Morning green drink nourishes, improves health and energy, staves off hunger pangs

These days I’m doing Functional Movement System training 5 days a week and doing 15-20 hours of massage per week. Just had my 62nd birthday, and I’m feeling pretty darn good! Illness, including even seasonal allergies, seems to be avoiding me.

To keep my energy levels high and to feel great, I’m making a green drink each morning. Here’s what I put in it*:

  • IMG_4171A small handful of berries. I used blueberries today. They contribute to brain health.
  • Another fruit or combination, like apple, banana, or pineapple. I find green drinks most palatable when just mildly sweet. Avocado is good, too.
  • Greens. I add a big handful of power greens (chard, kale, mizuna, and arugula), enough to cover a dinner plate well. They add vitamins and minerals and fiber and other healthy benefits.
  • A chunk of ginger root the size of the end of my thumb, for digestive health.
  • Same size chunk of turmeric root, an anti-inflammatory.
  • A bit of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, up to a tablespoon, for alkalinity, nutrients, and to keep candida levels down (if I haven’t already drunk it in a glass of water).
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil for energy.
  • A half scoop of whey powder for protein. (I use a half scoop because I am small.)
  • 12-14 ounces of filtered water.

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Pineapple coconut mango smoothie

I happened to have a ripe pineapple on hand this morning. I love pineapples, especially this time of year. The crazy spiky topknot, the lizard-like skin, the pale yellow color of the flesh, the delicious sweetness of the juice — and pineapple juice is beneficial for Type Os, my blood type.

Combine a pineapple, a blender, imagination, and a few other ingredients, and it’s creation time!

I cut the top, bottom, and sides off the pineapple, sliced it, removed the core, and put about half in the blender, saving the rest for another day.

I covered the chunks with Zico Natural Pure Premium Coconut Water and ran the blender. What a beautiful color! Note: If you like more intense pineapple flavor, use less coconut water — or add pineapple juice!

I had some Brazil Gourmet Premium Mango Nectar in the fridge. It informed me it would like to join the pineapple and coconut water in the blender, so I added about 3/4ths of a cup and started a tropical party!

Then I added a teaspoon of The Ginger People Naturally Pressed Organic Ginger Juice. It wasn’t enough. Need about a tablespoon to taste it. This stuff is good to have on hand when you don’t have fresh ginger or are too lazy to peel it. Click here to read about ginger’s health benefits.

Next I added a couple of tablespoons of Artisana 100% Organic Raw Coconut Butter. Wendy of  Open Heart Foods first told me about coconut butter. It’s made from the meat (i.e., fiber) of the coconut and contains about 60% coconut oil and no other ingredients. It congeals at room temperature or colder, so refrigeration is not recommended. You can stick the jar in a pan of hot water to soften it up. It’s also great as a spread, thus “butter”.

(By the way, Wendy makes raw chocolate treats and raw flax crackers, all delicious. She is starting to sell her handmade-with-love-and-raw-ingredients foods locally. Look for them at Juiceland or Daily Juice, or maybe both! I forget which.)

Of course, I added some flaxseed oil, and some but not all of the usual superfood smoothie suspects: chia seeds, hemp seeds, and maca powder.

This filled my blender nearly to the top and produced about 4 delicious servings.

For some reason, I held back on adding cacao. I feel a little skeptical about chocolate and pineapple together. Maybe next time.

I also want to experiment with adding greens like chard, spinach, or kale to a pineapple smoothie.

Strawberry, pomegranate, and cacao breakfast smoothie

Inspired by Patrice’s mango-cacao drink that she gave me a taste of on Friday (very yummy), today I made myself a fruit smoothie for breakfast.

I usually make green smoothies without fruit, so this is a special treat. I’ve felt in need of some self-nurturing. A bout of self-acceptance arose in the last couple of days that was a bit hard on my ego. Yesterday I had a sore throat, which seems to happen when “I” feel “under attack”. Unusual for me, I took a nap to give my immune system more resources and let my unconscious mind/inner healer do some amazing work. Today I’m better but still feeling the need to pull inward.

I happened to have a container of organic strawberries. I picked out the darkest, softest ones (more than half), pulled the stems off, washed them well, and added them to a can of 100% coconut water in my blender.

Strawberries are one of those produce items that are good to always buy organic. Every year, they are near the top of the Environmental Working Group’s list of the Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies.

(You can now download EWG’s Dirty Dozen app for your smart phone or iPad here. It’s free. No more wondering if it’s safe to buy nonorganic when you’re at the grocery or farmer’s market! I buy organic produce when it’s available. If organic is not available, I buy nonorganic if it’s on EWG’s Clean 15 list of produce. If not, I find something else that’s safe to eat.)

Also, more soapbox coming. Just because it’s sold at a farmer’s market doesn’t mean it’s organic. The majority of sellers that I’ve seen in the Austin area farmer’s markets are not organic-certified growers. Seek out organic growers and buy from them. You’ll encourage the rest to switch over.

Better yet, grow some of your own produce yourself. If you haven’t gardened before, it’s easy to start with herbs in pots. Next, try mixing in some greens like chard, kale, and collards into a nontoxic flower bed. Square foot gardening takes more effort to get started, but it’s really a fun way to garden and very low maintenance after your first planting.

Note: This applies to American readers. I presume that international readers have something like organic certification for growers. Not sure whether the EWG lists apply outside the U.S.???

Okay, soapbox off.

To the coconut water and strawberries, I added about 3 tablespoons of organic raw cacao nibs.

Then I put in a tablespoon or two of flax-seed meal, shelled hemp seeds, chia seeds, and maca powder.

Can’t forget a thumb-size chunk of peeled ginger. This is not an exact science here, more experimenting in the kitchen, which is much, much more fun once you learn basic principles than following a recipe exactly. But following recipes is how you learn.

Then I added about 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses. In Austin, you can get it at Fiesta and Phoenicia Bakery, stores that carry Middle Eastern brands. I use the Cortas brand, a product of Lebanon containing only natural pomegranate juice concentrate.

After adding all these ingredients, I ran my blender for a couple of minutes on the highest setting to really pulverize the cacao. When I can afford a VitaMix ($450-650 new), I’ll get one and wonder, I’m sure, how I ever managed to live without it. A VitaMix will pulverize the cacao quickly.

It was so delicious, it was hard not to drink it all in one sitting, but I managed to save some for tomorrow morning. Strawberries, cacao, and pomegranate make a great menage a trois!