I know I talk about EFT all the time in my blog posts and so I thought I would mix it up some and talk about another healthy habit I use every day…well… everyday with the exception of weekends. It’s more along the lines of nutrition and you’ve probably heard a lot about this subject in recent years because, like it or not, getting healthy is actually becoming trendy.
This is great right? We can look forward to living longer, feeling better and having a better quality of life. The hard part is changing our evil ways (unhealthy habits) to achieve that healthier lifestyle. Excuse my language but changing can be a major bitch sometimes. It can be hard to curb your eating when it comes to the foods you love. Who wants to kiss sweets, chips or bread goodbye? Who wants to swear off alcohol or red meat? Not many people are willing to do that and this is completely understandable. After all, we live in a highly stressful world: too much to do and never enough time. Sound familiar? Food has become a source of convenience and comfort.
Add it in.
Let’s not talk about giving anything up. Why? Because who wants to feel deprived? My take on the whole thing is it is a better tactic to add to your diet than to take away. Have I piqued your interest?
Here’s where smoothies come in. Smoothies are a quick, simple and yummy way to dump a ton of vitamins and minerals into your body in one fell swoop. Smoothies will add nutrition to your diet and, as you stick with the practice of adding more nutrition, your body will naturally begin craving the healthy stuff over the junk food. I know this, both from doing my research online AND from firsthand experience. It actually works!
How did I work this into my daily life?
I’ll be honest I had to commit to a 30-day smoothie challenge to get myself started. I wanted it to become a habit and 30 days seemed to be the right amount of time needed to make it into a routine. I began waking up 20 minutes earlier in the morning in order to have time to make my smoothies before I left for work. I held myself accountable by checking each day off the calendar that I stuck to my challenge. If I missed a day, I required myself to add a day (or days!) onto the end of the 30-day completion date. I didn’t set my expectations too high because I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. I figured one smoothie each morning before breakfast was a big enough challenge to see changes in my health but not too big that I’d feel overwhelmed and quit.
I chose to do Green Smoothies as opposed to a fruit-only smoothie. “What the hell is a Green Smoothie?” you ask. I explain, “It’s a regular fruit smoothie that incorporates leafy greens (and other veggies if you’re really brave!) into the recipe.” (Yeah, we just had an imaginary conversation in my head, so what?) This way you’re essentially getting a salad along with all the extra nutrition that goes with it in an easily assimilable drink. Bam!
Getting used to the color and flavor
It wasn’t a cake walk. I had to use these two tricks to get started: 1) Buy an opaque container to drink my smoothie out of and 2) Add in a lot of bananas to mask the flavor. The opaque container kept me from seeing the color of the smoothie while I was drinking it. Seriously, I’m used to food presentation making food appetizing (as we all are). Throw a brownish-green liquid into the mix and it’s a little tough to convince myself to drink it. I don’t care how healthy I tell myself it is! The second trick is a God-send because I happen to love the taste of bananas. They are great at masking the flavor of most fruits and veggies. Now that I’ve gotten used to the smoothies, I barely use any bananas. As some point something clicked in my brain and I realized I didn’t need to mask the flavor anymore. I only use bananas to add a bit of sweetness to my morning drink.
I actually rocked this challenge! I wasn’t perfect and I definitely had to extend my 30 days by a week or two because of a few times I ran late in the morning and didn’t have enough time to make my drink. There were also times where I just didn’t feel like making the damn thing. On those days, I allowed myself to bail (like a 3 year old throwing a tantrum) with the intention of getting right back to it tomorrow. And I did exactly that. I stuck with it until it became my norm. Now I really enjoy this morning ritual and I have more energy to show for it.
Since I’ve been active with my smoothies I’ve noticed that I’ve cleaned my diet up without much effort or thought on my part. This has caused me to shed a few unwanted pounds (Score!). More importantly, I haven’t had to force anything. It’s been a natural process. I see myself choosing to eat more salads and vegetarian dishes when I’m eating out. I choose them because I enjoy them and feel lighter after eating them.
