Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Green Smoothies

A thing of beauty
 I've written recently about our green smoothies. This is a yummy treat we try to enjoy every day or every other day at the very least. What makes our green smoothies so beautifully green? Why, spinach of course. Today's particular smoothie was made with 3/4 banana, a whole pineapple, 3 cups of spinach and about a cup of almond milk.

The ingredients I use varies daily based on what I have on hand. I like to buy my produce in season because it's cheaper and fresher, although there are certain seasonal fruits that I will buy frozen because we love them in our smoothies but don't want to buy them out of season-particularly strawberries and other berries. A bonus to having them frozen is that they act like ice in our smoothies-I love me some cold smoothie!

I choose my ingredients based on what looks like it might go bad first. Oh so very scientific! Today I had a pineapple that was starting to get soft. We were having peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch and I had one banana already open so I tossed that in there too. Spinach (or kale-though I personally like spinach better because it's easier to clean-you really can't taste it) is the key ingredient. The greener the smoothie, the better. I used to add strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries at the end to mask the green color. But, my kids knows what goes in them so the color doesn't bother them. I just toss it all in the blender and we get what we get. It's actually a fun experiment to try and see what color we are going to get. I thought today's was just beautiful.

What do you think?

What ever possessed me to do such a thing? Well, the whole point of a green smoothie is to add more raw food to our diets. Ideally, AT THE BARE MINIMUM, 51% of every meal should be raw foods. This is such a simple way to achieve that goal. And SO yummy! If you have a sweet tooth, I definitely recommend trying out a green smoothie. The fruits in the drink are so flavorful that they definitely make-up for the veggies you add (although I like fresh spinach, but I know some who would not go within 10 yards of fresh spinach who will eat it this way).

So, are you ready to take the green smoothie plunge like we have? The sky is the limit on what ingredients can go into your smoothies. Here are some we have tried and some we would like to try: mango, papaya, any type of berry, apples, grapes, carrots, tomatoes, avocado (yum!), yogurt (Greek, plain or vanilla), kefir (going to write a post about this soon!), flax meal, wheat germ, watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit.

To start with I recommend using mostly fruits that you know that you like and then slowly increase the amount of veggies you add and playing around with new things that you haven't tried before. Green smoothies can also be frozen with popsicle sticks to make a yummy treat.

Here is a list of benefits we have seen in since starting our green smoothie regimen:
  • Increased energy levels-with the addition of child number 4, I have rarely the opportunity to take a nap during the day, when I used to need one on an almost daily basis, and if I couldn't get one I would totally crash in the afternoon (and be thoroughly cranky).
  • Better digestion-do you really want me to give more details about this one?
  • Better sleep-For years, I have struggled with sleep issues, insomnia and the like, even getting to the point of doing an overnight sleep study, it was that bad. I struggled to fall asleep (sometimes taking hours to do so), and once asleep I struggled to stay asleep. I never felt refreshed. Lately though, I am out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow, I am sleeping more deeply at night, rarely hearing Rick's alarm in the morning, and I wake up with more energy and feeling ready to conquer the day. Before, it was all I could do to get out of bed every day.
  • Weight loss-after struggling pretty much my whole life with my weight, I decided that I wasn't going to fight it anymore. I was going to be healthy but not so much concerned about the number. Even when I was thin my weight was a struggle to maintain. An added benefit of consuming more raw foods is that I am losing weight, slowly and more naturally, without the aid of any fad diet-just by making this one choice. I'm not even trying to lose weight. I am just trying to live responsibly, eat healthy and naturally. I have a very long way to go to get to a more healthy weight, but I am pleasantly surprised at this particular side effect.
  • Decreased cravings-this to me, is nothing short of super-natural. I have been longing for years to just be able to have better control of my eating habits. I can honestly say I am addicted to food. It's been a source of heartache and struggle for me for as long as I can remember. Many people (usually skinny people) just see fat people and think we have absolutely no self-control and are just lazy slobs. Many people think it is just a matter of will power and choosing not to eat certain foods or too much a particular food. It's hard being judged before someone ever gets to know you. Honestly? I don't even want that stuff anymore. I mean, sure I enjoy a brownie as much as the rest of you, but I don't CRAVE it. And when I do have the occasional treat, I don't have to have a huge portion or second-helpings. I am just not as hungry as I used to be. I have no desire to eat fast food ever again-the thought just literally sends chills down my spine. I rarely eat processed foods and refuse to eat anything with high-fructose corn syrup. I can't even begin to put into words how incredible this is for me-to not even want some of the foods that used to be my favorites.
While all of the above advantages are not directly related to green smoothies per say, they are definitely related to actively and intentionally eating a more whole foods/raw foods diet. And our green smoothies are a very important part of that diet. It doesn't hurt that they are yummy either!

So who's with me? Has anyone tried to make green smoothies? What are your favorite ingredients? Have you seen any positive side effects?

1 comment:

GyrlPower said...

I'm super-excited for your results with the raw foods! Sounds like it's making a big difference for you. As a fellow food-junkie, I may have to look into it :-)