Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved


Yogananda HealthYogananda's WisdomRecipesMP3 AffirmationsAboutContact

Greens by Paramhansa Yogananda

What is the first thing that occurs to our mind when we think of Spring? The color GREEN, is it not? Green that is the outstanding pigment on Mother Nature’s palette of exterior decorating, and must therefore have some significance of tremendous importance for Humanity to be made cognizant of.

With Spring we associate the fresh leaves of dandelion, young grass, the budding tree, bush, and vine foliage. In the Science of Food Values, that coloring matter is known as CHLOROPHYL, the green substance of plant life which has absorbed certain chemicals from the earth and in turn becomes the hemoglobin of the blood. From this it is not difficult to see the powerful inter-relation between green and Life itself.

Green has a healing vibration; hospitals use a mild shade of it in patients’ rooms, and it is popular for interior decorating for other large public buildings. Where is the housewife who does not instinctively insist upon some green growing plant about her; even in the winter, when flowers are scarce and expensive in most localities, a pot of geranium or ivy helps to satisfy that need for some visible contact with Nature.

Often, for the overworked mental worker, merely the act of going out of doors, and resting the eyes upon some far distant patch of green, will instantly soothe and relax the whole nervous system, especially the eyes (tired from too close application to near-by objects.)

A bit of green pottery, a fruit basket, a cluster of leaves in an otherwise drab room will liven up that spot so that the eye will be drawn to it immediately upon entering, as if in search of a haven of peace, a place from whence to gather the magnetism of renewed vigor.


Dear student, all this has a deep meaning; just as the parables of the Ancient Hindu were a means of prodding challenge to the unawakened Soul to see Truth first through a story illustration, just so does a wise Mother Nature surround us with a pronounced color frequency to edge us on to inquire: Wherefore? And eventually, in the Silence, a whisper of inspiration presents itself to the Consciousness that there is an invulnerable link between the vegetable kingdom and the human.

Green vegetables contain the highest percentage of alkalinity. The green leaves of cabbage, for instance, contain four times as much Iron as the inner colorless leaves. Romaine Lettuce is preferable to the common “garden variety” of lettuce, for practically each crisp leaf, vibrant with color, proclaims a high percentage of that green fluid referred to as Chlorophyl.

Lemon Better than Vinegar

A generation ago, about the entire extent of the salad evidences in the average household was the then popular spring dish of lettuce, green onions, and cabbage shredded and withered in a strong solution of vinegar and sugar. Thus, the good of the vegetables were destroyed by the acid immersion which passed for salad dressing.

We are growing in food knowledge; if only evidenced by the fact that vinegar is no longer used by those who have been enlightened by laboratory experimentation that vinegar dries up the red blood corpuscles, and the high-vibrating lemon is more and more “coming into its own” as a natural substitute where vinegar was formerly used in the preparation of food.

Greens as a Main Dish

Another mistaken attitude exploded by the comparatively recent strides gained in the realms of Newer Nutrition (a combination of forgotten Natural Laws of Living and modern scientific research) is that greens are to be used only as a side dish or for garnishing, to be eaten as the whim of the diner dictates. This erroneous idea has given way to the now commonly accepted knowledge among biological chemists that there is nutrition in a plate of garden greens, and that they are a necessity in the daily dietary from the standpoint of mineral content and hygiene because of the tonic effect upon the blood.

Vegetables, especially the so-called salad greens, should be used twice daily, and in the spring, when they are plentiful, and may be secured fresh from the soil in most habitable parts of the world (instead of via the can-opener) should form the larger part of every meal.

This fact is worthy of your most serious attention, and our students are admonished to reflect upon the matter when considering the subject of their dietary requirements and its indisputable relation to the health of the dense body, and therefore its part in the ultimate reaching out of the Soul toward the Spiritual Godhead. An all-wise Creator has provided herbs, fruits, berries, and vegetables with a specific purpose, and we who are striving for a definite goal of development of the Spiritual Being must not overlook even so apparently a lowly first step (but none the less important) as to get and keep our physical house in order.

When, because of poor teeth, or a disturbed digestive apparatus, adequate chewing of raw vegetables cannot be accomplished, modifications, such as pulverizing them with the finest attachment of the food-grinder, steaming them gently to break down the fibrous elements, or even extracting the juices, are suggested.

Experiment with Unusual Vegetables

Do not confine your selection merely to a few of the old “stand-bys” when purchasing greens. Visit your markets and experiment with some of the unusual vegetables that may be available, some of which the following list includes: Leek, Swiss chard, kale, watercress, endive, dandelion, onions, mint, sorrel, beet tops, radishes and tops, Romaine, anise, parsley, nasturtium, turnip tops, spinach, celery, chicory, chives, red and white cabbage.

Others, not classified as strictly “salad greens” are none the less desirable in the menus, such as: Kohlrabi, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, artichokes, celery root, small green squashes, green pepper, and many others often confined to one particular locality exclusively. Those coming under the heading of herbs and root vegetables belong to another subject, which will be considered at length in future Lessons.

