As promised, many of us at We-Care.com are committed to the Gaiam TV Clean Eating Challenge, and we’re dedicated to keeping ourselves — and those of you who are joining us — on track.
Luckily, many of us are fairly conscious of our health, fitness and the foods we consume (with the exception of an extreme coffee addiction, love of pizza, and these pesky Dough doughnuts that keep showing up in the office…), so we have some tried and true recipes that we’re able to pull from and utilize for the 14-day cleanse and beyond.
Throughout the month, we’ll be publishing some of our favorites for everyone to use, and we’re starting with a healthy breakfast staple: The Green Smoothie.
This week’s first challenge was to start each day with a green smoothie, so our General Manager Bryan ran out and grabbed ingredients because coworkers who blend together, stay together (that’s how the saying goes, right??)
Normally, I go for scrambled eggs in the morning, but considering that’s banned during the challenge, it looks like I’m going green every morning for a while. Here’s what Bryan came back with:
2 cups natural tangerine juice
1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk
1 handful of spinach
1 handful of watercress
2 handfuls of kale
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 of an avocado
2 cups frozen mixed berries
It may seem like a trivial difference, but smoothies are actually significantly healthier for you than juices. Juicing strips most — if not all — of the natural fiber and carbohydrates out of the foods you’re using, thus drastically lowering the nutritional value. In addition, you need a whole lot more of one ingredient to make a juice, based on the way they puree down. For example, you would need a lot more carrots than one serving’s worth to make a juice as opposed to using them as an added ingredient in a smoothie (they blend like spinach and kale, allowing the natural taste of fruit to overpower). That would up the sugar content to about 9 grams per cup, and increase your chance for food-related illnesses like diabetes.
So, back to the smoothie. We certainly aren’t certified nutritionists or actual chefs over here, but we’re all pretty active and health conscious to begin with, so I like to think we know at least a little bit about adding healthy ingredients together that will keep us full and fueled all morning, thus, the smorgasbord above. In any case, you’re certainly not bound to specific measurements. Full disclosure: I eyeball my proportions more often than not.
Feel free to tailor the ingredients to your personal preferences. Tropical fruits like papayas are always fantastic in smoothies (shameless plug: Trader Joe’s normally has red papayas for a great deal, and they’re super easy to slice!), and healthy oils like olive and unrefined coconut blend well. If you know you need a lot to fuel you in the morning, try adding chia seeds — they add an extra boost of fiber that both regulates you and keeps you feeling full longer. You might notice how it actually turns into a thicker, gel-like paste when it sits in liquid or yogurt for any length of time — the proof is in the pudding!
Needless to say, this recipe was such a hit in the office, we’re going to keep the smoothie kick going as long as we can.
Let us know how you like our green recipe, or tell us your favorite smoothie recipe below!