Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Green Smoothies for Health

For the new year my wife and I decided that we really needed to take our healthy lifestyle to the next level. We already eat pretty well for the most part. Not a lot of fatty or processed foods. I typically cook our dinner every week night and we eat out about once a week. It's our treat to ourselves for being healthy during the week.

So to kick up our health, we decided that we would start our green smoothie routine. Now green smoothies are a lot different than juicing. Juicing and green smoothies have different health benefits, but both of them are great for living a healthy lifestyle (you can read more about juicing here). For now, let's stick with just the benefits of green smoothies.

Unlike juicing, green smoothies keep all of the fiber that is found in the fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts that you add to it. Obviously you can't juice seeds, nuts or anything hard, and that is a benefit of smoothies. You can add almost anything into them and get the benefits. By keeping all of the fiber in the smoothies, it helps with slowing the digestion of all of the nutrients in the smoothie. This is a pro and a con for some people. When juicing, you get a blast of energy because it's like a direct line of vitamins and minerals injected directly into your bloodstream. This boost is great for some people, but can be dangerous for diabetics. This is where smoothies can give you the similar benefits, but over a period of time. The fiber helps slow the absorption of the vitamins and minerals effectively preventing a spike in blood sugar. This is the main reason my wife and I chose smoothies over juicing. Plus, it seems like such a waste to toss out all of that great fiber when American's already have a terrible diet and and overall deficiency in fiber intake.

So we are on the green smoothie adventure. If you are thinking about it, go for it! It's a great way to start a healthy routine if you aren't already on that path. Also remember that it doesn't have to taste bad. If your green smoothies taste bad, you're more likely to stop doing it. Any smoothie made from fresh fruits and vegetables is better than none at all. So be sure to switch up your greens as much as you like and find a recipe that tastes good to you. God knows my wife and I can't agree on everything in our smoothie, but that's why we have a Nutri-Bullet. We can always make our own.

Here is what I like to put in my green smoothie. I have one for breakfast and one for an afternoon snack.

1 1/2 cups baby kale or spring greens
1/2 banana
1/2 frozen anti-oxidant mixed berries (from Costco)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup broccoli or cucumbers
2-3 baby carrots
10-15 raw almonds
Water to fill

This is all I need. My wife switches out the almond milk for coconut water and honey. She likes it a bit sweeter. But keep in mind this is only one recipe. We like to have variety so sometimes we grab pears, apples, pineapples... anything we feel like putting in. The key to sticking with it is using flavors you like. Don't forget to try freezing banana chunks for 2-3 hours and running them in the Nutri-Bullet with a little bit of milk or water. I fooled my nephews into thinking it was banana ice cream. Try it for yourself and I know you'll love it.

Happy Smoothies!!!