Thursday, June 2, 2016

Green Smoothies for Energy and Clarity!

When I first posted about green smoothies that we have with our breakfast we were thoroughly enjoying them and how they were making us all feel so energetic, clear in our thinking, satisfied and full until lunch time.  But we had no idea of the WORLD of green smoothies and whole foods out there!  A reader on my first post told me about Robyn Openshaw's GreenSmoothieGirl.com website and all of her resources about whole food eating - and it has so blessed our health!  Here's a photo of the breakfast smoothie recipe we add to our breakfasts daily. 


In this post I'll share with you, 
  • What our weekly consumption of greens and fruits for smoothies looks like
  • What books of Robyn's I've purchased so far, and why
  • The answer to, "Oh, we couldn't afford to eat like that"
  • About the free material to be read on Robyn's website
  • Our favorite daily smoothie recipe currently, and a video of Robyn making it

What our weekly consumption of greens and fruits for smoothies looks like

We are eating tons of raw veggies and fruits, greens, whole grains, legumes and beans, very little sugar - and feeling amazing - and I'm losing "baby weight"!  *cheer!*  Here's a sample of the amount of produce our family of 11 now eats every week in green smoothies, in addition to the rest of our breakfast foods.  From Costco (by far the best prices):  four bags of pre-washed spinach (2.5 lbs. each, totaling 10 lbs), 4 bunches of bananas (about 32 bananas), 3 cartons of apples (3 dozen), a 4 lb. bag of frozen berries, and a 32 oz. bottle of Flax oil for "good fat" and other benefits.



What books of Robyn's I've purchased so far, and why

Robyn Openshaw has spent years traveling around the country teaching others about green smoothies and whole foods eating, she has written 9 cook books so far and has many 3-4 minute videos on her website that are wonderful, informative, encouraging, and inspiring!  She offers hundreds of recipes - which really are the key to the whole dietary change, aren't they.  I've purchased 4 of her books so far and am learning so much.  

Also, I have experienced personally the truth that there is in fact protein in veggies in that the hypoglycemia I struggled with for years is gone.  Hypoglycemia has run in my family for a long time, and I would periodically crash if I hadn't had protein in too long.  I haven't felt any of that since living on a lot of raw vegetables, fruits, legumes, a little dairy, and whole grains diet.

12 Steps to Whole Foods - This book is expensive, but an incredible resource.  It is all of her 16 years of knowledge and experience and massive research packed in to this large, spiral bound book.  It does just what I hoped it would do, which is walk me through 12 steps in to the process of transitioning from the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) in to whole foods eating; where to start, what ingredients to begin with, etc.  It has 137 recipes just in itself that are so good (from what we've tried so far).  And most all of the ingredients are not specialty, they're just "normal", except for a handful (such as cocoanut oil, Stevia sweetener, raw honey), which we can substitute for what we have on hand until we purchase the healthier version later. 


 The Green Smoothies Diet ($14.95), "The Natural Program for Extraordinary Health" - This book teaches how to detox daily, improve digestion, lose weight naturally, maximize energy, fight heart disease, prevent diabetes and certain cancers, boost the immune system, and make skin and hair beautiful!  This is Robyn's story of how she grew in to a whole foods life style and what it's done for her family, then also covers:  why green foods are so valuable, and which ones; tips on saving money as a GreenSmoothieGirl (or guy); tips for buying and storing greens and fruit, and on growing your own; about the Green Smoothie Diet, and strategies for making them; decrease or eliminate seasonal allergies.  And then also lots of recipes!

 

 
  

The answer to, "Oh, we couldn't afford to eat like that"

She says that usually people's first objection is, "Oh...we couldn't afford to eat like that."  This was my first thought, too.  However Robyn explained that once we take out the less-than-great foods and replace them with excellent whole-foods, the grocery bill actually stays about the same if not lower.  We found this to be true!  The first week or two of shopping our grocery bill went up a bit, but this was only because I was still buying some of our "old" items in addition to the new ones while I was learning whole foods cooking.  But once I transitioned a little further and was no longer purchasing the lower-quality foods our grocery bill is the same as it was before but we're eating so much better.


