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Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the first edition of The Quest, a newsletter intended to inspire and inform those interested in experiencing optimal well being in mind, body and spirit. In each edition of the The Quest, there will be inspiring quotes, interesting health and wellness information, suggestions for your Daily Recipe, and answers to some common, and not so common, questions. Please feel free to submit one! 

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In this edition of The Quest:
1. The Quest Quote
2. The Quest Q & A
3. Article: Why should we eat our leafy greens? By Liz Applegate, PhD
4. What would you like to see here?

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1.  “To observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”
--J. Krishnamurti quoted in The Zen of Listening by Rebecca Z. Shafir

This quote provoked me to ask: How often do we listen to others, whether in a meeting or at the dinner table, and mentally evaluate or judge them? What about ourselves? How often do we look in the mirror with a judging eye or compare ourselves to others? If Krishnamurti’s words are correct, let’s raise our level of intelligence and become aware of our judging tendencies.

2. Question: I try very hard to stay motivated when I start a new exercise plan, but I get discouraged so easily because I am not very fit and everyone in my gym is in better shape than me.  How can I talk myself into being more positive?

Answer: Don’t try to talk yourself into it, instead change the expectations you have for yourself. Just be gentle with yourself as you start this health regaining process. This is not about comparing yourself to others or having the ‘ideal’ body (whatever that is). This is about your life—about improving both the quality and enjoyment of it! Love yourself as you are today and start walking, swimming, eating well, bicycling, or weight lifting with this pure intention in mind.

3.  Why you Should Eat your Leafy Greens 
by Liz Applegate, PhD

Greens have what an active body needs. They are packed with oodles of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals for good health, disease prevention and top performance. 
I admit I use the term "leafy green vegetables" as if these weed-like veggies make regular appearances on your dinner plate. They probably don't. Most of us wouldn't be able to pick one out of a produce lineup, let alone know what to do with it. That's too bad, since greens are incredibly nutritious. After a training partner recently asked me how a bunch of gritty-looking leaves (they were collard greens) could possibly be edible, I knew it was time to tackle the topic.

Here's a look at what most leafy green vegetables have to offer in a 1-cup serving (raw) or 1/2-cup serving (cooked). I'll summarize their nutrient highlights, then I'll describe the characteristics and include tips on selection, storage and how each can be used. 

Carotenes
They're a mouthful to say-beta carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. But antioxidant carotenes ward off many age-related diseases, including macular degeneration, which has caused blindness in two million people in the United States. In one study, individuals who ate two servings a week of spinach or collard greens had half the risk of this eye disease than non-greens eaters. A serving of greens typically contains about 2 to 20 milligrams of carotenes (suggested intake is 5 milligrams).

Fiber
Most greens provide about 2 to 5 grams of fiber per serving, with a good mix of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and digestion-aiding insoluble fiber. Water-soluble fiber also helps reduce appetite. Toss up a mixed green salad topped with garbanzo and kidney beans (also good sources of soluble fiber) for an evening meal that should keep late-night hunger away.

Folic Acid
Famed for its role in preventing certain birth defects, this B vitamin also helps ward off heart disease by working with enzymes that dispose of homocysteine, a harmful blood chemical that irritates artery walls. Most greens have between 10 to 25 percent of your folic-acid needs per serving.

Phytochemicals
In addition to carotenes, greens also supply an array of other cancer-fighting phytochemicals. These non-vitamin/non-mineral substances found in all plants are believed to help protect leaves from UV sunlight, parasites and other invaders. When we eat the leaves, phytochemicals work by boosting enzymes that fight cancer cells or cancer-causing agents, research shows. Watercress, for example, contains the family of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that inhibit carcinogens you get from tobacco smoke. Eat a variety of greens to get the full benefit of several different types of phytochemicals.

Magnesium
This mineral plays a vital role in energy metabolism during exercise. Poor magnesium intake may make the heart work harder, resulting in more physiological stress during exercise, according to recent research from the Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.Dak. Women who consumed a marginal magnesium diet (two-thirds of the 280-milligram requirement) for several months showed signs of greater energy use and more stress during an exercise test than when they were eating a diet with adequate magnesium.
Most of us eke by with marginal magnesium levels, which is all the more reason to make leafy greens a daily staple. A serving of greens supplies about 10 to 30 percent of the
Daily Value for this mineral. Magnesium hides in the leaf's green chlorophyll molecule. The greener the foliage, the higher the magnesium content.

