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Eat Yer Greens!

Who amongst us hasn’t heard the cry at one point or another? EAT YOUR GREENS! From the dinner table to the lounge room, if it wasn’t your mum it was Popeye! They all said the same thing, and they weren’t wrong…greens are essential to good health. If you’re anything like we are, you probably went to great lengths as a child to avoid your spinach and broccoli. Under the same logic, you’ve probably since realised just how great they are! At Loving Earth we’re big fans of all sorts of greens. Kale in particular is fantastic, not only in the context of health, but also because it’s extremely sustainable and dead easy to grow, as the following little tale illustrates.


When Loving Earth first started out, before we’d ever dreamed of having our own premises, Scott was running things from home. With a really good veggie garden out in the backyard, he’d see it thrive day by day, going out and weeding the garden to take an occasional break from work. As things took off and we got busier and busier, the garden went into decline. One season, Scott just had no spare time...he'd done absolutely nothing with the garden. Still, tomatoes and pumpkins were coming up out of the compost heap. In the garden proper, however, there was only one survivor…kale! This type in particular was the variety which grows on the stem with the leaves coming off each side, so it could be picked from and still continue producing. Scott would pick six or seven leaves from the plants every morning and blend them up along with his juice. This went on every morning for about nine months, at which stage the kids were growing out of their nappies and finding ways to cause havoc in the garden…by the time they were big enough to properly wreck the kale, it had grown to four or five feet high without any help at all -completely 100% neglected! This just goes to show how easy this stuff is to grow…you have no excuse not to!


But why exactly are greens so good for you? Basically, greens are the most nutritionally dense food available on the planet, loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins and phytonutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and bok choi are good sources of vitamins your body needs to stay healthy, such as A, C, K and many of the B vitamins. They’re also great sources of fibre and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Generally, the darker the leaves are, the more nutrients the vegetable has. Carotenoids found in dark green leafy vegetables such as lutein and zeaxanthin  are concentrated in the eye lens and macular region of the retina, playing a protective role in the eye. They protect against both cataract and age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly. The phytochemicals (antioxidants) in greens like bok choy and kale are enzymes which help with digestion and keep our digestive tract healthy, in addition to keeping you looking and feeling younger. Greens are particularly good news for the weight-conscious, as they have very little carbohydrate in them. And the carbs that are in there are packed in layers of fibre, which make them very slow to digest. That’s why, in general, greens have very little impact on blood glucose.


 (image - our grower in Labertouche harvesting fresh kale for delivery)


Kale For Victory!

We personally have a very intimate relationship with kale! Every week it’s in season (sometimes even two or three times a week) you’ll find us down at the markets come 6am, getting our hands on as much of this stuff as we can possibly work through. Our process involves zazzing it up with one of our gorgeous recipes before getting it into the dehydrator as fast as possible to lock in all those nutrients before they escape. Generally, less than 48 hours will have passed from the time of harvest to our end product: Kale Chips, packed, sealed and ready to go.


The best thing about having this crucial veg in such a tasty and easily digestible form is that it provides a quick and easy way to get your greens! Since it takes 4kg of kale to make just 1kg of kale chips, you can see just how much nutrition we’ve been able to pack into such a small form. And since it would take forever to munch through a huge plate of raw kale, this is a much more effective way to get all that goodness into you!


Next week we’ll be taking a look at the interesting story behind the Fairy Godmother of Green Veg and detailing some easy ways in which you can incorporate more of this fantastic stuff into your diet. Take care and we’ll see you then!

READ NEXT: We Heart Kale

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