As I was making my favorite breakfast this morning, a green stir fry with 2 eggs on top, I was reflecting that many people start their days with green smoothies thinking they are loading in the nutrients and cleansing their bodies. Unfortunately, so much misinformation is out there about fruit, raw vegetables and sugar's detrimental effect on the body (even from fruit or other "natural" foods!). I can't address all of those areas in a single blog post, but let me present an alternative to the green smoothie here -- the green stir fry -- and why it is health promoting. This short post is meant to dispel the myth that a green drink or smoothie is a health food and provide a simple-to-make alternative.
A popular combination for a green smoothie is 60% fruit and 40% greens plus liquid to make it all blend together. So, this might look like 2 cups raw spinach, 3 cups fruit and 2 cups of water/fruit juice/coconut milk. Of course there are any number of ways to combine ingredients all yielding different nutritional content, but here is a screen shot of a popular green smoothie recipe's nutrition content:
So, for 289 calories of green smoothie, you are consuming 6.6 g fat, 58.6 g carbohydrates (including a whopping 27.7 g sugar) and 5.9 g plant based protein.
Now, let's take a look at my green stir fry recipe. One serving includes 2 eggs and a tablespoon of butter:
There really is no comparison except for the calorie content. For 261 calories, you are consuming 12.9 g fat, 20.7 g carbohydrate (including 5.7 g sugar) and 18.4 g protein - much of that from the eggs.
So, after looking this over, would you rather drink your greens and shut down your immune system due to sugar overload or whip up a quick and easy stir fry with eggs to fuel your body for the day and jump start your detox?
For those who want to know a *little* more of the science beyond macro-nutrients, keep reading.
Most people today are copper toxic -- anyone who has been on birth control, who's mother was on birth control, who is stressed, who has been at any point in their lives a vegetarian or vegan, who does not consume red meat 2-3 times a week, or who has been pregnant is overloaded with copper.
Sugar depletes zinc in the body, further driving up copper and contributing to all manner of health concerns including thinning hair, hormonal imbalances, skin disorders, and emotional issues just to name a few.
Without adequate animal protein, a person is highly unlikely to consume enough sulfur which is necessary to bind with copper in the body to detox it out.
Verdict - The lower sugar and higher animal protein in the green stir fry help with copper overload while the green smoothie adds to it.
The liquid in a green smoothie depletes your digestive juices and makes digestion and thus nutrient absorption less effective.
RAW VS. COOKED
Because the green smoothie uses all raw ingredients, the fibers are not broken down enough to be digestible by humans. We are meant to eat mostly cooked food. You can read more about the cooked vegetable diet from Dr. Wilson here; but suffice it to say, although cooking destroys some percentage of the nutrients, it makes the remaining nutrients bio-available. Your body can actually use and assimilate the nutrients and minerals from cooked vegetables, unlike those that are still bound up in fibrous material in raw vegetables.
Have I convinced you yet? If not, give this breakfast a try, and I think you will soon find that rather than missing out, the textures and flavors are satisfying and nourishing. Between the nutritional benefits and the taste, my hope is you will never look twice at your green drink again!
Green Stir Fry
Anything green, but here's what I used for 2 medium servings or 1.5 nutritional balancing servings:
- 1/2 tbsp grass-fed butter (Kerrygold brand)
- 1 leek quartered lengthwise and diced
- 1 stalk broccolini sliced
- 5 broccoli florets, chopped
- 8-10 stalks asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 large green onions, sliced into thin pieces
- 6-10 green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1/2 bag (2.5 oz) spinach
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (1/2 tsp dried)
- Hawaiian Jade Sea Salt to taste
- 2 eggs + 1/2 tbsp butter per person
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. While butter is melting slice your leeks lengthwise into quarters, and rinse dirt out in cold running water. Dice cleaned leek and add it to the pan.
- Chop and add the rest of the vegetables in order while cooking. If your vegetables start to brown, turn down the heat and add 1-2 tbsp water.
- Once everything is added, cover with a lid for 3 minutes to finish cooking any stubborn vegetables.
- Add salt to taste.
- Cook your eggs as desired (poached, soft boiled, over easy, lightly scrambled), making sure to leave the yolks runny.
- Plate it with the green stir fry on the bottom and eggs on top and enjoy!