kale

Three Delicious Ways to Enjoy Your Greens on the Go This Summer

Happy summer, everyone!

Summer is one of our very favorite seasons of the year at WP Rawl. No matter where you look, you see the color GREEN everywhere. From the green leaves on the trees to the greens that are popping up in our fields, our favorite color is all around us. It’s even in our kitchens each day as we prep and enjoy our meals.

We don’t know about y’all, but we tend to stay on the go during the summer months. The extra daylight hours have us up and out the door early in the morning and staying out later in the evenings. Combined with the warm weather, we like to spend the majority of our days outside. That can make mealtimes a little tricky in our homes as we are spending less time gathered around the table for mealtimes. Most of our meals are actually on the go.

But you know what? We’re not sacrificing nutrition despite being on the go! We’re taking our greens everywhere that we go with us this season. Vacations? Sure, we’ve got our greens there. Early morning swim practices with the kids? Yup, you can bet we have a cup full of greens down by the pool, too. Here are some of our tried and true recipes that make enjoying greens on the go very easy.

Chocolate Kale Zucchini Mini Muffins

Our Chocolate Kale Zucchini Mini Muffins are perfect to meal prep ahead of time! Whip up a batch of these on Sunday night to enjoy for a quick breakfast during the week. They even make for a great snack during the day.

Watermelon Apple Salad with Greens

Prepped and served from a mason jar, our Watermelon Apple Sale with Greens is not only super easy to eat on the go, but it’s also a cute way to enjoy a salad. Prep this one the night before or first thing in the morning before you head out the door for your day’s adventures.

Smoothie

Hands down, the easiest way to take your greens to go this summer? In a smoothie! Smoothies are cool, tasty, and exceptionally refreshing to enjoy during the hot summer months. We have an abundance of smoothie recipes for you to enjoy on our website. What’s your favorite one to enjoy? Smoothies are so easy to customize—you can take any of our recipes and tailor them specifically to your tastes and needs.

How are you taking your greens to go this summer? We would love to see! Tag us in your photos and videos on social media with @naturesgreens and #backtofresh.

The Mindful Eating Challenge

Mindfulness… It’s a total buzz word as of late but what does it even mean?

Mindfulness is bringing our awareness to the here and now. It’s about being fully aware of our surroundings in that particular moment in time. Here are some examples of questions you may ask yourself to become present: How deep is my breathing? What are the sounds around me? Can I release any tension I am holding onto in my bodies? 

Mindful Eating

This leads us to the topic of mindful eating. Mindful eating is about using our senses before, while, and after eating our food. For example, we can ask questions like what does the food smell like, what does it look like, what is the taste and finally what is the texture in our mouth? It’s about being aware of our hunger cues, doesn’t mean that just because its 12 noon, and we usually eat every day at 12 noon, we have to eat then. Or just because I usually practice intermittent fasting and don’t begin eating my first meal until 10 am, that I need to wait until 10 am to eat. What if our body is telling us we are hungry earlier, or later than 10 am? It’s about tuning into our body to figure what what it’s telling us, what it needs and in turn, what type of fuel we should feed it.

In the culture we currently live in, it’s totally normal to eat almost unconsciously. Most people eat at their desk while working, or eat while watching TV at home. I myself have a bad habit of eating while responding to emails. But the issue with that is we don’t get to actually enjoy the beautiful food in front of us. We don’t get to appreciate that it’s nourishing our bodies and giving us brain fuel to make it through the day. We just chew & swallow to finish the task and be able to move on to the next item on our to-do list. I mean, let’s face it, who else has finished a whole bag of popcorn or chips and thought, “oops, I wasn’t even hungry..” I know I have!

Breaking these mindless eating habits actually requires some motivation, self-compassion and practice. That’s why I have set up a quick 6-step plan on how we can steer away from these mindless eating habits and begin adopting some mindful eating habits! For the next 2 weeks, we are going to try to enjoy each meal mindfully. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Decide if you’re actually hungry. Take a moment to figure out if emotions have triggered you to begin eating (such as feeling sad, bored or lonely). 

  • Step 2: Serve your food.

  • Step 3: Smell - Take a few deep breaths in and out before you begin eating. Smell the food and get excited about the flavors about to happen!

  • Step 4: Sight - What does the food look like? What is the most gorgeous part of the presentation? Anything in particular you’re excited to taste?

