According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 26 percent of Americans eat vegetables three or more times a day. One of my favorite morning rituals is blending a mixture of leafy greens and vegetables for an incredibly delicious, nutrient-rich and energizing smoothie.
The health benefits of blended green drinks are endless: rich in chlorophyll; chock-full of fiber, vitamins and minerals; highly alkaline; very filling; encourage detoxification; effective at nixing cravings; allows for a wider variety and increased intake of veggies in your diet; and it’s something even the kids will enjoy.
I suggest blending in a Vitamix or high-powered blender versus juicing unless an individual has malabsorption problems, a damaged intestinal lining or a serious disease such as cancer. When veggies are blended compared to juiced, all of the fiber is retained. Although juicing is nutrient-dense, it triggers an insulin spike; is void of fiber, fat and protein; and the amount of veggies and greens needed is nearly triple when juicing as opposed to blending.
To minimize the insulin surge caused by juice and to create a balanced meal, limit the amount of fruit used and instead use more veggies and greens. Add some coconut oil, chia seeds or ground flax seeds and protein powder for a satisfying, nutrient-rich meal or snack alternative.
Below are two of my favorite smoothie recipes.
Shades Of Greens
• 4-5 kale leaves
• 1/2 green apple, chopped
• 6-8 dandelion stalks
• 1/2 cucumber, chopped
• Handful fresh Italian parsley
• 1 celery stalk, chopped
• Knuckle fresh ginger root
• Fresh cilantro
• Juice from a fresh lime
Use fresh organic, pesticide-free greens and blend in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Add water, adjusting the amount depending on consistency you desire. After blending, add 1-2 TB. coconut oil, 2 scoops of grass-fed Vital Whey vanilla protein, 1-2 scoops of Protoclear detox powder and ice, and blend again.
Lovin’ Your Liver
Blend the following items in a Vitamix or high-powered blender: 1 beet (cut) plus the greens; 2-3 carrots (chopped); 1 green apple (chopped); 6-8 dandelion stalks; juice from a fresh lemon; water and ice. Add coconut oil and 2-3 scoops of Protoclear Detox powder.
Be creative and experiment. I seldom use fruit and focus more on veggies and leafy greens. Shop at your local farmer’s market for a variety of in-season, pesticide-free veggies and greens. Make sure you rotate your ingredients. Do not use the same ingredients day after day because this can trigger food sensitivities and possible allergies.
Blending is simple, easy-to-do, and from prep to finish takes about five minutes. One last thought, it’s very important to thoroughly clean your juicer or Vitamix after each use otherwise mold can begin to develop, contaminating your beverage.
Drink up and enjoy!
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Paula Owens, M.S., is the author of two books, is a nutritionist and fitness and fat loss expert with more than 25 years of experience. Visit Paula at www.PaulaOwens.com.