When I decided to change my eating habits the first thing I needed to evaluate was breakfast. After all, it is the "most important meal of the day"; yet I was almost never partaking. I had been skipping breakfast for a long time and functioning just fine, and honestly when I did have a chance to grab something (usually toast or a bagel) I would feel more sluggish and hungry then when I skipped.
Q: Why was it so important for me to have breakfast?
A: Having breakfast essentially jumpstarts your metabolism from the overnight fast and replenishes your supply of glucose. The three main nutrients to get out of your breakfast are protein, complex carbs, and fiber.
Thus being said, clearly my bagels and toast were not hitting the mark! So, I decided I was going to force myself to eat a well balanced breakfast....no matter what.
I started to reasearch the best foods to get protein, complex carbs, and fiber so I could try to cover all my bases without making a large and complicated breakfast and I was quite surprised to find out that fruits and vegetables (mainly dark greens) were great sources of all three elements. I then began to search for breakfast dishes that utilized mainly fruits and veg and it was then that I stumbled on my now all-time favourite breakfast meal, the green smoothie!!!
"What is a green smoothie?", you might ask. Well, it's a smoothie that contains anywhere from 40-100% leafy green vegetables and uses fruit, super foods, and sometimes water to make up the remaining portion.
They are beyond delicious and I promise you that your body will start to crave these nutritional power houses. It's usually hard for me to convince people that they taste good and that they actually give the copious amount of energy I was claiming, but I promise you they do both. My co-workers would watch me drink one or two of these everyday and literally turn green themselves but I didn't care! My energy levels were through the roof and I wasn't feeling deprived or tired by 10am. Here is an easy recipe that has a higher fruit ratio than the greens, so it's a good starting point for transiting to higher percentage of greens.
Basic Green Smoothie
1/2 a pineapple peeled, cored, and cubed
4 stalks of kale, stems removed
1 tbsp of lime juice, fresh or bottled
Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high until the pineapple and kale have blended smoothly.
Serve immediately or chill for up to one hour.
Once you make a few of these bad boys you will discover what you prefer and what you don't. I realized that I didn't much care for bananas in my smoothies because they were acting as a thickening agent, so I omit them out of most recipes! Now typically my green smoothies are about 70-80% greens and the rest is a mixture of fruit and water. I'll try and describe what my smoothies consist of but I must warn you that I've never really followed recipes to the T. I usually only use them as inspiration and let my senses/my mood do the rest. I'm sorry that I won't have exact measurements for you and if they are hard to follow. I will work on writing things down.
JorDanna's Swamp water
4-5 handfulls of spinach, with stems
4-5 leaves of kale, stems removed
1 handful of some other leafy green. Could be rapini, dandelion, collards, etc.
1 cup frozen fruit. Usually whatever I have in the freezer or whatever is on sale.
1 piece of seasonal/on sale fruit, cut up. *during the summer months I usually use more fresh than frozen fruit because I have an abundance of it in my fridge.
1 tbsp Spirulina (you might want to start off with 1 tsp)
As much water as needed to create a pleasing consistency. I like to use carbonated lemon water because I like the zip of the bubbles and the tang of the lemon :)
Place about 1/2 of the greens with 1 cup of water in a blender and blend until they are incorporated.
Add the remaining greens with more water (if necessary) and blend until smooth.
Add the fresh fruit and blend for another 15 seconds.
Add the frozen fruit and Spirulina and blend for another 10 seconds.
Add more water at this stage if you are unhappy with the consistency.
Taste the mixture and add anything you feel is missing.
- Bananas are a great thickening agent.
- Pineapples, mangos, figs, and papayas are great for adding natural sweetness
- Stevia, agave syrup, and honey are useful for adding extra sweetness if you feel you need it ;)
- Bee pollen, goji berries, wheatgrass, maca powder, and hemp seeds are all great super foods that can added to your smoothies. These usually only require small amounts and can added based on the extra boost you are looking for. I'll try to blog more on the huge trend of super foods later.
- If you find yourself short on time in the morning you can make these the night before and keep them in your fridge. Just give them a quick blend in the morning.
- Be creative! Use whatever you have in the fridge, whatever's on sale, or whatever your body is craving :)
I understand that the green smoothie bandwagon is a hard one to jump on but I urge you to give it a try. I started by committing for 2 weeks and by the end of it I was hooked. Use more fruit in the beginning and work your way up to higher levels of greens. The main goal here is to start to incorporate the green smoothie into your diet at a pace and level that works for you. Even if it's just on the weekends with 20% greens. Once you start you won't even miss your morning muffin, heavy bagel, or disproportioned bowl of cereal.
I had every intention to write about my other cooked breakfast staples today but I've seemed to have jabbered on about my beloved green smoothie! So, I will bid adieu for today and post my other breakfast favourites next time.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
Pace and Love,