Green Smoothie Madness
On my never-ending quest to find food that tastes good that is healthy, I frequently draw a line in the sand. If something LOOKS super healthy, I am going to run like the wind. SOOOO, when my super awesome Aunt Glenda first showed me a green smoothie, I quite literally thought she had finally lost her mind. Um, spinach is something that children suffer through and vow never to eat as an adult. Why would I add something that disgusting to a frozen treat?? At least a year (possibly longer) later, I finally broke down and gave it a try. WOW! This thing tastes great! My six year old son can’t get enough of it either. I have formulated a recipe that is chockfull of healthy ingredients, guaranteed to give you a healthy kick start to your day.
I use Silk’s original unsweetened coconut milk for several reasons. Coconut is coming to the forefront of healthy eaters’ plates because of its delicious taste and fantastic health properties. It has 5 grams of fat per cup, but the fat is the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids, so no worries there. Also, it has 45% of your daily calcium needs IN ONE CUP! That’s more than cow’s milk. Say no more, it’s going in.
Ok, ok. I know that the right version of these can grow you an attractive version of President Obama...but the edible kind is a super food unlike any other. These little guys are just down right amazing. Listen to this:
· A complete protein (all of the essential amino acids are present)
· A source of omega-3 fatty acids
· Rich in fiber
· A source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc
· Shelf stable (they don’t go bad for YEARS)
· More antioxidants than blueberries
Actually, these seeds are the key to a creamy smoothie. Cover some with water, seal the container, and throw it in the refrigerator. That’s when the chia seed magic begins. They possess a quality to form a gel with the water...which is kinda gross and kinda cool. When you open the container several hours later, you’ll find that the seeds have formed an asphalt- like consistency. Hm, THAT doesn’t sound like anything I want to try... but just trust me here, it’s a good thing.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I know what you are thinking: “MARIJUANA?? When did this girl go all Cheech and Chong on me?” Settle down. Hemp seeds are perfectly legal in America. They are known as the anti-marijuana because not only do they not produce THC (the stuff that makes you high), they block THC from your neural receptors. So, yeah, don’t worry about your random drug screens. You are good to go.
Hemp seeds again are complete proteins. They are loaded with both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They are also a great source of vitamin E, so are good for your eyes, skin, and hair. They have a vague nutty flavor. Try it. You are going to love it.
It’s green. Really really green. The more colorful your fruits and veggies are, the more likely you are eating something bursting with vitamins. Spinach is no let down in that regard. It is a good source of Vitamin A, C, E, K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, B6, and Folate. It’s also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. In fact, look at this graphic from NutritionData:
Wow. Eat it.
Ok, on the part that makes the smoothie taste delicious- FRUIT. I was very hesitant to put fruit in anything that tastes like spinach, but in the end, you end up with a mildly sweet concoction that only has a vague hint of something green lurking in there. Frozen fruit has all the benefits of fresh fruit and is quite handy in the fact that it’s already sliced up for you! I also like to peel and cut up bananas and stick those in the freezer. That way, they are the perfect amount of ripe. The frozen fruit is what gives the smoothie its amazing texture.
I was bummed when I found out (from WebMD) that agave nectar isn’t better for me than table sugar. Well...poo. Eventually, I’ll be making the switch to stevia, which IS more healthy, but I already have the agave nectar at my house and I’m not about to waste it. One change at a time, I say!
You need a blender. I’m going to make a confession here- I have a Vitamix blender. I can’t imagine a more versatile kitchen appliance than that thing. Ever since I bought it, I have had a sincere love for things made in the blender (soups, ice creams...) but I digress. You need a blender. There.
Ok, so here’s the recipe, in all its glory.
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup spinach, loosely packed, with stems removed
1.5 teaspoons chia seeds
1.5 teaspoons hemp seeds
1 banana (frozen, if you like)
2 cups frozen fruit (I’m personally on a frozen peaches kick)
Agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice)
Blend the first four ingredients until smooth. Add the frozen fruit and just a little sweetener. Blend until the consistency that you desire is achieved. If it is too thick, feel free to add more coconut milk or a splash of water.
There you have it. Utterly delicious. Utterly healthy. Try it. Let me know what you think. In fact, let me know your recipes...because I’m sure you’ve got them!