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January 31, 2012

Why You Should Eat Leafy Greens

By Mark Sisson
322 Comments

By now, you’ve probably seen the TedX video from Dr. Terry Wahls, a former Tae Kwon Do champ and current MD diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (the kind that degenerates your brain and has you relying on a wheelchair to get around) who describes her transformative experience with a dairy-free Paleo diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat and organs, and seaweed. Relegated to and totally dependent on a wheelchair in 2007, by 2008 Wahls had adopted the diet and was commuting to work on a bicycle and now incorporates this kind of intensive directed nutrition into her primary care and brain injury clinics. If you haven’t, go ahead and take twenty minutes out of your day to go watch it. It’s a real eye-opener (but not all that surprising to longtime readers). Think of it as a grass-fed, wild-caught success story.

I already linked to this video a couple months back, so why bring it up again, you might ask? Back when I watched it for the first time, something caught my ear: the focus on vegetation. Wahls speaks of eating nine cups of plants every day, with three coming as leafy greens, three as sulfur-rich vegetables, and three as brightly colored fruits and vegetables. She explains why each category is so important, not just for someone looking to reverse MS, but for anyone who wants to be healthier in general. She got me excited all over again about incorporating more vegetation into my diet. It’s not like it’s lacking or anything, either. I had just taken it for granted – some spinach here, a Big Ass Salad there, some roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner – and instead focused on the animal food. If you remember, the base of the old Primal Blueprint food pyramid was vegetation, and I still maintain that the optimal Primal plate is overflowing with mineral-and-antioxidant-rich plant matter. I think the (understandable) tendency of some to knee-jerkily rebel against anything resembling Conventional Wisdom means that leafy greens and other vegetables fall to the wayside. That’s a mistake, I think, and it’s important to understand that eating both loads of leafy green things and things that crawled, flew, or swam is not mutually exclusive. You can do both. You should eat both. And I’m going to tell you why.

Before I start, when we talk about greens, we mean leaves. So things like:

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Collards
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Sweet potato leaves
  • Arugula
  • Baby greens
  • Endive

I haven’t covered all the regional leaves utilized in various cuisines across the world. These are the basics that most people reading this will be able to find at their grocer, farmers’ market, farm stand, and/or frozen section. Other vegetables like broccoli or certain types of cauliflower are green, but aren’t “greens.” A discussion on those guys will come next week.

Terry Wahls likes greens for the minerals and vitamin content. With that, I agree. Greens represent a convenient, essentially non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Heh, so what have those minerals done for me lately, you might be wondering. Well…

Magnesium

Of all the minerals we Primal folks talk up, magnesium may very well be the most widely supplemented. It’s certainly one of the most important; over 300 physiological processes in the human body require magnesium to function optimally, foremost among them the production of ATP for energy. Your mitochondria use magnesium to produce ATP, the body’s energy currency. So if it’s so important, why must we all supplement? How did people get enough magnesium before Natural Calm? There are a few factors, including the disappearance of magnesium from our drinking water and top soil, but the fact remains that most of us aren’t even trying to get enough magnesium through our food. That should change. Eating greens like spinach and chard will go a long way toward adding dietary magnesium.

Calcium

Of all the minerals we discuss, calcium may be the least-supplemented or most-ignored. That’s a mistake. While I’ve certainly called into question the wisdom of supplementing with handfuls of calcium pills without considering the roles of vitamins D and K2 in bone mineralization, we still need calcium. We still need that raw building block (and crucial trigger for neurotransmitter release). And if you’re not eating dairy, leafy greens are probably your best source.

Potassium

Potassium is another nutrient a lot of people miss out on, especially if they’re overcooking their meat (the juices contain the potassium), avoiding tubers and fruits (both are high in potassium), and shying away from avocados because of the linoleic acid (don’t stress out over a little whole-food omega-6, folks, especially when it comes in such a creamy, green package). I just got done writing about the importance of the potassium:sodium ratio in regulating blood pressure, so if you’re not eating the aforementioned potassium-rich items (and even if you are), be sure to eat your greens.

Manganese

Your mitochondria use manganese to manufacture manganese superoxide dismutase, a potent mitochondrial antioxidant. With inadequate superoxide dismutase, you increase your chances of ischemic brain injury (think stroke) or developing a neuropathology. Simply put, manganese keeps your mitochondria running cleanly.

Unless you’re eating bones, drinking blood/meat juice, and eating hoof, fur, and tail, you’ll be missing out on magnesium, potassium, and calcium by excluding leafy greens.

Terry Wahls also likes greens for their vitamin content, specifically B-vitamins like folate. I tend to agree, and I’ll highlight a couple key nutrients that greens provide.

Folate

Though it’s widely touted as particularly crucial for expectant mothers and the development of the babies they bear, folate is also important for anyone’s general health. Inadequate dietary folate intake can lead to elevated homocysteine levels (which can impair endothelial function and is a risk factor for heart disease). Modern processed grain-based foods are usually fortified with folic acid, but you’re not eating that stuff. And unless you’re also eating plenty of liver, if you shun greens you are most likely lacking this vital nutrient.

Betaine

Betaine is another important but oft-ignored nutrient that many people, even Primal eaters, lack. Like folate, it regulates proper homocysteine levels. Betaine also helps maintain liver health. Spinach is perhaps the greatest vegetable source of betaine (other than maybe wheat germ, but who wants that?). Spinach tastes pretty darn great steamed and tossed with olive oil, sauteed in bacon fat, or raw on a salad, so go ahead and eat some.

Besides the micronutrient content, there are other benefits of eating leafy things, especially in concert with the other foods on your plate. For those interested in eating less or losing weight, eating a salad with your meal spontaneously reduces overall caloric intake. I dunno about you, but I think any weight loss “diet” should include spontaneous caloric reduction. Although we know that caloric intake factors into weight loss or gain, we also know that many, if not most, people have difficulty consciously reducing calories. It simply doesn’t work very well, so the key is to spontaneously reduce calories by eating satisfying foods that don’t derange our satiety hormones. That’s what going Primal is all about, and research shows that eating salad (perhaps a Big Ass Salad?) can help in that regard.

Although I’m coming up dry right now, I remember reading research that showed eating leafy greens, like spinach or kale or a green salad, alongside your grilled steak reduced the absorption of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) from the meal. HCAs are carcinogenic and form with high-heat cooking, especially on meat, and absorbing fewer of them is a good thing. I’d be much obliged if anyone could pull up the research. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking.

