Monday, December 3, 2012

Raw Warmth: Cold Weather Tips & WinterGreen Power Smoothie

Eating food that is native and in season is a basic Eat to Evolve principle that, being a flexible gal, I tend to bend in winter. Along with warming soups, roasted roots, baked squashes and the like, my body still craves fresh juicy food when it's cold outside, even food that may come from afar. I just don't crave cold juicy food.

For instance, I still like and need to eat salad in December, but never straight out of the fridge—brrr! Rinsing greens and veggies in lukewarm water, and allowing assembled salads to reach ambient room temperature before consuming is an absolute must for raw salad enjoyment in winter. Serving salad alongside something warm helps too, as in the photo above (avocado salad + baked pumpkin stuffed with beet).

Similarly, green drinks can remain your go-to breakfast year round, but you may find fiber-containing blended smoothies more appealing than fresh-pressed juice in wintertime. Personally, a daily green juice simply feels too "thin" to keep me warm on snowy days, and I'm not one to shiver on principle.

On the other hand, a thick green smoothie, made with a little hot pepper and hemp protein powder and consumed at room temperature (very important!) stokes the inner belly fire and heats the blood while still being cleansing and alkaline.

Generally, I use a select few ingredients for winter-green smoothies. One is low-sugar pink grapefruit, which comes into season down South during winter months, making it seem more appropriate than, say, peaches or nectarines at this time of year.

Bananas are another standard ingredient. Although high in sugars, bananas contain fiber and starch that slows their absorption. For this reason, and because they make the drink so creamy and good, I generally include them despite their blatantly non-local status!

Assembled below are all the typical ingredients I add to my green smoothies in winter:

Notice that brimming cup of baby spinach at the top. Tender yet hardy spinach, parsley and cilantro are my personal favorite leafy greens for winter smoothies. Lemon adds brightness (this one's a Meyer), and a bit of red or green hot pepper provides heat.

As for hemp, it's true: I never used to add protein powder to my breakfast drinks, but my thinking on this has changed. Two tablespoons of hemp protein powder provides 14 grams of protein, taking the power factor up a significant notch.

Just as we need to cleanse continually, we need to repair and rebuild, and this requires raw materials in the form of amino acids. I have come to believe that the standard raw, high raw and cleansing diets do not contain adequate protein for the long haul, so hemp protein is my smoothie's new best friend. Click here to see the protein content of some other favorite vegetarian high raw foods.

An easy way to peel citrus, by the way, is to slice in half and turn cut side down on your cutting board. Then make several peeling slices from the top down, turning fruit as you go. Voila!

For a nice, fluid consistency, I always add a bit of water or leftover herbal tea to the above ingredients. Liquid also helps get things rolling in the blender, which is all loaded up below. See how the greens take up at least half the volume of the drink? That's what I'm talking about!

A high speed blender is not necessary to make smoothies, any blender will do. But a better blender does make the process quick and easy. Either way, after blending, you've got a fresh, healthy, beautiful drink to lighten up your day.

Eat to Evolve WinterGreen Power Smoothie

1/2 pink grapefruit, peeled and pitted
1/2 banana, fresh or frozen
1/2 lemon, peeled and pitted
1 cup (packed) baby spinach
1 slice jalapeño pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons hemp protein powder
1/2 cup water, or to taste

Add all ingredients to blender and whirl it up. Consume at room temperature.

No comments: