Behold the Freaky Power of Greens!

Okay friends, here's the short version, to wit: Dark leafy greens rule the nutritional cosmos with a vast, emerald, iron fist! If they were any nutrient-denser they'd be made of diamonds! They are the big time, major league, heavy duty, mutant freaky maha nutritional powerhouse in a gazillion ways you never even thought of. Eat ‘em. A lot. Longer version follows.

Greens Kick Cancer’s Ass

Joel Fuhrman, M.D. (author of Eat To Live) discusses (in that book) why greens are the most nutrient-dense of all foods. Romaine, he says, “…is a rich powerhouse with hundreds of cancer-fighting phytonutrients that protect us from a variety of threatening illnesses…” (He goes on to mention that, “In a review of 206 human population studies, raw vegetable consumption showed the strongest protective effect against cancer of any beneficial food.”!)

Another Tiresome Litany of Nutrients

In SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, Steven Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews tell us that dark leafy greens give us a synergy of multiple nutrients/phytonutrients, lutein/zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, Vitamins C and E, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, B6 folate), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc), polyphenols, betaine. And that’s just for openers.

Green Tornado of Cleansing

David Wolfe, in his classic The Sunfood Diet Success System, says: “Green-leafed vegetables are always the best source of heavy alkaline minerals” calcium, magnesium, iron, etc… “Green-leafy vegetation is also an excellent detoxifier of the liver…The calcium, magnesium and iron in deep green and wild green vegetation bind with heavy metals, chemicals and chemical drugs and allow the body to wash them out as salts through the urine.”

A Chlorophyll Party in Your Veins

He also talks about the chlorophyll in greens: “Chlorophyll is the pigment in plants within which photosynthesis takes place. It absorbs the vibrant Sun energy and transforms it into plant energy. This energy is transferred directly to you when you eat chlorophyll-rich foods such as green-leafed vegetables.” Chlorophyll is a well-known blood and liver cleanser.

And: “The heart concentrates magnesium at a level 18 times greater than what is found in the blood. Magnesium is the primary alkaline mineral in chlorophyll. An abundance of greens in the diet strengthens the heart.” Lastly, he says: “Green leaves soothe the nerves and calm the body. Those with chronic back and muscle pains should be sure to eat plenty of green vegetables. Green leaves relieve pain. Green-leafy foods decrease the overall stress of the body and facilitate yoga practices.”

Protein and Fiber and Silica, Oh My!

Dark leafy greens are also very high in fiber, which not only has countless crucial health benefits, but also is the bulk that actually causes us to feel full! They also have these beautiful lightweight proteins called polypeptides that are great at building new tissue. And silica! Don’t even get me started on the silica! Greens are loaded with silica! Got silica coming out their ears! This you must have for strong, resilient bones and healthy hair, skin and nails. Pound-for-pound, and calorie-for-calorie, greens also have many times the amount of protein that steak does.

The Summing and the Eating Up

So, like I said, eat ‘em up. Woof ‘em down. Big, honkin’ mounds of ‘em. Mostly raw. Juice ‘em, stuff ‘em into your blender for green smoothies, make salads big enough to get lost in, chop ‘em up and put ‘em in wraps and roll-ups, have a bowl of them as a base for a healthy Mexicali feast (Romaine, tomatoes, avocado, raw corn niblets cut fresh off the cob, salsa [Seinfeld was right—say that again, just for fun: “Salsa!”], and, if you want some cooked stuff, some beans.) Hang 'em up all over your walls to keep away the vampires.

Well, okay, maybe not that last one.

Be Devious With Your Inner Child

And don’t tell me you hate greens. Why? Cuz’ everyone hates greens. They’re bitter, dull and nasty. But eating greens isn’t about eating greens. Eating greens is ALL about what you eat them WITH; it’s the “with” that makes them palatable. So, yummy raw dressings (like tahini-miso!), raw olives and cut up mangoes in your salads (for example). Blueberries and coconut in your smoothies. You get the idea. You have to artfully sneak them down yourself (the secret is thinking of yourself like a 5 year old). Works every time.

Attitudes for Ridiculous Health and Obnoxious Longevity PART TWO!

Okay y'all, here we go with PART TWO of my unabashedly non-foody post.

8) Quiet Mind. Longevity guru Peter Ragnar just quoted (on an interview I was listening to from The Best Day Ever—great site, but it is a paysite, FYI) research showing that we use up 85% of our body’s energy by our thinking! An herbalist I read about (can’t recall his name—sorry!) who is vibrant into his upper 90’s, attributed his superb health and longevity to, “A calm mind.” (NOTE: this is not the same as the not-worrying pointer, in PART ONE, below, or here, because a mind can be spinning frantically even with “positive,” enthusiastic things.) Learn the deep peace (and exponentially greater productivity) of a quiet, silent, spacious mind. Resources: The Journey of Awakening, by Ram Dass, The Renaissance of Psychology, by George Pransky

9) Mental Flexibility. As we age, our thinking tends to get smaller, more rigid, stiff, repetitious, stereotypical and predictable—our bodies follow. Break it up, regularly, always, daily, fiercely. Expose yourself to new ideas, weird people, funky angles, fresh experiences. Listen deeply and openly to people. Take the opposite side of a polarized issue you feel strongly about. Play with Rudolf Steiner’s technique of finding 12 perspectives on any given subject or idea.

