Inflammation is the leading cause of accelerated aging and degenerative health.
Inflammation occurs inside the human body as it fatigues from the relentless onslaught of irritants to which it has been exposed.
Among the easiest ways to reduce inflammation is to upgrade nutrition – specifically, to increase vegetable uptake while simultaneously reducing consumption of substances your body finds irritating.
What foods a body finds irritating depends on the unique individual; however, for many people irritants will include artificial additives, sugar, flour, dairy, alcohol and caffeine.
Foods that your body finds irritating can be removed now from your weekly diet and perhaps eventually be reintroduced – intermittently and in small amounts – after intestinal permeability has healed.
There are genetic factors to inflammation, too. Ask your medical doctor about inflammation and if any inflammation markers within your blood lab-results reveal any insights into your current health trajectory.
As you become more curious about your body’s subtle responses to daily life, you begin to see clearly what foods and behaviors your own body likes best.
Many people respond favorably when they increase their daily intake of vegetables, and among the easiest ways to achieve increased vegetable intake consistently is through the use of a kitchen blender.
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The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Versus S.A.D. Inflammation
The average American doesn’t eat any more vegetables today than an American did in 1970 – despite an abundance of research published since then on the health benefits of increased vegetable consumption.
There are other foods that Americans are eating more of: 109 pounds of flour – on average – each year per person, 78 pounds of sugar, and 23 pounds of cheese.
The Standard American Diet of today (S.A.D.) is considered by many nutritional experts to increase inflammation.
Way back in 2009, I began enthusiastically publishing articles online about the benefits of the freshly made green smoothie, because I recognized smoothies as among the easiest and most delicious solutions for getting more vegetables into one’s daily diet.
When the common smoothie mistakes are avoided and smoothies are made correctly, they can help solve the common dilemma of how to get enough vegetables into your daily diet.
I believe green smoothies can be instrumental in creating a lean, strong, and healthy body, and – more importantly – reducing inflammation.
You can determine which foods and habits create inflammation in your body so that you can avoid them – in favor of foods and habits that help your body thrive. This type of self-investigation can help prevent an unnecessary increase in inflammation.
Because each person has a unique body chemistry, each of us must determine what particular foods and behaviors inspire a positive reaction, or, inflammation.
Research does reveal, however, some nutritional areas that are particularly productive to explore. One of these areas is: healthy fats.
Say Hello to Healthy Fats
Fats are a fascinating aspect of human nutrition.
What makes fats fascinating?
They can either harm you with inflammation or heal you with nourishment.
The kind of fats that are detrimental are fried foods. Nutritionally speaking, you might as well think of fried food as dead food and partially hydrogenated fats as inflammation.
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If you are a lover of fried foods and can’t imagine your life without them, I invite you to experiment with coconut oil or avocado oil. These oils can be heated to slightly higher temperatures without becoming toxic.
Though you still won’t want to deep fry anything, you can at least add avocado oil to a warm skillet and create a similar-tasting effect with a healthier result.
Nuts and seeds – such as macadamia nuts or raw sprouted pumpkin seeds – are outstanding sources of healthy fats.
If you choose animal fats (over plant-based), it’s worthwhile to invest in the best. Butter and meat from grass-fed, free-range sources are the way to go (Don’t think your body knows the difference from grass-fed versus factory-farmed? Test it out. If you listen to your body carefully, it will tell you if it registers a difference).
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How to Avoid the Biggest Diet Mistakes
Fats have gotten a bad reputation in the media over the last 30 years, but now that’s starting to change. The amazing thing about healthy fats is that they can help protect you from glucose spikes.
Complex carbohydrates are an important part of your diet, but you have to be judicious. Even complex carbohydrates (though better than simple carbohydrates) still end up as sugar eventually.
In most people, excess sugar creates inflammation. Healthy fats help to “time release” your blood sugar – making its distribution more even and protecting you from unhealthy surges.
Having too many carbs and not enough healthy fats is one of the biggest nutritional mistakes that many people make.
Fats, when used strategically, help your body to heal and prevent hunger.↑ healthy fats ↓ carbs = less inflammation. (Here's how your blender can help.)Click To Tweet
Healthy fats help your skin look better and your glands to operate more effectively.
Of course, you still have to be careful not to overdo it, even with healthy fats. Monitor your heart’s health under the care of your medical doctor and ask your doctor about healthy fats, especially as they relate to inflammation (you might be surprised by the answer).
Using Smoothies to Get More Vegetables into Your Diet
We often hear that the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables is five servings a day, but the truly health-conscious know that five servings are the minimum.
Though fruit is helpful to the human body when consumed in small amounts, vegetables are best when consumed in larger amounts – this is why the common phrase “fruits and veg” is misleading.
Fruits and vegetables are two very different things, and the body requires dramatically different amounts.
Too much fruit leads to too much fructose, which can create problems.
Vegetables, on the other hand, can be extremely healthy for the human body. The best way to pack-in as much vegetable nutrition as possible is with a daily green smoothie, freshly made from raw foods.
Simply put, a smoothie is a blended beverage with a thick, milkshake-like consistency made up mostly of fruit and vegetables.
Throw some produce and a few other interesting ingredients into the blender in the correct ratios – and in a minute or two you’ll have an energizing health drink that’s as filling as a meal.
The Art and Science of Making a Great Smoothie
Of course, finding the right mix of fruit and veg can sound daunting, but blending is actually an easy and fun experience that could (and probably will) improve your life for the better.
