2 years ago, I was putting a piece of mostly white iceberg lettuce on a sandwich and calling it a green.  I actually become frustrated thinking about it, now, because I wasted so many of my young adult years by eating my body into bad health.  Recently, someone I care about told me something like “I’ve reached an age that I don’t need to eat something that doesn’t taste good” in reference to Kale.  The problem is; your body needs you to overrule your taste buds.

There is hope!  The earlier version of adult Dan Stoa hardly ate greens.  I thought Kale and Brussel Sprouts tasted like dirt.  In less than a year, my palette completely flipped.  Our family had a busy week this week with conferences for 2 teachers and conferences for those 2 teachers to try and attend for our own kids.  Thursday night I was on my own with the kids and tired.  We decided to go to Culvers.  The cashier at the drive thru mistakenly tried to give me a Mountain Dew.  When she realized the mistake, she asked me if I wanted it for free.  I responded no without even thinking about it.  She clearly thought I was crazy… but why would I drink something that is so bad for my body and doesn’t even taste good now?  I didn’t even hesitate to say no.  In college, I used to drink a 12 pack of Mt. Dew while playing video games in 1 night.  If I can get myself to bring Culver’s home and add 2 cups of Spinach to the meal in lieu of a free Mountain Dew, you can change your palette to handle some greens.

Take a look at what vegetables are listed for essential vitamins and minerals in this article from Clemson.  Notice what is listed for most of those nutrients?  Leafy greens.  Your body was created to consume a lot of greens.  They shouldn’t taste bad either.  Most of them should taste fairly bland.  The foods you’ve been eating produced by food companies have been designed to change your palette and your cravings.  There is quite a bit of research about this.  But even if you lean toward the opinion that people choose the food they want and are in control of their own destiny, you have to admit:  Companies that create food want you to eat more of it.  That is how they make money, whether there are bad intentions involved are not.  This idea even shows up in comments by school administrators when they comment about the Healthy Kids Act.

Your body needs you to eat greens.  Make yourself eat 2 cups a day.  Cook swiss chard in butter.  Blend your kale with honey and mango.  Put oil, soft cheese and nuts over a plate of spinach.  Add stuff to it until you start eating 2 cups a day.  Then, start adding a handful of greens to meals.  Put them on top of soups.  Put them on a plate and put your casserole on top.  Do these types of things for 3-4 months and your body will start to crave the nutrients instead of the taste.  Take a look at a few greens.

Arugula  – This one is a bit bitter so prepare it accordingly

Spinach – Look at the protein and Vitamin A!  Plus 5 cups of Spinach and you have iron for the day.

Kale – Put down the oranges when you feel a cold coming on and grab so Kale.  Better yet, add oranges, berries and a light dressing if you must and beat that cold before it has a chance.

Swiss Chard – When you saute this green a little bit you know it has nutritional superpowers.  The color almost glows with a little bit of heat.

Lettuce – Grab a Romaine variety and skip the milk for calcium.

Your body needs you to eat greens.  Figure out a way to force your taste buds to allow them.  Before you know it, you will feel better and crave the nutrients more than the engineered sweetness surrounding you right now.  And don’t fear.  2 cups of greens will not replace the foods you love to taste.  But they will give your body a base of nutrients so that you can enjoy those foods you love to taste when you eat them:  after your greens, at least.