Thursday, July 2, 2015

Green Smoothies (2)

I originally posted about green smoothies back in 2012 and then gave a little update in 2013. I didn't share anything last year because 2014's green smoothies were exactly the same as 2013's. This year, I've changed it up a bit so I thought I'd share what I'm drinking now.

When I first started drinking green smoothies, it was mostly a way for me to shed a few pounds. However, when I noticed the increase in energy, glowing skin, stronger nails, and shiny hair, I became addicted. I tend to start up my smoothie regimen around April, as the weather is starting to get warmer. It's at this time of the year that I'm over comfort foods and I'm craving more fresh produce and greenery.
Ingredients [yields 1 large smoothie]:
2 handfuls of greens (about 3 loosely packed cups; I prefer baby greens because they're easier to process in the blender and baby spinach and baby kale are my usual go-to greens)
½ cup frozen fruit (I tend to go with light colored fruits, like peaches or mangos because they're mild and keep the smoothies looking pretty and green)
½ cup coconut water or unsweetened nut milk (or ¼ cup of each)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
+ ½ baby cucumber
+ ½ teaspoon grated ginger
+ 4 mint leaves

I'm not a nutritionist so I don't want to delve into the health benefits as if I'm an expert. However, I'd like to say that everything listed in the ingredients is feel-good stuff.


The smoothie is extremely easy to make. Just chuck all of the ingredients into a blender and give it a good whizz until smooth. I actually set it a-buzzing and then let my dog out to have his morning wee and then come back to a lovely sloshy smoothie. There's also the option of making the smoothies in the evening so you can grab and go in the mornings.

Honestly, it takes me all of five minutes to whip one up (now that I've made so many and no longer need measuring devices and can eyeball the quantities so that the smoothie perfectly fills up my to-go mug) so I've gotten into the habit of making them in the morning. There are two benefits to this: I don't have to shake the smoothie (the pulp tends to float to the top when the smoothie has been sitting around for a few hours) and it tastes much greener and fresher. The longer a smoothie is left to sit, the more it loses its grassy green flavor (which may appeal to you).

You can always add more liquid and fewer greens if you're into a thinner consistency and if you're new to green smoothies. The thick, gloppy texture can certainly be off-putting at first. The chia seeds thicken the smoothie too, so keep that in mind because a newly made smoothie will be much thinner than one that's left to sit for ten minutes.
Because I prefer when the smoothie tastes a little more green and not so sweet, I go really light on the fruit. If you're into a sweeter smoothie, you can always add more fruit and hold back a bit on the greens. And in a real pinch - "pinch" meaning the thought of a green smoothie nauseates you and you really need to do something about the flavor - add just a drizzle of raw honey. However, I'd advise against adding any refined sugars or even faux sugars because I strongly believe that they just negate the health benefits and you might as well just drink a milkshake for breakfast.
I'm totally smitten with green smoothies. They're fresh and delicious and verdant and they fill me up. Seriously, there's so much packed into this little cup of goodness that it keeps me full for at least four hours, making it the perfect 8AM breakfast. And, as you can see, they make me confident enough to snap a photo without a stitch of makeup on my face. It seriously makes my skin so bright and hydrated.
Health Benefits of...
Spinach: vitamins A, C, and K, vitamin B2, folic acid, manganese, iron, magnesium
Kale: vitamins A, C, and K, vitamin B6, copper, calcium, manganese, potassium
Peaches: vitamins E and K, iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and zinc
Mangos: copper, iron, calcium, and antioxidants (zeaxanthin and beta carotene)
Coconut Water: besides being really hydrating, it has vitamin C, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin B2, potassium, bioactive enzymes, and cytokinins
Almond Milk: besides being low in fat and high in protein, it has vitamins C and E, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, thiamine, folic acid, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, and iron
Chia Seeds: besides being high in protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, it has calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium
Lemon: really great for digestion and metabolism health and has vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and copper
Cucumber: besides being really hydrating, it has vitamin A, C, and K, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folic acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc
Ginger: anti-nausea properties, vitamin C, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid, iron, and zinc
Mint: aids in digestion, rich in antioxidants, vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium

What does each vitamin/mineral do? (Resource: Harvard.edu)
Vitamin A: maintains tissue and skin health
Vitamin B1 (a.k.a. Thiamin): helps convert food into energy and is awesome for hair, skin, and nails and also great for the brain
Vitamin B2 (a.k.a. Riboflavin): helps convert food into energy and is awesome for hair, skin, and nails and also great for the brain
Vitamin B3 (a.k.a. Niacin): helps convert food into energy and is awesome for hair, skin, and nails and also great for the brain and the nervous system
Vitamin B6: helps convert tryptophan (yes, the turkey sleepy thing) into niacin and serotonin (a neurotransmitter that is important for sleep, appetite, and happiness)
Vitamin C: makes collagen which helps heal damaged cells and boosts the immune system
Vitamin E: acts like an antioxidant and helps repair damaged cells
Vitamin K: good for bone health, activates the proteins that enable blood clotting
Bioactive Enzymes: aids in digestion and metabolism health
Calcium: essential for bones and teeth, helps with muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission
Copper: helps make red blood cells and aids in the metabolism of iron
Cytokinins: anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, and anti-thrombotic
Folic Acid: essential for cell generation (which makes it important for pregnant women... by the way, I'm totally not pregnant, thanks)
Iron: needed in the body for making amino acids, neurotransmitters, hormones, and collagen and helps hemoglobin (in blood) and myoglobin (in muscles) carry oxygen through the body
Magnesium: good for bone and teeth, regulates blood pressure, essential for many chemical reactions in the body and helps with muscle contractions and blood clotting
Manganese: essential for bone growth, aids in the metabolism of amino acids, carbs, and cholesterol
Phosphorus: essential for bone and teeth, aids in carrying nutrients in and out of cells
Potassium: essential for muscle contractions (prevents cramping when exercising) and balances fluids
Zinc: helps make enzymes, proteins, and new cells, needed for immune system health, wound healing, and helps with the senses of taste and smell
Seriously, it's pure health in a glass. Enjoy!

xoxo.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...