I’ve never been a big salad eater. I’ve always preferred vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, beets…pretty much anything other than lettuce. Most of us who have grown up eating iceberg lettuce find salads boring and fairly tasteless, unless they have cheese, eggs, croutons, and bacon bits piled on, and the whole thing is covered with fat and sugar laden salad dressings. That’s not healthy at all.
Since eating more veggies has become my way of life, a surprising thing has happened. I frequently crave leafy green vegetables. Kale, arugula, spinach, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, romaine and butter leaf lettuce are not only full of flavor, they deliver powerful nutrients and health benefits to my body.
Anthony William shares, in Life Changing Foods, that it is a misconception that greens, often labeled as “roughage”, are difficult to digest. On the contrary, leafy greens require very little work from the digestive system. What does happen is that the leaves scrub and massage the linings of the stomach, small intestine, and colon, loosening old trapped yeast, mold, and other types of fungus, along with debris and pockets of waste matter, so they can be carried out, making elimination very productive.
Pain or discomfort from eating raw salads is usually due to sensitive nerves or inflammation in the intestinal track. Adding butter leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and/or spinach to the diet daily, in small amounts, can help. Over time, leafy greens heal intestinal disorders. They create a more alkaline stomach composition by raising hydrochloric acid levels, which in turn kills off the unproductive bacteria that creates the bad acids responsible for acid reflux. One of the specific types of bacteria that leafy greens reduce is H. pylori, which is often responsible for stomach ulcers.
Leafy greens create alkalinity in the other body systems as well, especially the lymphatic system, which can become the most acidic due to a barrage of chemicals, acids, plastics, pesticides, heavy metals and pathogens constantly entering the lymphatic passages. Leafy greens help to expel, purge, and drain the lymphatic system of these toxins so that it can remain alkaline. This is where those greens really have an important role in the healing process, because the alkalinity of the rest of the body is dependent on the lymphatic system being alkaline.
Leafy greens contain vital mineral salts which are critical for neurotransmitter and neuron support, and they are also the fundamental basis for building electrolytes. These greens are high in enzymes, vitamin A, B vitamins such as folic acid, healing alkaloids, micro nutrients for restoring the endocrine system, and forms of chlorophyll and carotenes that are specific to these vegetables. The nutrients work together to feed all the organs and systems of the body, making leafy greens foundational to our health. Leafy greens are also antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-mold.
For those who worry about getting enough protein in their diet, leafy greens have the most bioavailable and assimilable proteins you can find, readily available for the body to take in. Leafy greens help reverse all protein related diseases such as gout, kidney disease, kidney stones and gallstones, gallbladder disease, hepatitis C, lymphedema, connective tissue damage, osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, all of which arise from protein sources that are not breaking down or assimilating, and are instead causing deterioration of the body. (Info from Anthony William.)
Who knew leafy greens played such an important role in optimal health? I didn’t until recently. Now, when I crave leafy green veggies, I pay attention to my body’s needs and bring them into my diet. I enjoy big bowls of raw mixed greens, with the addition of a few chopped raw veggies, and homemade fat free and sugar free dressings. I also include greens when I am steaming veggies. I add a huge pile of greens in the middle of the steamer, with the other vegetables surrounding them, as the leafy greens cook down considerably. Greens can be juiced with other veggies or added to smoothies as well.
With my new interest in foraging, I’ll be adding additional leafy greens, such as plantain, violet leaves, dandelion leaves and wild lettuce to the mix and to my diet. No dull or boring salads for me!
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