Leafy Greens

3 01 2013

I’ve been experimenting with leafy greens. How could I include more into my daily diet?

Why would I want to add dark leafy greens to my diet? The concentration of nutrients: fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins K, C, E and folate found in leafy greens have been found to protect from heart disease, diabetes, and maybe even cancer. Wow, I want those benefits!

Okay, so what is actually considered a dark leafy green? This is a list of greens in order of nutritional value.

1. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and potassium.

2. Collards are similar in nutritional value to kale. Collards have a chewy texture and a heartier taste. Try using a collard leaf as a tortilla wrap!

3. Turnip Greens are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and calcium. The leaves are more tender than some other greens, with a sharp flavor.

4. Swiss chard is a good source of vitamins A and C and has a beet-like taste. The texture is soft and good for sauteeing.

Before cooking, clean the kale, collards, turnips, and chard leaves by rinsing in a sink of water, draining and repeating until the leaves are dirt-free. Try rubbing the leaves with olive oil and cook for five minutes with garlic, olive oil, and broth.

 5. Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and folate. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked, but did you know that heat frees up the dietary calcium, giving you more nutritional value? Think about adding spinach to soups, pasta meals, and casseroles.

6. Mustard greens have the same nutritional value as turnip leaves, collards, and mustard greens. Their taste is more peppery and may have a mustard smell when cooking.Try adding a little vinegar or lemon juice toward the end of cooking to tone down a slight acid taste.

To store, the greens should be dry and placed in an air-tight bag, with as much air as possible pushed out. Try adding a damp paper towel for moisture. Place in fridge in vegetable drawer.

 7. Broccoli, high in vitamin C, A, potassium, and folate, is usually eaten raw with a vegetable dip or steamed. Broccoli florets can also be added to pasta, casserole, and stir-fry dishes.

 8. Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce are crunchy, while the leaf lettuces are a little softer in texture. If you are commonly using leaf lettuce in your salads, try adding romaine leaves as they are higher in vitamin A and contain more folate.

 Be careful of the salad dressing, the creamier the dressing the higher in fat and calories. Try the dressing on the side and dip your fork before adding the salad.

9. Cabbage is considered a leafy vegetable as well as a cruciferous vegetable, known as a cancer-fighter. Cabbage is also versatile in the kitchen by fixing it cooked and made into sauerkraut, adding to stir-fries, or using it raw in salads or slaw.

10. Iceberg Lettuce is the most popular leafy green consumed in the US, although less and less is being consumed each year. Another sad note: it is very, very low in nutritional and health benefits. Consider adding other greens to your iceberg lettuce salads.

Our daughter has been juicing with leafy greens, so she gave me the incentive to try it. Some of my experiments have been successful, by that I mean tasty enough to finish, and others not so much. I am learning the combination of foods with the greens is the key, just like in any other recipe. So, I Googled juicing recipes and took others’ advice on what might tempt my palate. Here is one I like:


Purple Kale Potion


4 oz. Kale

2 celery stalks

½ lemon

1 cup baby spinach

1 pineapple spear (rind removed)

1 cup blueberries



Juice all ingredients. Note: Always juice berries first. Serves 2.

Source: Jack La Lanne’s Power Juicer, Juice for Life


Did you know the darker the leaf, the better for your health? This is due to their high phyto-nutrient content. Phyto-nutrients are not essential for life, but help to boost our health. I could use a boost! How about you?

 Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Wear a color that makes you feel good.

Body: Find a recipe for a new dark leafy green, purchase it at the grocery, and give the new taste a chance.

Soul: Love your body and concentrate on what you like about your body: strong back to carry a child, beautiful smile to pass on, eyes to see that smile…

I would love to hear from you.  Contact me through email at Tammy@TammYoga.com and Facebook at TammYoga and Twitter @TammYoga.





Water and Lemon

1 08 2012

What is the saying? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. What if you tried making the lemonade to avoid the lemons altogether?

I have found a great way to start my day. It has become a part of my morning ritual, along with washing my face and flossing and brushing my teeth. I drink a glass of warm water with the juice of one half of a lemon. It is easy and the benefits make it a priority for me.


  • Stronger immune system: A strong immune system helps to ward of disease. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which helps in fighting off colds. The potassium found in lemons helps to control blood pressure and has been shown to stimulate brain and nerve function.
  • Balances pH: A healthy body is alkaline. Lemons are an acidic food. But, when we consume lemons our bodies shift it to alkaline, creating a balanced pH.
  • Weight loss: The pectin fiber found in lemons, helps to reduce food cravings. So, maybe lemon and warm water in the morning will make for better food choices for the remainder of the day. It has been shown that people who eat a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.
  • Digestion: Warm water helps to stimulate the digestive tract and the muscle contractions to move foods through the digestion process. Lemon nutrients help to rid toxins in the digestive tract.
  • Natural Diuretic: Lemon juice increases urination and flushes out toxins. So, the toxins will be eliminated faster due to the increased rate of movement through the urinary tract.
  • Healthy skin: Lemon juice eliminated toxins from the blood helping to keep the skin clear. The vitamin C found in lemons helps to prevent wrinkles and blemishes.
  • Hydrates the body: Start the day off right by hydrating the body. When the body becomes dehydrated, the organs have a hard time functioning properly. This can lead to other health problems: stress, toxic buildup, and constipation, to name a few.

Do you think you could benefit from warm water and lemon juice every day?

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Pamper yourself with a good book, a nap, a bath….

Body: Call a friend and take an exercise class together.

Soul: Call a loved one and tell them, “I love you”.

I would love to hear from you.  Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)