Organic food green, like it or not, needs to be daily on the menu if you want your family to be healthy and reach a ripe old age.
They are the richest source of the folate, also known as vitamin B9, that your body demands from conception to the grave.
Even before a young woman knows that she is pregnant, the early development of the spinal cord absolutely demands a rich supply of folate; a deficiency causes a severe neurological birth defect called spina bifida vera.
Rich in vegetables like broccoli, spinach and lettuce, a deficiency of folate also causes a form of anaemia.
The school going child's progress and academic achievement is directly related to vitamin B9 intake; it's vital for DNA formation; and, as always, because of oft unknown cofactors, consumption of green leafy vegetables is better than folate in pill form.
And then in the adult, break down of toxic homocysteine from protein metabolism, cannot occur without adequate levels of folate; it's a water soluble vitamin that must be consumed daily.
A build up of homocysteine is strongly associated with many serious conditions, especially cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's.
And the elderly too require folic acid as it is sometimes called. A deficiency is strongly associated with senile dementia.
In short, from conception to the grave, we all need organic food greens.
Quite apart from the folate, your greens are rich in substances known as phytosterols; they compete with cholesterol for absorption.
Folk routinely enjoying a lettuce salad for lunch, eggs florentine for breakfast and perhaps a broccoli soup for supper can often get completely off statins; they have nasty side effects, including impotence.
Then there's the fibre in your organic food greens; simply adding a rich lettuce salad to your lunch will prevent the formation of painful, bleeding piles by making the stool soft and easy to pass.
Add more greens, cilantro, parsley, mint and a scoop of our own homemade authentic hummus recipe, and a slosh of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice and you have the perfect lunch.
It remains controversial whether organic food actually is any more nutritious but, simply because it's fresh from your own garden and has not been sprayed with toxic pesticides, it makes it a lot more palatable.
I've just been on a three week trip, and ate out frequently. Frankly, I'm not surprised folk aren't much interested in a salad; I wasn't either. So, grow your own organic food green; it's not difficult.
One of our more recent discoveries is a herb called purslane; I used to think it a weed, but it is the single richest source of omega 3 in the garden. Added to a green salad it gives is a slight sharp acidic flavour; or you can add it to any spinach dish like eggs Florentine, and toss it into your soups.
There are of course hundreds of organic food greens, and I include just a few of my favourites. It's best to get as wide a spread as you possibly can; each has its virtues. What is basil, for example. It's the herbs eugenol oil that gives it it's distinctive scent and rich flavour in pesto.
Some like it hot; how to grow chilli is high on my gardening agenda. Jalapenos, for example, are strongly anti inflammatory; the merit is in a phytochemical called capsaicin. It has no toxic effect on the stomach or duodenal linings according to research.
Good old lettuce; it's the foundation of almost every salad, and so easy to grow. There are dozens of varieties. I've just counted; we are growing lettuce of some six different varieties in our summer garden right now; they all, with the possible exception of Iceberg, have an important role in organic food green.
Mostly they are butter lettuce, my favourite, from our own seed, but helped with a punnet of six plants from the garden shop. Growing lettuce is not difficult; sow a dozen seeds every month.
Growing lettuce is not difficult, and interestingly chickens really love cos, and they'll scratch the seedlings out in search of worms. They need rich compost and plenty of water because of a shallow rooting system; they are the best way to achieve high folate levels.
Here's more on the subject of benefits of folate.
Lettuce is an important part of organic food green, though I've no idea why the hens are less interested unless there's a shortage of other greens; that concerns me a little. I trust my hens' taste for food. It makes a wonderful bed, for example, for our fennel and radish salad.
A bit untidy, but I can assure you this little patch goes on bearing for at least 2-3 months; we just snip off a few leaves every day. Notice the purslane plant on the right by the way; it's the richest source of omega-3, the anti inflammatory fatty acid, in your garden. We used to think it a weed until we realised it's great benefits, now it goes in the salads and eggs Florentine.
Did you know that research shows that people who eat eight coloured foods every day, over a 20 year period, have a 35% lower all-cause death. From the lettuce alone, we've had six today. They are a vital part of our organic green food program.
Spinach is my all time favourite organic food green; partly because it's so versatile, partly because I was stooped in the Pop-Eye culture and because it's so easy to grow.
Sometimes it's scrambled eggs with a sprinkling of oh so healthy parsley.
More fresh spinach recipes ...
Legumes like pole beans are in short an important part of organic food greens.
Pole beans are so prolific, and easy to grow if you have a fence of sorts for them. Also rich in vegetable protein, they are a great way to help us reduce our reliance on red meat; too much, particularly if processed or charred, they are a proven cause of cancer. Learn about growing and cooking green beans.
Growing lima beans for real succotash is only for the larger veggie garden; they have a long growing season. Nevertheless they are one of my favourite greens, and rich in vegetable protein. There is another skill that you must learn however; they are climbers and demand a vegetable garden fence; you don't need a degree in higher mathematics to do it! Interplanting helps control the pesky Mexican bean beetle larvae that can devastate your crop; introducing hens to the garden though is really what cured the problem.
How to plant broad beans is another for the gardener who wants more vegetable protein in their diet; they have more than peas, limas and other legumes; in fact, 25 percent.
We have wide variety of legumes in our garden, mainly for ourselves, but also for the chickens in the garden. They too need plenty of protein for all those delicious free range eggs.