Longer-term studies suggest that high intakes of fructose can be harmful [low-grade chronic systemic inflammation or intestinal permeability] if they are paired with excess calorie intake and visceral fat accumulation.” – Kamal Patel
Facts about the Smoothie Lifestyle
- smoothies became popular in the USA in the late 60s when ice cream vendors and health food stores began selling them
- it’s thought that the ’60s resurgence of vegetarianism lead to searching for new ways to consume vegetables
- the smoothie is a descendant of pureed fruit drinks which originated in Brazil
- commercial mainstream smoothies usually contain factory-farmed dairy products but there are actually many other options for a liquid base such as almond milk, pineapple juice, or good old-fashioned water
- smoothies are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine
Birth of the Green Smoothie Movement
A Green Smoothie has its name because it’s, well, green. The key ingredient is raw, dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach or kale because of their rich nutritional value.
If you’re not used to eating these veggies you might find the taste peculiar at first. Don’t worry, that’s what the fruit is for. Using more fruit, in the beginning, is a great way to sweeten the taste with natural ingredients.
You also might be interested in sweetening your glass a bit more by adding a half-teaspoon of honey. You can lower that amount when you’re further into your smoothie adventure and your taste buds begin to evolve to appreciate flavors that are less sweet.
When finding a fruit and veg balance think in terms of ratios:
- a good beginner’s ratio is 60% fruit and 40% veggies
- when you’re intermediate, you’ll want 80% veggies and only 20% fruit
- when you’re advanced, you might have no fruit at all, except a little fresh lime juice.
The only way you’ll know your starting balance is to play around with the mix, find what ratio gives you the most pleasure, and move toward more veg at your own pace. I’m at a point now where I enjoy having my morning smoothie with almost no fruit at all – usually just a bit of lemon juice or a very small chunk of frozen banana.
10 Delicious Tricks for Making the Healthiest Smoothies
I get asked more questions about green smoothies than any other topic, so I finally sat down and crafted a new, free book that reveals how to use your blender to become lean and energized – and it includes my five best smoothie recipes.
Some diet regimens help you trim up, but they’re not sustainable in the long term and they don’t necessarily make you healthier.
After two decades as a professional fitness coach, I was able to finally recognize what helped people to lose fat and get healthier.
The secret, I realized, was to find clever ways to slip more vegetables into one’s daily diet.
Vegetables have an uncanny ability to help the human body shed belly fat – plus with their high antioxidant profile, they’re generally fantastic for one’s overall health.
The recipes in the free 5 Best Smoothie Recipes guide you through beginner and intermediate-level blended drinks, with tips on how to create your own advanced recipes whenever you’re ready.
These are special nutrient-dense, delicious recipes.
In fact, when people ask me about green smoothies in person, I have to watch myself, because I’m so passionate about freshly made green smoothies – they’ve been so helpful to me in reaching my physique goals – that I could talk excitedly about them for an hour.
Fortunately, in my new, free 37-page book, I’ve included only the most important information that you need to know.
I put careful planning into these recipes – their ingredients and ratios – and created a sequence that intentionally helps you ease from sweeter beginning-level fruit smoothies into intermediate-level, life-improving green smoothies.
Meanwhile, I’ve provided ten handy tips below, to help you immediately improve the taste and quality of your smoothies and protein shakes.
1. Understand that it’s a Lifestyle and not a “Diet”
The effects on your energy level and health can be dramatic when you infuse your daily diet with an abundance of raw foods, dark-leafy greens, and superfoods.
When I started drinking smoothies, I wasn’t trying to lose belly fat or any weight at all. I just wanted to be healthier, stronger, and have more energy.
I was thinking longterm – to get as many nutrients into my body as I needed to:
- feel fantastic
- extend my lifespan
- prevent illness
- age brilliantly
But then, a funny thing started to happen: my waist started to shrink…I lost four inches of belly fat without even thinking about it.
Once you get into the swing of making smoothies, even your weekly grocery shopping will become easier.
Ultimately, smoothies help me save money because I rarely eat out anymore (and, of course, nothing is more expensive than illness).
Also, now that I have smoothies each day, I spend far less money on nutritional supplements, because I get many of them naturally now, from whole-food sources, within my smoothies.
And I rarely have to grab “emergency” food on the go anymore for an unexpected blood sugar drop – because my blood sugar rarely drops suddenly, like it sometimes used to. The recipes in the 5 Best Smoothie Recipes provide me with sustained energy.
It takes less time to make a smoothie than it does eggs or oatmeal, especially when you factor in clean-up.
2. Experiment with Fresh Ingredients
When you first begin making healthier smoothies or protein shakes, you will learn through experimentation how to get the most out of your blender – and (as this is most likely a daily activity) it doesn’t take long to discover what works best for you.
Within a few weeks, you’ll have invented many of your own tricks.
Read up on your favorite fruits and vegetables so that you can know their unique benefits, and as you become attuned to your body’s needs you’ll be able to tell what which ones to add – or combine – with your recipe.
You’ll want ingredients that are high in:
- energy boosters
- strength enhancers
- detoxifying qualities
3. Start at Low Speed
When blending, use the lowest setting first and then speed it up. This stops the larger chunks of frozen fruits and vegetables from overworking or jamming your motor.
4. Use Natural Sugars Only
A smoothie can be so sweet it’ll be a dessert. Using sweet fruits can really satisfy your sweet tooth – without resorting to unhealthy man-made, overly refined sugars.
This is exactly how smoothies can help you to become leaner because you can satisfy cravings (for less healthy, more caloric, more processed foods) with a smoothie.
You really won’t need to sweeten your drink with honey or agave if you put the right amount of fruit in (And, down the road, after you become adept at smoothies, you’ll even find that you need less fruit and that you prefer more vegetables. This is a happy day because as you decrease refined sugars and fructose, your health has no choice but to improve).
5. Balance Your pH
It’s recommended that you keep your diet 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. Most popular store items and processed foods are acidic but you can use your smoothie to help find balance by making it out of alkaline vegetables.
