In the previous post about healthy smoothies, we discussed some reasons why they are such an important daily habit. Even more important are healthy green smoothies. If we are already making a smoothie, especially on the 21-Day Clean Program, why not put some greens in the blender? It's an easy way to plant nutrition and reap energy from our diet. Now we will talk about how to make healthy green smoothies taste delicious, and my favorite ways to incorporate them into daily life.
Diversity of Ingredients
I have not found a simpler way to include diverse whole food ingredients into a diet than in healthy green smoothies. With different fruits, leafy greens, herbs, green powders, healthy fats like coconut oil and delicious homemade almond butter, and a powerful protein shake full of vitamins and minerals, we can literally make unique healthy smoothies every day.
We know that it’s important to eat from all the colors of the rainbow, and a daily shake can make eating each spectrum of color easier. In one shake we can add wild blueberries, fresh ginger, a nut butter, and a non-dairy milk like hemp. In another, you can focus on red and orange fruits like raspberries and peaches, then go green with some leafy greens or a green powder and a touch of avocado. Each different shake recipe will bring with it a unique profile of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (and more shake recipes can be found here on our blog).
Don't forget to rotate your greens. It's very important to cycle through greens to receive a multitude of vitamins and minerals, but also to prevent a build up of oxalic acid. Adding kale or spinach to your healthy green smoothie won't give you hypothyroidism or directly cause kidney stones, but it's a good practice to rotate all the foods we eat, which includes greens.
Great for Cleansing and Beyond
I often talk about shakes in the context of doing a 7-Day or 21-Day Cleanse. But shakes are helpful in our daily lives as well. Once we find some great recipes for healthy green smoothies, we can use them anytime we want to give our body a boost, or on a daily basis.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use healthy green smoothies:
- Daily breakfast shake: Research has shown that our food choices get worse throughout the day. One way to improve this situation is to start our day off with a nutrient-rich shake by itself or in addition to your breakfast. You’ll prime your body to desire cleaner foods as the day goes on.
- Post-workout: Athletes and weightlifters have been using shakes for years after a workout to give their bodies the nutrients they need. Use a shake post-workout to replenish and recover. We can make a shake that is more carb-heavy after an intense workout when our body is more able to absorb sugar.
- Late afternoon snack: A major time for cravings is later afternoon. This is the when it can be hard to resist the cookies and candy a co-worker brought in. A late afternoon shake is a perfect time to give our body some much-needed nutrition.
- Healthy travel food: When we're traveling, it’s not always easy to find clean food. Take a few shake mix packets and a shaker bottle for an easy travel food. Shake mix packets are especially useful on plane travel, as they pack easily.
- For weight loss: There is no magic bullet to weight loss. Each person’s weight loss program must be tailored to their specific needs. Healthy green smoothies can be integrated into weight loss programs as a simple tool to include more easily-digestible and nutrient-dense food into the diet. The added nutrients can help to reduce cravings and increase energy.
- For weight gain: For people who are underweight and looking to gain weight in a healthy manner, eating more calories is a must. Shakes can act as a carrier for additional calories and nutrients. Try having shakes in-between meals to hit that daily nutrient goal.
- To get back on track: When I’m feeling off in my health or haven’t been eating well, I use healthy green smoothies to get back on track. Shakes help rest our system after a long weekend or vacation and get us back into the habit of eating clean.
To your health,
Alejandro Junger, M.D.