Drink Your Greens

3 Jan

Happy New Year! It’s the start of a brand new year and a very popular time for questions about detoxing and fasting. Today I’m going to share my advice on that and give you the lowdown on juicing and green smoothies.

So we are all feeling a little heavy, groggy and bloated from too much “holiday cheer”, but do you really need to “cleanse” your body to get rid of all that gunk?

Running on Sunshine verdict: not really. Here’s why…

  •  A normal digestive tract doesn’t need to be manually “cleansed” ESPECIALLY if you have plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber is nature’s way of cleaning the pipes!
  • Most popular fasting programs have little to NO protein, fat, or fiber. I see this as a major problem. Without these wonderful nutrients, we feel hungry, irritated, and tired. The overall lack of calories also contributes to the fatigue which is the reason for the “no exercise” recommendation that often accompanies many cleansing regimens. A health plan that discourages exercise? Hmm… sounds pretty sketchy to me.
  • Contrary to popular belief, fasting is NOT a good option for weight loss! When you are slashing your calories so drastically, of course you are going to lose weight initially. But what type of “weight” are you losing? Because of the lack of activity, calories, and protein, much of it is muscle mass. NOT GOOD! Losing muscle mass puts the breaks on your metabolism, which is the exact opposite of what we want for weight loss.

I’ve posted about detox diets in more detail here. Check it out!

That being said, it IS a good idea to take steps to “get back on track” or give your body a delicious dose of nutrients to repair any damage done by the constant stream of toxins we take in through processed foods and pollutants.

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A great way to help your body get lean and clean: drink your greens! This is a new commitment for JWD and I. We’ve done it sporadically for a couple years, but we’ve decided to make it a part of our daily routine. Why? I’ll tell you!

  • It’s an easy peasy way to get major nutrition into your body. I am a healthy food expert, and even I fall short of a hefty dose of veggies on some days.
  • Some people take pills, I drink greens. I am a whole-hearted believer in the power of veggies. It truly is the best medicine for whatever ails you. It is the medicine of prevention.
  • It sets the tone for your day! It’s like waking up on the right side of the bed, putting your best foot forward, you get the picture. When you start your morning with a big glass of liquid sunshine, you better believe you’ll be more inclined to put your health first for the rest of the day.
  • It makes you shine! There is something about drinking greens that makes you feel completely vibrant and alive. And if you do it for long enough, you will literally start to shine- hair, skin, eyes, the works. It starts on the inside and makes it’s way to the outside.

Blend it or juice it?

You can drink your greens by juicing or by blending.

Juicing: Juicing requires a juicer which can be a pricy and complex piece of kitchen equipment. I have a very nice juicer and I must admit it only graces the countertop on scarce occasions. When I do dust it off, it’s always worth it. The main benefit of juicing is the lightning fast absorption of nutrients since all the pulp or fiber is removed from the veggies. I know some folks that are completely devoted to their juicers, and for them I have much admiration. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of blending.

breville juicer

Blending: No fancy equipment needed, just a basic blender. A high-speed blender is needed for blending sturdier produce like apples and carrots. Since the fiber sticks around when you blend, you get to reap its rewards! It fills you up, helps steady your blood sugar, and gives your digestive tract some cleansing love.

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Juice or blend, the choice is yours!

Due to the aforementioned downsides of fasting , Green drinks should not be your sole source of food. HOWEVER they can (and should!) be added to your diet as an extra shot of nutrition or used to replace 1 meal. If you choose to drink your greens as a meal replacement, add some protein and fat like soymilk, Greek yogurt, nut butter, or avocado. This will give it some staying power.

The combinations are endless, so toss the measuring cups aside and start experimenting!

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Sunshine Green Shake 

makes two servings

  • 2 cups coconut water or water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cucumber (peeled and chopped if not using a high-powered blender)
  • 1 handful kale (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 handful spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Stevia to taste
  • Bonus: for a yummy dose of healthy fats and vitamins, add 1/2 an avocado

Add ingredients to blender in order listed and blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend for a colder, thicker drink. Start shining!

Thanks for reading :)

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