The {Green} Smoothie

Picture

After my third child was born I hit a brick wall when it came to energy, weight loss and overall health.  I had always been physically active but a little older and heavier I was having a hard time getting back in shape.  Three little ones 5 and under take a lot of energy but you don’t get the cardio that your body needs to keep up with the fast pace of a two year old.  Another concern I wanted to cure was poor digestion.  Not a fun topic, but when your digestion isn’t happy your body isn’t either!   In an effort to find a solution I ran across several websites and blogs discussing green smoothies.  I admit that I wasn’t initially convinced or even thrilled with the idea.  But after reading the benefits of weight loss, extra energy, reduced sugar cravings and daily regularity I thought I’d give it a try.

I started with the simplest recipe (orange juice, banana and spinach) and I can honestly say it changed my life.  I was eating healthier, sugar cravings dramatically decreased and for the first time in my life I had normal digestion.  Within a month I was waking up refreshed, running for the first time in my life and felt great.  This one change in my diet encouraged many more positive changes such as drinking more water and eating more salads at mealtime.  For the first time in my life I was eating the recommended intake of fruit and vegetable servings.

Simple Steps to Get Started

Grocery List:  Simply Orange Juice, 1 Bunch of Ripe Bananas, 1 Bag of Baby Spinach

First thing in the morning drink a large glass of water, followed by a green smoothie 1 part OJ, 1 Banana and 1 handful spinach (you can also add additional water or ice)

Repeat for at least 3-4 days and see how much better you feel.  Although I noticed reduced sugar cravings the first day.

What I love about the green smoothie is that it is simply real food providing real benefits to our bodies.   It isn’t complicated and it doesn’t take a lot of time in the kitchen.  Once you have built a routine of adding the smoothie to your diet every morning you can start trying new things.  Add frozen berries, increase the spinach, use kale or even add flax seeds for extra nutrition.

For Kids

I have found that kids are really smart and adaptable to change, especially when we explain things in advance.  For example, rather than simply swapping their morning orange juice with a new “green smoothie” explain that you want them to be healthy and have extra brain power for the day.  Tell them that this new drink will help their bodies work better.  Kids get it.  Here are a few more ideas for introducing the smoothie to kids:

-Adding blueberries (or any dark berry) makes them purple smoothies rather than green.

-Put them in a fun glass or add a crazy straw!

-Call them “Monster Juice” or “slime”

-Try not to talk up the green, spinach or kale part of the smoothie if it turns them off. 

-Ask other adults (dad, grandma etc) to not make funny faces or comments about the smoothie until your kids are hooked!

-If the green is a serious problem simply leave it out for a bit.  Or read green eggs and ham and tell them that you are trying green smoothie!

Sharing a Good Thing

After realizing that there were so many benefits to adding the green smoothie to your day I started sharing it with my friends.  Everyone noticed that not only was I healthier but my entire family had better eating habits.  This is what a few of them had to say about their daily smoothies:

I have become hooked on green smoothies.  After the birth of my youngest child, I really craved them to replenish my lost iron from childbirth.  I would “limit” myself to two a day!  I still drink them often, and especially love them after a weekend or vacation filled with poor eating choices.  The green smoothies seem to give me more energy and allow me to easily do something good for my body.  I feel like it helps my body purge some of the impurities in the other foods I enjoy eating.  But, by far the best benefit is that my kids love them.  My four year old son Oliver wouldn’t touch a vegetable if it were on his plate.  And yet, I can blend up a big bag of spinach or kale, carrot juice or a little orange juice, a few strawberries, and a banana and he will gladly guzzle down his “monster slime smoothie.”  Or, I can substitute blueberries or rasberries and he’ll enjoy his “giant blood smoothie.”  It is amazing watching him and his siblings down a liquid salad and then ask for more!  -Claudia Strow

 

My entire family loves the green smoothie! Personally I’ve noticed more energy and a decrease in sugar cravings, and since I’m a nursing mom the sugar cravings are bad! They are perfect for that mid afternoon snack when I really want to eat everything in the house and then sleep.  –Brianna Smith

 

About a year and a half ago Michelle told me about this smoothie she started making every morning and the benefits she was having from drinking it.  So I reluctantly told her I would try it.  I was so surprised at how I really like the taste of it.  Then after a week I noticed that my acid reflux had sub-sided.  I have been drinking it now everyday and no longer have to take medications.  My skin is better and I actually crave it every morning.  To make it I simply add a banana, orange juice and a handful of spinach.  Mix it in a blender, Delicious!  I have passed this onto some friends and it has really helped them in many ways too.  –Brenda Guest