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Getting to Know Your Clean Greens!

Wellness > Nutrition


By: Candice Kumai

Good morning from Bondi, beautiful! The new year is the perfect time to start getting fresh and so clean! Get to know your greens even more this year! Ever wonder what some of those green are at the grocery store or farmer’s market? Let’s take a look at what I mean by “clean greens.” Whenever possible, I highly recommend purchasing seasonal, organic greens, because you are so worth it, gorgeous! xx ck

ARUGULA: Arugula (also known as “rocket” or “wild arugula”), which you will see used in recipes throughout this book is an edible green from the Brassicaceae family—a classification of vegetables that also includes kale, cabbage, and cauliflower. Arugula leaves are delicate and have a dis- tinct, peppery taste. They are packed with iron for healthy red blood cells, copper, and vitamin K for strong bones and a fabulous smile!

Arugula also contains folic acid, great for moms-to-be and their grow- ing tummies. I love using arugula to finish off soups, noodle dishes, grain recipes and, of course, it always makes for a delicious, fresh and crisp salad.

AVOCADO: Also known as my absolute favorite food, ever. You’ll find this super anti-inflammatory fruit (technically the avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable) in just about every chapter in this book. I eat an avocado daily, and it does me a whole lot of good. This heart-healthy fruit is also full of natural fiber and contains high levels of vitamin E and vitamin K. Talk about an internal beauty regime! And it’s packed with cancer-fighting carotenoids, which can help with overall eye health, too!

Avocados also help to support cardiovascular health and have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease. Your beautiful heart will reap the benefits of the oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids found in avocado, which can also help to reduce your cholesterol. Studies have shown that an avocado-rich diet improves your lipid profile.

Avocados are also a beauty food—they have been linked to promoting a healthy body weight and BMI, and those healthy fats will do wonder for your skin, hair, and nails. Look for semi-firm avocados that are a nice dark green color. Not too hard, not too soft, but just right!

BASIL: Fresh or dried, I love adding basil to pastas, salads, dressings, pizzas, and marinades. Basil is packed with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Fragrant, fresh basil offers a healthy amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium. Add basil leaves to your favorite juice or smoothie in the morning, or your pasta in the evening to bump up the flavor and antioxidants!

DANDELION: This beautiful yet bitter herb is delicious in smoothies and grain salads. With vitamin A for healthy eyes and vitamin C for a super immunity, this super green is backed with goodness. Dandelion has been known to prevent inflammation in the body, as well as keep blood-sugar levels stable. Dandelion has also been used in natural medicine for hundreds of years to treat everything from tummy aches to fungal infections. Seek out this spectacular green fresh at the farmers’ market or your local green grocer.

KALE: All hail to Mother Kale! Kale is the most-used green in this cook- book! Packed with everything from vitamin A, C, K to mega antioxidants and even protein, one cup of this superfood contains approximately 206 percent of your daily recommended vitamin A and approximately 134 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. You will not believe that kale actually contains approximately 684 percent of your recommended vitamin K intake. Vitamin K is for “Kale” and healthy, strong bones! Kale is also a fabulous source of minerals, like potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, and offers plenty of fiber and sulfur, which help to aid in digestion.

Kale is not a trend, my friends: it is here to stay. When shopping for kale, look for firm, fresh, and crisp leaves, hard stems, and no wilting. Varieties you will find in this book include curly kale—the most common variety, as well as lacinato kale, otherwise known as Tuscan/dinosaur kale. I challenge you to eat kale on a weekly basis (I consume it daily!) and watch your body feel the difference.

MINT: One of my favorite super herbs, I adore the bright smell and flavor of mint. My mom used to make us fresh mint tea when we were kids, and I’ve always loved the comfort and soothing quality it provides.

Mint is a great source of copper (for beautiful hair!), and vitamin C (for super immunity) and packed with antioxidants and natural anti- inflammatory properties. Total bonus, peppermint, mint’s gorgeous sister, can also help you to breathe easier: Mint contains rosmarinic acid, which helps your cells to open air passages, resulting in clear and deep breathing.

SPINACH: Popeye’s main green, spinach or baby spinach, is an edible flowering plant packed with iron, folate, manganese, and vitamins A and K. The iron in spinach helps to provide lots of oxygen for healthy muscles. This super immunity-boosting green is the most popular green used in smoothies and for juicing because it has a subtle, mild flavor, and because it’s simple to measure by the handful. One handful of baby spinach is approximately 1 cup.

Add fresh baby spinach to finish off your soups, ramen, and grain recipes, or toss it into your next smoothie, and be sure to remember how truly super-packed this delicious deep green is.

SWISS CHARD: This leafy green is a member of the beet, or Chenopod family, which also includes quinoa and spinach. Mom used to cook delicious rainbow Swiss chard when we were kids, I was always so amazed at the bright color. Chard’s nutrient-packed leaves are filled with benefits like vitamins A, C, and K. One cup of Swiss chard contains 636 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K, amazing for strong bones and a gorgeous smile. Swiss chard is naturally filled with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Look for chard with crisp, firm and colorful stems, commonly found at farmers’ markets and health food stores. I love Swiss chard sautéed with fruit like apples and cranberries!
WATERCRESS: Touted as a mega “superfood,” watercress is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available to you. I love it in my salads, in home- made sushi, or atop my Japanese Okonomiyaki Savory Pancakes. Fresh watercress has a high concentration of ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C, which helps to enhance your immunity, and prevents iron deficiency. Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin K and calcium, as well. Look for crisp, long white stalks and bright green leaves.

Pick up a copy of my new book, Clean Green Eats for more gorgeous goodness, like so! xx ck


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