Adding plant-based choices to your diet boosts health and wellness
eMMAKNIGHT doesn’t want eating healthy to be a a chore. “It should never taste like you’re doing your homework. If it does, then it’s not sustainable. People won’t do it every day,” she says. Knight is one part of the team behind Toronto’s Greenhouse Juice Co. and co-author of The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plantbased Eating and DIY Juicing.
Knight, who embodies the sunny, green ethos – to wit, she uses words like “automagically” – also doesn’t believe you have to do “super healthy” 100 per cent of the time. “You do you. If that’s a glass of red wine at the end of the day, don’t give that up,” she says. “Our hope is to give people a sense of how pleasurable it can be to live in a way that is good for your body over the long term.”
Juicing is back. In the early 20th century, it was used as therapy for patients who needed a nutrient boost – the sheer quantity of produce used means more vitamins and minerals. Juicing at home took hold in the ’60s, and the practice of drinking raw juices seems to swell in popularity every decade or so. And no wonder: it’s a solution to slow or compromised digestion – issues that can come with aging and certain medications. Plus, eating raw seems to have its beauty benefits – look no further for proof than famous raw devotee Carol Alt who appears to be reverse-aging.
It had become a cog in the wheel of work-life balance for Knight (director of brand and marketing) and company partners Anthony Green (CEO) and Hana James (director of community) when they started Greenhouse, selling cold-pressed juice back in 2013. The blends are fresh, which means no preservatives – there’s nothing in them but organic produce, superfoods and familiars alike, with the guiltiest ingredient being the odd pinch of sea salt. Virtuously named, The Good (left) is the staff favourite. Go to www.everythingzoomer.com/recipe-greenhouse-juice for the recipe. “What we started to notice in ourselves, by just including green juice – without changing anything else – you feel this kind of sustainable energy.”
They also found juicing to be gateway fare. Enter the book’s edibles – not all raw but all-vegan. A study has shown that eating even a 70 per cent plant-based diet reduced the risk of dying from heart attack or stroke by 20 per cent. And increasing plant consumption while reducing that of meat has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, inflammatory diseases and Type 2 diabetes.
The meal recipes were developed specifically for the book, and Knight kept her dad in mind during the process. “He loves cooking. And for him, it is all about joy and enjoyment. It’s not about, ‘Oh, how many omega-3s am I going to get from this?’” she explains. But if you do want to know, the book’s Plant Pantry lists nutritional benefits of some of the team’s favourite ingredients. Knight actually borrowed the salad on the cover from her father. His version features pecorino cheese – although not vegan, it’s a variation she was happy to include.
The book contains 50 food recipes (try our pick, below) and 50 liquid recipes – all of Greenhouse’s juices, smoothies, nut milks and tonics. Of the drinkables, Knight says, “You feel this kind of high, for lack of a better term, that in our cases would gently motivate us in thinking about it and making a healthier dinner.” greenhousejuice.com
KALE SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS AND AVOCADO
Serves 4 (side) or 2 as a main This salad finds sweetness from roasted beets, saltiness from black olives (we use wrinkly Moroccans), richness from
toasted pine nuts and avocado, freshness from parsley and excitement from raw garlic – meaning that it has enough going for it to stand up as a meal and to hold your attention to the bottom of the bowl. “Massaging” vinaigrette into torn pieces of kale is a great way to soften this notoriously brawny leaf and make it more palatable in its raw form.
(makes twice what you need for the salad; save the other half in a jar in the fridge) ⅓ cup virgin olive oil ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tbsp Dijon mustard (pale yellow, not grainy) 1 clove garlic, minced Plenty of ground pepper (4 or 5 grinds)
1 bunch green or red kale (about 4 cups) 3 small or 2 medium beets 2 tbsp virgin olive oil ½ tsp sea salt ¼ cup pine nuts 2 tbsp finely torn or chopped parsley ½ cup black olives, pitted and sliced in half ½ ripe avocado, pitted and sliced
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, minced garlic and pepper.
To make the salad, strip the kale leaves from their stems by holding them upside down and pulling the leaves downward. Tear them into bite-sized pieces. Place kale in a large salad bowl and set aside.
Slice off the ends of your beets. (Save the greens; they’re yummy steamed or sautéed in a bit of olive oil with salt.)
Peel the beets and chop them into somewhat uniform ½-inch pieces. Toss the beet pieces in the olive oil and salt. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 22 minutes or until tender with a bit of crispiness (but be careful not to dry them out). About 15 minutes in, shuffle the beets around with a wooden spoon or spatula to help them roast evenly. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a small skillet on the stove, toast the pine nuts for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pan to toast evenly. Remove from skillet and let cool.
Pour half of the vinaigrette over the kale, massaging it into the leaves with your hands. For optimal kale texture and vinaigrette absorption, you really have to rub it in. Add the chopped parsley and pitted and sliced olives to the kale. When you’re ready to serve, scatter the beets and pine nuts onto the salad and top with slices of avocado.