But the real beauty of leafy greens? They are prepackaged whole food “supplements” with safe and well-balanced vitamin and mineral levels. You eat a few cups of spinach, a romaine lettuce salad, maybe some kale chips and you’ll be getting a nice healthy range of nutrients. Your overall caloric intake won’t really be impacted and you’ll be safe. No, you won’t have a nutritional profile from the manufacturer telling you exactly how many milligrams of magnesium your bowl of sauteed kale contained, or the amount of betaine in that head of spinach you chopped up and turned into a salad. The nutrient range will vary from head to head and leaf to leaf. And that’s okay. Heck, that might even be optimal. I can imagine an organism that evolved eating a varied diet with lots of ups and downs and big blocks of this mineral in one meal and another big block of that vitamin in the next. I can imagine an organism that evolved eating food, rather than prepackaged, preordained, pre-meted out collections of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Can you?

That’s why it’s food, without a label: it doesn’t need to be exact. So if you ever find yourself paused in front of the grocery store display, agonizing over the respective folate content of two particularly large heads of romaine lettuce and frozen – totally unable to act – hang it up. Start back at square one. Realize that this is food that’s meant to be eaten, not over-analyzed.

If it’s green, leafy, crisp, and free of chemicals, it’s safe, healthy, and good to eat. Adding such a food to your diet – in sauteed, steamed, boiled, dehydrated, baked, or raw form – will most likely help, so eat it! I’m not saying you have to eat three heaping platefuls of vegetation, like Terry Wahls did. I’m suggesting that adding leafy greens to a diet lacking in them will almost certainly improve the nutritional content of that diet.

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321 Comments on "Why You Should Eat Leafy Greens"

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Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
4 years 7 months ago

I was just thinking this morning that I should make a big ass salad to go with my lunch. I actually have been craving one.

I also find sometimes that I am best served listening to my body’s desires. Sometimes I really crave spinach and other times it almost revolts me. I just figure whatever nutrient is in it is just what I need, hence the craving. Also best to have some on hand for those days when I am having a sudden craving. 🙂

Hugh
Hugh
4 years 7 months ago

What’s the general view on chucking a load of leafy greens into a blender and blitzing them into a smoothie?

Mario Vachon
Mario Vachon
4 years 7 months ago
I have the same question. About 3 months ago, I started making green based smoothies using kale most often as the base. I throw in other greens, sometimes spinach, sometimes broccoli etc… I also throw in a few garlic cloves, a number of spices and some cocoa powder. I take a full blender of that, split it in two, add some frozen berries and maybe a tomato and reblend. It leaves me with two full blenders good for six smoothies that I have over 3 days. I have one in the car while driving to work and another when I… Read more »
Ali
Ali
4 years 7 months ago

There are lots of advantages of eating “live” foods – i bought a juicer (omega 8005) and now, put in kale, celery, spinach, a little flax seed and lemon.
LOTS of options for getting your nutrients through juicing. Read up on alkaline/acidic diets – (more meat, more acid) and see how much veggies can help out. I dont like eating tons of veggies like Grok did… so juicing is my way right now.

ltruss
ltruss
4 years 7 months ago

I have read somewhere that it’s best to drink your green smoothie within 15 minutes of blending to get the most vitamins out of it. Does anyone know whether this is true?

Abel James
4 years 7 months ago

Green smoothies are the best thing on earth, far better than juicing in my opinion. I recommend to my clients drinking several a week (and I definitely practice what I preach). Add a bit of fruit in with the greens and boom – liquid gold.

Becca
4 years 7 months ago

think you may have convinced me to give this whole “green-smoothie” thing a try

Tracy Seman
4 years 7 months ago

I make a spinach, banana, coconut oil, raw almond butter, cacao nibs smoothie that I got from Primal Toad every morning. I love it and I feel great knowing that I got a lot of spinach in first thing in the morning.

Abel James
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, Toad is the smoothie master. Check out his blog – he has some great smoothie concoctions!

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Do it! As Tracy and Abel noted, green smoothies are toadally awesome!

I remember reading that our bodies can absorb 4x as many nutrients in greens from smoothies compared to raw greens. It seems logical as the blender does the chewing for us. It’s hard for us to break down greens. Cooking helps and so does a blender or food processor!

I have lots of recipes at PrimalSmoothies.com. I have an ebook too of course.

NicoleK
NicoleK
4 years 7 months ago
Guys! Try this one…it’s my favorite. GREAT for a raw green breakfast smoothie that is low in sugar and high in protein: -half a grapefruit (or 1 small one) -1 lemon -1 lime -ginger (any size chunk) -a few drops of real vanilla extract -a pinch of stevia (to taste) -handful of cilantro and parsley -kale and rainbow chard (can also add mustard greens, spinach, etc) -2 to 3 tbls spirulina powder Blend it all up and it’s done. I buy a TON of organic greens when they’re on sale and chop them up in a big freezer bag so… Read more »
Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Nicole K – How often do you drink that?! You use 2 to 3 TBSP or tsp of Spirulina Powder? I bought some of this stuff and tried it in a few smoothies and was disgusted. It’s hard for me to keep it down.

This recipe sounds absolutely crazy….

NicoleK
NicoleK
4 years 7 months ago
Hey Toad- I know it sounds crazy…I thought the same thing. Try it and see. I drink 2 a week and would make it more often if I had more prep time to peel/de-seed all the citrus. The citrus, especially the grapefruit, totally kills the intensity of the spirilina (at least to my taste buds). I know what you mean about spirulina being nasty…I originally had it mixed into a vanilla protein shake…BLAH! DisGUSTing!! Like licking algae from a fish tank! lol Anyways, start out with 1 tablespoon and go from there. I usually just dump a bunch in which… Read more »
Jill
Jill
4 years 7 months ago

I just came across this article today about green smoothies not being great for optimal health (it’s completely anecdotal and has no evidence). Nonetheless, wondering the group’s thoughts. It seems that yes, the whole food would be more beneficial than the juice, but the juice isn’t bad, right? http://happyherbivore.com/2012/01/why-i-stopped-drinking-green-smoothies/

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Well, not to be mean, but this is coming from a Happy Herbivore site and the advice was taken from T. Colin Campbell…

If you throw loads of fruit in with your smoothies then that may not be the best thing.

Why not do 2-3 cups of spinach, 1 banana and some fat? That will taste yummy and come with loads of nutrition. Smoothies make the nutrients in greens more bioavailable.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
I read the info at that site. Been giving some thought to the whole “to juice/smoothie or not” debate. There’s a bit of “science” given on both sides that sounds good. Bottom line for me is to test how my own body reacts. Given that the major objection seems to be blood sugar related, that’s easy to test at home. In general, I agree with Primal Toad – don’t throw a bunch of high fructose items into the blend – which is where I plan to start. Another thought is to allow each swallow of the drink to spend a… Read more »
Shruti
Shruti
1 year 7 months ago

“Removing the fiber from food in order to consume solely the juice is a detriment.”