So much more than a garnish, parsley benefits include being the richest source of vitamin K. Bruise easily? Don't feed it to your kids by the way; it's a powerful aphrodisiac. Dinkum! Parsley pesto is a delicious way to dickie up what might appear to be an otherwise dull green salad.
Fibre, vitamins 6 and 9 and endless minerals in one package, and not in a capsule. Scrambled eggs is my favourite way to cash in on the flavour and nutritional value of parsley.
Eggs from your chicken tractor have three times as much omega-3, and the cholesterol is reported to be detrimental to our hearts. In fact, our hens add a whole new dimension to our garden and organic green food; the are fed in part by the wonder of worm farms. It's all part of a process known in general as backyard permaculture; working with nature instead of against it.
Just as important they are a very rich source of choline; a deficiency causes birth defects and a host of other diseases. The average Western diet has less than half the recommended dietary allowance.
Coriander, and its green cilantro grows like a weed; literally. Toss some seeds into the ground, keep them damp and within a month you'll have a daily supply of lovely organic food green to add to your salads, soups and stews.
The greens are known as cilantro or dhania; the seeds as coriander.
Arugula, also known as rocket, is one of my favourite dark green leafy vegetables; it's so easy to grow and less prone to fungus and heat stress in summer.
Like coriander, it's a bit of an acquired taste; just add one or two snippets to your green salad or eggs Florentine until you've become accustomed to it; they both will liven up any dull iceberg lettuce and tomato salad.
Perhaps more important is the nutrition of arugula; it's rich in sulforaphane, a potent detoxifying agent of the cancer-causing substances that we are all exposed to on a daily basis.
Green salads, of course, are rather dull without a dressing of sorts; the best are based on olive oil and lemon juice. Absolutely avoid the hydrogenated polyunsaturated fats and oils; they are strongly inflammatory in the body.
I particularly like an avocado fat dressing; along with the olive, they have the queen of oils. They enhance the absorption of carotenoids in our food.
Helens 15 euro salad is where my adult potty training all began; it saved me personally from a terrible constipation affliction. When I watched a colleague die from colon cancer that metastasized to the liver, I knew I had to do something.
Organic food greens are at the heart of every top notch salad. Swiss chard nutrition is an eye opener.
It doesn't happen often, but I was struck dumb today; my eyes. On a routine visit for new spectacles, the optician asked: "You eat a lot of greens, don't you?"
"Why, yes," said I. "How did you know?"
"I examined your eyes very carefully and it's remarkable that at 66 you don't have a sign of cataracts or macular degeneration. You don't know about lutein benefit?"
I knew that strawberries and omega-3 fatty acids are vital in the eye, but I had no idea just how important your organic food greens are. I decided to find out, of course. It's just one of the reasons we enjoy the health benefits of kale on a daily basis. They grow equally well in our summers and mild winters. Plant fresh seed every few months.
Kale and spinach, and egg yolks are the richest source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids found in the eye; a deficiency causes macular degeneration in the elderly. To get maximum absorption of these phytochemicals, the organic food greens need to be thoroughly chopped and chewed and enjoyed with some form of fat.
Here are some recipes for cooking kale.
What is kale good for is a question often heard; seeing that it's near to tasteless, why should we eat it? It's one of the fallacious concepts; that we only have to eat those foods that appeal to us.
Do we only swallow medicines that appeal to us? If we are going to let your food be your medicine, is it not logical that some we eat not because they taste great, but because they are good for us?
No matter how tasteless you think kale is, if it stops you from going blind...
There are two very strong and emphatic camps but, frankly, I am of the opinion that both raw and cooked greens is the way to go forwards.
Research at Tufts University suggests that cooking breaks down the cell walls, making the phytochemicals such as carotenoids more available, but the water soluble vitamins and flavonoids are degraded by long cooking. These are the substances that give our organic green foods their cancer preventing properties.
Your greens are also a major source of vitamin K which has an important role in transport of calcium in the body, and hence our interest as chiropractors.
Enjoy them cooked and raw, preferably daily, particularly for the eyes; lutein macular degeneration.
Broccoli is often considered queen when it comes to cancer prevention. Planting broccoli and how to grow broccoli is not rocket science, but they do take up space; we like the branching variety that goes on bearing for months.
More details at broccoli facts.
Recipes for Swiss chard and spinach are a must for every family with young women of child bearing age; they are rich in folic acid and betaine; organic food green fodder. Another excellent source in the prevention of serious illness is citrus; consider for example this spina bifida and orange juice page.
The USA has enough people with spina bifida to fill a city a city the size of Des Moines; double the rate in other developed countries. Whether because of ignorance, or a steadfast refusal to enjoy a healthy diet every day, the price paid by Americans is enormous. Swiss chard food enjoyed regularly would change all that.
Swiss chard and spinach, after radishes, are the easiest veggies to grow in the garden and they go on producing for months, even years, making recipes for Swiss chard a joy in the kitchen. They are so quick, perfect for the busy person, and probably the best source of organic food green.
If you have serious skin eruptions regularly, test the waters; would one of these spinach recipes be more effective that an acne body wash? This tends to be a systemic, internal problem and anything done on the surface of the skin may have at best a temporary benefit, or none at all.
There's another green journey, more figurative than literal, that can be one of the most rewarding expeditions you'll ever make. Don't miss the tram, the Green Journey is about to leave from Grand Central Station.
» Organic Food Green
I confess there's only one chapter on organic food green; how to make pesto. Read more at Sweet Bitter.