Okay, yeah, this is a weird topic. Who wants another article on going “green,” especially one about going green in meals? After all, it’s simple to add greens to your diet; just buy ’em and eat ’em. Who needs advice on that? Right?
Just about everyone knows people ought to eat lots of vegetables, especially leafy greens, in order to stay healthy. Leafy vegetables are high in protein, low in fat and calories, and high in fiber. There are more fitness tips and diet plans out there than there are people. It’s not really a matter of knowing; it’s a matter of doing, right? So do it now; after you read my little story and tips.
About four years ago I decided to be a greener eater. Up to that time I had managed to stay pretty fit for more than 20 years but then I slipped into some bad eating habits. I didn’t eat a lot but I did eat wrong. Why? Well, it’s a long boring story but I finally woke up and decided I needed to get fit again. I wanted to feel better. Now I do. Here are some things I did to “go green.”
1. First you must decide to do it. Why? No one lives forever right? That’s right but I figure as long as I gotta live I want to feel as good as I can. Eating greener helps.
2. Figure out what greens you can stomach (like). What are the leafy greens? Here are some of the main ones I know.
• Lettuces (I don’t care at all for ice berg lettuce. I prefer Romaine and Leafy; both have a lot of vitamin A and taste good too)
• Cabbage (I love Cole slaw with just a little dressing)
• Broccoli (Yes, gassy)
• Spinach (Spinach salads can’t be beat but I never learned to like cooked spinach)
• Turnip Greens (My dad loves ’em- Lots of vitamin A& C)
• Watercress (Also full of Vitamin A & C)
• Radicchio (That red lead stuff in salads)
• Others: Endives, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard
3. Set your minimum goals. People often set goals too high. I set minimum goals. For example I decided to eat at least 1 meatless evening meal every week. I’m not a big meat fan anyway. If I feel like it or the right opportunity comes up, I’ll eat more meatless meals-a salad at lunch for instance.
If you start too ambitious you’ll get discouraged when you fail. Set minimums and before long you’ll exceed them and feel victory.
4. Get to it; eat your greens. I like those packaged salads. They’re inexpensive, quick (no washing-no cutting), and good. The Romaine Mix is my favorite because it also has carrots and radicchio mixed in (some other stuff too I think) I sprinkle a little cheese on top, a few croutons, and then a low-fat salad dressing. Cole slaw and spinach also come in ready to eat packages.
When at a salad bar don’t pile everything in the world on top of your leafy greens. You really haven’t done anything much healthy by doing that.
5. Finally, start cooking with leafy greens. Add them to soups, fried rice, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. Check the internet for recipes.
I close with a little story. When I was in China in 1999 my Chinese guide learned that I don’t eat breakfast. He scolded me and then said, “Paul, big breakfast, big lunch, small supper is way to stay healthy.”
By big he didn’t mean scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, chicken-fried steak, French fries, and onion rings. The Chinese cook with lots of vegetables; meat is mostly for flavor. There aren’t many overweight Chinese in China.
I still don’t eat big at breakfast but on most days I eat a small bowl of oatmeal. That’s made a big difference too.
It’s not easy eating green but it’s worth it.