  • Step 5: Taste - Take your first bite of food, chew it for quite some time. Set your fork down. Now try to extract all of the flavors and textures. What does it actually taste like?

  • Step 6: While you enjoy the rest of your meal, think about where your food is coming from, and who may have grown your food. Think about what it’s doing for your body. For example, certain fresh organic vegetables can provide our bodies with vitamins and minerals to keep our skin glowing and our digestive system working properly.

I have created a kale and pink grapefruit salad recipe for you below. It is actually a great recipe to start with because you’ll have so many different flavors and textures to examine. I love using Natures Greens because they are pre-washed and ready to consume, making it easier for me to have some more time to practice mindful eating!

Challenge

Let’s start by applying this 6-step process of mindful eating to one meal a day, yup, just one meal (I totally get it can be overwhelming to change our habits overnight). Pick whichever meal you feel it can be the most practical to start with, and give yourself a challenge of doing it every day for 14 days. Whenever you are mindfully eating, tag me your social media posts @recipes4health & I will re-share! So who’s in?

Kale & Pink Grapefruit Salad

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Salad:

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  • 6-8 cups of Natures Green Organic Kale Greens (pre-chopped & pre washed)

  • 1 large grapefruit

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tbsp 

  • 1-2 tbsp grapefruit juice

  • 1 tbsp ACV

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup 

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a sharp knife, chop the kale into fine pieces and add them into a large bowl.

  2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the kale and use your hands to massage all throughout the leaves. Doing this will help break down the coarseness of the kale and help it be easier to digest.

  3. Next use a sharp knife to cut and peel the grapefruit, then discard. Working over a small bowl, cut between the membranes to release the segments into a bowl. Leave the juice aside to use for the dressing. Add the grapefruit segments into the bowl of kale.

  4. Slice an avocado in half, remove the seed carefully with a knife. Slice the inside of the avocado with a knife, then scoop out the insides with a spoon. Add it to the bowl of kale.

  5. Add the pecans, feta cheese and cranberries into the bowl too. 

  6. For the dressing, add all of the ingredients into a mason jar and shake well. 

  7. Add the dressing to the bowl and toss well.


The Reasons Why People Are Choosing A Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Kale

If you are like us, you might be a little confused at what you can and can't eat these days. Is there a healthier way to eat and live? Are there tangible benefits to living a certain lifestyle? In 2018 we are going to explore these questions, specifically as it relates to gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian lifestyles, and provide recipes that you can use for each of them. Let's dive into our first topic: gluten-free.

(Exclusive gluten-free recipes at the bottom of the post!)

The basics

Gluten-free is one of the trendiest lifestyles and dietary changes being made currently. You cannot go into a grocery store or a restaurant now that doesn't have a gluten-free section or offering in the aisle or menu, respectively. So why is it so popular? 

First, we need to know the answer to the question: what is gluten? According to the Mayo Clinic, gluten is protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and a hybrid of wheat and rye called triticale. Essentially, gluten gives dough its elasticity and helps hold it together while it is being made. Now that we know what gluten is we can move onto the next pressing question: why is it bad for some people?

Gluten Wheat Grain.jpg

The bad

Our bodies’ immune systems function something like this: recognize the difference between what belongs and what is foreign, then attack the foreign. However, many people suffer from autoimmune diseases. One such autoimmune disease is "celiac disease" (CD), caused by consuming gluten. Advocacy group Beyond Celiac states that about 1% of the US population has celiac disease. 

"Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten triggers immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine. Over time this damage prevents the absorption of nutrients from food." -- Mayo Clinic Staff

Clearly, people that suffer from celiac disease need to avoid gluten. However, what about people that do not have celiac disease? Why are they opting for gluten-free?

Gluten Intolerance vs. Gluten Sensitivity vs. Wheat Allergy

The Gluten Intolerance Group explain the three most common diagnoses and what they each mean. Gluten intolerance is diagnosed as celiac disease. The only way to treat celiac disease is to practice a 100% gluten-free diet. Gluten sensitivity, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), is hard to diagnose as it shares many of the same characteristics of celiac disease and there is no true test developed yet. The only way to identify it is to rule out an autoimmune reaction and a wheat allergy. Finally, a wheat allergy is specific to a rejection of a protein found in wheat, but other gluten from non-wheat sources is okay to eat.