6. Add Just Enough Liquid to Cover the Blades
To stop your smoothie from being too watered down only add enough liquid base to cover the blades at first. Once you’ve blended it you can then add more liquids to find the consistency and taste you enjoy.
Here are some ideas for what you can use for your liquid base in a smoothie or a protein shake:
- almond milk
- hemp milk
- spring water
- pomegranate juice
- green tea
- coconut milk or coconut water
7. Think “Macros”
Macronutrients are the three types of food required in large amounts by the human body. If your smoothie is meant to be a meal – and not merely a snack – then it will need to contain the complete macronutrient profile of a healthy meal:
- Fats: ingredients that are high in healthy fat include avocados, coconut, chia, and flaxseeds.
- Protein: sprouted seeds, raw nuts, dark greens and plant protein powders
- Carbohydrates: fruits are a good source of carbs (in moderation)
You need all three of the above nutritional categories, but how much of all three depends on you and your needs and your unique metabolic type (some people handle carbs better than most, while there are other people who thrive with higher fat, and athletes generally find that they need more protein).
Fats will help you to feel full and satisfied after a smoothie and help the smoothie to give you a sustained energy for hours.
Protein comes in all sorts of forms, you can get a vegetable protein powder or a hemp protein powder and add a couple of tablespoons to your smoothie to help give you strength and repair tissues.
You want to keep an eye on those carbs to make sure they don’t get so high that your blood glucose levels rise (which is not good for your body when it’s done relentlessly).
Fad diets will tell you to avoid carbohydrates but complex carbs (especially vegetables) can be an essential high-octane fuel and very desirable for your body (especially on days you exercise).
If you are just starting out with green smoothies you’ll probably want more carbs. For beginners, carbs often come from fruit. For advanced blenders, carbs tend to come more often from vegetables.
8. Use a Blender with a Powerful Motor
Before adding ice to the ingredients, blend what you have and do a taste test.
Ice will water down your smoothie a bit, so tasting beforehand will give you a better idea of how much ice you’ll really want.
The better the blender, the more easily it deals with ice. A good blender loves ice, so invest in a great blender if you can. It’s worth it. The best blenders usually come with great warranties.
With a high-quality blender that has a super strong motor, you’ll be surprised what you can toss in and have it come out with a milkshake-like consistency (more on blenders near the end of this article).
9. Evolve Your Recipe
As your health and vitality improve, it will be time to develop your recipe further to increase the positive results by fine-tuning your nutrition. There are so many smoothie options, but which smoothie is best for the unique needs of your own body?
If you’re just starting out with smoothies – and you’ve been eating the standard modern diet – then you probably want to:
- start out first with a banana smoothie
- then later as your taste buds evolve, you can step-up to a berry smoothie
- and finally, once you’ve become more experienced using a blender, you can graduate to a green smoothie.
Bananas and smoothies are best friends, especially for people new to smoothie-making. As long as you enjoy digestive regularity (translation: you’re not easily constipated) then bananas are a usually a good way to begin. Here’s a very valuable tip: freeze your bananas first!
I tend toward vegan ingredients, but many beginners enjoy adding a little yogurt to their banana smoothies. You’ll probably be adding bananas, ice, yogurt, and nut butter to this entry-level smoothie. Refreshing, with the creamy richness of a milkshake.
Berries are loaded with life-affirming antioxidants. Antioxidants (see more about antioxidants below) help you feel young and heal cells.
The next step up from a banana smoothie is to try using berries instead – blueberries are super healthy and delicious, but feel free to mix in whatever other organic frozen berries you can find at your grocery store or local farmers market.
Slip in a bit of cucumber and celery, too, and try using seeds instead of nuts, and plant protein instead of whey.
10. Rotate Your Greens
Okay, so you’ve started drinking green smoothies, and you’ve begun to find a balance of fruit and vegetables that your taste buds eagerly welcome each morning. You’ve even probably started to notice improvements in your mood, energy level, and general well-being.
The challenge is to try to add as many leafy green vegetables into your smoothie as you can, while still enjoying the flavor and texture. However, it’s also a good idea to rotate your greens.
Plants need their leaves to survive but are constantly losing their leaves because animals eat them. To put animals off their leaves, the plants protect themselves by mixing all that nourishment with small amounts of alkaloids – which can be a sort of poison.
Some people feel better when they lightly steam their kale or spinach before putting it into the blender (some are sensitive to the oxalates within raw vegetables, especially if they eat high amount for long periods of time).
In my opinion, most people have such a deficient vegetable intake, that the last thing they have to worry about is having too many vegetables.
However, if over-consuming vegetables still concern you, then you might consider trying a variety of greens, using different ones each day. Perhaps that way you will be less likely to let alkaloids build up in your system (in nature, animals like chimpanzees will constantly mix their greens by picking at different plants).
The same can be said for nuts and seeds, and some nutritionists believe that sprouted seeds are better in this regard.
But perhaps the best reason to have several different smoothie recipes that you’re always improving and evolving, is that it will keep blending fun and interesting for you.
Through your own experimentation and sense of adventure, you can create your own smoothie recipe that will taste delicious and, over time, help your body to feel stronger and more powerful.
A well-made smoothie is thick, icy, a tad fruity and unquestionably delicious – and can help to trim and strengthen the human body.
What is most needed to make a great smoothie is a high-powered blender and access to fresh produce.
Vegetables Can Transform Your Life
Vegetables are a real game-changer.
Action Step: today, I invite you to look objectively – through the “vegetable lens” – at your own food intake:
- Are there vegetables in each meal?
- What about in your snacks?
- What kind of vegetables – any dark, leafy greens?
