ROTATE my greens? really?
There are a couple of key reasons you’ll want to rotate your greens.
First, if you eat the exact same variety of greens day-in and day-out, your body gets the same nutrients day-in and day-out. Yet, every variety of greens give you different minerals, antioxidants & nutrients ~ so if you eat the same greens all the time you are missing out on getting a good variety of nutrients.
In addition, each leafy green plant has a built-in self-defense mechanism designed to keep animals from completely devouring their fav plants! Think of it this way ~ if a goat loved kale and ate ALL the kale around him, that kale plant would be toast and it would actually die off pretty quickly.
Nature is super smart ~ to avoid killing the plant species completely, leafy greens actually have a tiny amount of “ALKALOID” in them – I know sounds like science-techy!
In a nutshell, it means leafy greens contains minute quantities of toxins that are found naturally within the greens! They are there to “warn” the unwelcome grazers so they will move on to another plant family before eating up all the greens.
Nature’s way of protecting the species!
So, yes – if you eat the same type of green all the time, for long periods, these alkaloids can build up in the body, resulting in negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, depression or anxiety.
This is known as “Alkaloid Buildup“.
Ok so it might sound a bit scary, but truth is alkaloids are only harmful in VERY LARGE quantities, but in small quantities they are relatively harmless (we don’t eat as much as animals who would be grazing the fields of greens!) – they certainly won’t send you to the doctor’s office.
Oh and in case you are wondering we don’t see this in fruits ~ why? ~ because fruits are designed to be eaten, and eaten, and eaten! To propogate they rely on animals to spread their seeds. Greens just like to grow, seeds from fruits like to be spread, blown in the air, or pollinated!
Isn’t nature amazing!
Oh and don’t forget ~ greens are the most powerful healing foods out there, so be sure to make them a staple in your Almost Raw Vegan diet!
From a nutritional perspective, the best way to prevent any issues is to simply rotate your greens every few days or weekly to ensure you get a wide variety of greens, which will also ensure you get a wide variety of nutrients. This premise of rotating foods actually applies to all plant-based eats (and non-plant based eats for that matter) you want to ensure you have lots of variety in your diet, as this helps ensure you get variety in nutrients so that you never lack any one nutrient.
You should be aware of “Alkaloid Buildup“, but know it isn’t anything to be too concerned about – as long as you ROTATE YOUR GREENS througout the week, you will be fine.
BEST way to get your greens!
Leafy greens are the foundation of your Almost Raw Vegan diet and they are one of the key ingredients that gives your body energy.
The easiest way to incorporate leafy greens into your day is by adding greens to your Green Smoothies & Green Salads.
You can easily include 2-4 handfuls/cups of leafy greens in any batch of Green Smoothie, and another 2-4 handfuls/cups in your Green Salads.
P.S. if you are just starting out, spinach is the mildest of greens and the flavour is pretty much disguised within a smoothie. A perfect example is this Cacao Energizing Smoothie, the whole family will LOVE this smoothie and they will never know spinach is one of the ingredients (unless of course you tell them 🙂 shhhhhh!).
When trying new leafy greens, always add a small amount to your smoothie at first – then gradually increase the greens. You will be amazed how quickly your taste buds adjust, and before you know it your body will actually start to crave more and more greens, even the stronger tasting greens! (no really!)
Ok, another tip is to add the juice of 1 or 2 lemons to your smoothies – the lemon is a great way to “cut” the strong green flavour and at the same time adds a nice refreshing kick!
Greens to Get You Started!
There are TONS of greens available these days ~ trouble is, many of us (including me) tend to stick with those we are most familiar with, and in so doing we may not be getting the variety of nutrients.
So let’s step out of your comfort zone and try some new green varieties, and in doing so we will get a greater variety of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants and you will also stay clear of Alkaloid Buildup.
A great way to enjoy new varieties of greens it to visit your local Farmer’s Market and look a the wide variety of colorful greens. Ask tthe Farmer what he/she likes, pick some up, smell it and give it a wee taste!
- Swiss Chard
- Bok Choy
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Carrot Tops
- Sunflower sprouts (all sprouts in general)
- Romaine lettuce
- Boston lettuce
- Collard greens
- Turnip Greens
- Radish Greens
- Beet Greens
- Basil leaves
- Mint leaves
What Greens Do You Like?
There are literally hundreds of edible greens out there. Which ones are your favourites? What have you tried & liked, and which one’s didn’t you like?