Monday, 25 August 2014

The Green Smoothie, Mother Nature's Ambrosia

The foundation of a healthy day

I love my breakfast green smoothie. It's easy to prepare, tasty, full of nutrition and easy to drink. If you've never had one then the thought of drinking something green and filled with vegetables might not sound so appealing especially for breakfast. But if you're after something that won't pack on the pounds and is second to none at kicking you into gear for your busy day then look no further.

What's in a green smoothie?

Green stuff. Ok to elaborate, the green in my smoothies is mainly from the leafy vegetables spinach and kale (see my side note below on kale). It's not all just spinach and kale though. I pack mine with banana, apple, blueberries, avocado, ginger, coriander, celery, chia seeds, eggs and coconut milk, coconut cream or coconut water. Experiment with different quantities but don't be afraid because when well blended the flavour base is normally very fruity - a good disguise if veges don't do it for you first thing in the morning. There are literally hundreds of recipes waiting to be tried. Just Google it!

A side note on kale

Haven't heard of kale? It's an amazing vegetable which I like to think of as a cross between lettuce and silverbeet, but not so strong tasting. It's an amazingly versatile plant that you can use in all sorts of dishes from salads to frittatas. The nutritional content is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and Calcium. You'll find kale is becoming more and more commonplace in your supermarkets too. So try it out and grab a bunch next time you're there!

Is it really that good for you?

Stop eating cereal and give a green smoothie a try.

There is no reason whatsoever to be filling up on cereal or toast every morning for breakfast. Most cereals and white breads are themselves mainly just sugar and wheat. This is going to irritate your digestive system, spike your energy shortly after eating and then you'll crash, leaving you drowning in coffee and scrambling for the coins in your desk drawer for that unneeded sausage roll from the coffee van! Think about it. Where is all that sugar energy going if you're sitting at your desk all day? Straight to your hips ladies.

A green smoothie will give you sustained energy, heaps of vital nutrients (including calcium - no need for the milk in your cereal or cereal at all) and because its blended, your body can absorb it easily and quickly to get you going in no time.

Does it have to be green?

Nope. You can add in some beetroot and you've got yourself a pink smoothie!

Is it easy to make one?

You will need a blender. There's all sorts on the market from cheapies to high end. You can spend from about $30 through to over $1000 so it all depends on what is in your budget is. From my own research, the higher in dollar value generally means the better the consistency and smoothness of your smoothie. You'll also be paying for equipment that is more likely better in quality like stronger motors and metal drive sockets instead of plastic that could wear out faster.

I've had a range of blenders including the mini 'Ninja' and the Briscoes weekend special. They did the job but I was ready to get serious and looked into the higher end blenders like the Nutribullet and the Vitamix. Among my researching I found the Optimum range by Froothie who had a whole Youtube channel dedicated to giving unbiased comparisons to other models and showing you the amazing things you can do with a blender other than just smoothies. I was convinced and was able to get a great blender to suit my budget at half the price of the high end ones like the Vitamix.

My advice is to do your research and don't be swayed by any added extras like special cup attachments or triple blades. A plain but decent blender is all you need and much easier to clean afterwards!

Ready to go green?

If you've been thinking about eating healthier or just want to feel better and more awake in the mornings then give a green smoothie a try. If you're still on the fence like my husband was, you could always start with a berry smoothie and slowly work in the veges and seeds etc as you get more used to it.

Personally, since starting my breakfast smoothie routine, I have felt amazing. I don't get hungry before lunchtime and I feel more alert at my morning tasks. Give it a trial yourself for a week. Or challenge yourself to a month. Your body will thank you for it!

Have you ever tried a green smoothie? What's one of your favourite recipes? Are you keen but still want some questions answered? Let me know in the comments below...