Tracker Pixel for Entry

Wild ideas to increase your intake of greens

by Erin Oberlander | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | All About Food | January 17th, 2018

Do you eat enough vegetables? Almost no one does. The current USDA nutrition guidelines for adults recommend 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables to be eaten daily. Other nutrition sources indicate this number can be upwards of 6 cups of vegetables daily for optimal health.

This means, at any given meal, half of your plate needs to be vegetables. And vegetables are not to be confused with starches, such as corn and potatoes. Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and zucchini are a few examples of non-starchy vegetables.

Part of the guidelines also include directives on green, leafy vegetables. For these, adults should aim for two cups per day, minimum. If you are not a salad eater, this may seem impossible. However, it is very important for overall health.

Raw, leafy greens provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals. They also provide a large amount of antioxidants, those compounds that help to fight cancer and help to regulate blood sugars. Leafy greens contain large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, and are usually a higher source of calcium for our bodies than dairy products.

It can be difficult to determine how to include more vegetables in the diet, both from a culinary standpoint and in regard to affordability. With the minimum recommendation, 60 cups of vegetables must be consumed for each adult in the house with a little less than that recommended for children.

And while it might be fun to take a grocery cart brimming with eggplant, carrots, kale, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes through the checkout line every week, the check book may take a beating from doing so. At the same time, it is important to invest in one’s health and longevity. Luckily, this time of year, there are many FREE sources of green leafy vegetables in your own backyard for the picking.

It may seem strange to eat weeds. Apart from the fact that they cost you nothing, there are additional benefits. Research has shown that even our organically grown crops are not as nutrient-dense as they once were, and leafy greens of the grocery store variety are lacking in essential minerals—especially trace minerals. What this means is that to get all of your vitamin and mineral needs, you will have to eat even more vegetables.

Weeds to the rescue! These amazing plants overall contain higher concentrations of antioxidants, minerals -- including trace minerals -- and fiber, than typical salad greens. It is a way to increase the nutrient density of your food and increase your overall vitality, all without any financial strain.

First of all, make sure you are choosing plants from areas that have not been sprayed with any kind of chemicals. Once you have determined you are sourcing your wild greens from a clean place, here is where you can dive in and have some fun.

Dandelions are tasty, it is true! And not only are they some of the important early spring food sources for bees, they are an amazing source for you as well. Dandelions are potent greens, filled with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, minerals, and trace minerals. They are also quite high in fiber. They contain 10% of your RDA for calcium intake.

More importantly, dandelions help to support and cleanse the liver and increase the flow of bile, thereby helping your body to get more nutrients out of any food you are eating. Avoid the bitter plants by picking smaller, younger leaves. The flowers are edible as well. Chop them finely and add them to your salads. Put them in soups. Blend them in green smoothies. Or include them in Meadow Tea (recipe below).

Lamb’s quarters is a famous weed, known to gardeners and farmers alike. Use it like spinach in salads or just munch on it while you are weeding. This plant is one source of the an important amino acid, the building blocks of muscles, that is not produced by our bodies. Lamb’s quarters are also very high in minerals—in fact, if you look at or feel the bottom of the leaf, you will find a white dust comprised of minerals and salts. For the mildest flavor, use lamb’s quarters before they start to grow flowers.

Another common yard weed is plantain. This plant is used more for herbal purposes than culinary, but still has many benefits. Plantain tea can be made by steeping fresh leaves in hot water. This tea is a tonic for the entire digestive tract.

The most fun tea from wild plants, though, is called Meadow Tea. This tea is a summertime staple of Pennsylvania Dutch country, and typically includes wild-harvested mint and sugar. This version below, however, has the added benefits of dandelion, and instead of high-glycemic sugars, I recommend sweetening with stevia or just a touch of wild honey. The mints in this tea will be energizing and refreshing, especially on a hot day if you are working in the yard. Mint also helps to aid digestion.

Meadow Tea
First collect wild mint. This can be cat mint, spearmint, peppermint -- whatever you can find. Of course, whenever collecting wild plants, please be sure you have identified the plant correctly.

Next collect some dandelion greens and flowers. Total you should have two and a half cups or so of plant material, loosely packed.

Boil water.

Add the plants to a French press or other large teapot. Pour the boiling water over the top, cover, and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. Then, strain the plant material out if you like, and sweeten to taste. The tea will keep in the refrigerator for four or five days, but I doubt it will last that long.

Recently in:

News

​Expecting suicides

by C.S. Hagen

BISMARCK – Jessie Quinn and J.S. may soon have two choices: relocate, buy black-market opioids, or commit suicide, and Quinn’s options are even more limited. At 65 years old and after 25 years battling degenerate spinal issues,…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.com“North Dakota (and Minnesota) nice” is an attitude, a stereotype, and a way of life that has permeated our region, as well as perceptions of the Midwest, since as long as people have been…

Friday, March 22, 6-8 p.m.Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Ave, FargoDigital photos from North Dakota’s backroads. Hornung has been exploring the roads less traveled for close to a decade. Carefully documenting and collecting…

It is possible, even ethical, to stand behind Israel and criticize the nation at the same time. No country, no man or woman, is without fault. While we at the High Plains Reader believe the U.S. House of Representatives’…

The Battle Between Extreme Capitalism And Democratic SocialismAfter Vice-President Mike Pence representing racial and extreme capitalism ended his scathing rant about democratic socialism at the Conservative Political Action…

The eighth week of this year’s HPR Cocktail Showdown was another tripleheader for our panel of judges. On this particular week, we found ourselves focused on a trio of downtown dining and entertainment establishments to visit…

In rural Minnesota, outside of Park Rapids, Amy Thielen was attempting to light her wood-fired oven. It is in her brand-new kitchen that she hopes to teach cooking classes out of, which is a far cry from what it was when she and…

The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra has had its fair share of guest performances headlining its concerts over the years. They all have impressive resumes, their fair share of awards, and worldwide recognition. However, bringing…

The 19th Fargo Festival begins on Tuesday, March 19th and runs until Saturday, March 23. Continuing a tradition of excellence in local arts programming, the event provides both casual moviegoers and cinephiles with multiple…

Hidden away in the tiny North Dakota town of Lefor I find Karen Valley, an author and an artist. She is without a doubt the artist’s artist. Her soul is art, talent and words. Meeting her is a true experience in finding a soul so…

To many people unfamiliar with the wide range of the musical genre, the word ‘opera’ conjures up stereotypical images of people in period costumes and large women in Viking garb singing in foreign languages. The truth, however,…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

I’ve got a problem. I need to write a column that is going to be kind of critical of three people I like, and I’m trying to figure out how to do it without making them all angry at me. Their names are Sara, Doug and Marvin.…