Since Thanksgiving, I have decided to go on a super healthy kick from then until Christmas. As you may or may not know, I have been working very hard to get into better shape, and lose some weight, and get healthier overall, and this time of year it is especially challenging to maintain all the progress I’ve made, so in order to counter act a bit of the indulging that is bound to happen over Christmas with the family, (I can practically hear that hot chocolate and gingerbread calling my name!), I am doubling my efforts and therefore eating somewhat boring and repetitive food. Not that eating healthy is boring! Far from it! But I have been eating mostly salads and green smoothies and that does get old posting over and over again.
So, I decided I would share with you a few of the recipes I have been enjoying the most, starting first with that Super Greens Salad that I posted not too long ago, and today, my kick-butt, craving crushing, skin beautifying, all around awesome smoothie. Ok lets dive in!
Doesn’t that jar of sludge just look so appetizing? Mmmm, bubbly brown liquid, exactly what I want to eat! Please don’t be put off, the brownish color comes from blueberries, that, when mixed with all those yummy greens, instead of being that brilliant blue you would expect, it neutralizes the color and just becomes brown.
I love making this smoothie when I’m feeling a little lethargic, when my skin looks a little dull, and when my body in general needs a break from heavy, digestions intensive foods. After you drink this, you will most certainly feel amazing and have beautiful healthy, glowing skin. What more could you want from a meal?
This is a notably low sugar, low carb smoothie. Lots of smoothies have banana bases, which I avoid for several reasons, but feel free to throw one in if you really like them and need the extra calories/sugar.
The ingredient rundown
- Water (12-14 oz) I use water as my base, instead of milk, or almond or soy milk, because you don’t need the extra calories from milks, and they don’t add any flavor anyway.
- Stevia (a few drops) – because I am not adding the obligatory banana or orange or other sugary fruits that people use in smoothies to make it taste better, I like to add a few drops of stevia to give it a little sweetness without the calories. You can also use honey if you like.
- Spinach – (1 cup) The easiest green to use because you can usually find it bagged, washed, and ready to go. Spinach has a very neutral/sweet flavor so it wont be strange to drink it with fruit. It’s almost always the foundation of my smoothies. It’s also soft enough to use with a regular blender, just in case you don’t own a super-duper heavy-duty awesome Vitamix or something.
- Kale – (1 cup) Are you eating kale? These past few years it is everywhere! Trader Joe’s even sells kale chips now, in nacho cheese flavor. If you are not eating it regularly and want to, adding it to a smoothie is a great way to do it because it has a really mild flavor, most varieties are not too spicy or bitter, and as long as you remove the hard rib in the middle of the leaves, it’s easy to blend up in a standard blender.
- Cucumber (1/2, peeled) Cucumber is a wonderful hydrator and will really make your skin glow. It also has a great mix of vitamins, including B vitamins that will help pick you up and give you some energy.
- Avocado (1/2, fruit only, no skin!) – Healthy fats, obviously. It also makes the smoothie incredibly creamy and smooth, negating the need to add yogurt or milk or something. I’ve also read that eating half an avocado a day can help with rosacea and acne, and the oils in it will nourish your skin and give it a healthy, supple, moisturized glow. Like face cream, but from the inside. It also might help lower your cholesterol. Read more about Avocado here: Avocado Health Benefits
- Parsley (small handful) because I love how it tastes, and it has lots of vitamin K, which is not found in that many foods. The oils in parsley are known to be anti tumor, and can even neutralize particular types of carcinogens
- Mint – (a few sprigs) I love mint! It adds some freshness, and aid digestion. It’s also said to be an anti-tumor agent. Count me in for that!
- Wild Blueberries, (1 cup) I love the wild ones because they are smaller, and not grown with pesticides. Smaller = more skin to fruit ratio, which means more of the good vitamin containing skin per cup. Also, I remember gathering wild blueberries with my Grandma and Great-Grandma when I was really little, and every time I use these blueberries I think of them, and I smile.
- Optional: Coconut oil. There are lots of reasons to add coconut oil to your smoothie, it helps with the absorption of all the greens, it adds some healthy fat and calories which will help keep you fuller, longer. It is also supposed to help combat acne, but I’m not sure if that is true or not. My favorite coconut oil: Tropical Traditions
- Optional: Raw Cacao Powder. Raw cacao is supposed to have one of the highest ORAC (antioxidant) ratings of any food out there, so that alone is a great reason to use it. It also has lots of minerals, and will help satisfy your chocolate cravings in a really healthy way. You can buy it here: Navitas Naturals. If you have some cocoa powder at home you can use a tablespoon of that as a stand in for the raw version, it still has some great minerals and antioxidants!
- Optional: “Green” Powder. As if we don’t have enough green stuff in here, I like to add a little of this Trader Joe’s Super Green Drink powder into the mix. If you don’t live near a TJ’s, there are lots of options out there, but I love this one because it has a great mix of greens, including, spirulina, chorella, barley grass juice powder, chlorella, alfalfa, and probiotics, and enzymes, which will help your body digest all the yummy things you are drinking. This is totally optional, but I love using it, I think it boosts my smoothies to another level. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, this is another good Green Powder that is worth a look.
- Optional: Protein Powder. I am not using one, because I haven’t found one that I like, and rather than pump my body full of estrogen with a soy based one, or suffer hours of bloating and gas with a whey one, or eat unnecessary carbs with a hemp one, I just skip it and eat some eggs or chicken with another meal. If you have a suggestion for a protein powder though, please let me know in the comments!
Ok, got all your ingredients? I like to start with the water and stevia first, and start the blender. When it’s going I drop in the greens little by little using the little opening at the top of the blender cap, and let the greens blend around until they are nice and smooth.
Then I add in the avocado, cucumber, blueberries, and the oil and powders. Let all that blend up and add a little more stevia to taste, and serve up! This will give you about a quart of smoothie, which sounds like a lot but this is my breakfast and lunch, so it ends up being about right. There are of course lots of variations to green smoothies, almost endlessly so, but this is a pretty usual one that I like to make, and it combines all my favorite ingredients. I will work on posting some other variations soon. Enjoy!