Jesus said, “Except ye become as little children ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” And Van Morrison said, “I shall never grow so old again.”

Most of all, find your way into meditation that opens you to touch the Source, the “sky of mind,” the unborn, inexhaustible source of life (see above Ram Dass link).

10) Disbelief. Stop believing in aging. Seriously. Enough with the aging, already. The new scientific field of epigenetics is showing how we AGE because we’re hypnotized to BELIEVE we must. Check out the work of Bruce Lipton. His book, The Biology of Belief or his website, which has many free podcasts of cool interviews with him.

12) Happiness, Joy and Love. Again, Bernard Jensen: “Happiness, joy and love bathe the nervous system to such an extent that it heals! It heals! It gets all the tissues well. You cannot be well unless these three things flow through you and work in your nervous system.”

13) Gratitude. An extremely health-giving disposition for humans. Usually, “I’m grateful for this or that particular THING” is hunky dory, but what you REALLY want to open yourself to is an omnidirectional, non-intellectual feeling-quality of gratitude, that you have no words for and you only notice later it was gratitude! For everything and nothing and unspeakable luscious Beingness. Here's a book on gratitude I've not read, but looks cool.

14) Magnanimous Spirit. Give, serve and help others. Unleash your own generous heart. (Be careful not to mistake this with codependency and caretaking, which is actually a compulsion [not a free choice]. In codependency, we may LOOK like we’re always helping others, but our focus is actually on ourselves getting loved and appreciated for all our saintly helpfulness. It comes from scarcity and an inability to know and express our needs directly. By contrast, true generosity and magnanimity come from being centered in our authentic feelings and giving from overflowing fullness.) I think Catherine Ponder has some fine things to say about generosity.

So cultivate these 14 ways of thinking, feeling and being, exercise smart, and eat super-clean and, Mack trucks running you over notwithstanding, you'll be tearing around doing cool stuff in this groovy world for a long, long time.

Attitudes for Outrageous Health and Obnoxious Longevity (Part One)

Hey! Aren’t I a food guy, a Diet Transformation Coach? What sort of non-foody post is this? Oh, the madness! ‘Tis anarchy!

Sorry. My bad.

But I’m digressing from food (for just 2 little blog posts!) to talk about the emotional piece of uber health. Because it’s so humungous. Ginormous. And other made-up words. So without further ado, here is PART ONE of the attitudes for massive health:

1) Know your innocence. Deep feelings of guilt make people sick. As kids, we interpreted any and all signs of unlove from our primary caretakers as being “our fault.” The child’s mind says: “I must be bad or they wouldn’t treat me this way.” Such beliefs can be brought into the sunlight of awareness and healed. Resources: Books by Bernie Seigel, A Course In Miracles (and books inspired by it, like Goodbye To Guilt).

2) Forgive. Old resentments and anger also make people sick. Forgiveness is a profound process to enter into. It typically can’t be done quickly, just because it “sounds like a good idea.” For forgiveness to be deep and life-changing, people usually must first move through the old, unfelt, painful emotions—anger and grief—about what happened to us. THEN we can move into true forgiveness. One good book is Forgiving the Unforgivable.

3) Heal Your Shame. America has been called a “shame-based culture.” Shame is different from guilt. Guilt says, “I deserve punishment for something, or things, I DID (even if I can’t remember or imagine what they could be.)” Shame says, “Who I AM is bad and uniquely flawed.” For working with shame, two fine books are: Healing the Shame That Binds You, by John Bradshaw, and There Is Nothing Wrong With You, by Cheri Huber.

4) Relationships. Give and receive love, care, affection, energy and attention. Engage and participate in peoples’ lives. Really “show up” for the people around you with full presence. Commit yourself to your friends’ lives. Strong social connection has been shown in numerous studies to be VERY highly correlated with great health and longevity. Check out Healthy At 100.

5) Purpose. Have a mission. Locate and feed your passion, whatever gives your life meaning. Check out The Power of Purpose. If you don’t have one, make one up and throw yourself into it.

6) Trust. This means letting go of worry! Chronic worry keeps the stress hormones (especially cortisol) coursing through our blood, and that tears us apart, wipes out DHEA (the youth hormone) and ages us QUICK. It’s possible to learn to take a step back and see worry as just a chronic habit, one that doesn’t actually have ANYTHING to do with what it appears to be about on any given day. Also, spirituality can give one a gut-level trust in an infinitely vaster Reality, and that trust is the supreme antidote to worry. A decent book is The Worry Cure. A cooler one is The Secret of Letting Go, by Guy Finley.

7) Slowness. Learn a new inner-asana, or posture, of NEVER being in a hurry “toward” anything, for any reason. Cultivate this by getting in touch with the dimension of yourself that knows that you and your life are ALREADY utterly whole and complete and magnificent right now, in this boundless present moment (“If you’re not whole withOUT it, you’re not whole WITH it”). There’s nowhere to get to. A good book: Slowing Down To the Speed of Life

The great Bernard Jensen said: “You’ll never be well until you get a quiet body, until you get a silent body, until you get a slow body. The busy body kills himself. He’s making the acids in his body.”

And Deepak Chopra said: “If the observation you’re making is, ‘I’m running out of time,’ then you actually start to run out of time! Even your biological clock speeds up!”

And Peter Ragnar: “Time pressure destroys the nervous system.”

Stay tuned for PART TWO!