Common Sense Health: Smoothies in September
By Maureen McDonnell, RN
At first, I thought writing about such a light-weight subject as having smoothies for breakfast was too much of a deviation from my usual more militaristic (it’s the Irish in me!) topics of: why we need to challenge Big Pharma’s domination and control over the medical system, or my other passion of discovering more natural ways to get and stay healthy.
But then I realized that the smoothies I’m talking about are jam-packed with antioxidants, organic whole foods and fiber, making them one of the healthiest options for the most important meal of the day! So in essence, these seemingly simple smoothies can become part of our arsenal for preventing and fighting chronic illness which in turn frees us from our dependency on prescription drugs and helps dispel the current erroneous belief which is: taking a pill for everything and anything that ails you is the way to go.
September is the time of year when our kids are back to school and we usually get inspired to start some new course or project. Feeling good, both mentally and physically allows us to take on these new challenges with gusto. Having our kids’ brains (and our own) sharp enhances focus, attention and the learning process; and having our bodies strong and free of dis-ease and discomfort keeps us feeling motivated and inspired.After a long lazy summer, all the new assignments and tasks that September brings can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed or possibly not having enough hours in the day to do all that we have set out to do. Subsequently, every now and then we might be tempted to take a short cut with our nutrition. But if breakfast can be convenient, quick and easy and at the same time chock full of nutrients, well… our excuses to skip it or eat something less than healthy go out the window!
Make the transition to a busier September a smooth…ie one and enjoy the benefits of feeling fabulous while you and your kids take on the fun and challenges of a new school year.
Here are some tips and a basic recipe for a quick, convenient, super charged, nutrition-packed smoothie… feel free to improvise and experiment.
Smoothie Tips: Start with a good blender….. (the hand held shaker or cheap mixer will never make them smooth)
Buy top quality ingredients…Trust me, the taste and superior nutrition make the extra cost worth it!
Get an inexpensive coffee bean or spice grinder and purchase organic flax seeds from the bulk section of the health food store. Grind small batches of these to add to your smoothies. Store unused amount in small glass airtight containers in the fridge. Try to use the remaining amount within a few days.
These protein-based, insulin-stabilizing smoothies can also be made into pops and frozen so that when the kids come home from school (or the adults return after a long work day) they can serve as a quick blood sugar/mood stabilizing snack.
The Basic Ingredients:
Organic or wild blueberries
Organic pear (1/2 a pear for some reason makes the concoction so much smoother and tastier)
Unsweetened organic vanilla Hemp milk (Hemp milk is gluten, soy and dairy free and rich in Omega 3’s and 6’s)
Yellow pea protein powder (I use Arbonne’s version it is also gluten and dairy free and offers 20gms of vegan protein per scoop). Other protein powder options: Hemp (not as tasty), Whey (unless you have a dairy allergy) or Mixed sprouted grains (such as Peaceful Planet). Rice protein powders are also available.
Super greens (Nano greens, Pro-greens)
Flax seeds (great source of fiber and Omega 3’s: (if you buy them in bulk they are SO much cheaper. Grind in coffee grinder in small batches every few days and store in tightly sealed container in fridge)
Pour hemp milk into the blender
Add ½ cup of blueberries
Add ½ a pear,
1-2 scoops of protein powder
1 scoop fiber
1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds
1 scoop of powdered greens
Start off on low speed and move the blender or Vita Mix to high speed for 45-60 seconds.
The roar of the blender will most likely wake up the whole house making the snooze button on the alarm clock no longer necessary!