Go ahead and eat as you normally eat, but just make a mental note of how many vegetables you’re consuming.
I believe that it’s in many people’s best interests to consume at least 4 servings of vegetables each day.
If you want to see what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend (based on your age, gender, and activity level), you can use this simple calculator. Please keep in mind that in my opinion, their recommended number represents the bare minimum (rather than the ideal amount).
Another great thing about eating more vegetables is that it then usually also means that you’re eating less of those foods that create inflammation inside the body.
Advanced Tip: most people’s diets are so deficient in vegetables that any increase is probably beneficial; however, it is possible to overdo it. For example, f you’re eating several green smoothies a day loaded with raw spinach, then your body could become slightly toxic over time:
- you might develop a sensitivity to lectins or oxalate acid (irritants within plants that they produce in an attempt to protect themselves from bugs).
- if you’re a man over the age of 40, you have to be careful to prevent excess iron from building up in the blood and tissues of your body.
- be sure that your smoothie recipes also contain healthy sources of fats, otherwise, it will be too high in carbs and sugars.
I encourage you to ask your medical doctor, nutritionist, and/or naturopath about what the ideal vegetable intake is for your own body’s unique needs, and also what percentage of those vegetables should be raw-versus-cooked.
We hear about them often in the media, but what are antioxidants and why do they matter so much?
Oxidative stress is believed to be an integral part of many human diseases, and antioxidants are the solution to oxidative stress. But, are you getting enough antioxidants in your daily diet?
Your body is made of tissue and your tissue is made of cells. Ultimately, the point of healthy living is to keep the cells of your body whole, healed and happy.
You can think of antioxidants as the opposite of oxidative stress. Antioxidants are a nutritional compound – present in certain plant foods – that have an uncanny ability to assist our bodies in feeling vital.
Antioxidants can prevent, or halt, the damage that reactive compounds are doing inside of our bodies.
A small percentage of the oxygen we breathe is converted into reactive compounds. These compounds can cause damage to our bodies at a cellular level. This is the reason that antioxidants are a vital part of creating optimum health.
Our bodies use the oxygen in the air we breathe to help create the energy we need in our daily lives. The O2 we breathe in is then converted to H2O and CO2. These are easily discarded by our bodies.
But for that O2 that gets caught inside, antioxidants can effectively neutralize those reactive compounds that might result.
It gets even better. Antioxidants protect our cells’ ability to accurately reproduce themselves. This slows down the aging process and helps us fight off a variety of diseases.
One of the reasons that raw food enthusiasts believe so passionately in uncooked food is that there are often more antioxidant enzymes and vitamins present in their most natural state (as opposed to synthetic supplements) accompanied with that dietary fiber that the body also loves.
Antioxidants help prevent cell damage from oxidants, by stopping those free radical chain reactions at their source. Insufficient levels of antioxidants in a human body can create an environment in which disease can flourish.
When your body recreates and replaces a particular cell, it’s not quite as effective as it was the time before. That’s part of what “aging” is. The cell loses a bit of its luster and perfection.
What Foods Have Antioxidants?
Here is a handy list of foods rich in antioxidants that I found over at CalorieLab.com:
- Apples: polyphenols
- Blackberries: anthocyanins
- Black tea: theaflavins
- Blueberries: anthocyanins
- Broccoli: polyphenols
- Cherries: anthocyanins
- Cherry Tomatoes: quercetin
- Coffee: phenolic acids
- Cranberries: procyanidin
- Dark Chocolate: epicatechin
- Green Tea: polyphenols
- Oranges: hesperidin
- Peaches: epicatechin and phenolic acids
- Plums: epicatechin and phenolic acids
- Raspberries: anthocyanins
- Red Grapes: anthocyanins and phenolic acids
- Red Onions: quercetin
- Spinach: polyphenols
- Strawberries: anthocyanins and ellagic acid
With the exception of onions, all of the above-listed ingredients go beautifully into freshly prepared smoothies. All you need is a sense of adventure!
Smoothies are great for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, and for dinner, you can have super salads as a way of getting more of these antioxidants into your daily diet. Hint: if you’re going to make super salads a regular part of your nutritional regimen, I recommend you pull out that food processor from the back of your kitchen cupboard and dust it off — it will save you hours of time each week.
Which of these foods listed above are you willing to try more often?
Yes, Green Shakes Look Weird
Newcomers to healthy eating are often dubious about drinking anything that is the color green, which is understandable. If you’re new to the peculiar world of green smoothies and intrigued by the idea of dramatically improving your health and your physique, then I encourage you to start out slowly.
In the beginning, make your drinks less green and more sweet, by using more fruits than vegetables.
Over time, however, you will develop a palate that allows for more green and less sweet (in fact, if you’re trying to kick the sugar habit, green smoothies are a great way to gradually wean yourself off of refined sugars within your daily diet).
Similarly, if you’re trying to keep your body nourished with quality protein, but at the same time want to decrease the amount of animal protein that you’re eating, then green smoothies can be the perfect solution.
Generally, green smoothies are a highly effective way to “sneak in” superfoods and other healthy ingredients that otherwise would go missing from your diet.
Will My Body Respond Positively to a Daily Green Smoothie?
If you pay close attention to how your body feels after you eat or drink something, it’s a great way to know how that food collaborates (or doesn’t) with your unique chemistry.
- do you feel lean or bloated?
- was that energy sustained, or did it drop off sharply?
Green smoothies give me the cleanest high. I almost always have one in the mornings, and sometimes in the afternoons, too – particularly after an intense workout.
Personally, I believe that when you nourish your body with plant-based antioxidants, healthy fats, quality protein, superfoods and vegetables first thing in the morning, it has a gradual, detoxifying impact on the body that, in time, improves metabolism regulation and overall health.
