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Posts Tagged ‘green smoothies’

Oatmeal, on the rocks.

The return of the Oats!

Back when I first started this blog, I was eating oatmeal every. single. morning.  I love oatmeal.  I’m an oat-a-holic.  But then I brought home THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL TIME and my poor little oats were left behind.  Unloved.  Unwanted.  Overshadowed by kale.

Well, I recently discovered a way to marry my love for the oat with my love for THE blender.  Oats in my smoothies!  Why did I not think of this before?  I dump so many other randoms in my smoothies…surely oats would be a great addition as well?  I can now answer this.  They are great in smoothies.  They add fiber and bulk while keeping the smoothie…smooth.  Because who wants a gritty smoothie?  I blended a jar of smoothie first (kale, banana, strawberries and a spoonful of manuka honey), and then added a handful of spinach and a sprinkling of oats and blended again until smooth.

Delish.  I love it when food worlds collide.

Served in a stemless wine glass, because sometimes I'm fancy like that.

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Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko

A few years ago, I went home to visit my parents and found my 50-something year-old Dad furiously grinding vegetables and greens in his new and fancy blender.  I’m not going to lie…it was weird.  I was skeptical.  How could liquified spinach, beets and grapefruit possibly be a good thing?  Well, maybe that particular combination wasn’t fantastic, but he was on the right track.  I was curious, so I bought Green for Life, by Victoria Boutenko and read it in one sitting.  Because it was that interesting.

Green for Life introduces the famous green smoothie, in all its glory.  The author, Victoria Boutenko, is well known in the  raw foods world and, with her family, has dedicated her career to educating people on the benefits of eating fresh, raw produce.  Blended.  According to Boutenko, our digestive systems are not able to properly break down leafy greens enough on their own to capture all of the nutrients stored in the cellular structure of the plant.  By blending greens, the “chewing” is done for us on a much more efficient scale than we are capable on our own, so the nutrients can flow right into our own cells, where they can be utilised by our bodies immediately.  She talks about the many health benefits that can be gained from adding green smoothies to our diets and profiles a study where she prepared and provided a group of people with green smoothies for 30 days and observed changes in health.  The results were amazing…disappearing asthma and allergies, skin conditions cleared up, weight loss…those are just a few. 

The end of the book contains a number of green smoothie recipes to get you started.  They’re pretty basic, but contain combinations I wouldn’t think of (parsley and pear comes to mind…) and so far, they’ve all been tasty.

I found this book really interesting and it was definitely what jump-started me on making my own green smoothies on a regular basis.  I was surprised by how delicious they are and how you really can’t taste the greens at all when you add fruit.  It just tastes like a regular fruit smoothie.  Seriously! 

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of green smoothies, I would highly recommend this book as a starting point.  It’s an easy read, super interesting and motivating when you read through the results of the study.

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Green.

My blender and I had a great weekend.  After the farmer’s market, I was having a hard time fitting all of the produce into the fridge.  Obviously, the easy answer was to use some of it right away.  I crammed a few handfuls of spinach, a few (huge) leaves of dinosaur kale, a banana, a whole orange and some raspberries into the blender jar and hit go.

Doing it's thang.

Finished product.

Lunch of champions.

When I take green smoothies to the office to finish up as lunch, I get a lot of weird looks.  Keep in mind that I live in the land of fried chicken, where even sushi is served with mayo, and where “smoothie” means, for the most part, “milkshake” or ice blended with some kind of sugary fruit syrup.  When I tell inquiring minds what makes my lunch look like swamp sludge, I will inevitably get a look of horror.  I’m OK with that.  My glass of blended green guck has more nutrients in it than many people eat over the course of an entire day…sometimes (unfortunately), even longer than that.  For me, the benefits speak for themselves:

  • better concentration
  • a great wake-up (green smoothies have completely replaced any and all morning coffees, except for that one latte each week that I treat myself with – usually on Fridays)
  • better skin
  • they keep me full until lunch time…and sometimes longer than that

I have no complaints.  Calorie-wise, they vary.  I estimate that my morning smoothies (i.e. 1.5 tall glasses like the one pictured above) range from 150-250 calories, depending on the “add-ins” that day. 

The Layered Look: (from the bottom up) banana, dinosaur kale, maca powder, chia seeds, ground flax seed, almond butter.

The base is always fruit – usually a banana, but I also use oranges, limes, pineapple and all sorts of berries.  I fill most of the jar with greens (they take up a lot of real estate) – normally kale and spinach, because they are normally the only decent greens available!  I might do some experimentation later this week with beet greens…stay tuned.

The “add-ins” can include:

  • Amazing Grass (a superfood powder…great for those of us with nutrient-deficient vegetables)
  • ground flax seed
  • chia seeds
  • maca powder (though, I’m not crazy about the taste…I find it kind of bitter)
  • almond butter (if I know the smoothie needs to “stick” with me for a few hours until my next meal)
  • unsweetened organic shredded coconut
  • cacao nibs
  • hemp seeds

I normally don’t go too crazy on these…my significant other has a hard time with small seeds and such getting stuck in his teeth (poor baby).

Anyways, I know I mention green smoothies A LOT, but that’s because I love ’em!  And I think they are one of the healthiest things you can “treat” yourself with.

Coming soon is a book review on two books dedicated entirely to…you guessed it…green smoothies.

