Have you ever thought about the root of the word breakfast? It literally means to “break” the “fast”. There happens to be a precious chunk of time between dinner and breakfast when our bodies are given a little time and space to breathe, to process, and to rest. Once morning comes, we are then gifted with something really beautiful— the chance to begin fresh, to start our day with energy and some positive awareness. I know I am not alone when I say that the way in which I begin my day has such a profound affect on the way it will continue to unfold. So here’s to new beginnings that are ripe opportunities to lay foundations built on gratitude and sweet goodness!
Green Smoothies + my eternal love
I can’t even begin to express how much I love, promote, and enjoy the magic that we have come to call green smoothies. I’d be thrilled if green smoothies are a part of your lifestyle too, or maybe you have just heard of the concept in passing. This green-powered practice has been energetically buzzing around the health food world for some time now—for good reason. Wherever you are with your awareness of green smoothies (maybe you’ve never even explored the idea before), I am equally ecstatic to share in the revelation with you. It is with pure elation that I unfold some of the benefits of green smoothies, as well as offer a colorful recipe for my favorite way to eat them—in a fruitful bowl with a bounty of gratitude.
Benefits of Green Smoothies
The benefits of this amazing concoction are a balance between the high-vibe ingredients and the logistics of the process. Let’s break it down.
Gratitude for Greens
Greens are so beneficial to our bodies. I’ll even go as far to say that they are pure plant gold because they are so valuable to us! Specifically dark leafy greens (like spinach!) have an array of vital nutrients and minerals that contribute to our overall health. They are known to contain high amounts of antioxidants (disease-fighters), vitamin C and K, folic acid (a B-vitamin), minerals such as calcium and iron as well as a healthy dose of protein…YES, plants have protein too. It is beneficial to eat multiple servings of a variety of greens each day. One of the main benefits of green smoothies is the simple fact that when you eat them, you are increasing your consumption of greens in a creative and unique way that doesn’t leave you feeling tired of the same ol’ salad. When blended with fruits, the potentially strong flavors of the greens meld with the sweetness of the fruit, making for a thoroughly enjoying experience. I wonder when and why our society started fearing green food…whatever the reason, I think it’s super silly—green is so beautiful, embrace it!
Ode to Sweet Fruit
My love for fruit is a story all to itself. I’m confident that I could write a novel on it’s tender nectar and its ability to flawlessly nourish me! It is a key ingredient in the success of my green smoothies so for now I’ll try and keep my love story short, sweet, and to the point. Like greens, fruit is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. One of the main components of most fruits is water— pure, living water! As we know, hydration is one of the most important aspects of health, so our ability to eat fruit that both hydrates and provides nutrients is such a blessing. Fruit is also easy on our digestive systems, digesting quickly and allowing us to easily feel the energizing benefits. The energy within fruit comes from a natural form of sugar called glucose (very different from refined/processed sugars). Glucose is a simple carbohydrate that fuels our muscles, nervous system, organs, and brain. Our cells and tissues need glucose to thrive; therefore, fruit is a beneficial part of a holistic and health-focused diet. I hold SO much love and gratitude for this amazing gift of nature!
Ripe & Ready
One very important thing to remember when eating fruits is to practice patience and eat them when they are ripe and ready. Unripe fruit contains a high amount of starches that the fruit naturally breaks down as it ripens (using an array of plant enzymes), ultimately converting the starches to sugars. When fruit is fully ripe, enzymes in the fruit have successfully done a lot of the digestive work for us, allowing for much easier digestion and a sweeter, more nutritious experience for our bodies.
Fiber is your friend and it’s a good thing, a very good thing. There is a high amount of fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables and it is one of the main benefits to green smoothies. Fiber is found in the cell walls of plants and moves through our digestive system without actually being digested. There are two different types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber (abundant in fruits) absorbs water, filling the stomach to prolong it from emptying so that sugars are released slower, therefore balancing blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber (abundant in greens) acts as an intestinal sweep, helping to move waste cleanly through the digestive tract and the colon, moving it out of the body. Overall digestive health is a huge topic to be aware of— we need to have a clean and active digestive tract and colon in order to feel and look healthy! The inclusion of fiber in our diets is so important to achieving health inside and out which is yet another reason to hop on the green smoothie bandwagon.
Chew Chew Chew!
Green smoothies are incredible for so many reasons including the fact that they break down our food through the process of blending so that the nutrients are more readily available and absorbable by our bellies! When we eat a salad, for example, our teeth can only macerate the greens to a certain extent but the blender has no problem breaking them down (especially darker, denser greens like kale). That being said, however, it may seem counterintuitive but it is still important to chew your smoothies. Why? You may ask. Because effective digestion starts in the mouth with an enzyme called amylase. If we are gulping down our smoothie in a hurry, the first stage of digestion is lost and our digestive system doesn’t get to fully prepare as much as it needs to, resulting in bloating and less effective digestion. Remember, the point of healthy eating is to provide nutrients to our bodies in a direct and loving way. May we do our best to practice patient chewing, making it easier on our lovely bodies and allowing us to simply be present with the taste of and connection to our food.
