Ladies and gentlemen ... I give you the all-mighty green drink!
This delicious little concoction is packed with amazing nutrients that will help you look and feel better, and it will literally flood your body with goodness first thing in the morning. On the mornings that I choose to start my day with this tasty treat I find I have more energy, need less coffee, stay full until lunch and tend to make better eating decisions the rest of the day.
But if you must know the truth, health benefits aside, I started drinking this because my friend Melanie suggested that it would help reduce facial fine lines and wrinkles. It’s cheaper than Botox and doesn’t involve needles so I figured it was worth a try. And, while I’m hardly aging backwards, I have noticed a huge improvement in the texture of my skin and my overall appearance.
The star of this smoothie is kale which is one of the most nutritionally dense foods available. It is a nutritional POWERHOUSE that is rich in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in Vitamin C not to mention the much needed fiber so lacking in the typical American diet. The "icing on the kale" is the naturally occurring all important phytochemicals which research suggests may protect against cancer.
I’ve been told that you can wilt kale in soups or sauté it like you would spinach but I just can’t find a yummy way to cook it that I enjoy, so I blend it. Also, since I’m not cooking it, I’m not losing any of the key nutrients through the heating process and I’m getting ALL of the fiber from the leaf and stalk since I’m not juicing it.
32 or more oz. of cold, filtered water
2-3 stalks of kale (other leafy greens can work as well)
2 frozen bananas
Frozen strawberries (or any “fleshy” fruit), or frozen red grapes for sweetness
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 scoop Juice Plus+ Complete vanilla protein powder, optional, for added nutrition and sweetness**
1 tsp milk thistle, optional (milk thistle is a seed that has been shown to be an excellent liver detoxifier; check with your doctor if you have concerns or are on any medication).
Blend above ingredients in a blender. Add more or less water for desired consistency and more or less fruit for desired sweetness. It helps to liquefy the kale in the water before adding other ingredients for a smoother consistency.
**The protein in JP+ Complete comes from 5 different plant-based sources including soy and chickpeas so it is easier to digest and more nutritious than a highly concentrated whey protein powder. It’s also ridiculously delicious.
The smoothie does have a grainy texture due to the whole kale leaves and flaxseed so it takes a little getting used to. However, it is much more nutritious than juicing because you get all of the fiber from the kale and fruit, as well as the vitamins and minerals, which will keep you full. Play around with the combination and proportions to find a consistency you like.
Also, if you already have a favorite smoothie recipe you can experiment by just tossing in a few greens to bump up the nutrition. Other than the beautiful green hue, you probably won't notice. Your kids probably won't notice either. Our little taster Harper actually requests the green smoothie these days over his old favorite chocolate. If a 4-year old can try it, like it and come back for more I'm betting that you can too!