Who’s afraid of the big green vegetable?
Before my Coeliac diagnosis, I’d always considered myself to have quite a healthy diet and a lot of people would reinforce that message by telling me how “good” I was. But looking back now I can see how little nutrients I was really feeding my body – I feasted on toast and pasta on a regular basis and vegetables were far from the mainstay of our household. There’s no way around the fact that it took me a while to find my feet on a gluten free diet and my body has been my own little laboratory over the last few years while I’ve worked out what makes me really feel at my best.
There isn’t a one size fits all approach (that works) but whether you are on a gluten free diet or just want to have more vitality, the one thing that will really help is if you up your veggies and especially greens intake! For a lot of people that sounds like punishment, I know, I’m close to a lot of people that will not touch a green.
If you’re one of those people, don’t feel like that’s what you’ll always be; there are things you can do to integrate more greens into your meals without it feeling like torture. There are a couple of things I recommend doing to help you incorporate more green in a pleasurable way:
Put a spin on your mindset
Rather than believing that you’ll always find ALL greens repulsive, consider that you maybe haven’t tried all greens yet in every way they can be prepared. When you go out to eat, choose a green you haven’t tried before cooked in a way you’ve never done yourself at home (or been fed by well-meaning families). I’ve always found eating out to be the best way to try things I’m afraid of making myself at home as it gives me an idea of how good things can taste when prepared by someone that really knows what they’re doing! You may also want to consider something like a veg box delivery (I’ve talked about how my own veg box delivery has influenced my outlook on food and you may find this useful to read) as it’ll broaden your frame of reference; showing you new and different produce grown with care is bound to peak some interest about greens.
If you can’t beat them (so to speak), drink ‘em…
Having homemade, freshly pressed green juices is a brilliant way of getting lots of greens into your system without feeling like you’re wading through a plate of broccoli. We use something like this Sage Nutri Juicer (I’m not sure of the exact model we have) but you can find one to suit all kinds of kitchens and budgets. The one thing I will say about some of the cheaper models is that we had two juicers previously, we started with cheaper models to see whether juicing was for us, that we burnt out the motor on in a very short space of time as we were juicing daily and the machines just weren’t up to the task. Some are also easier to clean than others. You don’t have to make up a fresh batch of juice up daily either if you’re time pressed, although more of the active goodness is thought to be more readily available when made fresh, we’ve previously been a busy household with two 9-5 jobs to hold down and struggled to fit in juicing every day ourlseves so we’d make bigger batches and store in the fridge in sealed containers/glass bottles.
If you need a bit of extra inspiration to get started with juicing, my go to green juice recipe is below – I’ve been making this for months now as it seems to be the perfect sweet spot between @plantpoweredcyclist’s hardcore green machine style juices and my softer “it needs to taste good” versions. To ease yourself in, you can always add an extra apple or two, or if you can’t get apples, sub in pears. I do use some “superfood” powders in my kitchen as I like to think that I can give everything I eat an extra little boost, but you don’t have to spend lots of money on these as things like broccoli and spinach are nutritional powerhouses on their own!
My go-to refreshing green juice recipe:
This makes enough for the two of us for a few days. I try to drink my green juice in the morning, after my hot lemon water, before my breakfast (so on an empty stomach) to get my system going and support it in absorbing the nutrients more easily (but that’s just what works for me).
2 Fennel bulbs
2 Celery heads
1 Spinach bag
1 Ginger root
2tbsp Wheatgrass powder
2tbsp Barleygrass powder
NB: your juicer may have slightly different instructions for different types of fruits and veggies, make sure you have a good read of your manual, this is what works in the model we have.
- Cut in half the fennel bulbs, celery heads and cucumbers to fit into your juicing tube.
- Juice the fennel, followed by the celery and root ginger which can be followed by the apples.
- Juice the lemon, whole, with peel.
- Depending on the capacity of the juicing vessel you may need to redistribute the juice so far into different vessels to ensure you get an even mix of the juice flavour.
- Then juice the cucumbers and bag of spinach.
- Into your juice storage vessels, mix in with a big wooden spoon, superfood powders (if using)
- Drink up and enjoy those lovely greens!
Are you resistant to any food colours in particular and would like to see a feature on how to incorporate more? I’d love you to leave me a note in the comments below or email me x