There’s a high that comes whenever you are deep in the thick of doing something you love. It’s almost as if your spirit is levitating a few centimeters above your body. Shondra Rhimes calls it the “hum”.
I was humming. Leading a group of sweaty women squatting, lunging and banging drumsticks to blaring music. Suddenly the “hum” felt more like a sting as a painful knee twinge crashed the party. Subtly shifting my weight I thought, “Ohhh here we go…”
This little twinge is one of the gifts that arrived shortly before my 46th birthday. A boxed set, it came with a matching lower back twinge. Fortunately I can avoid them with regular stretching and foam rolling, but I sometimes forget. At least, I think I forget. I suspect these new preventative habits keep getting lost under my dirty pile of Denial. I’m used to advising others about working around tight muscles or injuries, but have never had to worry about such mortal things myself. I’ve always thought of myself as Wonder Woman. Minus a magic lasso.
But it seems that time catches up with us all — even legends in their own minds. Fortunately I’ve had examples of extremely determined people who refused to let age, injury, disability, busy schedules or anything else get in the way of their health. Perhaps they can’t exercise like others, but they push themselves to work as hard as they can within their abilities. They find their new normal.
And so will I.
And so can you.
We’re all on our own hero’s journey through life. Sometimes the path you know is blocked so you have to find, or make, an alternate one. You just keep moving forward.
Sometimes the path you know is blocked so you have to find, or make, an alternate one.
My muscles don’t recover as fast as they did twenty years ago. If I don’t stretch and foam roll my back and knees hurt. That’s my new normal. At 70 I’ll have an even different normal. Truth is, as you age — and there’s only one alternative to aging — you are going to have some aches and pains. There are only two choices: 1. the aches that come from a healthy, active life that’s free of lifestyle related disease, or 2. the aches that come from a sedentary, lethargic life that’s full of sickness and bottles of medication.
Number 1 is better in any universe. So strap on your capes. Let’s wrap our wrists, brace our knees and stretch our backs. The world is waiting (bring some Icy Hot, would you?).
When it comes to eating or drinking anything green, people usually have one of two reactions, “Cool! It’s green!” (think Dr. Suess’ green eggs and ham or McDonald’s shamrock shake when you were a kid) or “Eeeww! It’s green!” (think… well…mold). If you fall into the first group you will love this project. If you fall into the latter I’m hoping that the next two weeks will, at the very least, open your mind. And your taste buds.
For the next two weeks I will make a different green smoothie every morning. According to all of the internet green smoothie pushers, at the end of this two weeks my skin should be clearer, my eyes should be brighter, I’ll have tons of energy, I’ll be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap buildings in a single bound — oh, wait. That’s superman.
Anyway, I eat Paleo so I already consume lots of vegetables and I’m not expecting anything miraculous. However, my first appointments can start at 5 or 6 in the morning. I would like some healthy, tasty and QUICK smoothie breakfast ideas. If you plan to do 14 days of smoothies, I suggest you raid your refrigerator and pantry to see what is there. Then find smoothie recipes that use the ingredients you already have on hand. Also, BEWARE: If you don’t regularly eat fruit and vegetables, introducing them into your body in mega doses may cause some… ahem… opening of the flood gates. But don’t worry. Your colon will love you and your body will settle. Promise.
Tip#1– Buy bananas that are extremely ripe, or if you have bananas that have gotten too soft for your taste, peel and freeze them. They give smoothies natural sweetness and creaminess.
Day 1- Beginner’s Luck
I planned to scour the internet for the best green smoothies I could find, but then I found this site Simple Green Smoothies. These are two ladies who LOVE their green smoothies. So, since I’m practicing to be a manager (not really) I figured I’d outsource This first glass of green goodness is based on their smoothie Beginner’s Luck. I added the chia seeds and coconut oil because they suggest you add a plant based protein and a good fat when making a meal replacement. You can skip the last two ingredients and it will still taste great. This makes two servings. Simply cut the ingredients in half for one serving.
2 cups fresh spinach packed tightly
2 cups coconut water
1 cup mango
1 cup pineapple
2 frozen bananas
4 Tbs chia seeds
2 Tbs Coconut oil
If you are using a high speed blender you can throw everything in together and blend until smooth. If you are using a regular blender, first blend the spinach and the coconut water until all of the spinach chunks are blended. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
Tip #2: If you are not using any frozen fruit add 5 or 6 ice cubes.
My two cents: This is the perfect beginner smoothie. The pineapple, mango and banana make it a sweet treat and the only evidence of the spinach is the color. Kids would love this.
1 orange, peeled (All I had were Halo® oranges. About the size of tangerines, they are much smaller than regular oranges so I used 2)
¼ cup rolled oats (No oats for this girl. I substituted 2 Tbs chia and 1 Tbs coconut oil)
If using a traditional blender, blend spinach, orange, and water until Kale is completely blended and smooth. Then add remaining ingredients. If using a high speed you can throw it all in let it work it’s magic.
My two cents: While the mango and orange take center stage on your taste buds, kale is not as subtle a taste as spinach. You will taste it faintly, so this smoothie does taste a tad bit green (as in grass), but it is not overpowering. I still recommend it, although it may not be as kid-friendly as the Beginner’s Luck smoothie. If you don’t like kale, you can always use spinach or add another orange. Enjoy!
