I try to make a healthy smoothie every morning. I used to make them for my sons when they were young, now I make them for myself for a quick, nutritious start to my day.
These smoothies contain…all of the following important nutrients and minerals necessary for a healthy thyroid and metabolism as well as combatants against depression, low energy, digestive problems, and weight gain:
- healthy fats (omega 3s) for weight management: avocado, unsweetened coconut or almond milk
- fiber for digestive health: chia or flax seeds, broccoli, lentils, artichokes, avocado, cucumbers
- iodine for a thyroid boost: cranberries (fresh or frozen, unsweetened), kelp, organic yogurt, strawberries
- protein for a thyroid and metabolism boost and energy: greek yogurt, hemp flour/seeds, whey powder
- spices for flavor: turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro
- magnesium for necessary enzyme reactions: dark chocolate (>70%), leafy greens, kelp
- amino acids or building blocks of protein: seeds and nuts, quinoa, sweet potatoes
- iron for carrying oxygen throughout your body: pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens (swiss chard, spinach, kale)
- zinc for a strong immune system as well as hormone and protein production : flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, spinach
- folate and other B vitamins for cell and tissue growth: broccoli, leafy greens, cucumber avocado, papaya, oranges,
- calcium for bone strength: leafy greens, (kale, spinach) broccoli, kelp
- antioxidants for preventing disease: green tea, cucumbers, dark chocolate, cranberries, blueberries, cilantro
These are my preferences, based on years of trial and error as well as my personal tastes. I blend all of the solid items first, then add the liquids, but if you have a powerful blender you can add all items at the same time:
For the liquid base I use 1 cup of pure green tea, and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk.
For flavor, I add a slice of fresh ginger (or a few pinches of powdered), a clove of garlic and a few teaspoons of curry powder or turmeric. These choices for flavor are all healthy, natural spices with no additional calories. I also add cilantro if I have some on hand.
For creaminess and extra fiber, I use 1/4 of an avocado, at least one mini cucumber, and a cup of unflavored, unsweetened, 0% fat, greek yogurt. A banana makes a good substitute for the avocado for creaminess if you do not like avocados. If you prefer your smoothie to be more of a slushy (especially in the summer) add a few ice cubes after blending other ingredients.
For the leafy greens so highly touted as superfoods these days because they supply so many required minerals and nutrients, I use swiss chard, spinach or kale, or a mixture of the three.
Although I try to limit fruits as they contain high levels of sugar (fructose) even if it is a natural sugar, I do occasionally add frozen cranberries, blueberries or strawberries. Beware: although the fruit smoothies look more delicious and taste sweeter than the vegetable ones, they have a lot more calories, especially the ones you purchase at a kiosk or store.
pictures from pixabay.com
I have also been known to throw in cooked leftovers from my fridge like broccoli, sweet potato, and or quinoa for added nutrients. Just like my homemade soup recipes, my smoothie recipes can never be duplicated because I never add the exact same ingredients twice.
I have yet to try dark chocolate in my smoothies, although it does come up a few times in my lists of important and beneficial nutrients. I do love dark chocolate and firmly believe that once you are used to it, you will never go back to the milky variety. I did receive lots of dark chocolate for Christmas; perhaps some of it will end up in my smoothies!
Cheers, to a healthy 2017!