After the heavy foods we eat throughout the Winter, like root vegetables, Mother Nature rewards us in the Spring with an abundance of new produce. Dark leafy greens, like kale, swiss chard, and arugula start popping up along with radishes, peas, and garlic scapes. All of these foods come to us with a purpose in the Spring – to help our bodies detox and flush out the heavy Winter foods.
With the change of seasons in a Winter that I feared would never come to an end, I am extremely grateful for the leafy greens and lighter produce that has been in my CSA share each week. I make sure to eat leafy greens throughout the year, but as the days get longer and warmer, my body craves them in large amounts. I start off each day with a green smoothie, have a salad for lunch, and somehow always find a way to sneak greens into my dinner as well. I just can’t get enough! I may just turn green one of these days
Before I share with you a tasty, simple Spring recipe, containing greens of course, I want to outline some of the popular Spring greens that have been appearing in my CSA share and why they are good for your body.
Kale - Ah kale; what is not to love about kale? This nutrient dense superfood pretty much has anything your body could ever need AND it gives you a huge boost in energy. I cut caffeine out of my diet about a year ago and replaced it with some morning kale, and wowza – I would never know the difference! I have more energy from the kale than I ever did from caffeine. Check out this post to see what else I do to stay energized while being caffeine free. One of the reasons for the energy boost is because of the high levels of vitamins, such as A, C, and K, and minerals, such as iron and calcium, found in kale. Here’s a fun fact for you: one cup of kale contains 10-15% of your body’s daily calcium needs, making it the perfect food to incorporate into your diet if you are vegan, dairy-free, or lactose intolerant.
Swiss Chard – Swiss chard is similar in taste and nutrition content to the more popular leafy green, spinach. It is high in vitamins A, C, and K, and a range of B vitamins like B6, folate, and niacin. Like kale and arugula, it is also high in phytochemicals and antioxidants (Source: Nutrition and You). Swiss chard is fairly mild in flavor and goes well with just about anything like in green smoothies and in salads. It is a perfect Spring vegetable for helping detoxify the body.
Arugula – Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, and like other cruciferous vegetables (like brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and bok choy) contains high levels of phytochemicals, which have been known to help fight off cancer. Arugula is high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium. It is also high in antioxidants. (Source: Nutrition and You). With it’s strong peppery flavor, I find it best to combine arugula with lighter tasting greens such as lettuce or spinach. It is delicious on its own, however, sometimes the strong flavor can be a bit much for someone who is not used to eating a lot of leafy greens. Arugula is good in salads, like the one I created below, as well as in sandwiches or wraps for a peppery bite.
Spring Detox Salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: none
1 cup arugula
1 cup lettuce, or spring mix combination
Small handful of sprouts
1 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (raw and organic)
2 tsp. olive oil
1). Wash all of your vegetables.
2). Rough chop the leafy greens and dice the radish.
3). Place all ingredients into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and toss to combine.
I have a challenge for you this Spring. Go out and purchase a leafy green that you have never tried before – it could be one that I discussed in this article, or another one like dandelion greens, bok choy, tat soi, or a different lettuce variety that grows locally in your area. Put it in a salad, sauté it with some olive oil, or serve it on a wrap, prepare it however you choose – just make sure to try something new! And when you do, share it in the comments below! Don’t be shy, I want to hear from you