Day 3 – Pineapple Mojito
OK so technically. It’s Day 4, but yesterday was a loooong day that started early and ended late so, as depressing as it was, I missed my green smoothie. I know that both of my readers will be disappointed (sorry mom and loving husband), but this one is worth the wait.
2 cups kale
2 cups coconut water
3 cups pineapple
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbs chia seeds
1 Tbs coconut oil
1. First blend the kale and coconut water until smooth. Add remaining ingredients.
My two cents
Sweet. Tangy. Minty. What’s NOT to love? I used canned pineapple. Next time I think I will use frozen because I prefer my smoothies a little slushy. I also might take a walk on the wild side and experiment with using avocado instead of the chia seeds and coconut oil.
Day 4 (ish) – Tea Time
OK. So you might have noticed that I’ve missed a few days. In light of my crazy life and inattention to the daily smoothie ritual, I am officially renaming this project 14 (Non-consecutive) Days of Green Smoothies. Woo. Now I feel less guilty already. You will still get 14 smoothies every day-ish for about two weeks(ish), but (probably) not every day.
Don’t judge me.
This smoothie adds the antioxidant wallop of Green Tea so drink up and feel those free radicals melt away.
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups chilled green tea
1 1/2 cups red grapes
1. Blend the chilled green tea and spinach until smooth. Then add the other ingredients.
My Two Cents
I took out a fresh date because I thought this smoothie would need the added sweetness, but it didn’t need it at all. It tasted great as is. One tip though, make the tea ahead of time and chill or freeze it in ice trays. I was lazy and in a hurry (both of my readers were pressuring me about missing days – mom and husband are SO demanding) so I added it hot. While the taste was good, lukewarm smoothie is NO BUENO.
Smoothie 5 – Nutty Banana
Before I went Paleo I was a peanut butter FANATIC. Peanut butter cups, peanut butter and bananas, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter brownies… heck I’ve been known to grab a tablespoon, lob some out of the container and eat it plain. Yes, folks. I had it bad, and lately I’ve been a little nostalgic about the days of slurping down peanut butter banana milkshakes. I decided to see if I could find a healthier, Paleo-friendly smoothie alternative.
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mixed berries
2 cups greens (I used a mixture of spinach, kale, and rainbow chard because I had a little of each and was too lazy to go to the grocery store. You can use any greens you have)1 frozen banana1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
Blend the almond milk, greens and almond butter until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend.
My two cents
(Insert long face and dramatic sigh here) Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. The taste was just ok. A little blah. I think I set myself up for disappointment because, even though I knew this wasn’t a peanut butter milkshake, I probably had some “Peanut butter milkshake” expectations. I will try this again and perhaps add more nut butter. And another banana. Or maybe I’ll just make a peanut butter milkshake. The original is here Minimalist Baker: My favorite Green Smoothie.
Smoothie 6 – Chocolate for Breakfast: YES PLEASE
I am an excellent thought chef. I think about cooking healthy, exotic, delicious meals all the time. I read a ton of food blogs, I watch the Food Network, I bookmark recipes…but for some reason when I actually get in the kitchen all those fancy, exotic meals turn into chicken. So today I’m breaking out of my rut. I’m trying a combination I’ve read about, but never tried — avocado and chocolate. If you’re scrunching up your nose and giving your computer that familiar “eewww. I smell something bad” look. You’re not alone. I did the same thing. But today CARPE DIEM!!!
Blend the greens and milk until smooth, then blend everything together.
My two cents
I LOVE LOVE LOVE This smoothie. You don’t taste the avocado at all. It just adds creaminess. The chocolate does what chocolate does. It makes it taste yummy. This is hands down my favorite one so far. Oooh. I’m thinking chocolate for lunch.
Smoothie 7 – Vitamin C boost
This smoothie was inspired by Loving Husband. A few nights ago he came home with mangoes. My first reaction was to furrow my brow and remind him that mangoes are not in season, neither are they local. Fortunately, before I did that I looked at my bag of frozen mangoes — they were imported from California and traveled 3,000 miles to get to my freezer.. Hmmm.
Last night he made a smoothie with fresh mangoes, strawberries, an orange and sweetened almond milk (someone has not jumped on the green smoothie, no processed sugar bandwagon. But I digress). It was heavenly. Inspired I decided to make my own version:
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups frozen mangoes OR 1 fresh and a “handful” of frozen (that’s as precise as I could get him)
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 small orange (I used a mandarin)
2 cups spinach
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Blend and enjoy.
My two cents
My frozen California mangoes paled (in color and taste) to his imported Mexican mangoes. His was creamier and sweeter. It’s not the green thing to do, but I like mangoes. And I’ve never seen any growing in Florida. Also, usually I say that the greens you use are interchangeable, but not this time. I tried it with kale and spinach. Kale gave it a slightly more grassy taste, while I didn’t taste the spinach at all. Mangoes gave it sweet, the orange gave it a bit of citrus, and the strawberries gave it a little tang.