Also, the green smoothie usually ends up replacing a breakfast food that would have been more likely to lead to inflammation.
In my case, I dropped body fat and felt stronger than I had in years.
You may not agree with me. You might have a different experience than I did, but I do encourage you to experiment with green smoothies and discover for yourself whether or not they can be helpful to you in reducing inflammation.
What Goes into a Green Smoothie?
The liquid base of a green smoothie is often either coconut milk, green tea, or spring water.
For beginners, the “green” in a green smoothie can be frozen organic spinach, some fresh garden cucumber and a bit of lime juice.
For improved texture (and minerals), beginners can add half of a pre-peeled frozen banana and a touch of coconut flour.
For additional protein you can add some plant protein powder (such as hemp) and/or a high-quality whey. My secret ingredient? Raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds.
For advanced-level smoothie aficionados, add some fresh kale, parsley, chard, and/or celery.
Feeling ambitious? You can always add additional superfoods such as maca, acai, locally harvested bee pollen and/or blue-green algae.
The Art of Pre-Soaking to Lessen Inflammation
In the video above, I discuss how pre-soaking nuts, seeds, and grains can add nutritional value to your meals, while also improving texture and flavor.
Just a few of the items I like to soak the night before are raw almonds, rice, and steel-cut oats. The almonds and rice I soak in order to prepare homemade almond/rice milk (better for you than the boxed milks on the grocery store shelf, and with a much more delicious taste). I drain the old water, rinse with new water, then cook (rice) or blend raw (almonds).
Recipe for a Breakfast Green Smoothie
You might be at a point in your journey toward improved health where you’re ready to try a recipe that is a bit more advanced.
I share recipes in a particular sequence intentionally, to allow your palate time to acclimate from the standard modern diet (salty, refined sugars, trans fats, processed grains) to healthier eating – because if someone who is used to the typical modern diet tries suddenly eating very healthy food, it often doesn’t go well.
The taste buds and psyche need time to gradually transition from unhealthy factory ingredients to healthier “primal” ones.
Simply having one freshly made green smoothie a day can work wonders for your health; however, there are some tricks to making the best green smoothies:
- the first ingredient that you add to the blender is always water, but only enough to barely cover the blades. No more than that! You can always add more water at the end, after blending if you need to (but you can’t take the water out once you’ve already blended).
- beginners can use a chunk of frozen banana to help give the smoothie a more ice cream milkshake-like flavor and texture.
- if your smoothie doesn’t taste good, it’s because you added too many vegetables and not enough fruit and ice. Fruit and ice will help you ease into green smoothies. Later, after your tastebud preferences begin to evolve, you can start gradually adding more vegetables and less fruit. However: work up to that gradually.
- I often add a bit of raw kale, spinach, cilantro or chard to my smoothies. I also like parsley, celery, cucumber and broccoli. But I try to vary the vegetables from day to day.
- nutritional expert Dave Asprey has explained that it’s statistically rare (1 out of every 45,000) for an egg to have salmonella, and even then it’s usually on the outside shell. Ask your doctor if raw egg is okay for you. I always use organic, free range eggs, and I wash the shell of the egg, and my hands, carefully.
- the color of the smoothie depends on what superfoods and fruits you use, and in what amounts. A smoothie can be dark green, light green, purple or red. If you mix different color fruits you might end up with brown — which tastes fine, though it looks a bit odd.
- feel free to modify this recipe; listen to how your body feels after you drink it. Your body will tell you what it likes, if you listen closely.
PART 1 (soak):
optional: superfood powder
optional: bee pollen
parsley or kale
a bit of fruit (frozen peaches, banana or mango chunks)
optional: 1 raw egg yolk (clean shells and hands carefully)
Serves 2 / under 250 calories per serving. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I start soaking the “Part 1” ingredients in the blender:
2/3 cup spring water (enough to almost cover blades)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 dash cayenne
2 dashes ginger
1 teaspoon coconut flour
optional: 1/2 teaspoon superfood powder blend (such as blue green algae), or plant protein powder or whey protein powder for heavy exercise days
1 teaspoon chia seeds
optional: 1 teaspoon bee pollen (locally harvested)
1/8 cup of raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 brazil nut
optional: 1 prune (non-sorbate, pitted)
optional: 9 dried goji berries
Allow previous ingredients to soak in blender for 10 minutes or so, then continue:
3 small florets of broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 small peeled cucumber
1 stalk of celery
1/2 cup fresh parsley
fruit (peaches, pineapple mango, berries, banana)
1 raw egg (clean the shells first before you crack the egg — for safety)
3 ice cubes
I encourage you to bookmark this article as it contains valuable resources and links that you can refer to often as you undertake improvements to your weekly diet.
A green smoothie each day helps me to stay fit.
Actually, I often have two a day – breakfast and lunch – though the recipes for each are completely different.
Green smoothies give me the zest and inspiration I need for a good workout.
Green smoothies are potentially life-improving, can help to lessen belly fat and can increase strength.
I’m guessing that your body will thank you for it.
How to Make a Tangy Lime Smoothie
I adhere to the health philosophy that gradually improving lifestyle habits can lead to a better, healthier body.
My goal for my own life was to eat more living, raw foods each day and to lessen my intake of sugar. However, if I had gone 100% raw and 100% sugar-free overnight, I never would have stood a chance. It would have felt like an extreme diet to me and then I would have fallen off the wagon.
However, over the last 7 years, I have been slowly making better nutritional choices, and because I’ve done this one small step at a time, I’ve stuck with it.