Bitter Veges

You have probably noticed that some vegetables are decidedly bitter to the taste. This is due to the high percentage of the chemical Potassium contained therein. Especially is this true of the dandelion leaves, which are composed of 50% of the latter element, accounting for their pronounced alkalinity and blood purifying properties? This modest little plant, by the way, is seldom obtainable in the market-places of American cities; however, an excursion into the woods, or even one’s own front lawn, will frequently yield a generous amount, which can be mixed right in with the other ingredients of the salad. Just another illustration that much that is GOOD costs nothing but the effort required to go after it.

Always endeavor to secure your vegetables as near their pristine freshness as is possible, for the longer removed from the soil they are, the less potent is the precious nutriment content. The withering process which takes place is nothing more than a gradual evaporation of their super-abundance of vital force absorbed from the earth from whence they came. Canneries are of course, acquainted with this fact, and endeavor to meet the situation of rapid deterioration by having their factories located near the scene of production in order to prepare and pack their products as soon after picking as is possible.

Greens in Spring are a Potent Tonic

Greens, especially in the spring, act as a potent tonic. “Thy food shall be thy medicine.” The medicinal properties of vegetables, therefore, make it highly desirable, nay, imperative to the housewife particularly, (of whom there are many among our students) whose awakening Consciousness has recognized her Spiritual obligation to her family, to become acquainted with these values of the foods she daily uses in her household.

The common onion, for example, possesses a strong antiseptic quality that has been found of incalculable value in treating sore throat, croup, and pneumonia, when used as a poultice or as a juice.

Iron and Vitamin D

It is well to remember that the greener the leaf, the more iron, as a rule, it contains, and certainly most of us are deplorably deficient in this most essential of chemicals which has so many duties to perform in the body. Also, they are richer in Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin we hear so much about everywhere, lack of which is the chief cause of anemia. Thus, if we make no conscious provisions for living closer to nature as the Divine Plan originally intended, failing to take sun-baths, exposing our bodies to the air, spending most of our day indoors, the green leaf in our foods is an important way to secure this precious elixir that helps to keep the physical machinery working with a greater degree of smoothness and power than it otherwise would.

A satisfying, healthful, and colorful meal suggestion along these lines of live food is given herewith: place crisp lettuce upon a plate; in the center a small mound of raw grated young beets; around this toss a mixture of greens composed of shredded cabbage, tender young spinach leaves, dandelion greens, red radishes and tops, diced spring onions and celery, all of which have been well marinated with home-made mayonnaise. The whole may be topped with mayonnaise again, and sprinkled over with minced parsley. So much for the salad dish. Now with this, a choice of cooked artichokes, or carrots and peas, asparagus, broccoli or a baked potato may be served. Black olives, whole wheat bread or peanut butter sandwiches (if potatoes are omitted) or cottage cheese, or eggs in any fashion desired. If a drink is desired, a cup of alfalfa tea sweetened with honey, or a bowl of vegetable soup may be used. Here you have a delicious, wholesome, nourishing repast which will meet with such success that you will want to repeat it often. This outline lends itself to inexhaustible variation for either the home-maker or the individual dining out, and the heretofore highly restricted diet of meat, potatoes, coffee, desert will fade into oblivion where it rightfully belongs.

Vegetables in their Natural State

Forget the creamed sauces and the white flour gravies, as well as the salt and pepper cellars, in preparing vegetables. Eat your vegetables as near their natural state as a wise Mother Nature presented them to us, merely adding a bit of fresh sweet (unsalted) butter, olive oil, home-made salad dressing, minced or powdered garlic, thyme, or any other of your favorite flavoring herbs. Instead of giving all the honors, as heretofore, to the fruit bowl, give the vegetable platter the center of the table, and make IT the pièce de résistance. You will be surprised to see how beautiful a table can be spread with the myriad colors the vegetable garden provides. And in this connection, we might point out, that it is well to consider color always in presenting a meal to your family or selecting it individually when dining out, the same as you do when buying clothes or considering the interior decorating of your home.


Another angle of vital importance, favoring the use of an abundance of vegetables, is that of cellulose, fiber or bulk they furnish, and which every meal should contain for proper assistance to the digestion, peristaltic action, assimilation, elimination, and other processes going on within the human machinery. Lack of bulk in the diet, and which this cellulose supplies, is one of the chief causes of constipation, the Mother of all ills, and this bulk is sadly lacking in the average diet of soft, mushy foods which, giving the intestines no actual work to do, results in an internal flabbiness known as intestinal stasis. The outer coat of grains, also, (or bran, as it is called) possess this cellulose, another reason for using the whole grains instead of the refined, devitalized white flour, white rice, etc.

A Mixed Diet of Cooked and Raw Foods

We are not recommending that our students be converted to a raw vegetable diet; raw tubers and grains cannot be taken care of adequately by Man, at least in the present stage of his development. Whether that was the case in a pre-historic age, and will be a repeated achievement in the future, remains to be seen, but from all indications gathered in the laboratories where actual results obtained point otherwise, Man’s assimilative abilities best fit him for a mixed diet of cooked and raw foods, undoubtedly influenced by the inadequacy of super-chewing power which his teeth do not permit.

Through the use of vegetables we revitalize the body, and maintain its suppleness and youthfulness. A lettuce leaf occasionally will not do the work. A constant supply of the various fruits of the garden which the Master Chemist has provided for our nourishment must be imbibed, and our students are urged to become reconciled to this fact, readjusting their eating habits to include this all-important item.