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I have not eaten one bowl of oatmeal in 2010.  How odd.  I blame this on the fact that I returned from Canada with THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME, which now dominates breakfast in our house.  We blend our breakfast.  This morning’s concoction was the greenest yet:

  • banana
  • KALE
  • a whole orange, peeled
  • a whole lime, unpeeled
  • a big spoonful of spirulina

Very…tropical.  I loved it.  Carlos called it “peely”.  Whateves.

Today was a crazy day at work.  I got called upstairs in the morning by the big boss to work on a “quick little project” which I still hadn’t finished by the time I flew out the door at 5:30 to meet some friends for dinner.  I’m thinking it will eat up most of tomorrow as well.  At least it’s interesting and kind of fun. 

I’m falling back into old habits and building up quite a huge virtual shopping cart on Amazon.  Why is Amazon so convenient?  Why do they have to already know my credit card number and all information so that ordering books, quite literally, requires no more than a click or two.  So easy…but so bad.  Bad because I have bookcases full of books that I haven’t yet read, all purchased under similar circumstances…that way too easy click.

On the topic of books, I’ve gotten involved in my book club again.  I say “again” because last year I read one book, attended one meeting, and then flaked out completely during  a month where the book was total crap.  So, I committed back in December to re-join for January’s meeting and anxiously awaited the e-mail announcing the book.  The big winner?

The Shack, by William Paul Young. 

The verdict?  The Crap.

I feel like this is another Eat, Pray, Love situation.  Everyone RAVED about Eat, Pray, Love.  So, obviously, I bought a copy and settled in to read it on a flight from Ottawa to Victoria.  I read as she whined her way through Italy and India and by the time she was whining her way into Indonesia, I was SO over it.  Here is a woman with this amazing gift of having the resources to do whatever the hell she pleases for an entire year, and all she does is whine about it.  I’m not sure I’ve found any written character so annoying.  Ever.

So, back to The Shack.  Another book with huge press and four-thousand-and-something reviews on Amazon (not all of them good, mind you), and claims that it was life changing by people whose opinions I really do respect.  To be fair, I never actually read anything about the book.  I had heard about it and seen it in stores, but never picked it up to read the synopsis and had no idea what it was about.  Ergo, I had no idea that it was a religious book.  The first half isn’t, but the second half is a whole lot of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and to be honest, I can’t get through more than 3 or 4 pages without feeling as though my mind is drifting off onto other things, like taxes or the pile of laundry that is waiting for me.

Maybe, like Eat, Pray, Love, it deserves a second chance.  Though, Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t any more endearing the second time around.  In fact, I don’t even think I made it all the way through India.  Ah, well.

Next month’s read is The 19th Wife: A Novel, which I’m looking forward to.  Big Love is back on TV (season 4 started this month) and I do love those crazy polygamists.  Though, I don’t think that this book takes place in the suburbs.

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Tuesday Goals:

Start the day off on a healthy note….CHECK!  Check out this greenie:

Banana, pineapple, unsweetened shredded coconut, lime juice, kale, filtered water.

Yum.  Greenies are the best way to start the day, in my opinion.  They have replaced my morning coffee most mornings and get my energy up before work…which is important because I usually have to utilize (at least part of) my brain from the moment I walk in the door of my office.

Tuesday Goals:

  • 2L of water during the work day.
  • Avoid cookie-bearing co-worker.
  • No coffee.
  • Weather-permitting, go for a walk at lunch (there was a casual monsoon-type weather system hanging out on the Rock over my lunch hour yesterday…Blue Monday appropriate, no?)
  • Weather-permitting, hit up the track after work for 45 minutes of running, walking and gruelling stair climbing.
  • Get into my new Book Club book (The Shack)
  • Figure out how to put a blogroll in my sidebar.  Am I missing something?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

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Sundayness.

We’ve been trying to come up with things to do on the weekends.  The Rock can be a bit blah over the winter months, so it’s easy to fall into the routine of spending weekends cozied up inside, on the couch.  Yes, it does get cold and miserable in the winter on tropical islands…at least, this one.  And by cold, I mean cloudy, with a chance of rain.

Anyways, I came up with the brilliant idea of spending Sunday mornings working out together outside.  I originally thought we’d hit up the stadium and run around the track, but as we were looking for parking I noticed some trails running through a park across the street.  It didn’t take much to convince Carlos, so we ended up spending 45 minutes running up and down hills, under the palm trees.  According to my heart rate monitor, I torched just over 400 calories, which is pretty good for my first workout since…er, November.  Yes, I have not done any real cardio since the end of November, but that was only because I spent the first few weeks of December infected with the Swine, which wasn’t exactly conducive to doing anything more with my lungs than attempting to breathe without hacking.  So, I was pretty happy with how I did this morning. 

Afterwards, we were supposed to go grocery shopping, but decided to stop by the homestead to have a shower and make some much-needed (and late) breakfast.  Enter…green smoothie:

This bad boy had:

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 orange
  • frozen raspberries
  • Berry AmazingGrass SuperFood
  • 1 TB ground flax seed
  • 1 TB unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tsp. hemp seeds
  • a lot of kale
  • filtered water

Delicious.  I shared this with Carlos, who liked the flavour but found it a bit “seedy” for him.

Then, I was feeling kind of snacky, so I had a little bowl of Stacey’s Pita Chips.  I LOVE these things. 

Now we’re spending some (deserved) time on the couch, watching Friends re-runs and trying to find the motivation to go shopping for the ingredients we need for the soup I’m making this afternoon…

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