The health benefits of making smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to get all of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants that are found in fresh produce and you also have the ability to add a variety of super-foods to turn them into nutritional powerhouses. Inexpensive blenders can easily handle making smoothies from most fruits and greens, however if you are interested in blending solid vegetables (i.e. carrots, beets, etc) you will need to have a high powered blender that is capable of grinding them.
The basics of green smoothies
My favorite smoothie recipe has a variety of fruits combined with leafy greens, but this recipe can be modified by adding a variety of super-foods to give it more of a nutritional kick.
- Leafy greens are some of the most nutrient dense foods that you can eat. You can use leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, arugula, bok choy, watercress, and dandelion greens just to name a few.
- Add your favorite fresh or frozen berries.
- Add some super-foods: amla fruit powder, raw cacao nibs, moringa powder, bee pollen, camu camu powder, or hemp seeds work well for smoothies.
- Add ice if you are not using frozen fruits as smoothies taste best when they are ice cold.
- Add enough liquid such as filtered water, almond milk, coconut water, coconut milk, etc to give your smoothie the desired texture.
- Blend until smooth
Recipe to make a green smoothie for two
- 1 Cucumber
- fresh or frozen fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, pomegranates, cantaloupe, lemons, limes, and oranges.
- 2 handfuls of greens: kale, romaine, spinach, chard, watercress, etc
- 1 avocado
- Your choice of Organic Pomegranate Powder, Organic Amla Powder, or Organic Moringa Leaf Powder, Turkey Tail Powder, Raw Cacao, Bee Pollen, Camu Camu, or Hemp Seeds
- purified water, almond milk, or coconut water or milk
- Blend until smooth.
A quick and easy smoothie with fruit and greens
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 Banana
- 1 cup of leafy greens
- 2 tbsp of hemp seeds
- 1 cup of almond or coconut milk
- blend until smooth
Recipe to make a protein-rich meal replacement shake when weight loss is an issue
It is important not to drink packaged meal replacement shakes (such as Ensure or similar products), as they are loaded with added sugars, chemical additives, soy, and poor quality fats which are all inflammatory to the body. Here is a simple recipe to make a healthier version, but feel free to add whatever works for you.
- 2 raw, pasture-raised eggs
- almond milk, coconut milk, fresh juice, water
- 2 Tbsp of almond butter
- Add 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen berries
- 1 banana
- A scoop of a quality Organic Hemp Protein Powder
- Your choice of superfood: Organic Pomegranate Powder, Organic Amla Powder, Organic Moringa Leaf Powder, Raw Cacao, Bee Pollen, or Hemp Seeds
- a few cubes of ice if you aren’t using frozen fruits.
- blend until smooth
How to make a green smoothie
Rotating your greens if you have thyroid issues:
Goitrogens are naturally-occurring chemicals that are found in certain raw foods such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, radishes, spinach, arugula, turnips, millet, and mustard greens. Goitrogens can interfere with thyroid function in two ways: first by the production of antibodies that can cross-react with the thyroid gland, or they can interfere with thyroid peroxidase (TPO) which is the enzyme responsible for adding iodine during production of thyroid hormones. Either way, the thyroid isn’t able to produce the hormones that it needs to regulate metabolism properly.
When people with healthy thyroid function eat goitrogenic foods, the thyroid can easily compensate and make more of the hormones that are needed. But when people with a compromised thyroid function eat goitrogenic foods, the thyroid gland may actually grow larger as it tries to keep up with hormone production and this may eventually form a goiter (which is a swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland) and their symptoms will worsen.
Foods that you can eat if you suffer from hypothyroidism include: carrots, beetroots, and their greens, Swiss chard, celery, romaine lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, asparagus (is a thyroid supporting vegetable), and ginger root.
Note: rotating goitrogenic veggies, fermenting, or lightly steaming these foods will eliminate the problem so you can continue to add them into your diet. You can lightly steam them and then blend them into a smoothie along with the water that was used to steam them.
- Rotation: Use this chart to help you rotate between the various plant families, this should be done about every 2 weeks. Rotation is necessary because all leafy greens contain small amounts of toxins that work as the plants defense mechanism from predation. For example, goitrogens in kale and other brassicas can interfere with the thyroid hormone function in susceptible individuals, and oxalic acid, which is found in spinach, can also be problematic in high amounts. Regular rotation between the families helps to keep this from becoming an issue. You can read more about thyroid health with this post.
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