That blog post is confusing green smoothies with juicing. Also, we all did the orange juice experiment in high school, right? Oxidation doesn’t happen THAT fast. While there is probably some evolutionary advantage to eating whole vegetables over drinking pureed ones, this article isn’t addressing them.

richard
richard
4 years 7 months ago

the fiber in them will make a green muck. if you want to deal with that, you can. a good juicer will give you the juice without the fiber content.

Alana
4 years 8 months ago

I prefer blending/juicing to eating greens whole. It takes a load off your body’s digestive system so that you immediately gain the nutrients from the greens. Not to mention, its an easy way of getting four-five serving of greens in one drink!

laura m.
laura m.
4 years 7 months ago

I have put a handful raw spinach, some sprouts, a t of barley powder with a cup of water into a blender and made a green drink. I use Arugula or Romaine for salads.

Aaron
4 years 7 months ago

Indeed green leafy vegetables are a cornucopia of minerals and vitamins, but what (rough) percentage can we absorb as we don’t have a full on herbivore digestive tract. Isn’t cellulose hard for us to break down?

I’ve heard it put … we get our greens by eating the animals that were meant to eat greens. How much truth is there to that?

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
4 years 7 months ago

Most greens can be cooked, too, don’t forget. Cooking breaks down some of the bonds in the plant fibers (which is why cooked leaves get soft) which makes things more absorbable. And you cook them in some good butter or other healthy fat you’ll get more absorption of the fat-soluble stuff, too.

The “I eat the animals that eat the greens for me” argument works better if you’re eating the whole animal, including all the squishy bits that most Westerners don’t like very much.

Primal Toad
4 years 8 months ago

Well, we are not mean to eat grass. That’s why we eat grass-fed beef…

But, we are meant to eat greens. We can most definitely absorb nutrients from them. Let’s not dismiss all plant foods now… we are omnivores, not carnivores (and definitely not herbivores).

John
John
4 years 8 months ago

We are opportunistic feeders with heavy adaptations toward carnivorous feeding patterns and *away* from plant based nutrition. Carnivorous humans thrive, while meat the deprived (by the environment or self) waste away and become mere shadows of the vigorous, powerful and dangerous creatures they were designed to be. People who eat nothing but meat can survive prolifically, while people who eat nothing but plants are useless in any context other then highly advanced and fragile technology. The weight toward meat consumption is clear and objective, while the plant eating prerogative requires odd justification to stay afloat.

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Nice words.

Grokitmus Primal
4 years 7 months ago

Some Conventional Wisdom has to be right even if it’s due to dumb luck 🙂

John
John
4 years 7 months ago
All of the minerals that are necessary for bone health are commonly found in bones, and in precisely the right proportion. I’m not going to stuff my gut full of non caloric plant matter all day when I can just eat some crispy wing tips and slow cook some beef bone into a stock, etc. I don’t think that copious green leaf consumption is highly represented in the evolutionary diet of humans, a point which I presume is still the foundation of good nutrition. It might be effective in the short term I suppose for getting your stomach food during… Read more »
Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

I think if you look at human history, you will see people eating lots of greens in the spring. I am not convinced that we need to eat tons of greens all year, certainly not at the level Wahls does. I think the best plan is to trust our bodies and listen for when they are hungry for greens.

John
John
4 years 7 months ago

Human history occurs exclusively in the agricultural era, so I’m not sure that drawing major clues from it regarding high quality nutrition is very enlightening. In any event, my body is never hungry for greens.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years 7 months ago

I am with both of you. I get most of my minerals from bone broth, liver, slow-roasted bone-in meats, and marrow in the Fall and Winter but I do eat a good bit of leafy greens in spring and summer. Mark is right on, high animal and high plant diets do not have to be mutually exclusive! Eat seasonally, ya’ll!!

John
John
4 years 7 months ago

I do eat seasonally, because meat is in season all year round.

Stanley
Stanley
2 years 5 months ago

John, with all your heavy meat eating you will die faster than a heavy smoker.

Aoife
Aoife
4 years 7 months ago

Hi John
I just wanted to note that in her book, Dr. Wahls recommends drinking a cup of bone broth before every meal.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

What book? I thought that she hadn’t found a publisher yet. That’s what her website says.

David
David
4 years 7 months ago
Hunter-Gatherers did a whole of gathering as well. Our ancestors ate everything they could get their hands on because hunting wasn’t always a sure thing. Remember they didn’t have supermarkets with meat counters. If hunting and gathering had been 100% reliable, we would never have fell for grain agriculture. Also, the further back you go the more we ate plants, so that has always been part of our genetic heritage as well. In short: Of course meat is the most calorically dense and has everything you need, but only if you’re eating the organ meats, too. Plants are good, too.… Read more »
Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

Great information, as always.

I love greens. Unfortunately, they are something to be avoided or eaten sparingly if you tend to produce kidney stones, which I do. Believe me, if you have ever passed a stone, you will do just about anything to not have another one.

tim
tim
4 years 7 months ago

I was just thinking about this! I learned the hard way that spinach consumption can cause massive amounts of stones…

Any advice on which to avoid? I tend to eat a decent amount of lettuce but have shied away from other greens ever since the worst month of my life.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

Kale is safe as it does not have high levels of oxalic acid which can cause kidney stones.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Actually, oxalate based stones are only one of several types of uroliths in humans. There are also calcium, struvite, uric acid, and more rare types (like cystine) that are usually associated with one of several genetic disorders. The same complexity regarding uroliths is true for our pets – both cats and dogs. Dietary and other guidelines vary based on what sort of stone is involved – although adequate hydration is generally important. For example, if the stone is a struvite, then acidifying the urine is important. However, the exact opposite is true for calcium stones. So, urine pH testing is… Read more »
Gydle
4 years 7 months ago

I’d also add to be sure you’re adequately hydrated. That’s key.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

Hydration is the most important factor but not the only one.

Marianne
Marianne
4 years 7 months ago
Yes, please be careful about quantity and frequency of greens in relation to your own health situation. Some people can tolerate more than others can. My brother was a wheat grass juice “junkie” for years, and ended up in intensive care for over a week because of oxalic acid crystal build-up. It took him over a year to recover from that crisis. I love, love, love spinach and other greens but try to be moderate in the amounts I hoover up. Plus I think the seasonal approach is a good one–more greens in winter, less in summer = overall balance.
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

Well, sometimes moderation is a good idea – this situation being one of those times.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

Baby spinach is supposed to be safe.

Crunchy Pickle
4 years 7 months ago

Perfect timing! I was just emailing a friend who has been diagnosed with MS about the Terry Walh’s video. I will pass this great info on too!

