As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life. Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new. This post provides the eleventh and an explanation. The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month. It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!
this is the two serving smoothie from Day 3 of the challenge
Baby Step # 11
Make a Green Smoothie Breakfast a Habit
If you've read Making Mindfulness for a while, you likely know that enjoying a green smoothie for breakfast each day has become a habit I not only look forward to, but something my husband and I have also grown to rely on for feeling our best. For us, the idea is stacking the morning with veggies (like spinach and kale), some fruit (bananas and blueberries), and a huge serving of superfood powders (a combination we created a year or two ago) helps get our bodies and brains functioning early.
What you need:
- a regular or high-powered blender (we just got the pictured "blendtec" blender at the start of the new year, but used a regular blender for years previously)
(- Optional: a spatula to remove all smoothie from inside of blender)
Although much of the following is directly from another post, Smoothie Superfoods!, check out the benefits of these typical green smoothie ingredients:
- blueberries, which contain flavonoids and antioxidants, as well as essential vitamins, excellent for brain function
- bananas, which famously contain potassium, also provide vitamin B6 and C, as well as manganese
- kale, which contains more than the daily requirement of vitamin A and a variety of flavonoids and antioxidants
-spinach, which is known to provide vitamins C and K, as well as antioxidants and beta-carotene
I've recently (as of last month) started adding the following:
- (fresh) parsley, which is an anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, boots immune system, freshens breath, protects against heart and cardiovascular disease, can be helpful in pregnancy and for fertility, and strengthens bones and teeth due to its calcium content--WOAH!
I've also tried or heard of people adding the following into their own versions:
- avocado, which promotes heart and cardiovascular health, contains a variety of anti-inflammatory benefits, provides optimal absorption of carotenoids, promotes blood regulation, and gives anti-cancer benefits, too
- ginger, which has a distinct and strong taste, provides gastrointestinal and pregnancy-related nausea relief, anti-inflammatory benefits, boosts immune system, prevents multiple cancers (particularly associated with colorectal and ovarian cancer cells)
These are some of the superfood additions we researched and combined for our daily smoothie mixure:
- cacao powder, which supplies antioxidants, mood enhancement, and magnesium
- gogi berries or powder, which provides vitamin A and a number of antioxidants
- spirulina, a blue-green algae, which is rich in protein and supplies vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants
- chia seeds, also called warrior seeds, which contain fiber, omega-3 fats, calcium, and protein
- flax seeds, which provide fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans
we also add:
- local honey, which is believed to boost immunity and reduce allergies
and, for Danny's smoothie, I add:
- steel cut oats, which have a low glycemic index, are high in fiber and protein, help to prevent heart disease and diabetes, assist with blood pressure control and weight loss
- coconut oil, which helps with digestion, prevents liver and kidney diseases, improves bone health, and strengthens the immune system (unfortunately, although I find it absolutely delicious, I believe I am allergic, so I keep it out of my own smoothie)
Fruit smoothies are great, but they have so much more sugar than fruit/veggie smoothies that they aren't as satisfying or long-lasting. But, if you're someone who goes whole days without knowing when you might eat your next vegetable, this is a great way to make sure you get the nutrients you need up front. Just like working out first thing in the morning, you will have less to worry about later on in terms of making sure you get the vegetable intake you want each day.
And if you are or you feed someone who doesn't like the texture of vegetables, this might be an excellent way to sneak in veggies. As I mentioned in a previous post, when Danny and I were dating pretty seriously, he was not a vegetable eater. I knew that I couldn't eat like that myself, so I lovingly began sneaking vegetables, fruits, and high fiber foods into the foods I made for him. Although he didn't specifically choose it, he eventually began to like getting treats that were good for him.
He has even started experimenting with this combination of delicious and nutritious himself. This recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter [Veggie] Dessert Smoothie was his creation. Don't let the green color scare you. It truly tastes like a milkshake! It's not a low calorie drink, but it has some excellently healthy components and it's better for you than a true milkshake or bowl of ice cream.
Though I wouldn't suggest the above smoothie for each morning, it's an excellent once-in-a-while option.
Another thing we do daily--with similarly awesome benefits--is juice. If you're interested in starting yourself, check out our "Get Your Juice On: Beginner's Guide to Juicing" post. It can help answer some of your questions about getting started.
Would you try veggies for breakfast?
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Mindful Baby Steps, Mindful Eating, vegetarian