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Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Spinach for Healthy Skin

It’s not easy being green. So how is it that spinach carries it off with such aplomb? Sure, spinach has had its defenders over the years, Popeye topping the list, not to mention culinary greats who used the green leafy vegetable to create such dishes as spinach soufflé, spinach lasagna, and countless versions of spinach salad. But, considering its unappetizing appearance, you could say spinach has done very well for itself. Besides being hailed for its high antioxidant and nutrient content, spinach is also receiving props for its ability to help maintain healthy skin. Here’s how you can use spinach to keep your skin smooth and radiant.

Bowl of green spinach

Nutritional Value
Spinach contains the antioxidant beta-carotene, which aids skin repair and slows cancer cells.

  • Vitamin A: One cup of cooked spinach contains 943 mcg of this vitamin, which is 105% of the daily recommended allowance, RDA, for men and 135% of the RDA for adult females.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant is crucial for skin cell repair and growth. Because vitamin C is not stored in the body, it must be provided by your daily diet. A cup of cooled spinach will give adult men 17.6 mg or 20% of the RDA of vitamin C, while it will give women 23%.
  • Iron: Iron is a component of hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells responsible for supplying oxygen to the tissues. You can find 6.5 mg of iron in a cup of cooked spinach which is equivalent to 81% of the RDA for men, and 36% of the RDA for women.
  • Magnesium: One cup of cooked spinach will provide you with 157mg magnesium, approximately 49% of the RDA for adult females and 37% for adult males. Magnesium is known for its ability to heal wounds and infections on the skin.

For Acne
Spinach can be used as a face mask or in juice from to help acne-prone skin. To make the mask, blend spinach and mix with water. Apply it to your face and let sit for about twenty minutes before rinsing. While making the juice requires a bit more effort, it is often the preferred method of obtaining the full benefits of the vegetable. Mix a half tomato with one carrot, one celery, a quarter of a cucumber, held a cup of cabbage, one green onion, half a red pepper, and a handful of spinach. Blend a drink daily.

Spinach juice

Anti-Aging
Spinach is a goldmine of antioxidants. Antioxidants are crucial for destroying damaging free radicals which cause premature aging. The regular consumption of this leafy green will help to slow down skin degeneration and make skin radiant.

Additionally, spinach has a high water content. One cup of cooked spinach provides 5 ounces of water to keep skin cells hydrated and is crucial to cell function. Spinach also contains iron and vitamin C to boost collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein required for muscle and skin elasticity.

Skin Repair
The vitamin A in spinach helps to keep skin toned and smooth, while the vitamin C helps to rejuvenate skin cells. These vitamins, along with iron, also support collagen levels essential for skin repair.

Improves Complexion
Folate and vitamin K are both found in spinach and can reduce the prevalence of dry skin, acne, and stretch marks, minimizing bruising and dark circles. The high vitamin content in the leafy green can also relieve itchy, dry skin, leaving you a radiant complexion.

Mixed spinach

Experts recommend eating cooked spinach as opposed to raw for better nutrition digestion. Cooking spinach also eliminates the effects of oxalic acid, which interferes with the body’s absorption of calcium. Liquid forms of spinach are especially effective when combined with other vegetables.

Spinach Face Mask
To get the benefits of spinach for your skin, try this natural recipe:

Mix five or six fresh spinach leaves with 1 tablespoon of raw honey ( manuka honey is recommended.) Add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Dilute with water is your skin is sensitive to lemon. The mixture will be sticky. Apply mask to clean face. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Repeat for smooth skin tone.

Do you eat your spinach right down to the finish? If so, let us know how your skin is doing! We love to hear from you!

Work Out To Relieve Anxiety

Anxiety and excess weight have a lot in common. They are both dreaded first world problems, they are both unhealthy, and they are both difficult to avoid. While it sometimes appears that there is no escape from either, there is one more thing that the two have in common: an enemy. Although it is true that stress and obesity are formidable contenders, there is one thing that has been proven capable of taking down both of them in one fell swoop. What is this thing of which we speak? The Workout. Find out why working out may be your best ally in the constant battle to remain stress and fat-free.

Woman running

How does exercise help relieve anxiety?
Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals, reduces immune system chemicals, and increases body temperature, all of which may have calming effects and have been shown to improve mood and boost confidence. Meeting exercise goals can make you feel better about yourself and looking better increases confidence in your appearance.

Exercise can also distract you from your worries and give you the chance to socialize with others. You may find friends at a gym, in an exercise class, or simply strolling the neighborhood. Physical activity is also a healthy coping activity, and a healthier alternative to dwelling on problems.

Physical Activity Vs. Structured Exercise
While the phrases physical activity and exercise are often used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the two. Physical activity is defined as any activity that expends energy and contracts muscles, and can be applied to household work and leisurely activities. Exercise refers to a more structured repetitive plan done with the sole aim of improving fitness.

Although we generally think of lifting weights and running as ways to get in shape, less intense physical activities, such as walking or gardening are equally capable of improving your mood and helping to maintain physical health.

Family cycling

How to Get Started

Pinpoint What You Enjoy Doing
Pick out something you can envision yourself sticking with and try to make a plan that you’ll be likely to follow through with.

Set A Reasonable Goal
Find a plan that meets your abilities and schedule. While 30 minutes a day three to five days a week is the recommended amount, as little as 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity can be enough to make a difference. Also, keep in mind, more vigorous activities can improve your mood and meet your workout requirements in less time.

Avoid Thinking of It As A Chore
If you think of exercise as something in your life that you need to live up to, you’re likely to associate it with failure. Try instead to think of it as a therapy session to help you feel better.

Find Out What’s Stopping You
Try and think of what may be preventing you from working out. Do you feel self-conscious? If so, you may want to exercise at home. Maybe you would prefer to work with a partner. Find out what it is that’s causing you to hesitate and try to find an alternative.

Know Your Limits
Remember to pat yourself on the back every once in a while and forgive yourself for small slip-ups. Just because you miss a day, doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on the horse.

Does working out relieve your anxiety? Let us know you’re best workouts for helping to get through your day!