Amit
Amit
4 years 7 months ago

Aaron,

Traditionally in India, we cook combination of spinach, mustard greens and bunch of other leafy greens very slowly and for hours in ginger, chills, herbs, spices, ghee etc. Its slow cooked for 2-3-4 hours and squashed into almost pureed form. I think this increases the absorption of nutrients and makes it easy to digest.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

This is the way we cook it in Pakistan as well, except we add meat on the bone to it as well. In my experience, this is much easier to digest than raw or lightly cooked spinach. As someone whose gut has been decimated by Celiac, I find that I can only tolerate cooked greens. It’s a pity because I used to love crunchy salad greens.

shannon
shannon
4 years 7 months ago

And, it’s the way my grandmothers in the South used to cook greens!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I still cook greens this way!

Flussgottin
Flussgottin
4 years 7 months ago

Dear Amit,

If you have a good recipe will you share it with us? I adore saag and would love to be able to cook a large batch of Indian style greens to enjoy during the week.

thanks!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Second this request.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

The traditional way to prepare greens in the Southern US is similar. For example, collards are cooked slow and long over low heat – with salt pork, bacon, bacon grease, ham hocks or something similar, minced onion, cider vinegar, and black pepper. The liquid – sometimes referred to as “pot liquor” is considered to be the most nutrient rich so is also consumed along with the greens.

Given that these preparations were introduced into the American diet by African-Americans, part of the “Soul Food” cuisine, perhaps they represent an African influence similar to Middle Eastern/India cuisines.

RedYetiDave
4 years 7 months ago

African? Wow – looks kinda Swedish to me. The juices from the Xmas ham are used to stew up shredded kale. Nom…. 🙂

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

Its a small world sometimes, isn’t it? Maybe the reason that so many diverse cultures use a similar approach to preparing greens is that it works so well. They taste better, digest better, and as some have mentioned here produce a sense of health/wellbeing after being consumed.

HillsideGina
HillsideGina
4 years 7 months ago

Yes, I love this. I can’t eat platefuls of raw greens, ugh. But cooking them down with spices makes them a lot friendlier. I think I might try the crockpot for this.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

A slow cooker would be perfect for cooking greens this way!

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

This sounds awesome! I LOVE ginger.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

Doesn’t it? And ginger would probably aid digesting the greens, wouldn’t it?

rob
rob
4 years 7 months ago

They are good when drowned in fat otherwise give them to the hamster.

Peggy The Primal Parent
4 years 7 months ago
I’ve been anti-veggies for a long time. Eliminating them fixed long standing digestive troubles. My health hasn’t seemed to suffer but rather soar. But then I got pregnant… I’ve had one craving since I’ve been pregnant (13 weeks currently) and that is veggies. Lots of veggies. I was thinking about them incessantly in the early weeks until I finally caved in and started eating them again. They aren’t causing any big problems and I’m enjoying the heck out of them. I’ve always loved veggies but they have always done so much harm to me so I’ve avoided them. I wouldn’t… Read more »
Uncephalized
Uncephalized
4 years 7 months ago

Congratulations Peggy!

Best wishes for a trouble-free pregnancy and a happy, healthy new little person. 🙂

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Have you considered digestive enzymes specific to cellulose?

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

I use one called No-Fenol by Houston Enzymes. It’s pretty effective and has the added benefit of killing candida if taken on an empty stomach.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Am definitely going to give it a look. Not familiar with the phenol hypotheses.

Nick
Nick
4 years 7 months ago

I heard on Robb Wolf’s podcast that during pregnancy, the immune system is depressed, therefore your autimmune symptoms related to intake of certain foods may have been changed for the time-being (saw on your blog you have celiac disease). Just a thought.
Great post about homeschooling, by the way. My daughter is 3 and I have serious reservations about sending her to public school. The post was good food-for-thought.

Peggy The Primal Parent
4 years 8 months ago

Yeah, I know that about pregnancy. I would have thought that I would tolerate foods worse then. It’s hard to say right now what’s going on. I hadn’t tried vegetables for so long. It could be pregnancy or it could be some level of healing. Who knows!

Thanks by the way!

Brak
Brak
4 years 7 months ago

I also wonder about the bioavailability of some of the greens that are traditionally cooked when eaten raw. I have recently been enjoying throwing some raw collards, or kale or mustards in my salad and have wondered if I am getting much out of them.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Cooking can benefit the nutrient value of vegetables, contrary to CW. Will make another comment sharing a link on the topic – which may take awhile to show up since evidently links require moderation.

Rozska
Rozska
4 years 7 months ago
>>I’m not saying you have to eat three heaping platefuls of vegetation, like Terry Wahls did. And yet, that’s exactly what I did — gave myself a challenge in January, to eat 9 cups of veggies every day, in the categories she lists (3 cups leafy greens, 3 cups other veggies, 3 cups brightly colored veggies/fruit.) I’ve been primal for about 18 months. It’s been an amazing change. I am *healthy* for the first time in my life. But the difference between 9 cups of veggies/day and 6-7 that I was getting before? Is the difference between optimal health and… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you for sharing this experience and your conclusions.

Aoife
Aoife
4 years 7 months ago

Great to hear I am going to give it a try so I hope to have results like yours!

Anonygrok
Anonygrok
4 years 8 months ago

Thanks for this post! I have been primal for a few months now. Felt great at first, still feel better than S.A.D. days, but not as great as those first few weeks. I am going to commit to doing this, too.

Kathy
4 years 7 months ago

Yeah, thanks for sharing this. I have MS and have mostly healed on a primal diet that eliminates my trigger foods, but I’ve been tired and getting some symptoms back lately. And it seems everywhere I turn these days, I see a mention of Terry Wahls! 9 cups sounds like SOOO much, but I think I might give it a try and see what happens!

Stan Starsky
4 years 7 months ago
You hear that you should eat plants but the reaction is really – so what or why bother. Your point here is the clincher for me: “Unless you’re eating bones, drinking blood/meat juice, and eating hoof, fur, and tail, you’ll be missing out on magnesium, potassium, and calcium by excluding leafy greens.” I just can’t think of a good way to eat hoof or fur so by comparison a 9 cup size salad seems really appetizing… Thanks for giving reasons why you should eat plants and providing details about the nutrients. On the days I don’t feel like eating a… Read more »
Eric
4 years 7 months ago

Sure, for hooves, there’s always room for Jello. 🙂

John
John
4 years 7 months ago

I add two packets of plain gelatine to my post training shake on heavy compound days. My joints and tendons are ready for another heavy training session for the same lifts a day or two earlier than when I don’t.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you for this tip.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

Since I started adding plain gelatin to foods, my nails have gotten much stronger. It seems reasonable that my joints and tendons have too.

