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Going green at the dinner table

A Celebration of Greens demonstrates easy ways to get more leafy greens on your plate


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Ed Hoover, manager of Wellness Services, hands out information to visitors of the Celebration of Greens held at Adventist Medical Center on Wednesday, March 27. OUTLOOK PHOTO:  JIM CLARK

Green living is all the rage these days as we all work to reuse, recycle and reduce our impact on the world around us.

But when was the last time you gave much thought to the “green” in your diet?

Adventist Health hosted A Celebration of Greens on Wednesday, March 27, bringing together experts in nutrition, energy, gardening, fitness and the environment to demonstrate the parts they play in health and healing.

“Green living has all sorts connotations for everyday life,” said Judy Leach, marketing and communications director for Adventist Health. “We’re all thinking about what we put in our yard, our homes, what we feed our families, but we need to be asking, ‘Am I putting the right things in my body to be sustainable?’”

It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables rate high on the list for a healthy diet. Popeye may have been an early trendsetter because nutritionists now recommend three cups of dark green leafy vegetables a week to aid in adequate vitamin and fiber consumption. But more importantly, green veggies are a good shield against disease.

“The darker the green vegetable, the higher the vitamin and antioxidant content,” said Robyn Velander, a clinical dietitian and nutritionist with Adventist Health. “Antioxidants are powerful detoxifiers that help protect against cancer and heart disease.”

Velander calls green apples “super food,” for their big blast in nutritional value and fiber, but recommends buying organic if you’re partial to eating fruits or veggies with a skin.

“The pesticides used to preserve food permeates the skin of foods like tomatoes or apples,” she said. “That can compromise the inside. The best way to avoid that is to grow your own garden because then you know what you’re eating.”

But who has time to maintain a full-blown garden?

Surprisingly, growing herbs, vegetables and even fruit doesn’t require a “back 40” and harvesting equipment.

Chris Cromwell, manager of Drakes 7 Dees in East County, showed off a “Salad Bowl” — a terra cotta pot containing all the leafy goodies needed for a salad that’s not only easy to grow but is a prolific producer as well.

“When the bowl is in a sunny location, you can pull probably four salads a week out of one of these,” Cromwell said. “If you use spinach, arugula, endive — leaf lettuces — they will continue to regenerate new growth.”

Cromwell also pointed out that citrus trees, often thought to thrive only in hot, humid climates, grow well in pots on a deck or patio and become colorful ornamentation as well.

“Patio peach trees are compact and are loaded with fruit,” Cromwell said. “They require a lot of sunlight, and need to winter inside once the temperature gets down to freezing, but they have beautiful pink flowers and look great on a patio or deck.”

For more information on starting a home garden, visit the Oregon State University Extension Service at extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening.



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