Green Smoothie Bowl with Gratitude
This green smoothie is presented to you in my favorite way—in a bowl topped with whole fruit and infused with gratitude. This smoothie is loaded with nutrients, balanced in flavor, and is a great introduction to the whole idea of green smoothies because the spinach provides a nice creamy flavor without being too overpowering. With the use of spinach, mango, banana, orange, and pear, we are given an array of benefits and nutrients including vitamin C, A, and K, multiple B-vitamins, antioxidants (such as carotenoids and polyphenols), boron, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, and protein. The almond milk (learn to make your own here) provides a delicious, nutritious protein source which also contains vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and riboflavin. Two of my favorite ingredients in this smoothie are chia seeds and fresh ginger root, which of course just amp up the potency!
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family. They are tiny little seeds that are grayish-black in color and are nutritional powerhouses! I eat them almost every day for a variety of healthy reasons. Chia seeds not only have a lot of beneficial nutrients (including numerous antioxidants, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, magnesium, and B-vitamins), but they also have a lot of fabulous fiber! I love adding them to my smoothies because they help my digestion get moving first thing in the morning. Again, healthy digestion=a healthy body. Chia seeds are also a good source of protein and they are one of the only plant sources that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids (which are important for an array of reasons specifically in improving brain function). One last magical component to these little seeds is that they soak up liquid, creating a perfect plant-sourced thickener. They have a very mild taste and you can add them to almond milk to make delectable puddings, or in this case, add them to your smoothie to thicken it up and create the perfect smoothie bowl. Play around and start adding them in here and there, they are so versatile!
Eating fresh ginger is not only delicious but it brings so much truth to the statement that food is medicine. In traditional Chinese medicine, foods are energetically described as warming and cooling depending on their overall energetic effect on the body. Most raw foods are known to have a cooling energy which is why some people complain about feeling colder while eating primarily raw foods in the winter time. Ginger is known as a warming food, stimulating blood circulation and improving ease of digestion. It is great for the prevention of and relief from colds and flus. It is an anti-inflammatory, it stabilizes blood pressure, supports the liver, cleanses the skin, bowels and kidneys and can provide relief from arthritis, nausea, and menstrual discomfort. In this recipe, ginger brings a balance to the energetic cooling effects of this raw smoothie as well as being a miracle medicinal food.
Create Art ♥
When I make green smoothies I love to eat them out of a bowl, saving a portion of the fruit to place on top and allowing for some creativity within the process—ending with a little piece of art. It is so much more enjoyable to eat beautiful food, It gives me a reason to slow down, be grateful, and feel connected. Placing pieces of fruit that are also included in the smoothie is a delicious reminder to chew my smoothie and helps begin the process of effective digestion. There is just something about eating a thick smoothie out of a bowl with a spoon that totally transforms the experience of smoothie consumption. It makes it feel a little more like a meal, and it opens the door to so much creativity and variation!
- 1 medium-sized MANGO
- 1 plump PEAR
- 1 BANANA (preferably frozen and quartered)
- 2 generous handfuls of SPINACH (about 2 cups)
- ¾ cup ALMOND MILK (preferably homemade)
- juice of 1 ORANGE (about ¼ cup)
- 2 Tbsp CHIA SEEDS
- ¾"-1" piece of fresh GINGER
- 1 small POMEGRANATE (or about ¼ cup of seeds)
- endless GRATITUDE
- *Try to use fresh, organic, fully ripe ingredients
- cut the mango in half, cutting one of the halves into chunks (to be blended) and cutting the other half of the mango into pretty slices to use on top of the smoothie
- cut the pear in half, cutting one of the halves into chunks (to be blended) and cutting the other half of the pear into pretty slices to use on top of the smoothie
- Open the pomegranate and collect the little seed rubies inside, to be used on top of the smoothie
- squeeze juice from the orange
- place the orange juice, almond milk, spinach, mango chunks, pear chunks, frozen banana, chia seeds, and ginger into a blender (high-speed preferred)
- BLEND on high until super smooth (1-2 minutes) using a tamper if necessary
- pour into your favorite medium-sized bowl
- use the slices of mango, slices of pear, and the pomegranate seeds to decorate the top
- eat with a spoon and feel the endless gratitude!
*Using a frozen banana isn't a requirement but I prefer to do so because it gives it a nicer texture and it cools it down a bit.
*A high speed blender is preferred because it is going to easily blend these ingredients without having to add more liquid. If you don't have a high speed blender (or one with a tamper), you may have to pause blending a few times to manually push down and turn over the ingredients with a rubber spatula. If your blender still won't do the job, try adding just a tiny bit more liquid (almond milk or orange juice) at a time until it blends up. Also, a helpful tip is to blend all of the juiciest ingredients first then slowly add the rest. This recipe is best when it is nice and thick so if you end up adding more liquid than desirable, you can always add a bit more chia seeds at the end and let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes to thicken it back up.
I’m sharing this recipe in hopes that you will try it, love it, and use it as an outline to continue experimenting with the beauty of green smoothies. Maybe you’ll even adopt the tradition of green smoothie bowls and continue to create more magical, artistic goodness! If you are hungry for more delicious information and want to read a little more about enzymes, raw foods, and why I love them both, check out my page on raw & living foods.
I am not only grateful for this recipe but I am so grateful for YOU and the fact that you’ve chosen to be here at My Communal Kitchen. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me, I am so inspired to continue to share with you!
With health & heart,