Iron
A standard serving of leafy greens supplies 10 to 15 percent of daily iron needs, a mineral that is notably low in many women’s diets (particularly in female vegetarians). The body absorbs iron poorly from some greens, such as spinach, because these greens also contain a substance called oxalate that binds iron and makes it unavailable for use. Adding acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus fruits will help your body break the iron down into a more absorbable form.

Potassium and calcium
Greens are decent sources of these minerals, both of which fight high blood pressure. One serving provides about 10 to 20 percent of the Daily Value for calcium and 5 to 10 percent for potassium. These minerals can be lost when you boil greens, so microwave or steam them.

Selecting and storing
Next time you're roaming the produce aisle, put a new leafy green vegetable in your cart. And make sure to:
Select crisp, firm looking leaves with bright color. Wilted leaves indicate dehydration and age. Also, avoid greens with browned edges or the appearance of rust on the leaves.

Lightly rinse and wrap the base in a paper towel and place it in a plastic produce bag. Store in the refrigerator, preferably a vegetable crisper. Most greens keep about five days before wilting; some last longer if you change the paper towel and spray lightly with water.

Rinse thoroughly in cold water to clean off grit and dirt before using in salads or other dishes. Avoid soaking so as not to lose water-soluble nutrients.

Use a salad spinner or clean towel to dry excess water from salad greens.

Chop greens into bigger-than-bite-size pieces (this lessens nutrient loss) for use in steamed side dishes, soups, stews and casseroles.

Greens Glossary
From arugula to watercress, greens come in a variety of shapes and flavors. With few exceptions, however, leafy green vegetables are exactly that: leafy and green. Here's a quick rundown on 19 greens available at your local supermarket.

Arugula. Distinctive, peppery flavor. Dandelion-shaped leaves with medium-green color. Adds zing to salads, soups or omelettes.

Basil. Aromatic and strong flavor. Small deep green leaves. Use fresh in pasta and salads and, of course, mixed with crushed garlic and pine nuts for pesto.

Beet greens. Cabbage-like flavor. Dark-green rough leaves with a red stalk. Add to soups or use sparingly as part of a green salad mix.

Bok choy. Mild cabbage flavor. Celery-like stalks with a deep-green leaf from the cruciferous vegetable family. Use in a stir-fry or add to soups.

Chicory greens. Slightly bitter or tart taste. Frilly-looking, medium-green leaves. Use in salads as part of a mix or add to hearty stews for extra flavor.

Chinese cabbage. Mild flavor. Bumpy, lighter green leaves. Use like regular cabbage in coleslaw, chicken salad or soup.

Collard greens. Stronger cabbage flavor. Big deep-green leaves. Use as a vegetable side dish or in stir-fries, soups and stews.

Dandelion greens. Bitter flavor. Spike-shaped leaves with a medium-green color. Use in salads or serve wilted over fish.

Endive. Bitter but lively flavor. Long, smooth leaves (sometimes very pale color). Use in salads.

Kale. Cabbage-like flavor. Bold green leaves with rippled edges. Steam as a side dish, or chop and add to stir-fries, soups or stews.
Mustard greens. Mild, peppery taste. Deep-green leaves with curled edges. Use in soups, stews or sparingly in salads.

Purslane. Tart taste. Small clover-shaped leaves. Use in salads and sandwiches, or steam slightly as a side dish.

Radicchio. Mild to strong cabbage flavor. Striking red cabbage-like leaf. Use in salads for color and in stir-fries for taste.

Romaine lettuce. Mild flavor. Large ruffled green leaves (pale at their base). Use as a salad, or wilted and served with an entree.

Sorrel. Sour taste. Small green leaves. Serve with other greens in mixed dishes, such as stews and casseroles.

Spinach. Slightly spicy or tart taste. Oval-shaped, deep-green leaves. Use as a salad, steam for a side dish or add to stir-fries, soups and quiches.

Swiss chard. Strong flavor. Large glossy green leaves. Steam as a side dish, use in salads or mix with low-fat cheese for a pasta filling.

Turnip greens. Cabbage flavor. Musty green leaves. Steam for a side dish, add to soups and stews, or use sparingly in salads.

Watercress. Spicy flavor. Small deep-green leaves. Use in salads and sandwiches.

4.  Since this is the first edition of The Quest, I want to know what you would like to see or share here. Please submit your comments by replying to this email with “comments” in your subject heading. I look forward to your feedback.

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Happiness is not found in a 24-Inch Waist, or as SARK says in Succulent Wild Woman, "Let's look closer at the size of our hearts, the width of our souls, and the length of our spirits."