A case for the green smoothie
Is it just me, or is your inbox also inundated with juice cleanse propaganda? I hate to start this fabulous new year off with a rant, but I am firmly against juice cleanses. In case you’re contemplating embarking on a liquid diet as a way to kick start 2014 I thought I’d share some experiences from my time on the juice and hopefully scare you straight! Let me start by saying I’m not against the occasional juice – I think they are quite delicious! The issue comes with drinking only juice and nothing else for extended periods of time. I want to point out that I’m not a health professional, and I’m not sure that you’ll have the same reaction that I did. The issue for me was that consuming all of this cold pressed juice for days on end with no fiber whatsoever wound up spiking my blood sugar to the point that I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes by the end of it all. I turned into a major psycho in 2009 as I was preparing for my wedding and decided that juice cleanses were the “silver bullet” that I had been looking for. I was able to easily shed 5 – 8 pounds per 5-day cleanse, so I mustered up all of my willpower and just went for it. I probably did 4 cleanses over a several month period and was at my most slender in years. I was also completely unable to focus at work, and my then fiancé, now husband, was disturbed by how much my mood would deteriorate by the end of a 5-day stretch. I was very short tempered and pretty much a shivering wreck. I was cold. All of the time. After the wedding was all said and done and the honeymoon was over, I tried to keep up my new fabulous figure but found it was impossible. I didn’t feel well at all and I was rapidly gaining weight back no matter what I was doing with diet and exercise. I went to my doctor who ran some blood tests on me and asked what had changed in the last few months since I had seen her last. I told her about the cleanses and she told me I needed to immediately stop cleansing and start consuming a lot of fiber in an attempt to stabilize my blood glucose, which she suspected was spiking during the cleanses and leading to weight gain. The blood tests confirmed her suspicions and I for the first time in my life I was diagnosed with abnormally high A1C levels which indicated pre-diabetes and a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next few years.
Needless to say, I never did another juice cleanse and have luckily had some success in lowering my A1C levels through diet and exercise. Fiber is my new best friend, and that’s where this green smoothie comes in. In my opinion it’s kind of like the tastiest green juice ever, but with all of the fiber and even some good fat from my pal the avocado. If you’re looking to start the new year by shunning all of the naughty stuff you consumed over the past couple of months and going for the green, this smoothie is a very good start. It’s also got coconut water and cucumber in it which are very hydrating – your skin will thank you after all of those holiday cocktails. Just promise you’ll also eat some solid food while you’re at it.
Hydrating green smoothie recipe
makes 1 serving
1 cup packed fresh organic spinach (or kale, but I think spinach tastes better here)
1 cup raw coconut water
juice of 1 organic lime
generous 1/2 cup roughly chopped organic english cucumber
1/2 of an organic green apple, roughly chopped
flesh from 1/2 of an organic avocado
1 tablespoon organic ginger pulp
pinch of sea salt
Make sure all of the vegetables are cleaned as needed and chopped into pieces that will fit into the blender. Prepare the ginger by using the side of a spoon to scrape the skin off and then grate it into pulp using a microplane or the smallest setting on a cheese grater. Add all ingredients into a high powered blender and blitz until totally smooth. Drink immediately.