Lime Revealed as a Cancer-Fighting Super Fruit
We all know that there are several factors that contribute to different types of cancers. Many of them – like genetics and other environmental factors – may be out of our control. However, one thing we can control is our own diets. Here are some unexpected superfoods revealed by Dr. Mehmet Cingiz Öz:
- Lima Beans: 1 cup/day = 25% reduction in breast cancer.
- Parsley: 1 cup chopped parsley each day starves ovarian cancer (excellent when chopped up and tossed in the blender as one of your green smoothie ingredients.)
- Apricots: 7 a day lessens the risk of stomach cancer by 47%. 7 apricots sound like a lot, but get the sun-dried, organic ones. They’re just as good.
- Limes: squeeze 1/2 cup per day. You can mix with water and make limeade, or, you can even use lime as a salt substitute. Lime seems to impair lung cancer growth.
Since first learning about how fresh limes might help to heal lung tissue, I’ve been experimenting more with this super fruit.
It turns out, limes are actually pretty easy to slip into your weekly diet. And I’m convinced that within my own body, a teaspoon or two of fresh lime juice will create less inflammation than many other flavor-enhancers would.
The taste of lime refreshes. If you value simplicity, consider squeezing half a lime into a glass of water in the morning (if that’s too intense for you, start with just 7 drops).
If you drink a lot of tea and coffee in the mornings, you might enjoy lime’s alkalinizing effect (sometimes I feel a bit acidic after having tea of coffee in the morning, and lime water seems to help).
More importantly, lime juice tastes amazing in your breakfast smoothie.
Lime Smoothie Recipe
A lime smoothie is zesty and good for your health – if made properly. Try my recipe:
- cold tea (enough to cover the blades of your blender)
- juice of a freshly squeezed lime
- dash of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of chia seed
- 1/2 teaspoon of flax seed
- 1/2 teaspoon of blue-green algae
- 1 raw brazil nut
- 1/2 teaspoon of almond butter
- 1 stick of celery (chopped)
- 1 cucumber (chopped)
- 1 cup of fresh kale (or 1/2 cup of frozen kale)
- 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli
- 1/2 small frozen banana
- 4 ice cubes
Here are some tips to ensure your smoothie comes out delectable:
- for an advanced-level smoothie with detoxifying qualities, substitute fresh cilantro for the banana
- if the smoothie is too thick and clogging the blades, add just a tablespoon of water and “burp” your carafe by giving it a vigorous shake or two
- when freezing bananas, peel them first and place in storage baggie
- instead of drinking your smoothie quickly, “chew” it as you drink it
Smoothie Recipe for Sustained Energy and Improved Health
When you can get fresh fruits and vegetables into your body before 10 am, then your day is off to a great start! In the video below, I share insider tips on getting the most healthy energy – including fiber, vitamins, and minerals – into your morning smoothie.
For beginners, those nice folks who are little skeptical about including vegetables in their smoothie recipes, I suggest starting out with fruit berry smoothies because you can slip in small amounts of celery, cucumber, and spinach, along with ample amounts of organic berries.
You get the vibrant red or purple color and refreshing taste of the berries, but you still manage to consume some vegetables, too (even though you can’t taste the vegetables, because the predominant flavor is fruity).
I’m a big believer in the virtues of living, raw food – and this recipe for a protein shake is loaded with fantastic, alkaline foods.
At first, it might seem strange to put vegetables into a morning blended protein shake, but again, in the most beginning and intermediate-level recipes, you don’t taste veggies as much as you taste the fruit. And the vegetables are key to reducing inflammation.
I often put fresh lemon, cucumber, celery, parsley, and spinach in my morning drinks, and the taste is smooth and refreshing. You may not believe that, but when you try it, you’ll know what I mean.
For lunch, my smoothies are even greener and more “hardcore” – with chard, kale, and fresh sunflower and radish sprouts – but I’ve been at this green smoothie thing for several years now and I would not expect someone just starting out (with smoothies) to jump-in to the advanced, super-green ones.
Wherever you happen to be on your nutritional journey, you simply start from where you are and move forward.
This was one of my first, favorite green smoothies recipes, back when I was first easing-into the blender lifestyle. Try this blender recipe for lean muscle, high energy, and improved health.
For you paleo hardcore athletes or vegan raw-fooders out there, you’ll want more advanced green smoothie recipes because this recipe below is perfect for people just starting out with green smoothies – those that are more accustomed to the standard modern diet but who want to make small steps to improve their health:
Smoothie Recipe for Two People
- 1/2 cup liquid base (hemp milk, coconut milk, iced tea)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- frozen organic fruit (blueberry, cherry, pineapple, mango, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon flax seed (or chia seed) meal
- 1 teaspoon raw pumpkin seed (or almond) butter
- 1/2 cup frozen organic spinach
- 1 teaspoon goji berries
- frozen organic banana
- plant protein powder
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of ginger
- dash of turmeric
- tablespoon of goat’s milk yogurt (optional…you won’t taste it)
- agave nectar (optional sweetener, definitely not necessary)
I was born in raised in California, so smoothies have been a part of my life for over 51 years. However, it wasn’t until several years ago – when I began experimenting with taking the smoothie concept to the next level – that I realized just how transforming smoothies can be.
To say that green smoothies have improved my life would be a masterpiece of understatement.
My health is vastly improved – I feel younger, have more energy, look better (no more puffy, tired face), and at this exact moment, I have washboard abs.
Grain-Free Dessert Recipe for Banana Ice Cream
For some people, they can’t lose weight if they can’t have dessert because they won’t stick to the program. If you’re one of those people then it’s important to find a regimen that won’t leave you hungry and won’t leave you feeling deprived.
A lifestyle of less inflammation can include desserts. The important consideration is not if we have dessert, but rather: when we have it and what it is.
