Green Smoothie, Baby!

In an ernest effort to improve my health and energy I have taken up the habit of starting my day with a green smoothie. These wonderful drinks are a terrific way to boost the amount of leafy green vegetables you consume, especialy for those of us who dispise vegetables. A mixture of 40% greens by volume and 60% fruit by volume, and enough water to get things moving in the blender, and you have the greenest drink you’ve ever seen that tastes just like fruit. The one pictured above is Strawberry/Banana/Pear/Spinach.

The nutrition research I’ve been doing points to the idea that the average American does not consume enough green leafy vegetables. In fact, most don’t even come close. In her book “Green for Life”, Victoria Boutenko compares the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the diet of our closest primabe relatives, the Chimpanzee. 50% of a chimp’s diet is composed of fruit, 45% is leafy green vegetables, and the other five is comprised of seeds, bark, pith, and insects. In stark contrast, the SAD is composed primarly (more than 50%) of cooked starches such as rice, pasta, bread and potatoes, almost 25% animal protein, and hardly any greens at all.

Leafy green veggies such as spinach, kale, dandylion, and collards are nutritional power houses. They pack the most vitamins and minerals per calorie than any other food you can consume. And despite the USDA’s claim that you need significant amounts of animal protein and dairy in your diet to meet your protien requirements, greens provide all 9 essential amino acids in ratios that are directly in line with your daily needs. (Please do not look to the USDA for accurate nutrition information. Their hands are planted firmly in the back pockets of the meat, dairy, and corn industrys, and they have anything but your best interest at heart.) In fact, 1 lb of kale provides more or less the exact amounts of essential amino acids needed for the day. Different greens are a little higher in some and lower in others, so it’s important to rotate the greens you’re eating.

1 lb of leafy greens a day sound like a lot? Well it is. Don’t worry, it’s really best to start adding greens to your diet slowly and work your way up. If you’re not used to getting all of that fiber and all of a sudden start eating a pound of greens in a day, your poor abused digestive system will most likely revolt. So start with a green smoothie. Then slowly start adding more greens and less fruit. Eat a salad. And enjoy your new found energy that’s based on real nurtition.

And the best part of the Green Smoothie? My baby loves them. He is quite upset if he sees I have one and I’m not sharing! (My 3 year old won’t touch them with a 10 ft straw, but I’m working on him)

Goals Revisited

It’s very easy to set goals at the beginning of the new year only to promptly get on with your life and never give them a second thought. That is until the next year, when you look back and realize that you changed nothing, and re make the same goals again. The first month of the year is over, and we are well on our way into 2009. I thought I’d take a moment to look at the goals I set up a meager month ago and see where I stand.

1) Live more mindfully
This is and always will be a constant struggle. But keeping it at the forefront of my mind helps me to evaluate decisions and stay present in the moment. I should really turn my computer off more often.

2)Eat more locally
Harder to implement until the farmers markets get going, but I did find local raw honey at Whole Foods for a good price, and I can get local Ohio eggs at my regular grocery store.

3)Maintain a successful container garden
I am planning two tomato plants, to snap pea plants, and one tub of potatoes. Possible a pot of herbs also. I’ll get tomato and herb starts from the farmers market this spring. Peas don’t like to be transplanted so I’ll start those from seed once the last frost date is past. I’ll order my potato starts probably from the Seed Savers Exchange.

4)Find a workable system for my recycling
This I have yet to even start on. However, I do have an idea. For some reason we have two trashcans in our bedroom, and we hardly ever use either one. I think there is room for the bigger one under the sink in the kitchen. This is important as there is absolutely NO room ANYWHERE in my kitchen for a single other thing, and several things that are there really don’t fit either. If I can manage to remember to put it into the car before loading up the kids for a grocery shop, we’re all set. It may even help me to remember my cloth bags too.

5)Move my body
Every little victory here counts. I did 3 yoga Sun Salutations today. I spent the first half of the month out of commission due to a nasty cold turned sinus infection. Now that I’m feeling human again it’s time to get moving!

Well a month in and I have not managed to fail miserably at any of my goals, and many of them are being actively pursued. I think regular check ins will keep me motivated, reminded, and accountable.