People know they’re supposed to eat a healthy and balanced diet, which by most nutritional expert guidelines is to include four to five servings of vegetables each day. While your mother may have continually nagged you into eating your veggies as a child, often you find yourself as an adult avoiding green vegetables just because you don’t like how they taste. But if you are concerned about nutrition, there are alternatives to eating greens that may work for you.
Fresh-Squeezed Green Juice
Many nutrition regimens follow the mantra, “eat your fruit, drink your vegetables.” One of the reasons is that most people eat vegetables prepared in a cooked manner as opposed to raw. It is easy to lose some nutritional value, and perhaps most of it when cooking vegetables. While the best way to consume vegetables, to maximize all the nutrients and phytochemicals that protect the body’s cells from damage, is to eat them raw. Freshly squeezed vegetable juice is preferable to cooked vegetables or far worse, no vegetables at all.
Cold-Pressed Green Juice
Despite what may seem intuitive, all juices are not the same. Typically, to make fresh juice, vegetables get put in a blender. During the blending process, they are exposed to air along with heat from the blades of the blender. The combined action lowers the overall nutritional value of the vegetables.
Cold pressing, in contrast, does not expose the vegetables to oxygen. Instead, a vegetable is ground up and exposed to thousands of pounds of pressure, which extracts every drop of juice available. Avoiding exposure to oxygen and because more of the fiber is converted to juice through cold pressing as compared to blending, cold-pressed juices provide more significant health benefits.
Spirulina is a cyanobacterium, common blue-green algae found to have significant nutritional benefits. It is particularly rich in protein, carotenoids, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron,potassium and manganese. Some people, however, do not prefer to derive their nutrition via supplements.
Consume a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet without Greens?
While vegetables provide many essential nutrients for the building blocks of your body, it is nonetheless possible to maintain a relatively healthy diet without eating green vegetables if you pay close attention to your overall nutritional needs. In particular:
• Eat more fruit. Many of the same nutritional elements, such as potassium and magnesium, found in vegetables, are also contained in fruits but not in as significant concentrations. Therefore, you need to eat more fruit if you don’t eat vegetables. Aim for a variety of different colors of fruit at each meal and snacks.
• Eat whole grains. Whole grains are an essential food group in their own right, but if you do not eat green vegetables, they become even more so. Fiber, B vitamins and vitamin E found in whole grains can offset those nutrients vegetables typically provide.
• Avoid unhealthy fats. When you eat vegetables, you are not consuming fat. If you abstain from vegetables, be sure you do not increase foods high in unhealthy fat instead. Avoid saturated and trans fats, and try and focus on nuts, seeds and avocados as good sources of healthy fats.
• Opt for low or non-fat dairy products. Leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of calcium, for example, but if you’re increasing your dairy input to compensate for no vegetables, whole milk products are high in fat and can add unwanted pounds and raise cholesterol.
Eating a well-balanced diet should be everyone’s goal, but sometimes there are reasons you are unable to do so. If you cannot (or choose not to) eat green vegetables, it does not mean you cannot be healthy, but you do have to pay closer attention to the foods you do eat.