When I first decided to go raw I pretty much freaked out at the idea of drinking smoothies for breakfast. My first meal of the day used to consist of piles of rice, or a huge bowl of beans, or some toast with almond butter (yumm!), following a bowl of miso soup. I loved my breakfasts!…. But I changed my diet because of food sensitivities and I didn’t want allergies to be part of my life anymore. So I jumped right in and went with whatever I found out I’m supposed to do. This is where I’m at…
Are the food allergies gone? For the most part, yes! But my biggest issue is that I discovered that I’m fructose intolerant or, at least, very sensitive to certain sweet foods, even fruits! : ( Anyway, I still eat a lot of sweets and a morning smoothie is nothing in comparison to the piles of chocolate or ice cream, or maple walnuts, etc. that I shove done my throat in the afternoons… All in all, it’s grown on me. I must admit I’m looking forward to my smoothie of the day!
This recipe might strike you as complicated with a never-ending list of ingredients but the point is to get some greens down. Any amount will help; what’s important is that you’re making an effort! Start with a single leaf or even just a quarter of a leaf…it doesn’t matter, just have some! Fruit is added to make it palatable and the rest is up to you. Everything is optional when it comes to smoothies. Throw in whatever you like + a tiny piece of something green!
If you’re curious to learn about the ingredients I use then read on. If you’re already salivating than just skip it (for now), and get the blender going. Scroll to the recipe.
The fruits and the greens
Adding an apple or a mango is optional because your smoothie will be just wonderful without them. I usually put an apple in because, you know the saying: “An apple a day…” and, for some reason, I never eat apples so I might as well drink some. Apples are very nutritious and they’re a good source of fiber! They’re a great weight-loss food, good for bone maintenance, due to their boron content, and have antioxidants to protect you. They’re also among the cheaper fruits. So eat your apples! What makes a smoothie really creamy though is a mango. If you like mangoes, and feel like spending the extra money, then add that instead of an apple. Your eyes will thank you because mangos are very rich in vitamins, especially in vitamin A. They’re also high in potassium and copper and, believe it or not, they have a 3 to 1 ratio of Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 fatty acids, which is rare! What does this all mean? This means that they will strengthen your immune system, and even protect you from inflammatory diseases and cancer. All this is topped off with their high fiber content and their ability to help with digestion. Bananas are commonly known to be high in potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. It’s a good idea to eat bananas if you have high blood pressure. But let’s not forget that they’re also very rich in vitamin C, and B6, and they’re a really good source of folate, so if you’re pregnant, you should definitely include them in your diet! Folate is very important during periods of cell growth, for building red blood cells, and to prevent anemia! And the greens…I've mentioned that you’re supposed to eat your greens! Right? They will provide your body with an endless list of vitamins and minerals. Since many of us are lacking vitamin K, I must point out that greens are abundant in this blood-clotting regulator. On the other hand, since a very small amount of green leafy vegetables will provide you with a high dosage of vitamin K, if you have a condition and you’re taking blood thinners, you’ll be told to avoid greens and cauliflower and all foods of high vitamin K content. Greens can be difficult to digest (much easier though when blended with fruit) and some of them are especially high in oxolates, which can interfere with calcium absorption. Start small, with a leaf or two, experiment with them, and see which ones work for you.
All the extras…
Why the heck would I tell you to add flax seeds or coconut oil? Adding seeds and/or some kind of oil will slow down the absorption of sugar. If you have a reaction to foods that are high in fructose, or any sugar, then I recommend you try it. Both, flax seeds and coconut oil, are very good for you.
The rest of the ingredients are superfoods* (article coming soon) that all have exceptional health benefits. Spirulina, an algae, that comes in a powder form, has a very strong flavor so start with a small amount! It boosts the immune system, it’s a very effective detoxifier, it helps your body get rid of heavy metals that might have built up, it can help you recover faster when you’re injured, and it’s even used as a treatment for radiation sickness! Vegans will be delighted to hear that it contains all of the essential amino acids and it’s 60% protein! Next up is maca root powder. I happened to purchase some of this for a cake I was going to make (never made it) a while back. I’s rather on the expensive side but maybe worth trying. Why? Maca is an adaptogen, meaning, as the word suggests, it can help you “adapt” to different external conditions and provides stress relief. It can also increase endurance and fertility (a good supplement to take if you’re trying to get pregnant), and help regulate hormonal imbalances. Bee pollen is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It’s full of enzymes, high in protein (contains all amino acids), and it is so nutritious that, supposedly, you could survive eating only bee pollen! I love cinnamon, but the reason I include it is not just the flavor. Cinnamon is rich in minerals, it can regulate blood sugar (it’s an especially good spice to sprinkle on everything if you have type 2 diabetes), lower cholesterol, and help inhibiting bacterial growth! Don’t you just love it when something that’s naturally sweet is actually good for you!?
*Whenever you first introduce your body to a superfood or any new ingredient, start with just a small amount. See how it affects you, how you feel during the day, and if you like it increase the amount slowly. Your body needs to adjust to it.
Where do I buy such things?
Like all ingredients I will ever mention on this site, they’re available at most health food stores. I recommend that you do a search for the nearest one in your neighborhood and start there. Be aware, that while some of these products are sold at regular grocery stores, chances are that they will be more expensive than they are at a health food store. The reason is that they qualify as “specialty items” at common grocery stores.
Green Super Smoothie
(Makes 4 cups ~ about 1 liter)
1. Put the following ingredients in a blender, in this order:
1 small apple/mango (optional)
a handful of chopped collard greens/spinach/dandelion/or your favorite greens
1 – 1.5 cup water
1/2 cup blueberries*
2 medium size peeled bananas
1 tsp ground flax seeds* or ½ tsp coconut oil (optional)
1/8 tsp spirulina
1/4 tsp maca root powder
1/4 tsp bee pollen (not vegan)
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional, but it’s a good idea if you’re sensitive to fructose)
pinch of sea salt (for balance, extra minerals, and to bring out flavors)
*excellent brain foods
2. Blend on “low” for a few seconds and then on “high” until it's smooth(er)
3. Pour into your favorite glass
Sip joyfully! : )