About the free material to be read on Robyn's website

There is much to be read on her website which is FREE.  I read all I could get my hands on first, which completely won me over to purchasing her materials.  She answers just about every question a mom could have through her articles on the website.  She also has a blog which I've enjoyed, receiving more information from Robyn as she learns it.  One very informative article is her "12 Nutrition Myths".  

I had been looking for yummy, whole foods recipes for a year and had found very little variety online. Green Smoothie Girl has been a gold mine for me for both information and recipes.

So here is Robyn's Green Smoothie recipe that we have as part of our breakfast every morning.

Ingredients
2 c. water 
1-2 leaves (with stalks) Kale  (absorbs many times it's body weight in toxins!) 
½ to 1 lb. spinach  (variations listed below) 
2-3 Tbl. Flax oil 
½ to 1 tsp. Stevia sweetener 
1-2 apples  (variations listed below) 
1-2 bananas 
1 c. blue berries or mixed berrie
3-4 frozen strawberries

Instructions   (*Here is a video to see Robyn making this recipe if you like!)
   
1.    In a high-powered Blendtec or Vitamix blender, fill water to the 2 c. mark.  (But we made a smaller recipe in our Kitchen Aid blender for months until we finally bought a high-powered one; it's just not quite as creamy and does separate when it sits, needing to be stirred, but still yummy.)
2.   Add the flax oil and sweetener if desired.
3.   Pack the blender full of spinach (or chard, kale, collards, lettuce, beet greens; may also try avocado or cabbage or 1-2 stalks of celery).  Chop a bit until “liquidy”.
4.   Add spinach again and puree on high speed for 90 sec. until the mixture reaches the 5 c. mark and is very "liquidy".  Tip: If spinach sticks a bit in the blender and will not puree on high, I add 4 of the apple quarters which I'll be adding anyway and the added apple juice from them gets things going again (rather than adding more water, which waters down the smoothie).
5.   Add the apples (I cut them in to quarters and add them seeds, cores and all), bananas, and berries.  Other fruits to use may be pears, peaches, oranges, apricots, cantaloupe with seeds which are high in antioxidants, mango, pineapple, ¼ of a whole lemon including the peel which is high in flavanoids, anything!
6.    Puree entire mixture on high for 90 sec.
7.    Serve and enjoy!  One recipe makes 64 oz.  For us this equals 28 oz. for my husband, 12 oz. for me, 12 oz. for our oldest daughter, and about 12 oz. for me for a snack later.  Another recipe feeds our other 8 children:  six 8 oz. servings, plus a 16 oz. serving for our twins to share.  I add some Gerber cereal to theirs so that I can feed it to them like yogurt.

* All ingredients are optional and flexible to taste. 

* Here is my post on a smaller recipe that I made with our "regular" blender (not high-powered, such as a Blendtec or Vitamix) for a few months before buying our Blendtec used on Craig's List. 

* Tip:  Spinach may be frozen to store "fresh" much longer!  I fluff up the bag, freeze it, and use it strait from the freezer.

* Tip:  We like to pull our bunches of bananas into groups of 4 before placing them into our fruit holder on the counter.  I use 4 bananas each day to make our two recipes, so by separating the bananas into groups I can see at-a-glance how many days worth of bananas for smoothies I have for smoothies, and then I can also see how many are "available" for consumption by whom ever desires one... And the kids don't accidentally eat Mamma's smoothie bananas.  *smile*


I recently found these plastic, insulated cups from Wal-Mart for $4.65 each, with lids to prevent spills for the youngest 7 kids. *smile*


All of our kids love it. I also use these disposable "milkshake straws" (purchased from our local kitchen outlet store, a package of 35 for $1.99, which we wash and re-use) that are extra-wide, which enables the kids to drink their smoothies more easily, quickly, and neatly.

And, our new ingredient for making the smoothies even creamier and actually tasting like ice cream?! Coconut milk! We love the canned product and our favorite brand is Thai, unsweetened. Lots of great plant fats for growing brains and energetic children especially. But we also enjoy using coconut milk from the carton which has far less fat, but still some goodness for us adults who don't need quite so much fat. *laugh* But oh my gosh it's yummy.


I hope this information has been interesting, maybe educational, and encouraging in that you, too, could improve your family's diet and nutrition with a plan.  And I would really, really love to know if you have some of your own favorite resources for whole foods and vegetarian recipes!

Blessings on your family's health,


Recommended resources for Whole Foods information and recipes!

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