Green Drinks

July 1, 2012

By Anna Varriano

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Green drinks.

I can imagine that some of you are crinkling your nose and sticking your tongue out as you think: “Oh no! Not green drinks! Next thing you know, she’s going to tell me to eat bark and twigs!” Well, as Euell Gibbons once said (and I know I’m dating myself here), “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.”

No need to fret!  I’m not going to ask you to consider eating a pine tree, or to drink a horrid tasting, chalky green drink mix. I’m asking you to consider adding a delicious, nutrient-rich, home-made ‘green smoothie’ to your day that has the potential to:

  • Burn fat
  • Increase your energy
  • Boost your bone density
  • Reduce inflammation, aches, and pains
  • Reduce your risk of diseases such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease
  • Boost your immune system

And that’s not all! Green drinks  aslo help to detoxify and alkalize the body (make it less acidic). These are both extremely important to vibrant health as a body that is struggling with toxins and acidity is a breeding ground for countless health issues.

While you might know that green drinks are a great source of fibre and nutrients (if prepared properly), you might not be aware that they can also be a great source of easily absorbable protein.  Some greens such as wheatgrass and spirulina are very high in protein and contain many of the building blocks (amino acids) that the body needs to build and repair tissues – including muscles!

Here is something else you may not know about green drinks – drinking a green drink is sometimes referred to as “getting a blood transfusion” in natural health circles. What is the connection between a green drink and our blood? The answer is chlorophyll.

You probably first heard about chlorophyll when you learned about photosynthesis in grade school.  Interestingly, the molecular structure of chlorophyll is almost identical to that of our own hemoglobin (a substance that gives our blood its oxygen-carrying ability). Chlorophyll enhances the oxygen-carrying ability of our blood, which will boost our energy and have positive effects in all parts of the body and in every part of our health.

Numerous sources state that chlorophyll has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular levels, as it helps to boost our immune function and eliminate toxins (including carcinogens = cancer causing substances). Even good ole Dr. Oz has been talking about the benefits of green drinks and the health-boosting effects of the chlorophyll they deliver. Way to go Dr. Oz! In fact, you can buy liquid chlorophyll at most health food stores and just add a splash to your drinking water (follow the directions on the label).

Beware of the many bottled green drinks that are popping up on grocery stores shelves. Some of them contain added sugar and artificial ingredients, and while they may be healthier than other bottled juices, they won’t offer the health boosting enzymes and nutrients of a fresh green drink you make yourself. It is recommended that you consume green drinks within 15 or 20 minutes of preparing them, as the nutrients and live enzymes start to deteriorate soon after.

There are LOADS of recipes for green drinks on the internet. Most suggest adding some fruit, and using greens such as sprouts, leafy greens of all kinds (kale is my absolute favourite), wheat or barley grasses, parsley, watercress, and celery – although the list is endless.  The trick is finding combinations that YOU like – or inventing your own!  When I have a green drink, I want it to be delicious – something that I am going to look forward to and enjoy drinking; not something I am dreading and that I’ll have to chug down while I plug my nose!

Here’s a recipe I came up with that I absolutely LOVE.  I make it in my VitaMix blender (which I also absolutely LOVE), but you’ll still have decent results with a regular blender. Here’s what you’ll need to make one large or two small servings:

  • A bunch of kale leaves, roughly chopped up (I used about 5 or 6 smaller leaves here). Remove the stalks from larger ones if they’re tough/woody. Kale is often referred to as a ‘super food’ as it provides one of the biggest nutritional punches compared to other greens.
  • A one-in248558_474066052615190_488578721_n[1]ch thick slice of fresh pineapple, cut in to chunks. Cut off the skin but leave the core in. Pineapple contains bromelain (which is concentrated in the core) – a substance that improves digestion and reduces inflammation. Pineapple is also very alkalizing to the body.
  • A 1/2 inch slice of lemon. I leave the rind on, wash well and buy organic if possible. Fresh lemon/lemon juice has too many health benefits to mention here, but a few include improving digestion, detoxification, and alkalizing the body.
  • A 1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger root. Ginger also has numerous health benefits, including alleviating digestive issues and decreasing inflammation. The ginger is going to add a bit of a spicy touch to the smoothie, so feel free to add it to taste.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, depending on how thick you want the drink to be. Start by adding ¼ cup and then add more once you’ve blended it (if you want it less thick). If you like, you can add some ice to the blender to give it more of a slushy or smoothie consistency. You can also add a small splash of pure, unsweetened apple or pineapple juice.

Put everything in a blender and blend until it’s nice and smooth, adding more water if you want it thinner.

Next, enjoy!

382432_442927575729038_51917146_n[1]This drink is really appealing to children too – it tastes like a lemon slushy and looks like a really cool magic swamp potion! Shrek would love it! Let me know what you think!

Note: If you are on any blood-thinning/anti-coagulant medications, you should be aware that green drinks/chlorophyll are a good source of vitamin K, which can interfere with these medications. Talk to your doctor or health care practitioner should you have any concerns.

So, to summarize the tip for this month: GO GREEN! Make your own green drinks/smoothies, add a splash of liquid chlorophyll to your water, and eat your greens!
Cheers!

Anna

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