Friday, September 11, 2009

Drink Your Greens

Many of you know that drinking green juices and green smoothies is one of the tastiest, easiest and most satisfying ways to help get optimum amounts of mineral-rich, alkalizing LIVING greens into your daily diet.

The word LIVING is capitalized in the previous paragraph (and this one, come to think of it) for an important reason. We need to consume life to generate life. If we consume only lifeless food, we must give up our own life force to turn something dead into something that can support vitality. Of the foodstuffs we consume, only raw living foods provide life force -- as living cells, active enzymes and stored solar energy -- direct to our body.

A new book, Catching Fire, argues that one reason humans started cooking food was to cut down on chewing time (thereby adding more productive tool-inventing, brain-developing hours to the day). Even if this were true, we must admit that just because our ancestral cave-men and -women, in all their primal wisdom (and I mean that), started a trend a million or so years ago doesn’t make that trend the best choice for health.

Yes, chewing pounds of leaves daily can be tedious work. And the hard cell walls of certain plants do inhibit nutrient absorption in some cases. Nevertheless, cooking all of our veggies down to a limp squish is NOT the only alternative! Scientifically, it is well known that cooking leafy greens and other plant foods diminishes or destroys many of their health-giving properties -- from their precious, living vibrational energy force to their proteins, vitamins, delicate phytonutrients and so on.

There must be a solution to the "must I eat these mounds of leafy greens again, Ma?" problem. Enter the BLENDER. Blenders make short work of kale, spinach, chard, parsley and any fresh leafy green you can name. Blending greens yields a product wherein no chewing is required to break down fibers. (It's still a good idea to "chew" your smoothies, to commence digestive action via salivary enzymes.) And JUICERS take the process a step further by removing all fiber from the final product without damaging nutrients or enzymes and enabling almost direct absorption into body cells. Who knows – if cavemen had access to these modern kitchen tools, perhaps they never would have invented cooking in the first place!

I love drinking vegetable juices (what Kristen Suzanne vampirously, and with a wink, calls “plant blood”) for the pure hit of liquid solar energy they provide. And smoothies offer the convenience of a delicious and satisfying meal in a glass – especially filling when they include a handful of goji berries, chia seeds or other whole food soluble fiber source.

Smoothies also provide an ideal vehicle with which to indulge your inner alchemist, as you may add any number of nourishing superfoods and medicinal botanicals to your potion -- think golden berries, green foods, maca, MSM, raw cacao, bee pollen, milk thistle, pau dArco, Reishi mushrooms, and on… and on….

If you are interested in learning more about Green Smoothies, do consider reading Victoria Boutenko’s Green for Life, the book which started it all. For rationale and ideas on juicing, anything by Norman Walker or Natalia Rose’s excellent Raw Food Life Force Energy are sure to inform, inspire and delight.

Very Green Super Chocolate
Hemp Seed Smoothie

1 banana
1 soft pitted date
4 leaves kale
10 raw almonds (small handful)
2 teaspoons hemp seeds*
1 teaspoon chia seeds*
1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder*
1 level teaspoon spirulina powder*
1 scant teaspoon MSM powder (3 grams)*
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or more, to taste
½ teaspoon cinnamon or more, to taste
1 cup leftover herb tea or water
2-4 ice cubes

Add everything to the blender and blend on high speed till well combined. Pour into a glass and drink. Will thicken up as it sits so be sure to add enough liquid at the beginning.

*These items available at a significant savings to clients and local readers by pre-order and in person at my new discount superfood store, Community Superfoods!


Catherine Fabrizi said...

Hi Diana,
This sounds super nourishing. Love the combination of cacao, cinnamon, cayenne.
During the very warm weather we had a few weeks ago, I enjoyed green smoothies based on variations of the following combination: kale leaves, a quarter of a lemon, half a chilled grapefruit, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, a piece of hot chillie pepper (such as jalapeno or serrano), pinch of salt, a few chunks of frozen mango.
A glass of this for breakfast did wonders for the "power surges", countering my inner heat with bright green coolness (with a punch of energy from the chillie pepper.)
Love you recent recipes...will try them all. And the store! What a great service.

Diana Allen, MS, CNS Holisitic Clinical Nutritionist said...

Thank you Cathy. I'm crazy about your smoothie recipe, too! Turmeric is a spice we often don't think of adding to a sweet drink, but it is so tasty and healing to the body: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, pro-LIFE (in the truest sense). xo diana :)

Eatiing Raw Foods Info said...

This is why I love to juice. You can get the benefits from a lot of vegetables without having to spend time "chewing."

I tried putting a lot of greens in a blender before, but it didn't come out really drinkable - maybe I didn't have enough liquid. So, for me, I stick to juicing mainly.

Ali said...

Diana - I like the subtext on the top of your blog...."let nature be thy teacher - whole foods, raw foods......peak vitality, joy of heart & peace of spirit" So beautiful, I love it! :)

glutenfreeforgood said...

Plant blood! I love that and will probably use it in the future, but I won't take credit for it. :-)

I love smoothies and love the idea of adding leftover tea. I still haven't tried the MSM powder and am always reminded when I visit you that I need to do that.

Great narration about Living foods, Diana. You're such a good teacher!

It's 30-some degrees here, I can see snow on the hills from my front porch and I'm more in the mood for warming soups, but I totally agree with you about raw foods. Vibrant health in a blender! Thanks for the recipe. Good one.

Peace, love and green plant blood!

Diana Allen, MS, CNS Holisitic Clinical Nutritionist said...

Awww, thanks Melissa! Yes, MSM - it is BITTER! One easy way to get it into you is to mix a teaspoon or so with a quart of water and add lemon juice. I've been sipping that in the morning - tastes fine and is oh so good for the body.

Ali, thank you. "Let nature be thy teacher," is a wonderful quote that I think comes from Arnold Ehret and has stuck in my mind for 30 years. It just about says it all!

Eating Raw Foods, you are right - without enough liquid, blended greens can be pretty gloppy! Thanks for visiting and keep on shining, everyone.

love and light, Diana