Going Green - The Rise And Rise Of The Green SmoothieIf you own a juicer, have invested in a high quality blender, or have an interest in improving your physical well being through nutrition and healthy eating, then you will doubtless have heard of the green smoothie phenomena. The concept of detoxing to improve health with a daily dose of green juice has been prevalent for several years now - but just who should be turning to the green stuff, why, and most importantly, how?
Who should turn to green smoothies?
The idea of a detox diet has long been popular, to allow our bodies to recover from the excesses of every day life, and the potential build up of toxins in our bodies. The traditional detox, however, brings to mind starvation rations, unpleasant tasting replacement foods and supplements, and a potentially miserable experience ultimately ending in disappointment when it is unceremoniously abandoned in favor of a proper meal.
The new green smoothie movement argues that a detox does not have to be this way. Simply incorporating green smoothies into daily life, as replacements to breakfasts and snacks, can have a beneficial effect, quashing food cravings, as well as improving the health. This can be an enormous benefit to any healthy individual looking to increase energy levels, clear their skin tone, and drop a few excess pounds.
Individuals with diabetes, or a family history of kidney stones may need to be wary of turning to green smoothies, and should certainly seek medical advice before any dramatic changes to the diet.
What are the health benefits of green smoothies?
There are many reported benefits to green smoothies, including increased nutritional intake, better intake of fiber, as well as the better hydration and energy levels available from such a naturally filling and invigorating drink. The chlorophyll in the leafy greens is reported to help naturally cleanse the body of toxins, helping the detox process along.
Green smoothies can help relieve stomach acid, and the high fiber content can help suffers of constipation and other digestive ailments. The detox process works well as it does not require replacement of meals, making it easy to stick to, and varied according to individual taste. If you are considering detoxing following more complex medical issues, such as substance addiction or abuse (where sufferers may not be mentally or physically addicted to a substance but still use it in a way that could be dangerous to themselves or others), these conditions should only be treated with professional medical advice. Green smoothies and other sensible lifestyle changes may well be a beneficial complement to medical intervention and detox in these cases, but proper diagnosis and advice is essential.
Where can I start?
Green smoothies tend to be a mix of leafy green vegetables and fruit, in a 60:40 ratio. You may want to start with a higher ratio of fruit until your palette adjusts and you find combinations of fruit and veggies that suit your taste.
Recipes for smoothies vary and should be guided by your taste, availability of fresh produce and your imagination. Smoothies should include water or dairy free milk to hydrate, fruit to taste, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale. When choosing green vegetables, let the seasons dictate what goes into the blender - variety helps both nutritionally and in terms of adding interest, so experiment with lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, herbs, cabbage, shoots and whatever else is in the market. When choosing fruit consider melon, pears, apples or grapes - again, allowing seasonal changes to guide your choices will ensure you don't get bored of your combinations.
Sweetness, if more is needed, could come in the form of dried fruit, and additional bulk can be added by putting oats into the mix if you are replacing a meal. Seeds can be added for the nutritional value they add, spices such as cinnamon for taste, and crushed ice to add interest to texture.
Although a variant of green smoothies can be made using a juicer, it has been found that using a blender keeps more fiber content, and therefore is nutritionally superior. Supplements to your smoothie can be purchased to add other nutritional elements to the combinations you create in your kitchen, should you feel this is beneficial as you grow in experience of smoothie making.
If the ideas above have whetted your appetite, consider buying one of the fantastic recipe books on the market for more inspiration; and enjoy experimenting with flavors.
Stick to this green smoothie habit for three weeks to see a difference, with a couple of cups a day, and you will see the impact on your health, energy levels and well being.