Christin
Christin
3 years 7 days ago
Gelatin is made not only from the hooves of animals but also the skin, bones, and other collagen-containing connective tissues. The spare animal parts are ground up and pretreated before the collagen (the protein chains gelatin is made from) is hydrolyzed into gelatin. The exact methods of production vary greatly from one manufacturer to the next, but they all include a pretreatment step (whose process can vary depending on the type of collagen-containing material used). The pretreatment step is the reason gelatin is not a good source of calcium, magnesium, or potassium. In order to make the collagen extracting process… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Actually, there is a very easy way to get sufficient calcium, magnesium, potassium via the “whole animal”. Canned wild (only way to go) salmon and canned sardines both include the skin and bones as well as the flesh. Just consume all of the contents – don’t try to pick out the bones and skin. Mash it all together when cooking with canned salmon – the bones are soft. You’ll get a great blend of minerals (including trace minerals like selenium) as well as good Omega 3 rich fats, several B vitamins, and vitamin D. Canned wild Salmon bones have always… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
4 years 7 months ago

My Mom did the exact same thing! I still like to pick out and eat the tasty little bones.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I always eat a few of the bones before mashing the salmon for cooking. Its part of the fun of cooking with wild canned salmon.

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
4 years 7 months ago

Salmon loaf? That got my attention! Do you have a recipe you’d share with us? How about a primal salmon patty recipe?

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Sure, I’d be happy to share what I can on the subject – with a few caveats. First one is that I am still relatively new to primal cooking so my old standby recipes are all being converted. Although, I have decided today that you can consider yourself past the total newbie stage when your dogs no longer act like Pavlov’s salivating dog every time you cook bacon! LOL Second, this post will be more of a cooking lesson than simply a cut and dried recipe. I will give guidelines for making – hopefully – primal versions of traditional salmon… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Your comment is awaiting moderation. Sure, I’d be happy to share what I can on the subject – with a few caveats. First one is that I am still relatively new to primal cooking so my old standby recipes are all being converted. Although, I have decided today that you can consider yourself past the total newbie stage when your dogs no longer act like Pavlov’s salivating dog every time you cook bacon! LOL Second, this post will be more of a cooking lesson than simply a cut and dried recipe. I will give guidelines for making – hopefully –… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Part two…. I’m currently using Arctic Bay’s “Fresh Caught Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon”. In the PB book, Mark recommends wild caught Alaskan salmon as being relatively free of contaminants and nutritious – and I agree. Other considerations include what is added to the canned salmon. In the case of the product above, the entire ingredients are : “salmon and salt”. No plant oils and no fluoride. I bought this product at Aldi’s (by the case) and got a great price on it so stocked the pantry. Saving money (without sacrificing quality) doesn’t hurt, either – especially since I sometimes make… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

P.S. I didn’t specify the salmon can size – 14.75 ozs. I can’t recall ever seeing salmon in a different size can – but there it is if you need the info.

Tina
Tina
4 years 7 months ago

Those sound yummy. Coconut flour works as a binder, too. And, I have found sprouted flax seed powder from Nutra Sprout on Amazon. Figure less antinutrients if it is sprouted.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Thanks, Tina. That sprouted flax powder sounds interesting – will look into it. Not only less anti-nutrients but also more nutrition than unsprouted flax seed. Evidently the role of phytate is to bind the nutrients to the seed making them available for the plant’s use after sprouting – via phytase. I’m still learning about the anti-nutrients and I wonder how to balance the pros with the cons. Evidently its the phytates that are associated with reduced colon cancer (among other pros) via binding cancer causing agents in the intestines. They also appear to reduce uroliths (like kidney stones) by binding… Read more »
Edward
Edward
4 years 7 months ago

I know our early hominids were more scavengers than us so they could probably digest vegetables better than us and in more recent times, humans with excellent health would ferment or cook their vegetables. How well were our digestive tracts designed to consume vegetables compared to our early hominid ancestors and other animals that are ruminants or hind gut digesters?

gilliebean
4 years 7 months ago

My hubby makes a big-ass-salad for his lunch every day. I’m not so dedicated but I do enjoy it when I do…

Becca
4 years 7 months ago

haha, I LOVE big-ass-salads

Primal Toad
4 years 7 months ago

Most days I also enjoy a big ass salad for lunch. My father has followed my path as well. It used to be a sandwich for us both. No more!

Anonygrok
Anonygrok
4 years 8 months ago

Primal Toad, you are adorable. I love your posts and blog.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I ate big ass salads before going primal and I will continue to – just not every day and more often in the summer when the fresh local produce is available.

Eric
4 years 7 months ago

Raw leafy greens seem to disagree with me, and cooked greens only go well with bacon grease or butter. I don’t have as many salads as I used to because of this. But I don’t shy away from offal like liver.

PN
4 years 7 months ago

I always try to force myself to eat more veggies, I feel like I can’t just take roasted chicken to work with me and need to add some veggie side.

I’ve made them many different ways to try and find a variety I like, but there are very few ways I enjoy them. I recently found one that I enjoy very much but it’s just sauteed red onions and shiitake mushrooms in some extra virgin olive oil, no greens added.

Tim
Tim
4 years 7 months ago

Murray S et. al. “Effect of cruciferous vegetable consumption on heterocyclic aromatic amine metabolism in man.” Carcinogenesis. 2001 Sep;22(9):1413-20.

It wasn’t absorption, but this suggested that brussels sprouts and broccoli increase the body’s ability to detoxify mutagenic amines.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

There is a free full text version of this study available online via PubMed.gov. I wonder if there is a more recent study though. Did you look?

Christine LeClair
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you, Mark, for this very informative post! I try to eat my greens every day, and I’m glad I’m getting all those amazing nutrients.

Mary
Mary
4 years 7 months ago

I love greens. I don’t typically eat them raw because they cause me digestive issues. I eat salad once in awhile but I usually regret it later. My favorite way to eat them is to cook spinach, chard, or romaine (yes I cook lettuce its pretty good!) in the leftover drippings from my meat. So good! I definitely need them for energy and mental clarity… without them I feel tired and sluggish.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I love a hot lettuce salad! Great way to use saved bacon grease, too. Think I’ll make a hot salad to go with the wild salmon patties tonight. Thanks

🙂

Topline Foods
4 years 7 months ago

You see? Our mothers were right about vegetables after all! And whenever you’re stuck eating cafeteria food, the salad bar will save you every time.

cTo
4 years 7 months ago

Ahh, but the salad bar at my work is: one bin of iceberg lettuce, one bin of crappy watery romaine, one SMALL bin of spinach that dissappears very fast, and only like 8 bins of salad toppings, 7 of which are beans, corn, and soybeans. Oh and a couple vats of sugary PUFA dressings.

