Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Paddy's Day, everyone!

Today we celebrate all things green! But before you go out and drink a beer with food coloring in it, and then regret it in the morning, here's a healthy alternative! (Or if you are out enjoying a pint this evening, this will be a great refresher in the morning!)

I love to drink green smoothies! They're the best way to start the day with energy and clarity. I admit, some days I fall off the wagon and have a different breakfast like gluten free oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts, but I really do feel my best when I start with a smoothie!

Some smoothies you get at stores or those smoothie shops are made from sugar, dairy, and maybe a little fruit to pretend it's healthy. They let you down with an unpleasant sugar crash. No fun! Others might be made with healthy ingredients but they've been pasteurized and bottled and then sat on a shelf for weeks or longer. The fruits and veggies lose a lot of vitamins and enzymes that way. You're best off either making your own or going to a proper juice bar for a real one!

Now, this is more a method than a recipe, because you can customize it to your own tastebuds, but there are a few starter formulas at the bottom.

Here's what you will need:

A blender. You don't need a VitaMix to make a good smoothie, though it does help! You can make a perfectly lovely smoothie in a blender from a department store.


Some fresh or freshly frozen fruit: banana, apple, pear, berries, citrus, cucumber, papaya, pineapple, whatever you like! Peel if appropriate, and chop into bite sized pieces.
Some washed and dried raw green, leafy veggies: spinach is nice and mild, so it's a great first green in a smoothie. I also love kale, collards, sprouts, romaine, celery, or chard. Cut into bite sized pieces so they don't get stuck in the blender.
Some filtered water or freshly made almond or cashew milk.
Optional: Hemp seeds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, cashews, fresh ginger, spirulina powder, probiotic powder, rice or hemp protein powder.

Are you ready?

If you're using chia, soak it in the filtered water at least 10 minutes ahead of time to hydrate it. If you're using brazil nuts or cashews, it helps to soak them overnight then rinse and drain, but you don't have to.

If you're using nuts or seeds, put them in the blender and give them a little advance chopping with a tiny bit of water. Put the fruit in the blender with a little water. If you're using fresh ginger, chop or grate and add it now. Blend until it's not too chunky. Add a couple handfuls of greens. Add more water if necessary, and blend away! If you're using powders, add them now and give it one last blend, and ENJOY!

Great combinations:

1 - 2 bananas
1 orange
2 - 3 cups of spinach
If you're feeling decadent, some cashews and a tiny splash of vanilla make it taste a lot like an orange Creamsicle! Freeze the banana first or add a handful of ice while blending to make it ice-creamier.

1 apple
a knob of ginger
1 cup cranberries
4 stalks of celery

1 ripe pear
1 cup blueberries or blackberries
2 or 3 cups kale

Make up your own combinations!

You'll need a fruit with some pectin or starchiness to it, to get the smoothest texture. Bananas are the classic choice but papaya, pear, and some berries have so much body and/or pectin they work great too! If you are feeling decadent, an avocado is a fantastically rich and creamy addition. You'll also want to have something with vitamin C in it in order to best absorb the iron present in most of the greens. Fortunately, most of the greens and most fruits are already rich in vitamin C! Don't use dairy milk. It inhibits your absorption of the iron.

Enjoy you healthy green drinks!

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