While the bulb end of root vegetables gets most of the attention, the powerhouse of nutrition is the attached green tops. Think carrots, parsnips, radishes, beets. Traditional supermarkets carry the root ends brightly displayed in their orange and red skins, but rarely do we find them with the fresh green tops still attached. That's when a trip to the farmer's market or local produce purveyor really pays off.
It's those bright green leaves we need. The ones that are nourishing the bulb end tucked into the dirt. Those very leaves reaching up toward the sun, gathering the energy to perform the miracle of photosynthesis, storing life giving nutrients within the leafy cells and veins, the very leaves that often get chopped off and disposed of, or never make it to the market as they grow limp and die, while their root ends sit in a warehouse for months on end, waiting to be swaddled in plastic packaging and shipped thousands of miles.
Sautéed beet greens with raw corn and tomato salad.
We would do well to follow the advice from Michael Pollan in his book, In Defense of Food. "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants". The 'not too much' portion is what I'm working on. I've extended that by adding my own two additional words: mainly raw.
I have no problem avoiding processed food. It's never been an attraction for me. No canned meals, frozen entrées, or packaged 'helpers' for me. The paper goods and pet foods aisle at the supermarket are about the only inside aisles I visit. No up and down each of those vast canyons for me, with their walls of colorful packaging that house foodstuffs filled with synthetic chemicals. I make a straight bee-line for the produce department, the TP and tissues aisle, then the cat food shelves and I'm out of there.
Romaine and cuke salad, black rice with almonds, green beans & yellow zucchini
Green smoothies in the morning, lots of juicy raw veggies for lunch and often for dinner, too. Occasionally, some enticing roasted veggies or some lightly cooked greens. It doesn't really take long to get out of the meat and potato mentality and other bad habits we grew up with, lashed to the Standard American Diet (SAD). Just remember that all those charts and pyramids we were indoctrinated with in school were prepared and presented to us by the meat and dairy councils.
Fill that morning smoothie with as many green leaves as you can!
And if you're still asking, "Where do you get your protein?" Check out Dr. Leslie Van Romer's delightful, light-hearted, simple explanation in her article, Do Elephants Eat Cows For Protein?