New Year’s resolutions can be lofty—lose 10 pounds, find your soul mate, run your first marathon, or get your life organized. The majority of our New Year’s resolutions concern our health.
This tradition is not new. The making of resolutions dates back to the ancient Roman times when worshippers would make pledges to the god Janus, after whom the month January is named.
I seem to come from a generation where resolutions have been relinquished. They’ve been deemed silly or worthless. Yet research supports the fact that almost 50 percent of those who make and commit to their resolutions achieve favorable results within a six-month period.
This statistic caught my attention and seemed worth pursuit.
I’ve decided to keep my resolution for 2014 quite simple, though, so that I can fall into that successful margin. And I invite you to join me. It’s as basic as turning over a new leaf. Yes, your desire to land that well-paying job of your dreams this year is also turning over a new leaf. Yet I’m talking about a more literal leaf.
My resolution this new year is to give every leafy green vegetable I can get my hands on a spotlight on my table. And I aim to do so each day of the new year. In essence, my ambition is to turn over a new leafy.
Think of the budding possibilities: collard greens, bok choy, escarole, arugula, mizuna, and more. Consider the wild greens like dandelion, nettles, and purslane, which is rich in essential fatty acids.
Why the New Leaf?
I’m well-versed in the many health benefits of these leafy greens, and you may be too. I also know how consuming more of them will change my life for the better. In fact, I know this quite well.
Every day I counsel folks on the advantages of eating their leafies. I teach them to drink fruity green smoothies, bake crispy kale chips, and sauté the plumes of their beets with garlic and lemon or even tart apples and cinnamon. And they love it. They love how it tastes and they love how they feel. And when I walk my talk, I do too.
By now, it’s common knowledge that diets rich in vegetables are beneficial for heart health and digestive health and are protective against many cancers. Yet, I like to put the leafy green vegetables in a category by themselves.
They stand apart from the other veggies. It’s easy for me to tout their unique resources in supporting mood and energy, reducing the effects of stress, boosting performance levels, and aiding weight loss (in case either of those last two factors remain part of your loftier New Year’s resolutions).
The hearty leafy green vegetables are rich in minerals such as calcium and iron to keep us strong, dynamic, and fortified. They contain good B vitamins that are key for our mental health. Their fiber helps us to naturally detoxify the internal and external factors that can all too easily burden our bodies these days.
The leafy greens are rich in antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals that keep our immune systems firing even through the coldest months and most taxing times.
Yet while all of those health perks inspire me to make a promise to myself to devour a bed of greens every day, you may be more stimulated by just how tasty the green life can be.
The potential preparation methods are as varied as the leaves. Stretch beyond the salad. You can sauté, stir-fry, blanch, grill, bake, blend, or eat them raw. I hope you’ll join me for a year full of leafy produce to advance your health and invigorate your taste buds.
Make a resolution. Turn over a new leafy with me in 2014!
Functional nutritionist Andrea Nakayama has taken the idea of food as personalized medicine beyond a clinical practice. She guides thousands of clients in taking ownership over their health through her online programs at ReplenishPDX.com and HolisticNutritionLab.com. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.