Interview with Plumb Talk Women
If you were asked to reflect on the importance of “going green” in your diet, would you visualize Jack and the Beanstalk? OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But is it, really? In the story, the beanstalk was a symbol — Jack was reaching for something that was beyond his known world.
Jack had only ever known a small world, with his pet cow and his mother. By virtue of the magic beans, he was able to see that there was so much more to explore out there. And so he climbed. He climbed into an eye-opening adventure.
Why couldn’t the path to health carry the same exploration and wonder? We are all starting on the ground, reaching upwards toward optimal health. You can climb the (metaphorical) beanstalk by incorporating greens one step — one branch — at a time.
The sky’s the limit! Remember: optimal health is not a finish line. It’s a process that rewards you every single day. Keep climbing that beanstalk! Reach higher each day.
Celebrity Talk with Sherri Mraz: Adding Green to Our Diets
Sherri Mraz is known as The “Cookin’ Yogi”. Her philosophy of wellness is completely aligned with PlumbTalk Women: she shares our passion for promoting whole-body, whole-mind, and whole-spirit health.
Sherri is a certified holistic health counselor, yoga therapist, healthy cooking instructor, author, and speaker. Sherri’s positive, supportive approach makes her a powerful ally for PlumbTalk Women. We are happy to share her enthusiasm and deep understanding of how everything in our lives and health are interconnected.
We had an informative and affirming Q-and-A session with Sherri about going green in our diets.
In society today, do women eat enough green, leafy vegetables?
It must be a known fact by now: The most under-eaten food is leafy greens.
As Sherri says, it is one of the most under-utilized types of food. This is changing to some degree, though, because the media is promoting greens.
Sherri suggests varying the types of greens you eat. Choosing a variety of leafy greens as well as cruciferous vegetables:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
“Try throwing some iodine-rich foods into your diet, such as seaweed,” she advises. “Take a trip to the Asian supermarket and grab some nori, dried sheets of seaweed, along with the fixings for hand-rolled sushi , Google and YouTube can help fill in the blanks!”
Are we unknowingly suffering from side effects that can be attributed to lack of greens in our diet?
Sherri outlines the problems associated with lack of greens: “If you aren’t eating any greens, you may be creating blockages,” which could lead to heart attacks or stroke. Greens help keep blood vessels open.
Phytonutrients — essential nutrients concentrated in the skins of fruits and vegetables — help to purify blood.
On the other hand, there are many conflicting reports about how people might be overusing greens and eating too much kale. It’s high in vitamin K (if you’re on blood thinners, for example, you have to tread carefully around foods high in K), and there were some reports that it caused hyperthyroidism in people with very high intakes of kale. “It’s about correct proportions and balance with iodine. Then there are no issues,” Sherri says.
What are the top five suggested “super greens”?
Some of Sherri’s top greens:
- Kale — It has the highest density of nutrients per calorie.
- Mustard and collard greens — Their bitterness can be an acquired taste, but there is no shortage of great recipes!
- Spinach — It is high in selenium, which is key in detoxing your body. The frozen kind packs slightly more selenium than the fresh kind. Cooking enhances both types, though raw spinach in salads will still do a body good.
- Broccoli – Also high in selenium, lightly steaming brings out the health benefits of broccoli.
- Asparagus — It may help reduce the risks of certain cancers. Tip: Don’t let asparagus sit around in your fridge because it breaks down quickly. Try to consume it within a couple of days of getting it.
Sherri explains, “Each one offers different nutrients. This is why it’s important to mix it up.”
She brings up wheat grass as a bonus to our list. You can often get shots of it at smoothie and juice bars, healthier-food cafes, and even coffee shops. “It’s full of chlorophyll, phosphorous, vitamin A…” and it’s a great source of dietary fiber and packed full of vitamins and minerals. She praised the potential of wheatgrass to reverse diseases.
What are the specific health benefits of the above list?
“The keep you at optimum health and energy,” Sherri says, and lays out an impressive list of benefits. Dark leafy greens:
- Purify blood
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers
- Improve circulation
- Strengthen the immune system
- Support a healthy gut (which includes your intestines)
- Increase energy levels
- Improve liver, gall bladder, and kidney function
- Clear out the lungs
We are only recently learning about the power of phytonutrients and phytochemicals. As we learn more about them, this list will continue to grow.
What does overcooking do to the nutritional value of vegetables?
“People go crazy on convenience at the expense of their health!” Sherri says. “Vegetables take on different energy depending on how you cook them,” such as steaming, boiling, or eating veggies raw which, she reminds us, helps preserve the most enzymes. You could be cooking out the beneficial nutrients.
“You might as well be eating the plastic bag”
For her, overdoing it in the microwave is the biggest mistake. “It’s like a perm, which rearranges the hair shaft. Microwaving could rearrange molecules in food that the body may no longer recognize, thus the body may interpret it as a toxin.”
She continues, “You might be eliminating nutrients altogether. You might as well be eating the plastic bag.” And, depending on the containers you’re using to microwave, you could be eating carcinogens. She advises people to stick to pots, pans and glass when cooking.
It is best to not overcook. Sherri also recommends eating a portion of your greens raw everyday. It’s easy to at least incorporate a salad at your meals.
Any yummy tips for making veggies more palatable, if we don’t like them?
- Juice! Blend veggies into a fruit smoothie in the morning.
- Mix up the vegetables.
- Mix greens into salad—and add fruit.
- Try kale chips!
Her quick and delicious recipe for kale chips:
Rub well-rinsed kale leaves with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until crispy.
“People fear food. I’m here to remind them that food is meant to be enjoyed!” Sherri says.
Can you share one simple, leafy greens recipe for readers to try?
Here is Sherri Mraz, The “Cookin Yogi’s,” Arugula Salad with Lemon, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts.
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3 – 4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
Sea salt or Himalayan and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 oz. organic Arugula
1/4 cup coarsely grated best-quality Parmesan cheese (such as Parmigiano
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or slivered almonds)
- Mix together the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; then whisk in 3 T of extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, to taste.
- Smash garlic with salt to make a paste add to mix. Season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Grate the parmesan cheese, using medium or large side of the grater.
- Put pine nuts (or almonds) into a dry pan and toast over high heat until they are just starting to change color and become fragrant, watching very carefully so they don’t burn.
- Put arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough dressing to coat all the leaves.
- Add the coarsely grated Parmesan and toss a few times to combine, then add about 3/4 of the toasted pine nuts (or almonds) and toss again.
- Put salad into individual serving dishes and top each one with a few more toasted nuts and sliced strawberries.
Keep Climbing That Beanstalk
We love when voices like Sherri Mraz join ours to sing the praises of greens! Speaking with her reminded us of the importance of taking small steps toward optimal health. These small steps can be delicious, whether it’s trying a new recipe or changing up the way you cook vegetables.
Start by rethinking greens and what they can mean for you. Like Jack exploring a new world on his beanstalk, you can climb high toward your own new world of health!
Sherri Mraz, the Cookin’ Yogi, can be found at www.cookinyogi.com.