What foods can I eat if I am gluten intolerant or have a gluten sensitivity?

Several different organizations list the foods that you can and cannot eat. We will assemble the highlights here, but if you have a gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity, you need to do comprehensive research as well as consult with your doctor on an appropriate diet.

  1. Allowed fresh foods
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms
  • Eggs
  • Lean, nonprocessed meats, fish and poultry
  • Most low-fat dairy products
  1. Avoid all food and drinks that contain the following
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Oats (in some cases)

(From the Mayo Clinic Staff)

Gluten-free alternatives

(From Beyond Celiac)


Another great source for information and recipes is The Gluten-Free Goddess' blog. Karina Allrich writes about what she knows from her own life experience, shares practical ways to live gluten-free, and many tasty recipes.

I am not Gluten Sensitive but I think going gluten-free will improve my health

This is a hot topic right now, as an increasing rate of people who do not have a gluten intolerance are opting to go gluten-free. Among the biggest drivers is a growing suspicion on the potential adverse health affects of consuming gluten. If you do believe that you are suffering from a gluten intolerance, you should consult with a doctor and be tested. Always consult with a medical professional before making significant lifestyle changes. 

Adding fruits and veggies to your meals on a gluten-free diet

As you may know, fruits and veggies are really good for you. They have amazing nutritional properties that our body systems need daily to function. Another great thing about produce: its naturally gluten-free. Regardless of the lifestyle you choose to live, it's probably a good idea to keep fresh fruits and vegetables as a fixture in your diet.

White Bean Kale Cauliflower Casserole

White Bean Kale Cauliflower Casserole

Let's face it. It can be a challenge to get our friends or family to get on the gluten-free train with us. However, serve this delicious recipe from registered dietitian and best-selling author, Cynthia Sass, and your loved ones will be clamoring for more yummy dishes from you! Featuring fresh kale, cauliflower, lemon juice + zest, tahini, and white beans. Estimated prep + bake time is 35 minutes.

Pinto Bean and Collard Omelet

Pinto Bean and Collard Omelet

A Tex-Mex omelet recipe from Cynthia Sass, RD and best-selling author, is full of that southwest flavor you crave. The best part? When you make this for breakfast or brinner ( breakfast for dinner), you are giving your body an excellent source of protein. Also, those veggies aren't in their just for their color. The nutrients found between those veggies will add a healthy portion to your daily needs, and give your body the tools it needs to support itself.

Here Come the Holidays!

The holiday season is great for togetherness and spending time with family and friends. For many, it can be the start of weight gain and unhealthy eating habits. Do not worry! The holidays don’t have to be a constant struggle with your health. We are here to give you tips to help you balance your food and fun while staying healthy and happy this holiday season.

1. Incorporate more greens

Add your favorite leafy greens to your mealtime selections. Use chopped greens in your morning yogurt or smoothie, add them to a lunchtime batch of soup or chili, or cut your dinner side of rice or pasta in half and fill the rest of your plate with sautéed greens.

2. Portion control

Dish your own plate and place small portions of your favorite holiday foods on it. Controlling your portion size should eliminate overeating.

3. Stay hydrated

Drinking water will keep you hydrated and curb your cravings.

4. Don't Skip Meals

Do not avoid food all day to save room for a great holiday dinner.  Starving yourself all day may cause you to overeat! Eat a good breakfast and lunch before hitting your holiday dinner party. Be sure to include protein with each meal to help balance your blood sugar and help you get through the day.

5. Be a realist

The holiday season is not the time to lose weight. Rather than try to lose weight, work on maintaining your current weight and set up healthy eating habits. The New Year is right around the corner! January will have less temptation – a great time to start setting those weight loss goals.

Let the time of togetherness be your focus this holiday season. If you overeat at one meal, do not beat yourself up. You will not gain weight from that one piece of pie –healthy eating is a process and we are here to help guide you in your Back to Fresh journey!

 

 

Oh, Sweet Kale Of Mine!

This July, we are focusing on sweets. Sweets can be healthy and nutritious too, right?  Of course!

Try to incorporate a healthy and delicious leafy green, such as kale, in your favorite sweet treat. Here are 4 ways that will help you keep your favorite desserts “Back to Fresh”.

