Read about the experiences and thoughts ...
Read about the experiences and thoughts ...

Fifty Shades of Green

14. March 2017.

Those of us who start the morning off with blending are so very interesting to those who eat a “classic” breakfast or who do not eat at all, but rather start their day with coffee. With such curiosity, they peek into our cups and bottles, trying their hardest to make us disgusted with our own breakfast. Most of all, they’re bothered by the color. To them, shades of green are incompatible with the notion of breakfast. Or food in general. So creative, almost funny puns emerge. My coworker’s favorite is squeezed frog juice. Seeing my bottle in my hand really gets him going.

But, the various comments and tired questions all vegetarians and vegans encounter aside, the list of benefits of such diet is endless: more energy, quicker and cheaper meal preparation, the food doesn't spoil easily so you can take it with you everywhere, a more conscious way of life, a nicer figure, healthier body, and a clearer mind.

It’s widely believed that the vegan diet is expensive, but I disagree; it's even cheaper. I was always drawn to tradition, ancient beliefs, a way of life our grandparents and those before them had, and food. As a mother and a wife, healthy nutrition for my family is of great importance. But the term “healthy” has been so abused these days that no one’s sure what it actually means, so everybody interprets it to their liking. I admit that the so-called exotic superfoods are expensive, but you can quite successfully be a vegan by all accounts without buying them, or just using them in small quantities.

What nobody is willing or allowed to say is that many of these foods you can get for free, but not in a supermarket, but in nature. That’s why I prefer wild greens, which we often tread on and ignore. We think they’re worthless or not as good as something foreign from a far away place. The price also confirms it—ours is free or very cheap, the foreign pricey and too expensive. It’s just a food industry trick you fell for. And while you're buying green tea and dry wheat extract, algae and whatever, I'm picking dandelion leafs, young nettle tips, yarrow, ground elder, mint, lemon balm, wild garlic, and many other herbs. Some plants I grow in my garden, some I pick on my frequent hikes. That way, nature herself spurs you into action, because it offers a different menu every day.

Nature is never boring: you have to learn to recognize edible from poisonous greens and keep a foraging calendar. Respect the forests and meadows where you picked your breakfast or lunch for free and don’t take every last plant. Moderation is the key to everything. Take what you need and come back anytime. You’ll be surprised how many shades of green there are in nature's market! Every year, she offers some new produce right when we need it. Wild garlic grows in the early spring when we need energy and a stronger immune system, nettle grows when our iron supplies are low from winter, primrose replenishes our vitamin C, and so on. Summer is a time of abundance, so something should be stored for the skimp winter months. Something can be dried, something can be frozen. You can make jams and juices, according to your choice and taste.

Once you realize that nature is our ally and that coexistence with her is crucial to the survival of our species on this planet, you will change your point of view. It’s a great feeling to be free, not be so dependent on the pharmaceutical industry and store chains. So embrace the green as a new freshness, new strength, and new life. Life in harmony with nature. Find your own shade of green.

Pina Žilić

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