Feeling trapped by winter? Yearning for spring? Sometimes we need to create our own sunshine! A few mindful deep breaths, some yogic stretches first thing in the morning, and a bright green smoothie you can tote to work can make all the difference.
Everything you put into your body matters. With every morsel you're taking one step closer towards either disease or towards better health. That sounds dramatic, yes, but when you know that every bodily cell is fueled by what’s eaten and imbibed, and that every seven years you have a “new” body because every single cell has been replaced with fresh ones, sustenance takes on critical importance.
On the flip side, it’s no fun to have your life run by food. Dieting implies restrictions and rigidity; instead give yourself the freedom to choose wisely. If you adopt a long-range view and eat healthfully about 80 percent of the time, then you can enjoy the indulgences instead of feeling guilty. Think about eating well over the course of a week. Each day needs vegetables, fruits, healthy protein and healthy fats, and then you have some room to play with the treats. Eat slowly and mindfully, savoring the really tasty bites and sips and keep the unhealthy portions small. Pay attention to how your body feels and have just enough decadence to satisfy the tastebuds—about 4 to 5 good bites should do it. The key is to make the healthy 80 percent taste good so that you look forward to eating well and and don’t feel deprived. With every healthy bite you will be taking another step towards health and vibrancy.
You can change your mindset about how you eat by telling yourself and others that you do indeed eat well. It will feel funny at first, a little like lying, but if you put your words into action, then it’s simply the beginning of a new truth. This is a lifestyle choice—it takes time and learning and commitment. Start with small steps, experiment with unfamiliar healthy foods, and stay conscious of your choices. Right now you can tackle the winter blahs by whipping up this bright green smoothie; it’s an easy way to create something yummy, satisfying, good for you, and portable! Take it to work in a mason jar and put it in the fridge. It will be a welcome burst of green sunshine come midmorning!
GREEN SUNSHINE SMOOTHIE
3 large kale leaves, center ribs removed
2 Medjool dates, pitted
juice of half a lemon
2 drops essential oil of lemon (medicinal grade only)*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup filtered water
Optional: 1/2 avocado (add to above or substitute for banana)
Optional: 5-10 cashews
Ideally, use only organic ingredients to minimize your ingestion of chemicals and toxins. Put water in first and then add all other ingredients to a Vitamix or other powerful blender. Blend until smooth and taste to adjust to your own palate.
*Not all essential oils are safe to be ingested. Check the label to ensure that it is an approved supplement and safe for consumption.
WHY IT'S GOOD FOR YOU
Kale strengthens the colon and the immune system, detoxifies the liver, protects against colon cancer and macular degeneration, excellent source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C.
Banana is easily digested, soothes the mucus lining of the stomach, anti-ulcerous, treats constipation, eases thirst, satisfies sweet craving, rich in minerals, high in potassium.
Dates are a good source of niacin, iron and potassium, provide small amounts of calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, B1 and B2.
Lemon is highly alkaline, aids digestion by stimulating saliva, supports liver function, loosens mucous, is antimicrobial and antiseptic, relieves sore throat and flatulence, assists with weight loss, good source of vitamin C, potassium and B1.
Lemon essential oil (medicinal grade only) comes from the lemon rind (not the flesh), is good for stress and anxiety, helps alleviate respiratory and digestive issues, helps with memory and clarity of thought, brightens overall flavor and keeps the kale bright green.
Cinnamon is warming and stimulating to many bodily functions including digestion and circulation. Alleviates intestinal gas, counteracts congestion, improves diarrhea, influenza, menstrual cramps, rheumatism, arthritis, and candidiasis. Its aroma reduces stress and calms the nerves.
Filtered Water 70 to 75 percent of the human body is water. It transports and replenishes nutrients, carries away waste, helps regulate the activities of tissues, cells, glands, blood, lymph and other fluids.
Avocado provides “good” fats that can raise the level of HDL, ie “good” cholesterol, contains omega-3 and oleic fatty acids and all 18 essential amino acids, vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols, protein, and fiber.
Cashews are about 20 percent protein, contain high levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B-complex vitamins.
Bring vitality to your day and put a spring in your step by choosing a healthier lifestyle—starting with this gloriously green smoothie. You will feel proud and righteous and ready to beat back the winter for a few more weeks.
Laura Freundlich holds a Master’s in Holistic Health Education, is a nutrition educator, a natural foods chef, a yoga teacher and a Young Living Essential Oils health advisor. To learn how to integrate nutrition, yoga, mindfulness practices or essential oils into your life for greater health and vibrancy, contact Laura at Laura@HolisticNut.com.
Green smoothie image via Shutterstock