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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Greens and Grains

Mar 04, 2013 03:08PM ● By Sylvia Haskvitz

Greens and grains both seem to stick to the palate and vegetables in general are part of a healthy diet. Greens in particular offer a big bang for the nutritional buck. Green plant foods balance the body’s acidity, or pH level. Many modern foods are acidic in nature and can lead to health issues, so balancing the body with neutralizing foods like greens keeps it at a healthier level.

Some greens include omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are important to many of the body’s functions, rather than to the brain. Chlorophyll in green plants acts as a blood detoxifier. Greens are high in nutrients and enzymes necessary for bodies to function, such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins.

In greens, there are a variety of phytonutrients that include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect cells from damage and eyes from age-related problems. Greens are powerful antioxidants and they support the immune system.

What do grains offer those that are not choosing a raw, paleo or other low-carbohydrate diet? Grains have several B vitamins, like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. They also provide minerals like iron, magnesium and selenium. Magnesium is a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles. Selenium protects cells from oxidation and is essential for a healthy immune system. B Vitamins play a key role in metabolism and a healthy nervous system. Grains offer a sense of fullness and satiety, and those not including grains in their diet may find other sources for the same nutrients and benefits.

Squash Soup with Greens

1 butternut squash
1 cup water for steaming squash
1 cup coconut milk or water as substitute
1 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp tumeric
¼ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp pastured butter, coconut oil or olive oil

Cut butternut squash into pieces and steam in steamer or on top of stove. Once squash is soft, (often 30 minutes) peel and place in food processor or high-speed blender. Add coconut milk and water or just water. Add cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and sea salt. Cook for 10 minutes to meld the flavors. Add two cups greens—choose from kale, mustard, chard, bok choy or spinach. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until warm and greens are soft and part of the soup.

Enjoy alone or with the following flatbread.

Gluten-Free, Yeast-Free Flatbread

1 cup organic basmati rice
1 cup millet or buckwheat
1 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
Enough water to cover
1¾ cup filtered water
1 cup ground flax seed or whole chia seeds
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt

Put both grains in a bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak for six hours or overnight. Drain fluid and rinse rice mixture with fresh water. Place baking sheets in oven while mixing the rest of the ingredients until oven has reached 450 degrees F. Add rice mixture and filtered water, ground flax seed or whole chia seeds, sea salt and olive oil to food processor or high-speed blender. Mix thoroughly and then add baking powder and mix again. Place batter on baking sheets and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until desired brownness has been reached. Cut into slices, toast and eat with goat milk cheese, pastured butter or a favorite topping.

Sylvia Haskvitz, MA, RD, holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics and a master’s degree in speech and communication studies. She is a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication and the author of Eat By Choice, Not By Habit ( and contributing author to Healing Our Planet, Healing Ourselves.

Presented by Transformational Medicine
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