favorite, watercress, is available all year long. So should you choose organic? The answer is yes to most of these vegetables but eating non-organic greens is much better than not eating any greens at all! And you should note that local is usually better than organic so take advantage if you’re able to get these items at a farmers market. The Inwood Greenmarket is the only local option that is open year-round (from 8:00am to 3:00pm every Saturday). Or you can take a field trip to Old Hook Organic Farm in Emerson or Abma’s Farm in Wycoff, New Jersey less than 30 minutes from the George Washington Bridge!!! This can be a great lesson for our children as it relates to how food goes from the farm to our plates. Once you get the greens, there are a variety of methods to cooking them such as steaming, boiling, juicing, sautéing in olive oil or water, or eaten raw in a salad. I personally like to make a greens stir fry with nuts and wild mushrooms or mixing them in with my beans or soups.  More recipes are available in my favorite book on the subject, Green Glorious Greens, loaded with over 140 recipes!!!

Let’s make 2011, the year that small changes lead to big results…your body will thank you!

“And you will eat the plants of the field.” Genesis 3:18

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