By Kirsten West ND, LAc
Although I typically refrain from drinking smoothies during the winter, in an effort to speed spring into sight, I have not been able to resist making them. Smoothies are typically best in the spring and summer months as they are “cold”. Not only in temperature but also, from a Chinese medical perspective, energetically as well. Like the winter months, cold is stagnating and slows things down. It is the reason water freezes and plants hibernate. It is best for us to eat by the season, enjoying those things that are warmer in the winter months and those that are colder in the summer months.
With that said… On our unseasonably warm days in Durango, my smoothie making has ensued. It helps to pretend it is spring, imagine a seat on the beach, and enjoy my smoothie without guilt. (Guilt is difficult to feel, when the drink is so good… and good for you!)
I thought that perhaps by sharing this recipe, and getting more Northern Hemisphere smoothie making going, spring may be better enticed to enter our lives and we could prove Punxsutawney Phil (the weather prophet extraordinaire) wrong.
The smoothie making starts like this:
I gather things like:
- A collagen based protein powder: Collagen is good for the skin and GI function. It has no sugar and is high in protein. An overall great option for those on a paleo or ketogenic diet.
- Broccoli Sprouts: These baby sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulfurophane than broccoli, thereby reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. (Interesting fact: at one point, a company tried to patent them as their own product. [They were not successful.] Makes sense, as research continues to prove their health benefits to be exceedingly high.)
- Organic Frozen Berries: Loaded with flavonoids and fiber. In addition, the glycemic load of these is low, making their addition, a good choice for those watching sugar intake.
- Green Tipped Banana: because this guy is not yet fully ripened, his fiber content is higher and the propensity to increase blood glucose lower. In addition, this is a resistant starch which helps one to feel satiated for hours, post its consumption.
- Ground flaxseeds: These are not only a great source of fiber but these also act to bind excess hormones (notably estrogen) in the gut and help rid the system of their (enterohepatic) reabsorption. These are an overall great food source in the modulation of hormones and GI function.
- Ground raw pumpkin seeds: high in zinc, good fats and fiber. Zinc is imperative for proper immune function.
- Ground Chia seeds: I love these seeds for their fiber and their ability to make me feel fuller longer. (If any of you have made Chia pudding, you know they expand, helping you, (with that green tipped banana) to feel fuller, longer.)
- Spinach and Kale blend: These leaves not only provide a great amount of fiber, zinc, but also a bit of plant based protein, vitamins A, C, E and K, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, among others.
- Avocado: high in fiber, medium chain triglycerides and helps to make the smoothie “smooth.”
- Coconut Milk: excellent source of medium chain triglycerides. Wonderful for the gastrointestinal function and assimilation of the nutrients found in this smoothie.
- Cinnamon: A wonderful blood sugar balancer! This is a great addition to a “winter” smoothie as it is warming and helps to offset the “cold” of this smoothie.
- Turmeric: Another “warming” herb. Check out Dr. Jade’s Golden Cauliflower Turmeric Bread for more information on the wealth of health benefits here.
Base smoothie recipe:
I add each of the ingredients, in this order, to my blender:
¼ – ½ Cup mixed organic frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
¼ – ½ Cup frozen green tipped banana
2 handfuls (or as many as I can fit in my Nutribullet) kale and spinach blend
½ Cup ice cubes
½ Cup filtered water
1 scoop of A collagen based protein powder
½ Cup full fat coconut milk
¼ Cup Organic Broccoli Sprouts
1 TBSP ground flaxseeds
1 TBSP pumpkin seeds
1 TBSP ground chia seeds
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cinnamon
and… you should end up with a beautiful green smoothie. I like to top mine with cinnamon. The smell is of winter and the smoothie a taste of summer… We are getting there.