I’m a greens lover. I eat greens every day and believe that they are an important part of the diet. But not everyone is a greens lover like myself. Some people struggle to get in their daily greens, while others avoid them completely.
One greens advocate and raw food expert is Victoria Boutenko, whose book Green For Life inspired me years ago to start drinking more green smoothies. She has helped many people heal health problems using a raw food diet and her famous green drink.
In her book, she notes that the taste of greens became more pleasant to her the more she drank the green smoothies (which helped hide the greens taste initially with fruit). She talks about how greens growing on the ground became more appealing to her and she enjoyed her salads more, even without dressing!
So part of the problem could just be that some people are not habituated to the taste of leafy green vegetables. Whether it be because they weren’t exposed to them growing up or just never made an effort to include them in their diet, this could explain to a certain degree the lack of enthusiasm people have for greens.
Perdue Chimp Study
A study that was done by Perdue University and published in the April edition of the American Journal of Primatology, might have some information that could bring to light why some people just do not enjoy green leafy vegetables.
The researchers looked at the feeding habits of the chimpanzees living in the forested areas in Africa – at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. They then compared the feeding pattern to the nutritional value of the leaves consumed at the times in which they were eaten.
The chimps appeared to consume the tender leaves found at the bottom of the forest floor compared to the tougher leaves of the same tree in the canopy. They also noticed that the chimps consumed most of the leaves at the end of the day.
It turns out, that’s not only when the nutritional value of the leaves is at its highest, but also when it is presumed that they taste the best!
“If these sugars or total non-structural carbohydrates are increasing, then the leaves are returning more calories late in the day,” Carlson said. “At this time, they may taste sweeter, and the chimpanzees may then learn and adjust their feeding behavior accordingly. We know they use vision, texture, taste and smell to gauge when to eat fruit, so it’s understandable to think they may do the same with leaves.”
Our greens, although made more digestible through breeding, are not bred exclusively for nutrition. Because of mass demands and a competitive market, growers of lettuce who must use the same fields year after year are adding inexpensive fertilizers to the soil, and it shows in the nutrition of the food:
Also, picking the greens at peak nutrition and carbohydrate times are not common practice in the conventional lettuce industry. It’s no wonder people don’t always enjoy eating their greens.
Greens and Nutritional Requirements
Despite the fact that we are not adequately harvesting our greens, they are still very much an important part of the diet, and especially a raw food diet. Greens smoothies can be an excellent way to add in more greens to your raw food diet, as can a big salad with a delicious dressing.
Omitting this important food group could potentially lead to an unbalanced diet for some people, so it’s a good idea to find creative ways to incorporate them into your day!
For great ways to make your greens taste good, see my recipe book here.