Heat wave! We’re expecting over 100 degrees here in Washington, DC, so I started the day with a favorite smoothie I call “Light & Lovely”, a combination of frozen pineapple, a frozen banana, a small head of organic butter lettuce and some parsley sprigs from the farm market. I used coconut water for extra electrolytes and threw in a black mission fig that was handy.
I admit it: I’m hooked on green smoothies. But if you have to have a vice, hey.
For me (and everyone’s different, which is pretty wonderful), green smoothies are the perfect start to a day. They taste like liquid sunshine, and make me feel strong and energized all morning.
Here are a week’s worth of photos and recipes to get you started. You’ll note the occasional profusion of jars– a sign that my whole family is hopping on board this smoothie thing. My oldest son (he who does not like vegetables) is up to one quart a day. And if you are getting the idea they are delicious, you are absolutely correct.
Recipes below. A couple of basics: vary your greens, so you don’t O.D. on too much oxalic acid in spinach, for instance. All plants have protective devices– too much is too much. Rotate with kale, parsley, romaine lettuce, chard, and so on. Too thick? Add more water. Or, you can add coconut water, like our faculty member Derek Neal did in our previous post (see ‘smoothies’). For convenience and cost savings, organic frozen fruit is a great option. Freeze bananas that are getting too soft, to add to future smoothies. Add ripe avocados for delectable smoothness. You get the idea.
1. Kale & Cantaloupe (Monday)
1/2 organic cantaloupe, kale (ribs removed), water
2. Pinneapple & Spinach (Tuesday)
1/2 fresh pineapple, spinach, handful of parsley, water
3. Peach Raspberry (Wednesday)
Frozen peaches, 1/4 pint raspberries, banana. small head of lettuce & some mint leaves for zin
4. Blueberry Fig (Thursday)
4 Brown Turkey figs, 1/4 pint blueberries, banana, lacinato (aka dino) kale (ribs removed), water
5. Alex’s Minty Mango (Friday)
Frozen or fresh mango, spinach, mint leaves, water
6. Parsley Passion (Saturday)
1/2 bunch parsley, 1/2 cucumber, peeled, 1 apple, 1/2 ripe banana, 1 cup water
7. Strawberry Nectarine (Sunday)
Nectarine, handful of strawberries, banana, frozen pineapple, lacinato kale
More resources: I highly recommend Victoria Boutenko’s books Green for Life and The Green Smoothie Revolution along with her family’s terrific blog (see ‘favorite sites’) for zillions of recipes, how to introduce smoothies to babies and children, and more.
aka Mr. Smoothie.
Derek wears a number of hats: Certified Holistic Health Counselor (CHHC); Case Manager & Intake Specialist for the Jericho Reentry Program, a post-prison project of the Episcopal Community Services of Maryland; Co-Coordinator of the Baltimore Nutrition Group; and a faculty member for Food As Medicine. For Food As Medicine, he gives one of our “Keeping it Real” lectures, a window into working very simply with people to change their health and lives through food. As a CHHC, he practices what he teaches, coaching a diverse group of clients in his melting pot Baltimore neighborhood towards wellness and vitality.
One of his transformative tools of choice is the green smoothie, an elixir of wellness, power-packed with minerals and antioxidants, radiating life energy. He tells great stories about clients of the Jericho Reentry Project reacting to the mysterious jars of green stuff on his desk. Oh, and did I mention he’s a trained actor and an amazing storyteller?
We visited recently and the Master led us through the simple steps to a divinely delish smoothie. The best way I can describe the taste is… like velvet sunshine.
Are you in the market for a delicious, nutrient-packed breakfast suggestion? Here’s one: cream of buckwheat.
The name comes from the Dutch word bockweit, which refers to both the way the seeds resemble those of beech trees and the way the flour resembles wheat flour. But it’s neither cereal grain nor wheat; it’s a fruit seed of the buckwheat plant, fagopyrum esculentum. And here’s some exceptionally good news: it’s both wheat and gluten-free, a great alternative for the gluten-sensitive, or those seeking wider variety.
Health benefits? It contains rutin and quercitin, two flavonoids with significant health-promoting actions. It’s a good source of magnesium, manganese, fiber, phosphorus, pantothenic acid and very high quality protein– containing all 8 essential amino acids. Studies have shown links to a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. (Source of information: Michael Murray & Joe Pizzorno’s invaluable book The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.)
Buckwheat has a pleasantly nutty flavor. The flour can be finessed into crepes as the French do, or used as the Japanese do to craft soba noodles. If you are avoiding gluten, check the package and be sure wheat flour hasn’t been added– “buckwheat” noodles are often a mix of the two.
But back to my delicious breakfast. Pictured is cream of buckwheat, cooked in under 10 minutes, and topped with almond milk, frozen wild blueberries and a splash of grade B maple syrup. Quick, warm, yummy, and packed with antioxidants, protein and all the goodness described above. I would have added nuts, but am recovering from dental surgery. Don’t ask. Still, this breakfast is top notch, and I recommend you try it.
What are your favorite healthy breakfasts?