Green smoothies are a staple in my house and you can hear the whir of the Vitamix coming from the kitchen pretty much every single morning. And although at least one of the kids will inevitably complain bitterly, we all chug down our green goodness to kick-start the day.
The greens, veggies and fruits are the stars of the show but I also like to slip in some potent superfoods to get a bit more bang for my buck. These are definitely optional and some of them are down-right decadent judging by the price tag but if you have the inclination and the extra cash, you might want to try a few of my favourites:
SPIRALINA– This blue-green algae comes from the sea and is a superior source of protein. It’s a powder so it requires very little energy to digest and is amazingly rich in chlorophyll a phytochemical that comes straight from the sun’s energy. It also helps detoxify and nourish the blood and every cell of the body. Spiralina can add a bit of a fishy taste to your smoothie so start with a half a teaspoon in the beginning and amp up the honey or dates to cover the sea flavor. It will also make your smoothie a brilliant green colour!
CHLORELLA– I recently purchased Vega chlorella tablets to add to smoothies and for my son to take after particularly grueling soccer practices and matches. This green algae is roughly 65% protein and also contains all of the essential amino acids and tons of chlorophyll. According to nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, “it can be helpful in warding off energy slumps and thanks to its high protein content, it’s useful for active athletes.” Be warned though – a bottle containing 300 tablets set me back $70.
CHIA SEEDS– I love chia seeds for their amazing amino acid profile and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Just 2 tablespoon added to a smoothie contains five times the omega-3 content of a 1/4 cup serving of walnuts, twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach, as much calcium as a half-cup of milk, as much potassium as a third of a banana and more than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal. And it’s loaded with antioxidants. One note though – if you are adding chia to your smoothie it’s best to drink it right away. The seeds swell over time and will make your smoothie thick and clumpy if you let it sit.
SUNWARRIOR PROTEIN POWDER– I have tried several protein powders and this one is definitely my favourite. It’s not chalky or grainy, tastes pretty good and it’s easy to digest. This whole grain brown rice protein powder is 85% protein, soy-free, raw, sprouted, and vegan. It is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals and contains high amounts of antioxidants. It also contains other essential nutrients such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron, and potassium. But again – it’s not cheap at $65.99 a bag.
IRISH MOSS– I first learned about this superfood at a course with Meghan Telpner and I’ve been hooked ever since. Now brace yourself – it’s kind of a weird one but the health benefits are truly amazing. According to Meghan, this sea vegetable is “nature’s only plant-based source of thyroid hormones, is abundant in potassium which can significantly improve behavior and mental functioning and is also very helpful for fibromyalgia, moodiness, agitation, depression and anxiety disorders. It is highly concentrated in iodine and abundant in selenium which is a necessary factor in thyroid hormone production and if that wasn’t enough Sea Moss contains Algin. This phytonutrient has magical therapeutic value as a heavy metal detoxifying agent- meaning it helps pull heavy metals out of the tissues of our bodies. Additionally this food is a healing agent to all mucous membranes.” Wow! Irish Moss comes in a bag looking like a weed you might pull off the beach so follow this link to see how to prepare the moss before you add it to your smoothie- http://meghantelpner.com/blog/the-mystery-revealed-how-to-prepare-irish-moss-sea-moss/
MSM POWDER – Raw food expert and author David Wolfe speaks passionately about the benefits of this naturally occurring form of dietary sulfur found in fresh raw foods that are involved in the cycle of rain. “MSM is deficient in foods grown in greenhouses or in foods grown through irrigation. MSM is volatile and destroyed by cooking. In the body, MSM builds collagen and maintains healthy joints. This is also why MSM increases flexibility, hastens recovery time from sore muscles, and is excellent for recovery from athletic injuries. Because of its collagen-building properties, MSM creates smooth skin, thick lustrous hair, and strong nails.” I love Omica Organics 100% Pure Plant MSM Crystals that are derived from natural wood pulp. And if I don’t put a scoop in my morning smoothie, I’ll stir a 1/2 teaspoon into a glass of water later in the day.
FREEZE DRIED ACAI BERRY POWDER– this powder derived from the acai berry contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which protect the heart and circulatory system while promoting tissue growth development. Acai’s high antioxidant content has been shown to slow down the effects of aging and prevent the development of certain cancers. I throw in 1 teaspoon as a potent antioxidant smoothie addition.
MACA– this root grows in some of the hardiest terrain in the world on top of the Peruvian mountains. Because it’s so durable, it is called an “adaptagen” which means it helps us cope and better manage stress. As a result, it can also boost our libido, improve hormonal balance, and stabilize our mood and energy. Remember – a little maca powder goes a long way so start with a 1/2 tsp in your smoothie and build up to 1/2 a tablespoon.
These are just a few of the amazing superfoods that I keep stocked in my pantry and I’ll toss 1 or 2 into my smoothie each morning as the mood strikes me. I also love to add a tablespoon of coconut oil, a pinch of Celtic sea salt, a couple of Vitamin C capsules, a teaspoon of cinnamon and/or turmeric powder and 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds. Don’t feel like you need to rush out and buy a whole arsenal of new products – just try a few and experiment with adding them to your smoothie until you come up with a few new yummy and healthy drinks.