Thursday, January 31, 2013

Green Smoothies are Not All Green in Color

I have found it harder to find things for breakfast that feel satisfying, healthy and are delicious until now. I noticed some of my Instagram friends were doing a 30 day green smoothie challenge by Simple Green Smoothies. In the past I have been frustrated that so many smoothies contain bananas and  afraid of the fruits in them spiking my blood sugar. So I spoke with a couple of nutritionists, and decided to test it out safely by testing my blood sugar before and after various types of smoothies (not all in the same day obviously)

In order to try it out and be safe, I decided to have one green smoothy every day for a week. I looked up various recipes, and tweaked them so that I did not have any allergens or too much sugar in them by my estimation, then set to it. I took my blood sugar before and 2 hours after each smoothie. Sometimes I also took my blood sugar 1/2 an hour after to see if there was any immediate spike and drop effect going on, because I was surprised at having 94's at the 2 hour mark, but I never did catch my blood sugar any higher in the middle then it was at the end. This is a good thing! Over all, my blood sugar has dropped since I started green smoothies. And my body seems to be able to tolerate sugar better, so that occasionally I can have a sweet dessert that someone serves. In part that is because I make sure to eat protein before I go out where they may be serving sweet desserts, and in part that is because of the increased greens in my diet, I'm sure. I do not recommend you do this without consulting a registered dietician and nutritionist if you have any health problems, because every one's body is different. But I am very happy with my results, and it has inspired me to get more creative! Most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables in a day, so one added green smoothie a day would help most people regardless. But you do have to count the calories and carbs and make sure you get protein like you would with anything else. Again, consult a registered dietician. (I found some who were willing to barter or trade, which worked out great)

My previous blender is toast. It did not last. It was a nice gift, but the darn thing broke. So a neighbor gave me her old blender when she got a blend tec (some day...over the rainbow) and anyway, I have pushed this little old blender to it's limits, but it is still cranking along! But my next blender will be a Blend Tec because not only do I want to continue eating my green smoothies every day, but I also want to make my own flour, nut butter, and the like.

- You can bag and freeze your ingredients before hand. I do this when my fruits and veggies are on their last les and if I don't freeze them they'll go bad. That way they do not go bad, but I do have quick and easy smoothy ingredients on hand.
- Blend your greens in your liquid until it is juice like and there are no more chunks (about 30 seconds to a minute depending if you've pre frozen your greens
- If using the rind or skin of something like sweet potato, add it after the lettuce and before frozen fruit, till mixture shows no lumps.
- Sweet potato needs to be cooked and cooled before adding to smoothies

Here are some of my favorite green smoothies, and no, not all of them will be green:

Simple Green Smoothie (vibrant green, not shown)
1 Cup Baby Arugula
1 Cup Dark Leafy Romaine
1 cup water (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (in the smoothie)
1/2 apple
1/2 cup honeydew (frozen)
1 cup of ice

Green Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (shown at left of page)
1 cup dark leafy romaine
.5 cup steamed and cooled spinach
2 cup coconut milk (or flax milk, or whatever dairy substitute you desire)
1 cup of pumpkin puree (this is why it's great to cook up those jack o lanterns before they go bad and can them for later)
1 cup frozen honeydew (for sweetness)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
cinnamon on top

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothies:
This can be any nut or seed butter of course and any type of "jelly" fruits. So this is a great one to explore with and get creative!
1.5 cup red leaf kale (remove stems and clean well)
2 cup unsweetened almond milk (substitute as necessary for allergies)
2 Tablespoons nut butter
1 cup frozen berries (actually I only used 1/2 a cup of berries and it was fine but most people use more)
imagination for the next time so you can create your own PB & J Smoothie sensation
(makes 2 servings)
1 tablespoon chia seeds (if you're using blackberries you don't even notice chia seeds because they have a similar consistancy when blended)

Some fun protein sources to put on top: chopped nuts, hemp hearts, and the like. Get creative and let me know what you come up with!

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