Back in my addicted to stress and overwhelm days, I practically lived on what I called the Four Basic Food Groups: sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and chocolate. Together, they functioned as a food-based system of uppers and downers, keeping me running for brief periods of time, crashing, then chugging another Mountain Dew and eating a four pack of Reese Peanut Butter Cups to pick up the energy again. No wonder I felt depleted and fatigue!
I’ve learned my lesson now, and built my life around teaching it: As Busy Professionals and On the Go Women it is essential we are mindful of what we eat. Sure, it’s easy to turn to foods that give us a quick pick me up such as caffeinated beverages and sugar. But they also wreak havoc on our mood and energy…not to mention our overall health!
So what’s the answer for building energy that just won’t quit? Truth is – your Grandma knew best: Eat Your Greens!
There are so many benefits to eating greens. They’re alkaline, balancing out the acids generated by sugars and processed foods. Eating greens with your meals provides fiber that aids in digestion.
But that’s not all…organic greens have a pharmacy’s worth of vitamins and minerals packed into each leaf:
- Magnesium – relieves muscle and joint pain, improves brain function, and helps you to relax (and what On the Go Woman doesn’t need to relax?)
- Calcium – crucial for keeping your bones strong
- Iron – rebuilds red blood cells (especially important if you’re experiencing the menstrual irregularities of peri-menopause)
- Vitamin C – the old immune-boosting standby
- Vitamin K – great for building strong bones and a healthy heart
- Antioxidants – help to prevent cancer
And the flavors! Rich and dark, sharp and spicy, savory or sweet…the variations are endless, and so are the uses! Here are just a few simple ways to get greens into your diet:
- Green smoothies – great for a quick breakfast, lunch, or afternoon pick-me-up
- Herbal infusions – My favorite is a mix of nettle, oat straw and peppermint leaves; wonderful for a mid-day pick-me-up.
- (Of course) salads. Eating a salad of bitter greens such as arugula or dandelion greens, before your meal, can aid in digestion.
- Kale Salad which can be made as a one-dish meal if you add protein to it like brazil nuts or pumpkin seeds
- Wraps! – seriously, Instead of grain-based wraps of wheat, corn or rice, make one with collards or swiss chard. My favorite wrap is a Falafel collard wrap I buy at the Baltimore Farmers Market.
- Sauteed greens – lovely by themselves or with nuts and seeds for a protein-spiked side dish
- Stir-fry with greens
- Blended green soup
And so many more….what are your favorites?