Photo Credit: Buzz Feed

Photo Credit: Buzz Feed

1.       Use neutral tasting ingredients to cut out unwanted calories!

Sugars and sweeteners in desserts help mask the taste of other ingredients. Researchers from Idaho State University found that 8 in 10 people enjoyed fudge made with tofu just as much as they did with butter. Replacing butter with a healthier alternative is a great way to cut calories and carbs. Livestrong.com averages that one brownie of 35 grams, can have at least 20 grams of carbohydrates in it.

Kale is a great ingredient to add in desserts. The sweetness of the dessert tends to cut out the bitterness associated with the leafy green. Also, if your kids aren’t a fan of kale, try our recipe for our delicious Brownie Points, they won’t even know it’s in there.  Cutting these ingredients in half or eliminating them can go a long way in helping you cut calories while enjoying sweet treats!

 

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

2.       Use a puree instead of the butter, oil or shortening!

Making a puree and cutting out half of the butter, oil or shortening in your favorite sweets can go a long way and help you stay on track with your weight loss and diet goals. Using kale, beets, and plant proteins like beans and lentils are great options for the “filler puree”.  

Using a puree also allows for you be sneaky with adding greens. These purees help hide the taste and texture of bitter veggies that people sometimes do not enjoy.

 3.       Mix leafy greens directly into the batter!

Make sure you get your daily 5 to 13 servings of fruits and veggies recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by adding kale or other leafy greens into your batter.

Finely chop kale and incorporate it into your dessert batters. This is a simple way to add some veggies into your baked goods, and make sure you get your daily 5 to 13 servings of fruits and veggies. Doing this makes the texture and flavor of the greens less noticeable in your sweet treats!

 4.       Use dessert recipes that accent kale aesthetically!

 We’ve talked about mixing greens into your dessert so that you cannot see them or taste them, but sometimes embracing the fact that you have added kale is not a bad thing!

Why not impress friends and family with their favorite sweets that have kale, but taste great? A great example of this is our Kale Key Lime Pie. Key Lime Pie has a strong flavor in general, so adding kale to this very tart dessert is easy and as simple as adding to the wiped filling.

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Photo Credit: WP Rawl

Tips like these do not take a lot of time, baking skill, or effort. Making these simple changes will help you find ways to embrace starting a “Back to Fresh” journey.

Make sure to check out our website for hundreds of more great leafy green recipes. Follow along on our “Back to Fresh” journey on social media, and share your tips on dieting, weight loss, and healthy eating using the #BackToFresh hashtag!

 

 

 

 

 

EAT GREENS! Your Body Will Thank You Later.

A lot of my clients tell me they just don’t like green vegetables. Often it’s because they were forced to eat them as a child, or were introduced to green veggies in unappetizing ways. Unfortunately those negative early associations can last a lifetime, but there are important reasons to overcome them, and learn to love your veggies, including greens.  

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

You’re probably aware that greens are nutrient rich, but you might not know just how potent they are as health protectors. Leafy greens have been shown to help fight chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. They also protect your brain, and fend off aging. One study compared people who don’t eat green leafy veggies to those who consume one to two servings per day. The green eaters had cognitive abilities that were equivalent to folks 11 years younger. That’s powerful.

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

Greens also protect your eyes, and may reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by as much as 30%. Additional benefits include stronger immunity, enhanced energy and mood, and weight control. Replacing foods like pasta, rice, and bread with raw or cooked grains doesn’t just save calories and cut carbs. Research shows that higher antioxidant intakes are associated with leaner bodies, and greens are a potent antioxidant source.   

If you’re convinced that greens deserve a place in your eating routine but you’re not sure where to start take baby steps. Try whipping greens into a fruit smoothie- they blend right in and the sweetness of fruit overpowers any bitterness, so you won’t feel like you’re drinking a salad. Next add greens to staple meals, such as omelets or chili. As a next step make greens the star of meals, like entree salads and stir frys. If you’re adventurous you can even blends greens into desserts, and snack on kale chips or collard crisps. Just find a way to start, and if you don’t like one recipe, commit to trying another. It is well worth the effort, because this is one small eating change has the potential to lead to major quality of life results. So begin embracing greens today. Your body will truly thank you later!   

