Loving the Bite: Green Berry Smoothie

The last few weeks I’ve been neglecting breakfast and lunch in favor of dinner recipes.  Well, breakfast, it’s your turn again.  While I’m a fan of eggs, oats, and Greek yogurt for breakfasts, a smoothie works well, too.   And, since you can always make extra batches and refrigerate (for a day) or freeze them (almost forever, just remember to put in the fridge to thaw the night before you need it) they can be time-savers, too.

February 18th is the next full moon.  So, why not head out for a night ride? Okay, so it’s February and we’ve had crazy cold and snowy weather.  If not this month than maybe next – full moons are on 3/19, 4/18, and 5/17.  What’s a night ride have to do with a recipe?  Well, this week’s recipe is sure to help you will your night vision…

Recipe of the week: Green Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup blueberries (or any berries)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter or 2 Tbsp nuts
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup Spinach, raw or cooked
  • 1 scoop Whey Protein
  • ½ Tbsp honey or agave syrup, or 1 drop Natural Stevia, optional

Directions:

1.        Place all ingredients in blender or food processor.  Blend 1-2 minutes, until completely smooth.

2.       Add ice until at desired consistency (optional).

Of note, at 400-430 calories this “drink” should be used as an entire meal (or at least 75% of the meal) for most people.  It is not intended to be a “drink” on the side of a meal.  Additionally, it makes a great recovery meal (as is) or  recovery snack at a half-portion.

Comments (more than you ever wanted to know about Spinach):

I could highlight every ingredient in this recipe as a food with hugely beneficial nutrients.  This week, our LTB nutrition tip discussed the benefits of undenatured whey.  At some point, I’ll make sure to discuss berries, nuts, and flaxseeds (talk about a suspense-builder!).  Today, I’ll highlight spinach.

The term “Green Smoothie” is somewhat of a buzzword(s) these days.  And, it can be intimidating to begin making and drinking “Green Smoothies.” However, for most people, a green smoothie is just one in which you’ve added vegetables, especially healthful green leafy ones.  In addition, they usually contain fruits, yogurts, whey protein, and other ingredients.

To start off easy, I recommend adding a handful or cup of Spinach to any smoothie.  Although it may change the texture slightly (unless you’ve got an ultra powerful blender like a Vitamix), it seldom changes the taste much.  After starting with spinach, you can progress to slightly more bitter tastes such as nutrient-packed kale or collard greens, which will deliver less subtle taste changes.  If you never progress past Spinach, though, it’s perfectly fine.  This vegetable has a lot to offer and I recommend eating or drinking it as much as possible.  So, what’s so great about Spinach?

Glad you asked.  Popeye was right on with this one.  One cup of Spinach contains about half of your Vitamin A for the day, and two days’ worth of Vitamin K!  This means improved eye sight, and protection from osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, inflammation and arthritis.  In fact, the vitamin A is from carotenoids – beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  This trio of carotenoids are night-vision super-nutrients.  What’s more, lutein and zeaxanthin are the primary antioxidants in several regions of the eye – they are believed to prevent eye-related problems like macular degeneration.  Spinach contains similar quantities of beta-carotene as carrots, but is vastly superior in lutein and zeaxanthin than carrots.  I don’t have anything against carrots – stick one of these in your smoothie as well! –  but just giving a benchmark since most of us think of carrots as the eyesight vegetable.

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