Smoothies are a convenient way to get a meal-full of goodness in a glass. Many of you use smoothies as your go-to breakfast or mid-morning snack, and that’s wonderful! If you’re like me, you feel especially “virtuous” when you make a GREEN smoothie loaded with raw veg and fruit.
Well girlfriend, you ARE virtuous, and you’re doing great… But here are three things to consider when you’re dreaming up your next smoothie recipe.
Green Smoothie Tips:
1) Consider choosing kale over spinach.
Although spinach is easy to obtain and a go-to addition to many green smoothies, spinach is higher in oxalates than kale. Oxalates can block absorption of certain minerals, such as magnesium, as shown in this research study.
Is spinach “bad?” No… Not at all! But a steady diet of spinach-heavy green smoothies might block bone-building nutrients over time. So switch things up! Spinach one day, kale the next.
2) Use a digestive enzyme before or with your smoothie, particularly if you have gut issues or weak digestion.
Digestion actually begins in the MOUTH, with chewing (since chewing releases saliva, which contains enzymes that begin to break down your food). When you drink your meal (i.e. a smoothie), you’re probably not chewing… So if you begin to notice digestive distress, an enzyme supplement might help!
I personally use doTERRA’s TerraZyme digestive enzymes, which you can find here. Enzyme supplementation can help you get the maximum nutrition out of the food you eat (or drink)!
3) Skip the ice?
Although ice adds bulk and a refreshing chill-factor to your smoothies, you might want to SKIP IT if your digestion is weak… Especially if you drink your smoothie first thing in the morning.
According to Ayurvedic tradition (an ancient healing art and lifestyle practice), cold drinks squelch your digestive “fire.” Although a warm green smoothie sounds pretty gross, room temperature or simply “cool” (not cold) isn’t bad, and it will help “move things along” without “freezing up” your digestive tract if you’re trying for a morning trip to the bathroom.
Bone-building green smoothie recipe plus the “why” behind each ingredient:
Bones are just like any other tissue in the body; they need great circulation to be healthy and strong.
Of course MOVEMENT is a key circulation booster (#MoveMore, my friends!) but did you know that citrus fruits are great circulation boosters as well? And — BONUS — the antioxidants found in citrus fruits contribute to glowing skin AND are great for your immune system.
Baby kale provides magnesium (essential for bone building and also for the health of your nervous system). And as noted in the green smoothie tips above, kale is lower in oxalates than spinach, so it is less likely to BLOCK absorption of magnesium and other vital nutrients that you need for strong bones.
Figs are a great natural source of calcium, and are a way to add sweetness without refined sugar.
Dairy-free coconut yogurt (and/or avocado) provides the healthy fats you need to help your body absorb the bone-building minerals you’re taking in. These same healthy fats will also help keep you fulling satiated (full and satisfied) for longer.
Green “C Monster” Smoothie
*consider using a digestive enzyme before or with your smoothie!
- 1 medium orange, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1/2 grapefruit, peeled and chopped (save the other half for tomorrow’s smoothie!)
- 4 leaves kale, stem removed and torn into small pieces (or use 2 handfuls of tiny, tender baby kale which can often be found pre-washed and packaged in supermarkets)
- 2 dried figs (cut in half for easier blending… if figs are very dry, soak in warm water for 5 minutes before adding to the smoothie)
- 1 cup coconut water (look for a brand with NO ADDED SUGAR)
- Small handful ice (OPTIONAL, see tip #3 above)
- For creaminess and healthy fats, choose one (or both, see NOTE):
- 1/2 ripe avocado (dairy-free)
- 1/2 cup non-dairy yogurt (dairy-free, try my homemade coconut yogurt)
- 1/2 cup full-fat 100% organic goat’s or cow’s milk yogurt (use only if you tolerate dairy)
- NOTE: Rather than choosing one, I use both! I like to use 1/4 of a ripe avocado and 1/4 cup non-dairy yogurt. Extra creamy!!!
- Optional: 1-2 tsp grass-fed gelatin for collagen (great for bone health and joint support)
- Add all ingredients to blender.
- Start on low, then increase speed to high.
- Blend until completely smooth and creamy.
- Enjoy immediately!
Why wait? Start taking care of your health TODAY. Consistent, daily “baby steps” that move you toward eating clean and moving every day will help you SHINE BRIGHTER. It’s a promise.
Until next time, I’m yours in good health!
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~Dr. Bri, PT, DPT