Once in a while, on heavy workout days, I have been known to enjoy making a frozen soft-serve dessert.
I often garnish the dessert with a big wedge of dark chocolate – it contrasts beautifully with the flavors of key lime and banana.
I refer to healthy treats as “fitness desserts” because I reward myself with them on days when I have an intense HIIT workout.
The video below shows a delicious fitness dessert that you can make on those days that you exercise.
This banana soft-serve dessert is lower in calories, easy to make, high in nutrients, and immensely refreshing and satisfying.
This recipe has about 140 calories per serving, but if you’ve had an intense workout on a particular day and feel like you want more calories, you can increase the number of your favorite ingredients – and even top it off with some dark chocolate chunks (or unsweetened carob chips).
How I Lost Weight on Fitness Desserts
I’m not going to lie. I want to look good naked.
However, what I care even more about than how I look, is how healthy I am and how much inflammation I can reduce.
I was as surprised as anyone that eating healthy desserts helped me to lose those last stubborn eight pounds of fat.
I had already lost weight by eating foods less likely to lead to inflammation – and gained muscle tone, by doing a type of exercise called cross-functional, high-intensity interval training – however, there still was belly fat that seemed determined to hang on.
My previous dietary changes – of adding freshly made green smoothies, organic super salads, and lean free-range turkey to my weekly menu – already had me feeling stronger and more energized, but I also knew that stomach fat is among the least healthy fat in the body, and I wanted that remaining fat gone.
Since my breakfast, lunch, and dinner were already nutritious and the appropriate number of calories, I realized eventually that the only thing left to do was change my nightly dessert.
Because I was still having a dessert each evening, I reasoned that it was my dessert ritual that was making that visceral and subcutaneous belly fat stick stubbornly to my midsection.
Previously, my nightly desserts had been a “reward” for behaving all day.
I reasoned that if I ate healthily during the day, then I deserved a reward – such as a large cookie or a piece of cake.
However, it soon became clear that those last pounds weren’t going to go anywhere unless I made one final change to my daily nutritional regimen: I had to modify my dessert habit. I’m a big believer in the idea that, if you want to make a significant improvement in your life, look first to your simplest daily habits.
What could I eat for dessert that was around 250 calories (enough so that I wouldn’t get hungry again before bed but not so much that I was adding fat cells in my sleep), and that wouldn’t make my face puffy in the morning?
More importantly, what could I eat that would enable me to wake up in the morning with a lean, flat stomach?
So I started experimenting. And I was eventually able to create a dessert that was extremely delicious, zesty and satisfying, yet also helped me to wake the next morning looking refreshed, feeling great, and with enough energy for a productive day of work. Success!
I hate to admit it, but the better I felt in the morning, the better mood I was in throughout the day, and the easier it was for me to enjoy other people’s company. Ultimately, here is what I decided:
- my nightly dessert would be only for those days when I worked out; if I exercise, I get dessert that night (incentive!)
- my new dessert must be free of flour or refined sugar; I’ve noticed that grain flours tend to convert to body fat more easily (even though those cookies and cakes I had been eating were gluten-free, they were still made with flour)
Fortunately, I have an excellent blender, and that made experimenting fun, and I was able to discover a dessert that is healthy, delicious, and fast-and-easy to make.
Here is my recipe for a delectable frozen dessert that serves two people. I use organic ingredients whenever possible.
- 2/3 cup of spring water or iced tea (almost enough to cover blender blades)
- fresh juice of half a large lime (or, an entire small lime)
- ½ teaspoon Biotics whey protein
- ½ teaspoon of coconut flour or fresh coconut
- ½ teaspoon of raw macadamia/cashew nut butter
- dash of cinnamon or vanilla
- 7 fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup of frozen spinach (¼ cup for beginners, 1 cup for advanced)
- 1 peeled frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1 Tablespoon of unsweetened rice or hemp milk
- 3 ice cubes
For a shake, add a touch more liquid to the recipe and you can serve in a tall glass. Or, for a more traditional-looking dessert, serve in a parfait glass or a bowl and top with carob and dark chocolate chips.
A single serving of this scrumptious dessert has under 140 calories; if you’re feeling naughty and want to throw on two tablespoons of the chocolate/carob topping, add another 80 calories.
I don’t like to have spinach every single day in a row, so I will intermittently substitute the fruits and dark, leafy greens to keep things interesting. Frozen peaches and raspberries can replace the mango, and chard can replace the spinach.
Though adding dark leafy greens to your dessert recipe might seem alien to you, you don’t taste the vegetables, you only taste the fruit, lime, and mint. Not only does this allow you to sneak in another serving of vegetables into your daily diet to help lessen potential inflammation, but it also helps keep the dessert from being too overly sweet and acidic.
For many people, to suddenly cut out all desserts would feel like a crash-diet. Dieting tends to set people up for binge-eating because it’s so extreme and creates a feeling of deprivation.
However, by gradually substituting healthier treats for more traditional ones, you can, over time, wean yourself off of refined sugars and processed grains permanently, thereby lessening your inflammation. This is why recipes for fitness-desserts can be so helpful.
If eating healthier is a relatively new experience for you, add more fruit to this recipe. Or, if you’ve been at healthy eating for a while, you can try gradually using less fruit each time you make it.
If you want to reduce inflammation as quickly as possible, you might consider doing what I did. I took three days off work, put a stack of novels next to my bed, and went cold-turkey – removing all fruit, grains, dairy, and caffeine all at once. It was an intense experience!
- At the end of 3 days, I could feel my inflammation lessening.
- At the end of 3 months, my inflammation lessened significantly.
- Eventually, I was able to reintroduce previously forbidden foods, intermittently and in small amounts.
Now I know, the easiest way to reduce inflammation is to prevent inflammation from occurring in the first place.
