The Power of Green

When faced with feeling a bit ‘off’ in a strange country, perhaps having the sniffles, or wanting to take a nap but needing to keep up with the tour group, you might welcome some suggestions to return to your usual energetic self. I’ve been there. And I’ve found that giving my body a powerful nutritional boost by eating green brings me back into balance and also helps prevent those ‘off’ days in the first place.

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Here are three tips to help you feel ‘on’, not ‘off.’

Tip one: Eat green
That is, load up on as many leafy greens as you can when you find them. I’m not talking about lettuce, although that’s sometimes all that’s available in the category. What I do mean are the really dark leafy greens: kale, collards, and spinach. You can sometimes find these on a menu or buffet. Perhaps you can locate them at the local grocery store. When you see them, don’t walk by. Gather them, cook them, and load up your plate.

The healthiest green is kale. It has all nine amino acids you need to form protein plus nine more, all tucked into a low calorie package.  It is, ounce for ounce, along with collards, mustard greens, and water cress, the most nutritious food you can eat, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman who measured these things.

Eating Green Kale

For an emergency lift I have torn kale into small bits and poured the hot water from the coffee maker over the greens. The hot water cooks the greens for snacking and also provides a vitamin-packed green drink, if you manage to find organic kale.

Don’t like the taste of kale? The fruit in smoothies can disguise the green taste. But beware, the sugar content in some smoothies can offset any of the green benefits. Know the ingredients and avoid any drink poured from a box.

Tip two: Pack a green drink
My naturopath doctor gave me samples of a green powder mix from Greens First when I embarked on a drive from Maryland to Arizona. She said that leafy greens were hard to find in some states, especially along Route 40. She was right. I tried the green powder and found that it did give me a green ‘lift.’ I now take travel packets of powdered greens on all of my trips. I’ve mixed a green drink on a ski slope, on a bus in China, at a cribbage tournament, before dancing the tango and more. There are a variety of green drink mixes available on the web and in a health food store. Experiment to find the one you like best.

greens first

If you don’t like the taste of the powdered mix, consider packing and eating greens in pill form. Enterprising companies have freeze dried greens and put them in gel caps. The usual caution…read the labels.

Tip three: Eat seaweed
Seaweed or sea vegetables, maybe seagreens, rarely appear on a dinner plate. When Dr. Fuhrman created his list of the most nutritious food he didn’t even consider seaweed. However, when I was studying macrobiotics I learned the benefits of this amazing group of vegetables. Seaweed contains more than 25 vitamins and 50 minerals. Because the nutrients come in food and are not fragmented in a pill, they are more available and more easily digested. Other than a Japanese restaurant, you can sometimes find seaweed snacks in the grocery store.

seaweed snack

I carry teriyaki flavored nori snacks with me when I travel. These bits of nori, a type of seaweed used to roll sushi, come wrapped in cellophane for easy transport. I buy them from Stash Tea, but you can find them elsewhere. Just unwrap and pop them into your mouth for a quick, healthy, boost.

Whether you eat a kale salad, slurp a green drink, or sprinkle seagreens on your lasagna, I hope eating green will help you feel great during your next trip. You can start greening your diet before you leave to give yourself a healthy start. Or use these tips at home when you aren’t traveling. That works too.

Joan Young
Joan Young

After recovering from an autoimmune blood disease, Joan has devoted the last 20 years to medical and healing education. She founded a non-profit disease support group, The Platelet Disorder Support Association, wrote a book about her illness and recovery, was a member of the American Society of Hematology, is an associate editor of the International Journal of User Driven Healthcare, writes web and social media content, and communicates with physicians and patients worldwide. Now semi-retired, she has more time to explore the world, write about her adventures, and share the wellness knowledge she has spent much of her life gathering.

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