Morning rituals are important, and for me, making smoothies is my thing. Not only are smoothies convenient, but they contain tons of nutrients, depending on what ingredients you use. Moreover, it’s easier for our bodies to digest foods that are in a more broken down form (which is why it’s important to chew your food). When you blend your food, the cell walls of the food is broken down to a point where you can extract more nutrients and allow the body to absorb more of these nutrients. While juicing your food has become very popular, juices can have high sugar content and do not contain the pulp. With smoothies, the entire fruit or vegetable is blended in, which I like because you get more fiber and antioxidants from the pulp. Other reasons to blend are that it allows for slower sugar absorption, a blender is easier to clean that a juicer, and overall I feel like you can do so much more with a blender than a juicer. That being said, you can absolutely switch it up between juices and smoothies; both have their benefits. Whenever possible, make sure to use organic produce, although you can get away with buying these “Clean 15” non-organic.
I put all types of things in my blender. Spinach, romaine, and kale are a few of my favorite leafy greens to use because they don’t really stand out in the smoothie. Who wants to feel like they’re drinking spinach? Ick, not even me. Unfortunately, I’ve found out from my clients that not all blenders can successfully blend leafy greens. Experiment with your blender at home. At least with my Vitamix, there does seem to be an order in which you should put ingredients in your blender. Start with your base liquid (I use purified water, hemp milk, coconut milk, or unsweetened almond milk), then put in the leafy greens, followed by fruit and lastly ice or frozen goods. If I’m making two servings of smoothie, I generally put in one big handful of each type of leafy green.
Lemon has always been a staple of my smoothies, but recently I experimented by including the lemon peel. The peel actually contains 5-10 times more nutrients than lemon juice and adds an extra punch to the drink. For example, one tablespoon of lemon peel contains double the amount of vitamin C and triple the amount of fiber than one wedge of lemon without the peel, according to the USDA database (Reboot With Joe). Once I experienced a smoothie with lemon peel, I started adding peels from other types of citrus (blood oranges and oranges, to be specific). I highly recommend! I don’t use the entire peel, maybe just a quarter from each type of citrus. Upon further research, I’ve also learned the peels contain an antioxidant called Naringin that’s powerful in fighting cancer.
Ripened bananas have higher levels of antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties. I’ve never been a fan of eating brown bananas since they’re a little softer than a yellow banana, but in a smoothie, the taste and texture are not distinguishable. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, you actually should eat your bananas while the peel is still green, but if you aren’t diabetic, then “the more dark patches a banana has, the higher its immunity enhancement quality will be” (One Green Planet).
Morning Citrus Smoothie
-1.5 cups purified water, unsweetened almond milk, or hemp milk
-1 handful spinach
-1/2 organic green apple
-1/2 organic blood orange (leave peel on)
-1/2 organic lemon (leave peel on)
*If you don’t have organic citrus, make sure you wash the peel before adding it to your smoothie.
-1 ripened banana
-1 scoop unflavored protein powder (optional)
- Add ingredients to your blender in the order listed above, making sure to blend gradually unless you know your blender can handle everything at once. Add more liquid if the smoothie is too thick.
- Pour and drink immediately. Enjoy!