Plant leaves are the kitchen where all of the food for all of the creatures on earth is made.
They are where the mineral resources of our earth are combined with the energy of our sun to create the food that nourishes and energizes us.
Since the beginning of man, plant leaves have been our one constant food. Fruits, berries, seeds, nuts and roots have all provided us with important — but seasonal food. Meat brought us nourishment — when it was available. But plant leaves have been our daily go to food forever — they were always there. Archaeologists have estimated that earlier man ate between 6 and 8 lbs of leafy greens each day — and our bodies were bathed in the great nourishment that they provide. Our long-standing history of consumption of leafy greens has also made us dependent on their nutritional benefits. There is no other food source that provides us with their nutritional diversity and richness.
Our essential nutritional compounds begin their creation in the soil by the work of soil microbes. In the leaves, using the sun’s energy, they are transformed into our food energy (calories) and our essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are the building blocks that our bodies are built and maintained with. Almost all essential nutrients are found in plant leaves — if — their components are available in the soil. They also very reflective of soil fertility since what the soil lacks will also be missing in the leaves.
Dietary fiber is one of our most essential nutrients. It is like a locomotive that controls the movement of all food through your digestive system. Fiber regulates your digestive system and therefore regulates blood sugar levels. It provides a breeding ground in your large intestine for beneficial microbes (probiotics) so you can more fully absorb dietary nutrients. It is also vital in the elimination of toxins that your body secretes into your colon by scraping your colon walls as it passes. Chemicals in leaves of the cabbage family (like kale) also contain compounds that attract toxins by forming ionic bonds with them — and therefore even more effectively remove them from the colon. There is no better source of dietary fiber than mature leafy greens.
Phytochemicals are chemicals that plants produce through photosynthesis. Some protect plant leaves from the damaging rays of the sun. Others protect plants from disease and pest threats. Antioxidants are produced in plant leaves and transported to fruits to delay oxidation or decay of the fruits — others are used by plant roots, tubers, or bulbs to prevent decay during dormant periods (e.g. carrots, potatoes, and onions). We are only beginning to understand our bodies dependence on these phytochemicals — and their importance to us as protection from cell damage (premature aging), disease prevention, and elimination of toxins. These phytochemicals are all produced in plant leaves and are always found in high concentrations and diversity in them.
At Canterbury Creek Gardens, we have been educating people about the dietary importance of leafy greens for several years. We offer a wide assortment of organically grown leafy green transplants, soils and fertilizers to maximize their nutritional value, a convenient and productive way to grow greens (Organic Salad Bowl Planters), and a combination of the most nutritionally rich, organically grown, leafy greens available (The Immunity Builder Salad Mix).
It is included every week in our CSA program because, as Joel Fuhrman M.D. (and nutritionist) says “salad is the main dish.” He recommends eating 1 lb of raw vegetables (salads) every day for achieving optimum health and weight.
Fresh – People have said that they have had our salad mix in their refrigerator for weeks, and it still looked fresher than grocery store salad mixes. Since leafy greens are very perishable, fresher means more nutritious.
Nutritious – Our Immunity Builder Salad Mix is a combination of the world’s most nutritious foods — grown in a way that maximizes their nutritional value.
Flavorful – The fresh flavors of organically grown leafy greens make eating a salad a real treat — and they represent nutrients they contain.
Versatile – We have dozens of recipes using our Immunity Builder Salad Mix (many on our website). It is very useful in soups, omelets, pizzas and stir fries.
One of the greatest misconceptions about nutrition is that all kale is nutritionally the same. This shows our lack of connection with how plants grow. For a certain mineral like magnesium to be in kale, it has to be in the soil — and in a form that makes it useful to plants. Phytochemicals need all of their components available — or they cannot be formed. Finally, the medical world is starting to understand the difference.
“One important point to mention though is that the levels of magnesium in your food are dependent on the levels of magnesium in the soil where they’re grown. Organic foods may have more magnesium, as most fertilizer used on conventional farms relies heavily on nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium instead of magnesium.” from Mercola.com. Mercola.com is one of the world’s most visited of all health websites (behind 1) National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2) WebMD, and 3) Mayo Clinic.)
So, who needs all that magnesium after all? As it turns out, we do. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium binding sites on human proteins (3,751 body uses). Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body. An estimated 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this important mineral and the health consequences of deficiency are significant. Even moderate deficiency means thousands of little problems for your body to deal with — thousands of little maintenance and repair jobs that aren’t being done.
This is why we have always placed such emphasis on how food crops are grown — especially leafy greens. In a food chain where nutrients are so sparse, we need to make every mouthful count. This is especially true with our most important foods. It just seems very cost-effective to make better decisions when buying our most important foods.
Neglecting the details of plant nutrition has caused a host of health issues including
obesity, metabolic problems, immune system problems, cardiovascular problems, blood sugar problems, premature aging and degenerative diseases. We even create genetic problems in our bodies that are genetically passed along to the next generation as a result of lacking essential nutrients in our diets.
The improvement to American health would be stunning if we all had at least one really nutritious salad every day — full of nutritionally rich leafy greens that were grown in fertile and biologically rich soil.
Lower health care costs, a cleaner environment, better grades for our children, a more productive workforce, and a more vital and less burdensome senior population — all just an organic salad away.