Sara
Sara
4 years 7 months ago

I too am wondering about cooked versus raw greens. Too many raw ones (or any vegetable) give me digestive issues. Also, many raw greens just taste gross (bitter)… almost like we shouldn’t be eating them. Seems that Grok would not eat a pile of raw leafy greens if they tasted gross (bitter) and hurt his stomach. Right? The taste can definitely be masked in a green smoothie, but I’m still wondering if we were meant to eat these raw bitter greens/if they should in fact be cooked or not?

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

When I lived in the Ozark mountains, some of the locals had a tradition of eating wild bitter greens as part of the spring tonic ritual. The “wise” plant gatherers knew what plants, what part of the plant, what time of the plant grown cycle, and what preparations were needed. Often if not done properly, these same plant food could be toxic or even poisonous.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago

Many people like the bitter taste, including me. How about dark chocolate, strong coffee, olives, lemon, citrus peel and beer? I also like gin and tonic. Bitter would not have put Grok and Grokina off.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

I like the bitter taste, too – in small amounts. However, it was an acquired taste.

There is a genetic variation where an extra set of biter receptors are located on the tongue’s “taste buds” – along the side of the tongue. Those “lucky” (about 1 in 10,000) people can taste bitter elements in food that most other people don’t – or at least not so acutely. So, I wonder about what our ancestors actually tasted with bitter plants/foods and what the role of this genetic variation might be.

Matt
Matt
4 years 7 months ago

Thanks for the post, Mark. Has anyone tried those powdered “greens supplements”?

Arty
Arty
4 years 7 months ago
A lot of these powdered green supplements have a TON of powdered BEANS in them. I doubt humans were out on a field (much like elk) and grazed on green stuff…. We were build to reach up high to avoid contamination of parasites. And what is higher off the ground? Flowers (most are edable like roses), nuts (hazelnuts), Rose Hip (bioflavonoids), fruit (blueberries in forests, sour apples on trees). Our mostly animal diet was supplemented by a small amount of plants. I doubt a Neanderthal wife would prepare a salad for her husband coming home from a day of hard… Read more »
shannon
shannon
4 years 7 months ago

Does Dr. Wahls measure the 9 cups before or after cooking? 3 cups of raw greens cooks down a lot to a regular serving, but 3 cups of cooked greens would be a really large serving.

Alice
Alice
4 years 7 months ago
Dr. Wahls describes 3 cups as a heaping dinner plate full, and shows a slide of a big plate of salad, so I’m pretty sure she’s measuring it before cooking. 3 cups of cooked greens would fill me up for the whole day with no room for anything else! Also, from all my reading, many greens really do need to be cooked at least slightly in order to cut down on the oxalates and goitrogens (please excuse the spelling, I don’t have time to go look it up right now…) that cause kidney problems, and also to break down the… Read more »
HillsideGina
HillsideGina
4 years 7 months ago

I’ve been using raw greens in smoothies, but I’m going to try steamed or parboiled. Thanks!

Arty
Arty
4 years 7 months ago
I don’t think some of us humans evolved eating a ton of green stuff. I say this because I’ve suffered from digestive distress (mostly hard stools,constipation) my entire life and going primal did NOT resolve this (just a little). When I ditched the fibrous green stuff all of a sudden my bowel movements were without symptoms and regular and my colon finally healed. I keep pasture to a minimum because I believe my ancestors did NOT evolve on them, my body is telling me so. We also lack the bacteria that produces the enzyme necessary to break down cellulose. These… Read more »
Tyler
Tyler
4 years 7 months ago

The important thing is that you know to eat, as someone above put it, “the squishy bits that most Westerners don’t like”.

Side note – Your guts can be effed up before Primal/Paleo to the point that, even after switching, you continue to have problems. Check out the FODMAP and GAPS diets; they’re all about repairing your digestive system. As an example, Peggy the Primal Parent was completely unable to handle veggies, but seems to be doing better (though not ideal) on them currently.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
You know, I think that you are on to something here. I wondered when I first made the transition to primal what effect it would have on my stools to eliminate grain and legume based fiber. I usually eat more salads in the warm months and more (lower fiber) veggie soup and cooked veggies in the winter – so I wondered about that too. I didn’t fool around when I made the transition this winter. I took one day to do a total purge of the pantries and to restock. I started with “easy” food like bacon and eggs. I… Read more »
Jeff
Jeff
4 years 7 months ago

wow that ted talk video was overwhelming!

I have been practicing the primal hunter-gatherer diet as described in primal blueprint for 18 months. It basically fixed my hyperthyroidism. I will never eat another way.

I am wondering what peoples thoughts on juicing some of these vegetable is? Or is the fiber part of the benefit?

thank you all for your inspiration

Stan the Man
Stan the Man
4 years 7 months ago

And don’t forget about the wild greens. Dandelion, chicory, lamb’s quarters, etc. are delicious and FREE.

shannon
shannon
4 years 7 months ago

I just went outside and easily found 3 cups of wild greens: chickweed and cress (or creasy greens as they’re called in the South). I added some parsley and blueberries and put it all in the blender.

Bong Kim
Bong Kim
4 years 7 months ago

Thank you for a very helpful article. I’ve heard sometime ago that some vegetables need cooking and others better served raw, but I can’t remember which is which now.

It would be great if you add an article which vegetables are better served cooked etc.

Thanks.

Sabrina
Sabrina
4 years 7 months ago

I wonder if there’s a reason why virtually all cultures cook their greens. I know that in China, Japan and the Indian subcontinent, greens are very rarely consumed raw. A Japanese friend once commented that Americans eat “rabbit food.” He was surprised that salads were consumed so frequently and in such large quantities. Does anyone know why traditional cultures cook their greens?

Page
4 years 7 months ago

For some cultures, cooking was for food safety reasons.

pam
pam
4 years 7 months ago

i dont’ know why we cook it traditionally. yes, most vegetables are cooked (lightly) or fermented. cause we don’t eat “rabbit” food, haha.

uncooked green disagree with my digestion & few of us. i don’t know if this is genes tho. anyway, i rarely eat salad for this reason.

regards,

trackback

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Kelly
Kelly
4 years 7 months ago

Beyond Veg has a great series on raw vs. cooked foods. For quick reference, here is there chart for vegetables.
http://beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-cooked/raw-cooked-2g.shtml#cooking%20eff%20on%20min

Kelly
Kelly
4 years 7 months ago

That should say, their chart for *some* vegetables, because meat’s on there too…

DB
DB
4 years 7 months ago

You can make your green smoothies cooked if you have one of those super blenders like a Kitchen Ninja, Vitamix etc. Just throw it all in and let it run until it starts to steam. Pour it in a bowl with some sour cream or butter on top. More of a soup really but the same idea.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
I have friend who swears by her Vitamix and she’s been urging me to get one. Maybe now I’ll reconsider. I use a Magic Bullet and a Green Power cold press juicer – which ironically I bought for juicing wheat grass. Of course, I’m not far enough along into learning about the primal lifestyle to know if the wheat grass is as unacceptable as the wheat grain. After all, wheat, rye, and other grain producing grasses are often what’s in the seed blend in a pasture where (some) grass fed meat is raised/finished. Anyway, in the PB 21 day book… Read more »
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[…] blog is inspired by Mark Sisson’s post on eating more greens and I felt like I had to share […]

