Sunday, February 22, 2009
Green Smoothie, Baby!
In an ernest effort to improve my health and energy I have taken up the habit of starting my day with a green smoothie. These wonderful drinks are a terrific way to boost the amount of leafy green vegetables you consume, especialy for those of us who dispise vegetables. A mixture of 40% greens by volume and 60% fruit by volume, and enough water to get things moving in the blender, and you have the greenest drink you've ever seen that tastes just like fruit. The one pictured above is Strawberry/Banana/Pear/Spinach.
The nutrition research I've been doing points to the idea that the average American does not consume enough green leafy vegetables. In fact, most don't even come close. In her book "Green for Life", Victoria Boutenko compares the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the diet of our closest primabe relatives, the Chimpanzee. 50% of a chimp's diet is composed of fruit, 45% is leafy green vegetables, and the other five is comprised of seeds, bark, pith, and insects. In stark contrast, the SAD is composed primarly (more than 50%) of cooked starches such as rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, almost 25% animal protein, and hardly any greens at all.
Leafy green veggies such as spinach, kale, dandylion, and collards are nutritional power houses. They pack the most vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other food you can consume. And despite the USDA's claim that you need significant amounts of animal protein and dairy in your diet to meet your protien requirements, greens provide all 9 essential amino acids in ratios that are directly in line with your daily needs. (Please do not look to the USDA for accurate nutrition information. Their hands are planted firmly in the back pockets of the meat, dairy, and corn industrys, and they have anything but your best interest at heart.) In fact, 1 lb of kale provides more or less the exact amounts of essential amino acids needed for the day. Different greens are a little higher in some and lower in others, so it's important to rotate the greens you're eating.
1 lb of leafy greens a day sound like a lot? Well it is. Don't worry, it's really best to start adding greens to your diet slowly and work your way up. If you're not used to getting all of that fiber and all of a sudden start eating a pound of greens in a day, your poor abused digestive system will most likely revolt. So start with a green smoothie. Then slowly start adding more greens and less fruit. Eat a salad. And enjoy your new found energy that's based on real nurtition.
And the best part of the Green Smoothie? My baby loves them. He is quite upset if he sees I have one and I'm not sharing! (My 3 year old won't touch them with a 10 ft straw, but I'm working on him)