The Green Party

Not sure whom to vote for in this election?  The choice is clear: the greens party, of course!  It is often said that campaigning for any seat in office is grueling and demanding of the body.  That is why it is so important to get your greens in and stay on top of your energy!  Here is our political agenda and why you should vote for Nature’s Greens®!

1.       Stay Young: Vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions.  Insufficient amount of greens can lead to cardiovascular disease, bone fragility, and arterial and kidney problems.  While in a demanding job, it is crucial to take care of yourself!

2.       Lowers Cholesterol: Mustard greens and kale help lower cholesterol.  High cholesterol is not good for anyone and it is especially important to maintain a healthy level when you are in a stressful job!

(image source: http://www.debbish.com/diet-schmiet/a-healthy-heart/)

(image source: http://www.debbish.com/diet-schmiet/a-healthy-heart/)

3.       Vision: Move over carrots!  Leafy greens are good sources of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help filter high-energy light that may cause eye damage.  Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce discomfort caused by glare.  This decreases the risk of cataracts and increases how far you can see!

(image source: http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2013/10/fido-google-glass-for-service-dogs-serious-pet-tech/dog-w-glasses/)

(image source: http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2013/10/fido-google-glass-for-service-dogs-serious-pet-tech/dog-w-glasses/)

4.       Body Fuel: Just like cars, our bodies run out of steam.  Greens will give you energy that will sustain your body and get you through the day!

 5.       Bone Health: Not a milk fan?  Greens can help you get to the 1,000 milligram per day calcium goal.  This is especially important for preventing diseases like osteoporosis.

6.       Colon Cancer Prevention: Greens are part of the nutrient-rich Brassica family.  A higher intake of these vegetables has proven to decrease the risk of colon cancer. 

We hope you will vote for us this November and forever!  We will bring a fresh change to your life and you will be very happy with the outcome.  We are Nature’s Greens® and we approve this message.

(image source: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-the-poem-that-became-the-song.htm)

(image source: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-the-poem-that-became-the-song.htm)

KALE for all your BASIC Needs

Oh beloved kale. Seemingly overnight you morphed from a discarded, disregarded garnish to today’s “it” superfood. We’ve all seen devotees pay homage to their beloved kale on t-shirts, hats, mugs, and countless Instagram pics. And get this: Kale can boast an astonishing 400% surge on restaurant menus. So just how did this little known veggie suddenly jet into the limelight?  

Nobody knows for sure, but it seems to have started when chefs, who are always reinventing food, adopted kale as a darling. Celebrities then began publicly sharing their kale love. And you may recall that kale gained widespread media attention when a t-shirt maker, who produced an Eat More Kale silkscreen, was challenged by Chick-fil-A, who felt the slogan was too similar to their Eat Mor Chikin campaign.

When the big kale buzz began, nutritionists like me were over the moon. Leafy green consumption had been pretty flat for over three decades, and most Americans were far short of the recommended minimum intake of three cups of dark green veggies per week. Filling that gap immediately ups the intake of several critical nutrients, including vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and fiber. Plus, kale is loaded with antioxidants and tied to anti-inflammation. This member of the cruciferous veggie family (along with its relatives broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage) helps fight heart disease by protecting the bends and branches in blood vessels; areas that tend to be the most prone to cholesterol build-up. Kale’s natural detoxers have been shown to deactivate cancer-causing substances and stop or slow the growth of existing cancer cells. Additionally, recent research found that eating just one and a half extra servings of leafy greens a day lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.

Eating more kale is also a savvy weight loss strategy. In addition to being filling and low in calories, published research has tied higher antioxidant intakes to leaner bodies. Plus, the chewing kale requires ups satiety, to help decrease hunger levels and naturally curb eating. One recent study found that just adding green plant membranes to the diets of overweight women resulted in weight loss, smaller waist measurements, and a reduced desire to eat. Pretty powerful stuff!

 

So regardless of how kale became hip I’m thrilled that it’s not a fizzling fad. Being a regular kale eater (or drinker) is one of the most impactful ways you can protect your health. It’s also one of the easiest. You can enjoy kale in a smoothie or frittata at breakfast, salad at lunch, or sautéed at dinner. Kale chips are an easy breezy and satisfying snack, and you can even bake kale into desserts. Few veggies are as versatile and simultaneously nutrient dense. So I say, “Kale yeah” to this nutrition trend. America, let’s keep on kaling on!