Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Have Gone Green

There is much talk about being "green" in our lifestyles. We can "save the planet" by recycling or using florescent bulbs.  I am all for being a good steward of the earth God has given us, but that is not what I am going to talk about today.  Let's discuss being good stewards of our bodies instead.

In a quest to eat healthier, hubby and I started on a new diet, a new way of eating.  We are using the Hallelujah Diet as our guide.  It is a plant-based diet with a goal that at least 85% of food intake is raw.  I have to tell you, this is a challenge and quite different  from our previous diet.  We had been eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and I was cooking nearly everything from scratch, but this is step further.  There is much less cooking and much more preparing of fresh produce.

Something we have begun to incorporate into our daily diet are green smoothies.  Although familiar with smoothies, I had never heard of a green smoothie before.  It is a smoothie packed full of fruit, but also leafy green vegetables such as spinach or kale.  Greens are packed full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and even protein.  But who wants to consume platefuls of greens every day?  By mixing them in a smoothie with lots of fruit, you get a sweet treat AND your greens. 

Since, we have started this diet, the green smoothies are what we seem to get asked the most about, so I thought I would share how we make them.  I don't use a recipe, but more of a formula:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid:  I usually use water, but you can use juice for a sweeter smoothie, or milk for a creamier one.  Almond milk is very tasty.
  • 1 to 2 bananas:  They make it creamy and sweet.  You can use fresh or frozen.  We take over-ripe bananas, peel them, and keep them in a ziplock in the freezer.  Watch for reduced, brown bananas in your grocer's produce department next time you are there.
  • 1 to 2 handfuls of greens:  Spinach is my favorite, but kale is tasty.  Sometimes I mix in some beet greens.  Put in what you like, the darker the green the better.  I avoid strong tasting ones like turnip greens because I prefer to taste the fruit not the greens in my smoothie.
  • 1 to 2 cups fruit:  Whatever you like is good.  Red grapes are sweet and delicious.  Since it is winter, I have been using frozen fruit a lot.  You can find big bags of blueberries and strawberries.  There is also a nice blend of mango, peach, pineapple and strawberry.  Yummy!  This is a good opportunity to use fruit that is getting a bit soft to just eat.  I am not a fan of squishy kiwi, but they are delightful in a smoothie.
  • Extras:  Some things I like to add to our smoothies are fresh ginger (a little bit goes a long way), milled flax seed, or a spoonful of nut butter ( good if this is going to replace a meal).  If the fruit I used was not very sweet, I may add some honey, or dates. 
Now blend away!  If you are using a lot of frozen stuff, you may find you need extra liquid to get this blended. If you have used a lot of berries, your smoothie won't be as green, but instead a bit more brown.  Don't worry, it will taste good.

Hubby takes a quart of this to work with him every day.  I usually drink some green smoothie at breakfast and often put it in my travel mug when I have to eat on the run.  Our day schedules have been pretty busy this year and often I am struggling to get my lunch in at home.  It is usually acceptable to bring a cup into a meeting, but not a meal.  Everyone assumes that I am just drinking my coffee, when often I am "eating" my lunch right in front of them.

Green for LifeEven if you don't want to radically change your diet, adding green smoothies will benefit you.  They are full of healthy goodness and will help to curb your appetite.  Victoria Boutenko in her book, Green for Life, talks about an experiment they did called the Roseburg Study where they got 27 people to commit to drinking a quart of green smoothie daily for a month.  They didn't change their lifestyle otherwise.  Then they documented the changes in their health.  It was pretty remarkable.

So there you have it.  As my husband says, we are becoming hippies with all this healthy living.  It is our running joke.  If being a hippy means feeling better and losing weight, I am OK with that!

Other green smoothie resources:

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