Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Moment of Zen - The Perfect Green Smoothie

In the past month I have suffered from severely intense migraines - not the kind of migraines where I'm vomiting and unable to speak English, but bad enough where I don't want to get out of bed, can't have the lights on, have no appetite, definitely can't exercise, and don't want to think very hard. Pretty bad. I spent a lot of time doing research on nutrition, exercise and migraines and I hope to do a longer post on it later. One thing I did learn in my quest to eliminate "trigger" foods from my diet was how to finally make a decent green smoothie.

The info came from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen: their focus on gluten intolerance makes them a very attractive resource for me. To weed out nutritional intolerance, whatever they may be, they recommend an "elimination diet" based on green smoothies. I admit, I didn't really follow any particular recipe on their site because a lot of the recommended fruits contain Tyramine, a known migraine trigger. This afternoon following my yoga practice I drank a concoction of blueberries, cherries, some mango chunks, a big handful of spinach, a spoonful of unsweetened applesauce, some chilled ginger water I made last night, chia seeds, a chunk of broccoli, and a strawberry. Bananas are out, plums and raspberries are out, all citrus is out, and avocados are definitely out.

The green smoothies I make are rarely green. They are more often a sick-looking brown color, so getting the taste right is KEY. If it looks sick and tastes okay, I'm not going to drink it. If it looks okay and tastes GREAT, I'll demolish it and lick the blender clean.

Wouldn't we all rather be eating donuts?
Here is what I learned about green smoothies:
  •  Don't hold back on the blender - blend for a long, long time to eliminate chunks of leafy greens floating in your drink
  • Add cherries. Definitely add cherries.
  • Green apples add a lot of flavor - tart flavor!
  • Adding ginger water is tastier than adding plain old water. Steep some ginger in boiling water for 30 minutes then strain out the chunks.
  • Blueberries and strawberries are delicious, good for you, and help with the color, but your smoothie is still going to be a shade of reddish brown. Probably not green.
  • Kale does not break down very well in my blender. Spinach works out much better.
  • You don't need bananas.
The green smoothie mentioned above is pretty much the best part of my day now. I sit on the couch with my eyes closed and drink it very, very slowly, allowing the flavor to permeate my being. It's a relaxing but invigorating experience that makes my day.

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