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Every new year and new season sees new fad diets and trends lining bookshelves and littering social media. However, the fad diets of 2016 so far seem to have got something right. High protein diets have seen a particular surge in popularity this year, more people than ever are turning to vegetarianism and veganism, superfood and green veg smoothies are flooding supermarkets and the diet sheets of fitness fanatics, and people are reaping the benefits of preventing waste by paying attention to food prep and meals made with leftovers, and ‘eating clean’ (eating meals and natural produce with no additives). It seems 2016 is set to be one hell of a healthy, economical and ethically sound year for food.

The one feature that all of these diets and lifestyles have in common? Yep, you guessed it, green vegetables. Those of us who are passionate about eating and growing Brassica vegetables have always tried to educate people about the benefits of eating green. From improved eyesight, immune systems, and respiratory systems, to reducing the likelihood of developing types of cancer and diabetes, and clearing the skin of spots and blemishes, it seems people are beginning to sit up and pay proper attention.

However, it seems that when we were going blue in the face by telling people that green veggies are not only healthy but tasty when you choose to do something a little more adventurous with them than boil them to death, we missed out one key detail that 2016 has latched on to: Brassicas are extremely low in carbohydrates; the arch villain of current fad diets. This has seen a surge in people using brassica veggies in lieu of high carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes and rice. Cauliflower rice is now a common side dish for curries and stir-fries, and swede and kale chips are replacing potato and sweet potato fries. Brassicas such as kale, broccoli and sprouts are also being loaded into smoothies in order to replace sugary fruits with vitamins and protein.

The craze for ‘clean eating’ has also seen more and more people buying and growing plenty of Brassica veggies, as people are beginning to realize that preparing and cooking your own food means that your meals will contain less additives and preservatives, such as unhealthy oils, chemicals and salt. Food prep also decreases waste, as you are more likely to buy the right amount for what you are planning to do, and growing your own veg means that you side-step the sometimes wasteful practices of unethical farming used and perpetuated by large supermarket chains.

So, as passionate Brassica lovers it’s been a really tough year for us so far, as we have been dying to scream ‘hate to say I told you so!’ at all of those people who swear by the latest fad diets. But in actual fact, the trends of 2016 don’t seem to be fads, but they espouse the values of healthy eating, nutrition and waste reduction, the very values that we at Love Your Greens have always been passionate about.

Cauliflower

You may have noticed packets of finely grated cauliflower lining the shelves of your local supermarket, or maybe you’ve seen a feature on your Facebook feed about this latest craze. Why is this trend taking off, and what are the benefits of eating cauliflower rice?

Grated cauliflower makes a healthy alternative to normal white or brown rice. Normal rice has a high carbohydrate content, whether white or brown, and white rice is full of starch. While eaten in moderation, natural carbohydrates such as rice aren’t too harmful, but they can lead to weight gain if eaten in large quantities as carbohydrates produce fast-burning energy, and can leave you feeling hungry not too long after eating. If you don’t exercise, eating a diet full of carbohydrates can become unhealthy.

Cauliflower rice is a carbohydrate-free alternative to rice, and therefore makes a filling side dish for a multitude of recipes, from curries and biryanis to chillies, goulash, stroganoff and chicken. As we here at Love Your Greens know, cauliflower has a great savoury taste that can add depth to any dish whilst nourishing us with an array of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and cancer-preventing antioxidants.

The trend for cauliflower rice comes from the currently popular Paleo diet, also referred to as the ‘caveman diet’. The premise is simple – eat only foods that are as biochemically similar to those eaten by our ‘cavemen’ ancestors. This means the diet is high in proteins from vegetables and meats, fats, fruits, unrefined carbohydrates (such as unprocessed fruits and vegetables) and no refined carbohydrates, such as processed wheat and corn, flour or sugar (bread, pasta, white rice).

Eating cauliflower rice doesn’t have to mean declaring allegiance to the latest fad diet, however. Replacing rice with cauliflower rice all the time or just occasionally will lower your intake of processed and starchy carbohydrates, which is great for anyone who doesn’t have time to constantly raid the gym.

All you have to do to make your own cauliflower rice is grate some florets with a cheese-grater or a food processor, and then add the cauliflower to a frying pan over a medium-high heat with some olive oil, or, for carb-free diets, coconut oil, fry until the cauliflower begins to turn golden brown, add a splash of double cream (optional, but great for those following a carb-free diet), and serve with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Another benefit of cauliflower rice is the ease of cooking – no draining is required, it’s quick, and the frying process means that the cauliflower will retain its texture.

Why not switch to cauliflower rice today for a healthier, tastier and more nutritious alternative to processed carbohydrates?

Sprouts

Green vegetables are absolutely packed full of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, as we all know, but which vitamins and minerals? And how exactly do they keep us healthy? Love Your Greens are here to give you a helping hand and explain the specific benefits of eating brassica veggies.

Green vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, kale and sprouts in particular, contain phytochemicals. These are a type of chemical that are only found in plants. Just a few of the phytochemicals found in green vegetables include lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants which reduce high-blood pressure and help to prevent heart disease, and are also found in our eyes, in the retina. Therefore, eating green veggies improves your eyesight by helping your retinas retain phytochemicals. This also helps prevent us developing cataracts in old age. So Mum was right after all when she told us eating vegetables helped us to see in the dark!

Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant, but along with having the same benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, beta-carotene also helps to boost your immune system and helps to fight off colds by converting into vitamin A when digested.

