As my family and I have transitioned into healthier lifestyles so many new doors have opened up for us. Thanks to H&H, I end up spending hours a week (sometimes hours a day) doing research: Finding out about different approaches to preparing food, trying to get a better understanding of nutrition so I can come up with own definition of “healthy”, drawing inspiration from other healthy families.
It’s been mentioned to me that cutting out gluten and dairy products could be a beneficial move for my allergies, my complexion, my health. It’s been mentioned to me that I should consider switching over to a raw diet. As a person who has spent the past 27 years believing that the “food pyramid” provided the structure that our meals needed, these drastic changes sound much too daunting for me.
I love eating healthy and I love the way it makes me feel, so I welcome these points of view with open arms. But the one thing that drives me crazy is reading articles that are little more than lists of things that I can’t, or shouldn’t, be consuming. Pffft. I don’t know about you all but the second you tell me not to do something a tiny little man appears on my shoulder, convincing me to rebel. It’s not my fault, it’s his!
I made a vow that my articles on H&H will present nutrition in a different light, a positive light that focuses on all of the CANS instead of the CANNOTS. As spring moves into summer and my plants turn into produce I will be trying to enjoy as much of it as I can in its raw, natural form. I hope that I can share more raw, dairy/gluten free ideas with you all that may convince you join me in my attempts [I promise there's no judgement if you decide that's not the path you want to take]
The Swiss Chard that we got in our CSA basket was so pretty that I knew it would be a great candidate for my raw experimentation. With hues of pink, red, orange and yellow, it provides a whole new spin on the term “greens”.
Here’s some good news, too: you can enjoy swiss chard raw to maximize all of the health and antioxidant rich benefits it provides (continue reading after the “recipe”)
- Raw Swiss Chard Salad
- 4 Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
- 1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- It’s simple: Just remove the stems and cut the leaves into strips.
- Place the leaves into a mixing bowl with a dash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Now work the mixture in with your hands– doing this will help break down the leaves a little bit. Massage the juices into the leaves.
- Let it sit at room temperature for about ten minutes.
- Enjoy as a side dish or toss with other fixings for a midday salad!
And for you nutrition-nerds out there like me, here are some of the benefits to eating Swiss Chard, courtesy of nutrition-and-you.com [Follow the link to learn more]
- Swiss chard is the store-house of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.
- Chard is very low in calories (19 kcal per 100 g fresh, raw leaves) and fats, recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
- Chard leaves are an excellent source of anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. Its fresh leaves provide about 33% of recommended levels per 100 g. As an anti-oxidant, vitamin C helps to quench free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) through its reduction potential properties. Research studies suggests that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, and also helps body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.
- Chard is one of theÂ excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
- It is also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin-A and flavonoids anti-oxidants like A carotene, carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
- It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
- It is also rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation.
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