At the beginning of the month, I participated in a Green Smoothie workshop, facilitated by health coach Stephanie Misanik. During the workshop, Stephanie asked each of us to explain why we chose to attend and what we hoped to gain/learn from the experience. It was inspiring to hear each participant’s reasons. Generally speaking, we all wanted to do something good for our bodies.
Personally, I hoped to gain knowledge on how different foods impact my energy levels. During the school year, on some mornings I would feel groggy and would rely on coffee to ‘wake up’. My daily routine was to eat a bowl of cereal or a yogurt, and then drink my coffee on the way to work. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy drinking coffee in the morning, but I don’t want it to become a dependency. Now that I am on summer break, I can sleep a little later, so I don’t feel the need to drink coffee everyday.
I began the Green Smoothie Challenge on June 9th. Stephanie created a private Facebook group for workshop participants, as a place to pose questions, share ideas, etc. The challenge is set to last for 21 days (it’s almost over!) but I plan to continue with my smoothie routine beyond that time.
• 1/2 avocado • 1 banana • 1/2 C frozen strawberries • 1 C unsweetened coconut milk • 2 large handfuls of spinach I have to admit, I never would have thought to include avocado into a smoothie, but it is fantastic! It creates a creamy texture, and as many of you know, it has has healthy fats plus other vitamins and minerals.
Many of the smoothies use similar ingredients, so while the initial grocery list seemed a little pricey, I’ve managed to use the ingredients over several days/into new weeks. Some staple items include: bananas, frozen fruits, avocado, spinach, kale, coconut milk, almond milk, and coconut water. The recipes are all dairy-free. I freeze all of the greens right away to prevent them from going bad.
Week 1 recipes called for spinach as the main green component, and then Week 2 introduced kale and chard. I am not a huge fan of chard in smoothies, in part because it has a distinct flavor that can overpower some of the other ingredients. If I use it in a smoothie, I use a very small amount and mix it with spinach or kale. During Week 2, I decided to veer away from the suggested recipes and try my own smoothie experiments (while keeping ratios of ingredients in mind, to ensure a desirable consistency).
Here are the ingredients for my first smoothie experiment (estimates):
• 1 banana • 1 handful of each: kale, chard, spinach • 1 small spoonful of almond butter • 1 handful of cashews • 2
• 3/4 cup of coconut milk
This was a variation of another recipe that had been provided, and I already had the ingredients on hand.
As I’ve progressed through the Green Smoothie Challenge, I have noticed a few things:
I’m more alert as a result of drinking them first thing in the morning. They are meant to replace one meal of the day, and I have found that breakfast is the most practical. In cases where I have a big breakfast, perhaps I would replace lunch that day.
I crave vegetables. I am tuning in to how different foods impact my energy, mood, and stomach. After eating a meal full of vegetables (not necessarily just vegetables, but if they are a main component), I feel full but not bloated or lethargic.
I am inspired to continue the green smoothie routine beyond the suggested timeframe.
What types of healthy routines do you hope to put into place (and stick with)?