Inflammation is a complex topic, but an important one. Please ask your own doctor about inflammation. I also encourage you to pick up the book The Wahls Protocol by medical doctor Terry Wahls who has done extensive research on what causes inflammation and what heals inflammation.
What Blender Should I Buy?
What type of blender should you get to complement your new healthier lifestyle and your personal mission to lessen inflammation?
When it comes to smoothie-making there is one simple rule by which all smoothies abide: a good smoothie requires a good blender.
A smoothie needs to be smooth – I mean, come on, it’s in the name. To help make that smooth, rich, milkshake-like texture happen, you’ll need to invest in a good quality blender.
If you already have a blender, then that’s cool, you can carry on if it suits your needs, especially when first starting out with smoothie-making.
But pulverizing vegetables, seeds, nuts, frozen fruits, and ice is tough work, and you really want a blender that can handle those thicker ingredients.
The cheaper blenders may not completely liquidize your drink, and there is also a risk of burning out the motor or even stripping the coupler.
Over time, as you become more advanced in your blending, you’ll find that you become not only more adventurous with your ingredients, but also more of a smoothie aficionado – and then you might be ready to upgrade.
It sounds like a funny thing to say, I know, but the fact is that an excellent blender can be life-changing. It can allow you to more easily make foods that might lessen inflammation.
Best Blender Reviews 2018
When comparing blenders the general consensus – among people who are passionate about freshly made green smoothies and healthy living – is that these are the favorite, most-cherished brands:
- Magic Bullet
I would say that Vitamix is probably the winner. The manufacturer is very good about honoring the warranty (should anything happen to your blender) and Vitamix owners are generally very enthusiastic about their blenders. I encourage you to get the blender that matches your unique needs. I have a Vitamix and a Blendtec. I like the Blendtec carafe a bit better; on the other hand, I like the Vitamix lid a lot better (less likely to come off mid-blend).
What size blender do you want? If you and your family are all having smoothies you probably want a huge one. Vitamix has an 8-cup carafe (the jug) which can easily be split four ways. Blendtec now has a 4-quart carafe size – that’s absolutely massive.
If your household doesn’t have the same tastes (and what family does?), then there is a Magic Bullet Blender with multiple smaller carafes allowing each family member to make their own smoothie without having to wait for the other to finish and wash up the carafe.
You might also want to choose the blender size based on the available space in your kitchen, as your counter might already be crowded and it can be frustrating trying to fit a blender into an already-crowded cupboard. (Then again, you might find that – over time – you use your blender so often that it deserves priority space on your kitchen countertop.)
The power of the motor and the sharpness of the blade are really important.
Generally, the stronger the blender the more expensive it is, but it will save you time when your powerhouse of a blender can obliterate your veggies in 30 seconds.
The extra-smooth texture is also fantastic.
Though I personally prefer Vitamix (their warranty is amazing), Blendtec is another brand that is also famous for its strength, and for the funny video series ‘Will It Blend?’ which shows many “scientific” experiments where they check to see if things like a Justin Bieber doll or the latest iPad will blend (the answer is usually: yes).
Be sure to check the other functions as a blender isn’t just for smoothies. They can do a variety of other things, so see which one suits your culinary likes (Vitamix, for instance, will heat-up if left on for a few minutes. This is a great way to make warm soup in five minutes).
A blender with a power-dial is great, as you can use it like a food processor on the lower settings.
I have a Vitamix in my home and my office and basically use it throughout the entire day, every day. I make fresh greens smoothies, healthy coffee and tea beverages, healthy frozen desserts, homemade almond milk, any food I can think of that might help me lessen inflammation when it replaces a less-healthy food.
There are other things you may want to think about when purchasing your blender.
A well-made smoothie is loaded with antioxidants.
- Dampener: The Vitamix comes with a dampener which is a sort of prodding stick to allow you to push all the ingredients down. Very helpful at times;
- Base Size: Blendtec has a wide base which means things are less likely to get clogged up at the base;
- Warranty: Whichever blender you get, check the warranty with the supplier – the more expensive blenders come with a long warranty so you know you’ll get your money’s worth (I know from experience that Vitamix is great at replacing anything that might break);
- Refurbished: Consider talking to the manufacturer’s sales office to see if they offer refurbished models. These are models that have been returned to the store and then cleaned and checked over by the manufacturer. They are in excellent condition and you get a nice discount. They also come with the same warranty as a new model.
Blenders will definitely give you more menu options if you’re committed to adding more fresh vegetables into your daily diet. They are an absolute necessity for smoothie-making, but there can be much to consider before purchasing. Do your research online.
By the way, for those of you who live near a Bed, Bath, & Beyond store, they usually have a solid selection of quality blenders – and a good return policy. You might even be able to use one of those coupons that they send out regularly in the mail.
Do you believe that using your blender strategically and consistently might help you reduce inflammation?
Americans Eating 23 Pounds of Cheese a Year – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2432491/Americans-eating-23-POUNDS-cheese-year-beef-consumption-lowest-levels-1950s-reveals-report-card-changing-US-diet.html
Research Studies on the Consumption of Sugar – http://examine.com/nutrition/fructose-vs-glucose-vs-hfcs/
Dr. Walhs: Green Smoothie on a Tight Budget – http://terrywahls.com/parsley-green-smoothie/
Intestinal Permeability: a New Target for Disease Prevention and Therapy – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4253991/
Dr. Weil on Tumeric – http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html
On Enzymes – http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/ABSTRACTS/enzymes.shtml
List of Alkaline Foods – http://www.energiseforlife.com/list-of-acid-alkaline-foods
Harvard Research: Trans Fats Promote Inflammation – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/transfats/