Green veggies also have many cancer-preventing properties. Some studies have concluded that lutein and zeaxanthin may actually help to prevent us developing breast and lung cancers. While those particular studies didn’t yield any solid results, scientists do know that indoles definitely do help to prevent us from developing breast, prostate and bowel cancers. Vegetables rich in indoles include sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli – basically all the brassica veggies except swede.

Quercetin is also found in brassicas. Like lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, it is a powerful antioxidant which prevents heart disease and some types of cancer, but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. It blocks allergic reactions from occurring and stops certain cells from secreting fluid, which also means it’s great for skin and helps to prevent acne. Broccoli is particularly rich in quercetin, so next time you have trouble getting a teenager to eat their broccoli, remind them that it can help to fight spots!

Broccoli

Brassica veggies are rich in vitamins, including vitamin K which helps the production of osteocalcin, a substance which protects and maintains healthy bones, and vitamins A and C, which help to boost the immune system. The minerals magnesium and calcium are also found in abundance in greens. Calcium helps to strengthen bones, while magnesium helps to prevent us from developing type 2 diabetes.

Green veggies are truly a natural miracle, and are tools for preventing and curing a whole host of different diseases, infections and conditions. If this isn’t a solid reason to eat more and grow more greens, we don’t know what is.

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Here at Love Your Greens, we are passionate about promoting a healthy lifestyle that encourages people across the UK to eat more and cultivate their own green vegetables. Nothing proves how dedicated we are to improving the UK’s wellbeing more than our most recent endeavours.

May has been a very busy month at Love Your Greens. We began by launching our own online TV Channel, which features programmes on how best to cultivate, prepare and cook brassica vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, sprouts and swede). Some of the guests we have presenting the programmes are Aaron Craze, Jamie Oliver’s protégé and presenter of Junior Bake Off, and Michelin star chef and restaurateur Mark Sargeant. The aim of Love Your Greens TV is to engage with the UK public on an interactive and direct level, so as to truly encourage a healthy lifestyle. Users can even stream the videos straight from the vegetable patch as they’re planting vegetables!

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The beginning of May also saw the launch of our free multi-platform eBook, ingeniously entitled Love Your Greens. The eBook is free to download on all Android and Apple devices, and features recipes from Aaron Craze and Mark Sargeant. The eBook also features over 60 recipes from children around the UK, who entered our competition ‘Tuck In’, which invited children to submit recipes using brassica vegetables. Informing children about the benefits of eating plenty of green vegetables at a young age is of utmost importance at Love Your Greens, as it sets them up to live by the ideals of wellbeing and good health for the rest of their lives. The purpose of releasing the eBook at no cost is to make the methods of maintaining a healthy lifestyle accessible to all, particularly in our highly digital age. Our users can open our recipes on their phones or tablets right next to the cooker.

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Our campaign to keep children informed about the benefits of eating and growing your own green vegetables particularly took off when we sent over 34,000 packets of seeds to children all over the UK, as part of our Village Fete campaign. The Village Fete campaign encourages the public to grow their own vegetables and send in pictures of their weird and wonderful greens, with categories such as vegetable animals, the most unusual green vegetable and the funniest green vegetable. Participants get the chance to win an eReader, where they can download our eBook, Love Your Greens and make use of our expertise.

We at Love Yours Greens are truly dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the UK public, and we will continue to engage with people on a variety of different platforms to get Britain eating green.

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Yes, we now have our very own book, ingeniously entitled ‘Love Your Greens’. Clever,
right?

The book features contributions from award-winning chefs, including Jamie Oliver’s protégé Aaron Craze, so that you can discover thrilling new methods to enjoy classic brassica vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, swede, sprouts and cabbage). It also features fun facts, storage advice and a whole host of cooking suggestions and recipes so that you can make the most out of your greens.

The best part? It’s completely free! Our mission in life is to get Britain eating more greens, and what better way to do that than put all of our greatest ideas and recipes in one place, so that you can download it for free with one simple click of a button?

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It’s always tempting to reach for the takeaway menu on a Friday or Saturday evening after a hard week at work. Now, you don’t even have to bother googling a takeaway number, simply reach for your phone to access quick, easy and healthy recipes. The thought of tucking into a comforting but calorific dessert on the sofa is also inviting, but we have a solution for that, too. Our new book contains innovative recipes which replaces high-gluten and high-carb binding ingredients, such as flour, with brassica vegetables (we told you we were clever). Eating healthy has never been so easy!

The book is available for download on Android devices here, and it will soon be available for Apple devices too.

Happy eating!

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That’s right, we’ve launched our very own TV channel, where you can stream the latest videos on how best to love your greens.

Here at Love your Greens, we’re passionate about our green veggies. Not only are they packed full of goodness, they’re incredibly versatile, have bags of flavour and are really rewarding to grow and cultivate yourself. Love Your Greens TV is a new and more interactive way of keeping up to date with all things green.

On Love Your Greens TV, there will be videos from celebrity chefs showing us how to cook our greens to utilise their wonderful flavours, textures, colours and health properties. So, if you ever need any inspiration in the kitchen when cooking healthy, look no further than Love Your Greens TV! You can stream away on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, so there’s no need to worry about being near a TV set when you cook.

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Along with green culinary expertise, there will also be tutorials on how best to grow and cultivate your broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, swede, and a host of other greens. If you’re having a hard time in the garden, have a quick look on LYG TV to see if we can lend a helping hand. Our own fantastic growers may even make appearances from time to time! You can stream our videos straight from the vegetable patch without having to go in and out of the house.

Be sure to head over to the TV page on our site and check it out. We update it regularly, so be sure to visit us as often as you can.

And remember, Love Your Greens!