Patti
Patti
4 years 7 months ago

Did any of you naysayers of leafy greens watch Terry Wahl’s video?? I don’t care if we can prove that the ancients did or did not eat exactly that much vegetation when someone TODAY has radically changed her life by the inclusion of them her diet. Your brain may not be an obvious mess YET, but why wait for disaster to hit?! I happen to love leafy greens sauteed in bacon fat, so they are an easy inclusion in my diet. Roska might have hit on something, because whenever I eat them I feel fantastic the following day!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
I don’t know if you’d consider my remarks as “naysaying” or not – but – I did watch the video. Of course its a powerful message, wonderful to see Terry healed, and to know that clinical trials are underway. What I wonder though is – did anyone watching the video notice that during the section (starts around 8 minutes in) on ancient hunter/gatherer foraging traditions that she compared two diverse cultures – the cold climate Inuit to the hot climate African Savannah. She stated that while each culture consumed widely different food sources, that each diet produced high levels of… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

PS. Terry also points out that by getting our fill on foods other than dairy, grains, and legumes, we are just naturally avoiding common food allergies and intolerances – which is healthy for a lot of people. She doesn’t go into the fact that the ancient foragers sometimes – like the Maasi – did consume milk and other forms of dairy. But, the point is still well made and taken.

Grokiana
Grokiana
4 years 7 months ago

I finally perfected my kale recipe, cooked with lots of hog jowl, organic chicken or beef broth, vinegar, a lil crushed red pepper and a smidge of Stevia.

Now, duh! I realize I should also add in ham bone, so I can get the benefits of the bone broth, too.

Great post! I really need this reminder.

adrienne
4 years 7 months ago

I love the Nori Chips from the Well Fed Book. Delicious!

Kristy OT
Kristy OT
4 years 7 months ago

I’m really surprised at all the veggie-hate here! I guess to each his own, but if *my* choices are hooves and brains or kale and chard, it’s really no contest. Funny – five years ago I hardly ever ate vegetables; now I am genuinely excited when kale pops up in my CSA bin!

John
John
4 years 7 months ago

It’s really not a choice between hooves and brains or kale and chard. That was a dichotomy presented in a tone of humor. Brain is quite delicious however, and the nutritional quality of vegetation (if even digestible) doesn’t even compare.

pam
pam
4 years 5 months ago

haha. i don’t hate vegetables; i only hate salad (cold & uncooked vegetables) + i don’t like spend so much time chewing.

also due to mild hypothyroidism, i don’t want to overdo cruciferous (goitrogenes)

regards

Tina
Tina
4 years 7 months ago
I’ve always thought of the bottom the Primal Food Pyramid as vegetables and strive to get 10-12 servings a day. This requires juicing some of the veggies or I’d never get through it all. I’m a cancer survivor and several of my cancer books stress the importance of large amounts of veg in the diet. Some of them also caution against eating much meat especially red meat. The charge here is that it contains high amounts of absorbable iron and that tumors like iron. I still eat red meat but grass fed typically and only about once a week or… Read more »
LizS
LizS
4 years 7 months ago

Interesting about the doc who checks if a person is genetically a meat eater or vegetarian. Do you have any other information about his work? Maybe that’s why so many people, even on this site, differ in their opinions on how much meat compared to veggies. I just find that intriguing.
~LizS

Tina
Tina
4 years 8 months ago
Hi Liz, thank you! I feel very fortunate to say the least. The doctor I mentioned was profiled in the book Knockout: Interviews With Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer and How to Prevent Getting It In the First Place. You may be thinking Suzanne Somers??? I sort of did, too, but was impressed with the success rates and rationales behind the various therapies described as well as the patient testimonials. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the doctor who was testing his patients before designing a diet for them and I already returned the book to the library. I… Read more »
LizS
LizS
4 years 7 months ago

And congratulations on surviving cancer! Best wishes to you Tina!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Dittos!

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

I think that alternative cancer doctor is onto something – but there may also be a third category that needs a balance of animal and plant foods such as vegetables.

Btw, some plants (like spinach) are also a source of iron. Maybe the form of iron matters, I don’t know.

Tina
Tina
4 years 8 months ago

That’s true from what I’ve read about the iron and thank you for mentioning it but, if I recall correctly, the iron in red meat is highly absorbable but is less so in vegetables. I don’t worry about it because I figure the benefits and cancer-fighting constituents in greens outweigh the potential downside. ps. I replied above to your other point and thank you for the “dittos”!

HillsideGina
HillsideGina
4 years 7 months ago

This does not make sense. Humans all have the same digestive systems. The only variable there is that many humans’ systems are rather messed up by SAD diets.

Alexis
Alexis
4 years 7 months ago
Hi have relapsing remitting MS. I was diagnosed in 2003 when I was 25 years old. It was quite a shock since I’ve always been “healthy” and athletic. When I took a look at what I was eating, I realized it was anything but healthy. All processed, low fat, wheat fueled foods. Back then I didn’t know about Paleo, so I did a South Beach Diet hybrid. Not only did I drop those last 5 lbs but I felt better and more energized than I had in all my life. I fell off the wagon for awhile, still eating “healthy”… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Congrats! Do you have any opinions on the recent reevaluation that MS may not be the disease that we have thought it was in the first place, but something else more along the lives of celiac disease? And, what about the spontaneous and intermittent remissions that are seen in MS? Do you think that Terry’s improvement could be explained (at least in part) that way? Not that we don’t all benefit significantly from improved nutrition!

tom scott
tom scott
4 years 7 months ago

I just made up a green herb gumbo this week-end. My wife baked a ham and I used the bone to make the broth and diced up some ham. I added: kale, green cabbage, spinach, watercress, mustard greens, parsley, green bell pepper, onion, and probably more. Add spices to your taste. I used cayenne and a Vietnamese garlic/pepper sauce.
Similar recipe: http://maria-blanco.suite101.com/gourmet-herb-delight–gumbo-des-herbes-recipe-a143728

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Excellent! Thanks for sharing. Now I know exactly what I’ll do with that ham bone in the fridge.

Snauzoo
Snauzoo
4 years 7 months ago
Hi Mark, While technically broccoli is not a green it does have leaves, at least if you grow it or get it from a CSA. It turns out that broccoli leaves are the most nutritious part, and one that is most often thrown away. It takes a bit longer to steam the leaves so I put them into my steamer pail ahead of the florets. About 5 minutes longer, or the time it takes to cut up the head. I have also saved the leaves to add to soup and stew. They will wilt easily, but they are not palatable… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Yes! That’s how I cook home grown fresh broccoli, too! I even freeze it that way to be cooked later.