I’ve lightened up on my meat intake and tend to choose fish instead. Granted, I was never a huge meat eater but even more so now than ever I feel it’s easy to pass it by. I have more energy, require less sleep (I shaved off a couple of hours!) and feel better in general. It is hard to put specific words to it other than I feel dang good!
Starting my day with a healthy smoothie is a daily choice I continue to make and wouldn’t trade it for anything knowing how good I feel. I also love the sense of accomplishment I have for doing something good for myself first thing in the morning.
Money in the bank.
This is how I see it: incorporating smoothies into your daily routine is like depositing extra money into your rainy day savings account. You are adding nutrition to your body that will kick in when you need it most. You are doing it a little bit at a time, which won’t require a complete overhaul of your diet. It won’t be a drastic change as in the case where you decide to do a full on cleanse or fast for a few days and you will be adding better, more health-full ingredients on a steady basis. Also you won’t trigger that deprivation mechanism that most diets trigger from the concept of only eating this or restraining yourself from that. You’re typical Green Smoothie doesn’t contain a ton of calories. An added bonus is that giving your body what it needs (fresh fruits and vegetables) actually triggers you to feel satisfied thus causing you to eat less. Your body will thank you!
- · Smoothies are easily assimilable and very hydrating (assuming you use water as your main ingredient).
- · You know that snazzy 8 glasses of water per day requirement? Incorporating a smoothie first thing in the morning will help you get a head start before you even hit coffee station at work!
- · Smoothies are full of fiber. I won’t go into the dirty details; you know can take it from here!
- · If done right you can trick yourself into getting more of the recommended servings of your daily value of fruit and vegetables. Here’s why I say that: I won’t eat an apple, orange, cucumber, etc. everyday but I think nothing of cutting these bad boys up and blending them in the morning. Before Green Smoothies = lack of fruits and veggies. After Green Smoothies = Wow! I’m ingesting more fruits and veggies than ever before. Go me!
- · Smoothies are portable and great to take with you on the go.
Tips and Tricks / Lessons Learned
I’ve spent 5+ months working through the ins and outs of this Green Smoothie business. Here are a few items that jump into my head under the heading “Good to Know”.
- · Add veggies and greens (emphasis on the greens) in with your fruit to avoid sugar overload. My leafy green of choice is baby spinach because the flavor is mild and it seems to keep fresh for the perfect amount of time I need: about a week.
- · Since my smoothies are intentioned for health purposes I don’t treat this as a typical dessert-like smoothie. I choose to avoid using milk, yogurt or soy products in mine; I stick to water.
- · Err on the side of using extra water so your smoothies don’t end up too chunky. I know, I know, that sounds horribly disgusting! Trust the girl who’s learned the hard way.
- · Rotate your ingredients so you never get tired of the taste.
- · Use a different berry each week (when in season) to incorporate lots of antioxidants into your diet. Berries also allow you to play with the color of your smoothie. Example: A purple smoothie (thank you blueberries!) will seem much more appetizing than a brown smoothie. Just saying.
- · Use fresh ingredients instead of frozen.
- · Buy local: think farmer’s market. I’ll admit I don’t do this anymore because it’s inconvenient for me right now, but it’s definitely on my To-Do list for the future!
- · Vary the colors of the berries, fruits and veg every week so you get a wide variety of vitamins/minerals.
Here is a smoothie recipe from an amazing smoothie website called SimpleGreenSmoothies.com. The recipe is generic in that most people will enjoy the ingredients.
Strawberry, Banana, Blueberry
This smoothie is full of iron, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. We often add olive leaf extract, echinacea, and elderberry extract to make it a power-packed immunity booster as well.
2 cups spinach, fresh
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
– Serves 2 –
Blend spinach, orange juice and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.
* Use at least one frozen fruit to make the Green Smoothie cold.
Tip: Thanks to the blueberries, this Green Smoothie is more like a purple smoothie, which is great for kids and those who are afraid of the “green” color.