Tag: Veronica

5 Reasons Dark Leafy Greens Are Awesome For Gut Health

How many times have you heard “FOLLOW THE SCIENCE” over the last two years? Well, there’s no debating that dark, leafy green veggies are some of the most health-promoting nutrient dense-foods on Earth. In this article, certified nutritional therapist, Veronica Wheat Kress, aka Chef V, lists 5 research-backed ways that dark leafy greens improve gut health. All disease starts in the gut. So make sure you’re taking care of your digestive system by consuming dark, leafy greens every day. Not getting enough greens? (DO THIS.)

I’m probably not rocking your world by telling you this news: dark, leafy green veggies are the best and most affordable superfoods on the planet. But what you probably didn’t know about my fave greens are how they specifically help improve gut health. So let’s dive right in. 

gut health

#1: Contains Sulfoquinovose

Last year, a team of researchers in Austria were the first ones to discover how bacteria in the gut process a sugar found in dark, leafy greens called sulfoquinovose. Nutritional hipsters like myself call it “SQ.” 

SQ contains sulfur. But it’s not the same as the rotten-egg sulfur smell you’re probably thinking of. And even though it’s a sugar, SQ doesn’t act in the gut the same way sugar does. Sugar—I’m talking about the kind in white table sugar packets—feeds a large number of different kinds of bacteria in the gut. But SQ only feeds certain bacterial species that are found in healthy people. 

And when these healthy bacteria digest SQ, an energy source for other friendly bacteria is formed. Evidently, your harmful bacteria don’t want to have anything to do with dark, leafy greens. 

So the more dark, leafy greens you consume, the more SQ your gut produces. This causes the good guys in your gut to multiply while kicking out the bad party guests. 

leafy greens

#2: Produces Short-Chain Fatty Acids

This kind of relates to SQ, but I’m about to get a little gross here. You see, when you consume dark, leafy greens, your body can’t digest some of the fiber. But your friendly bacteria can in your colon. And when the bacteria eats the fiber, it produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

SCFAs are basically the poop of your gut bacteria. You thought probiotics were vital for great gut health? Well, they are. But it’s actually the SCFAs that provide us with so many health benefits.

For instance, SFCAs act like fertilizer for the cells that line the mucous lining of the small intestinal barrier. This prevents your food from leaking out into the bloodstream.  

It’s pretty creepy to think that the more bacterial poop you have in your gut, the better your health. But it’s true. SCFAs improve communication with your cells. And when your cells are more communicative, your immune function, mood and other systems improve.

sore stomach

#3: Decreases Methane

For people with digestive problems like gas and bloating, there is usually more methane-producing bacteria in the gut. So if good bacteria poops short-chain fatty acids, harmful bacteria has stinky methane gas. 

Most of us only associate methane gas with cows. (Climate change has brought that to our attention.) But eating unhealthy food also causes the release of methane albeit internally in your gut. 

#4: Lowers Inflammation

Dark leafy greens contain another sulfur compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane and other antioxidants like quercetin (which has received a lot of attention over the last couple years because of a certain worldwide virus) are inflammation fighters. 

People with gut dysbiosis—too many harmful bacteria, not enough friendly ones—often have chronic inflammation in the bowel or elsewhere in the digestive tract.

By eating more dark, leafy greens, your body may develop with a more normal inflammatory response—including in the gut. 

#5: Contains Cellulose 

Like the walls that keep your home warm and cozy, plants have cell walls. These walls are made of sugar called cellulose. Because your digestive system can’t fully digest cellulose, it’s considered a fiber. Cellulose helps fertilize your good bacteria. It does this by increasing the amount of starch that gets fermented in the colon. This increases the amount of short-chain fatty acids (bacterial poop) that your good bacteria produce. 

Dark, leafy greens aren’t just reservoirs of awesome nutrient density. Yes, they are chock full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. But you could also say they are Mother Nature’s most awesome food for gut health. 

And if you’re not eating enough of them, here’s the perfect solution

Pickleball: V’s Newest Obsession

what do I eat today liquids

It’s never too late in life to get a new hobby. For “V” (Veronica, the “V” in Chef V), her new hobby is more like an obsession. And she’s not the only one who is mad about pickleball, the fastest growing sport in America.

You’d figure that an unbearable late summer humid heat wave lasting several days with temperatures approaching triple digits would deter V from pursuing her latest passion: pickleball, which if you don’t know is an exciting game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis.

It would be one thing if V were playing pickleball indoors. But nope, she’s been playing pickleball al fresco, with not a care in the world that rivulets of sweat are pouring down her face. After all, the entrepreneur behind Organic Green Drink home delivery is a devotee of hot yoga.

Pickleball: Serious Business

So why has V become so obsessed with playing pickleball, often testing her skills in matches six days a week for the past several months? Well, for starters she’s not alone. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, pickleball participation has grown nearly 40% of the past two years. Currently, there are nearly an estimated 5 million people who regularly play pickleball, making the sport the fastest growing in the U.S. for the second year in a row.

And if V continues to improve her game, watch out, because who knows, it’s never too late for another professional side hustle. In fact, pickleball is such a hot sport that there’s Major League Pickleball (MLP)… who knew? And MLP is no joke. We’re not talking about beer pong prize money here. The winning team from a recent tournament in Newport Beach, CA walked away with a prize of $100,000. Even former NFL quarterback Drew Brees owns a team in the MLP.

Pickleball is clearly not in the same league as beer-guzzling “sports” like darts, horseshoes and cornhole; it’s serious business. Don’t bother showing up unless you plan on bringing your A-game! (Or at least learn how to play with serious intent.)

berry parfait

Stay Out of The Kitchen

But let’s get back to V and why she was called to the activity, nay, sport, nay, way of life and obsession. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s an area of the pickleball court called the kitchen. And if you’ve been following V’s recipes over the years, you know she loves being in the kitchen. Although to be sure, in pickleball, it’s a no-no to volley the ball in the kitchen. Perhaps this is the rare time that V likes to be out of the kitchen.

creamy carrot soup

Immediately Hooked

Actually, V started playing on a more social level. So she and hubby, Brandon, went to a “learn how to play” pickleball lesson and subsequently went on to win 4 matches to advance to the championship game. And before she knew it, she was hooked.

“From the very first day I loved it and my goal was to immediately learn how to get really good and get to the next level,” says V.

While V hasn’t specifically mentioned an aspiration of making it to the majors (MLP), she does plan on dominating her “Chickleball” league, a pickleball competitive group for ladies in the region of San Diego where she lives. And how cute is this … wait for it … V personally named her team the Volley Llamas. (Get it?) An appropriate pickleball pun for someone who places as much emphasis on spiritual development as physical and business.

Photo by Frankie Lopez on Unsplash

A Vehicle For New Customers

And of course it wouldn’t be V unless she quenched her thirst on the court with Organic Green Drink. V brings plenty of Green Drink with her, not only for herself and Brandon but for other pickleball players who have never experienced the crisp, refreshing taste. (So much more satisfying than water, especially in this recent heat wave.)

“The Green Drink has been a big social hit,” says V, adding, “When it’s hot and you need nutrients back in your system fast, it’s the perfect beverage.” And just as V has become obsessed, some of her new pickleball friends have become obsessed with Green Drink.

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.