Tracy Seman
4 years 7 months ago

I really need to add more veggies to my diet. I’ve been Primal/Paleo for over a year and that is where I really fail. I get a huge helping of spinach every morning, but that is pretty much it for the day. Maybe some steamed broccoli with dinner…. time to get creative!

Angelia
4 years 7 months ago
I eat salad every day~ Before I eat dinner. HUGE salad. Hubby always laughs at me. He also has started to eat salad every night before he eats dinner. Sometimes two bowls. He doesnt add the leafy greens like spinach and other baby greens like I do, but its a step in the right direction. When I eat the rest of my dinner I also have other veggies, either raw or steamed or roasted. My kids get small portions of salad, but also eat other veggies with dinner. I’ve started adding spinach to my morning smoothies. cant even taste it!… Read more »
PrimalPotter
PrimalPotter
4 years 7 months ago

I just watched Dr. Wahl’s vid. How inspiring! Curing what ails us with food. Wild concept.

I went to an early IMAX film last Sunday morning. Hard to believe how many people were scarfing down popcorn, soft drinks & other assorted trash at 10:30 in the morning! The smell was making me really queasy. Not to mention all that rustling of paper & cellophane.

Jim
Jim
4 years 7 months ago

Will any smart folk let me know how much worse the bags of kale, turnip greens, collard greens etc at the supermakret vs the fresh stuff. I can’t deny that it is far more convenient, and takes care of most of my prep time. Granted this could be a good/perfect thing.

shannon
shannon
4 years 7 months ago

I think most of the stuff in a good grocery store is pretty good. That said, when I compare it to the appearance and keeping quality of homegrown or locally grown, you can see the difference: storebought conventionally grown produce doesn’t taste or look as good, and it goes bad quicker.

DBauchle
DBauchle
4 years 7 months ago

I am siding with those who talk about too many leafy greens leading to kidney stones etc. I had kidney stones and had a UA done ( Urine Analysis ) and I have dangerously high levels of Oxalic Acid in my body and high amounts of creatine from the Primal Diet. What would you suggest someone eat as far as leafy greens?

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago

What did your doctor tell you about getting that Oxalic Acid level down or about what foods to avoid/consume?

DBauchle
DBauchle
4 years 7 months ago

My doctor said I couldn’t eat chocolate, spinach, tea, rhubarb, swiss chard, etc. Other items high in Oxalic acid were berries, and all nuts, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli etc. So i’m lost lol

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

Oh geez well at least your doctor gave you some dietary info.

This website provides info about oxalic acid and what foods are low or moderate in oxalic acid.

http://www.dewsworld.com/FInDefenseofOxalicAcid.html

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Arty is right that human’s don’t produce the digestive enzymes in their bodies that work on the cellulose in plants. See the quote below from the wikipedia. I have been taking a digestive enzyme blend that includes these enzymes for awhile. Now, I am rethinking this notion, based on the premise underlying the PB of how our bodies evolved. After all, its about how we metabolize energy, right? Well, without cellulose digestive enzymes, our bodies can’t release the energy in cellulose. Which in turn makes me wonder more about how we actually absorb nutrients that are possibly bonded to the… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071224125524.htm

Culinary Shocker: Cooking Can Preserve, Boost Nutrient Content Of Vegetables
ScienceDaily (Dec. 24, 2007) —

In a finding that defies conventional culinary wisdom, researchers in Italy report that cooking vegetables can preserve or even boost their nutritional value in comparison to their raw counterparts, depending on the cooking method used.

Harry Mossman
4 years 7 months ago
The issue of how much and what kind of veggies to eat is the main reason would call myself archevore not primal if i had to label myself (which I don’t), although Dr. Harris seems to be going off the deep end in his flame war with Don Matesz. Harris’ William Munny Eats His Vegetables post strikes me as the right approach. I can’t argue with Dr. Wahl’s success. That approach may be right for some people. But I don’t see any paleolithic justification for it. And eating that much low carb veg, you have to exclude or limit starchy… Read more »
rarebird
rarebird
4 years 8 months ago
Dr. Wahl’s approach is clearly hugely beneficial for her health. However, that does not mean that her view on what MS is and what it does and how the diet works is correct in part or in total. I hope that the clinical trials are informative. To date there is little or no evidence that any of the multitude of alternative MS treatments has any value. The jury is still WAY out on how to classify MS. There is a class of diseases/disorders known as mitochondrial disorders, and MS is NOT one of them. The current thinking is that its… Read more »
Hillside GIna
Hillside GIna
4 years 8 months ago

Remember that Dr. Wahls was treating herself out of a terrible illness. Her diet is not a “blueprint” for a regular diet per se. That said, I was influenced enough to make sure to widen my veggie selections and add greens to soups and smoothies. I can’t possibly eat 9 cups of vegetables a day, and as it is I don’t like to eat Big Ass Salads. But if I were ill with a degenerative disease or with cancer, I would find a way to make my diet fight my illness like she did.

John
John
4 years 8 months ago

There really is no telling from the anecdotal (data set of 1) evidence what was the cause of the recovery. It could have been the addition of a lacking nutrient, coming from ANY source whatsoever…it could have been the subtraction of a deleterious substance, again coming from ANY source whatsoever…it could even have been any of the above and any combination thereof in relation to a very specific genetic profile not found in most humans. It’s impossible to know, which is why anecdotal evidence is essentially useless for anything other than inspiring an emotional reaction.

rarebird
rarebird
4 years 7 months ago
Well, John, I agree what your assessment – although I think that anecdotal evidence can be the basis for forming a hypothesis which can then be tested. THEN we may possibly have some evidence. Anyway, in this instance – the entire “Wahls Protocol (TM)” consists of: “nutrition, meditation, massage, exercise and neuromuscular electrical stimulation.” Visit her website to see this information. I won’t share the link because another comment that I made yesterday with a link is still waiting on moderation. Unfortunately, and against the advice of her colleagues, Dr. Wahls has violated fundamental principles of research design and methodology… Read more »
Guitar_grrrl (Lisa)
Guitar_grrrl (Lisa)
4 years 5 months ago

I totally agree with you on all parts of your post. None of this has been tested. I feel Dr. Wahls is using her MD cred to promote an obviously healthy diet, but I also have reservations for anybody claiming to have “cured” MS to promote their book. She’s not the first to do it, either.

My opinion? I think she is enjoying a really good remission.

I decided on the PB path (and to her credit, Dr. Wahl’s path)to cut down on inflammation, and to see just how it might help my own MS.

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