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On Greens & Green Smoothies

Spinach. Kale. Chard. Collards. When was the last time you dug into a batch of greens with complete abandon and yelled “yummy!” Unfortunately, it’s probably been way too long for most of us.

Greens have been feeding humanity – and every other species on this planet – since the dawn of time.  When people ask me which nutrient we aren’t eating enough of, I have only one answer for them. Greens. Greens are loaded with energy direct from the sun in the form of chlorophyll. Did you know that the chemical makeup and DNA structure of chlorophyll is very similar to that of hemoglobin, the building block of human blood? It’s no wonder why so many people exclaim “I can feel that!” upon drinking their first green smoothie, loaded with nutrients and energy.

As healthy as they are for us, most people think of greens and immediately picture a run-of-the-mill salad relegated to the side of a plate that is otherwise filled with more exciting flavors. Flavors created all too frequently through a combination of salt, fat and sugar.  Processed foods that wreak havoc on our digestive systems.

The good news is that there is another option. Green smoothies are an easy, flavorful and flexible way to get the nutritious bounty of greens and all the health benefits they provide (including fiber, iron, vitamin k, calcium and more). According to the USDA, a mere 5% of Coloradans get enough fiber in their diet.* And the better news is that green smoothies are delicious. Delicious enough for kids to enjoy as well as adults. Simply fill a blender with half greens and half fruits, then add a cup of water and you’ll be in green smoothie bliss in just a couple of minutes.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to making green smoothies, but some of my favorites include banana, berry and romaine lettuce; cherry, orange, lime and spinach; mango and kale; or cantaloupe and parsley. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of greens and fruits. And try adding flavor enhancers like cinnamon and ginger for even more variety and extra nutrient boosts.  Tip: You can even use green weeds from your own backyard this year instead of spraying them with chemical pesticides. Dandelion greens, purslane, lambsquarter, malva and more can be readily picked, are completely free and are loaded with even more nutrients than their cultivated cousins.

For more information on green smoothies and dozens of recipes, read Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothie Revolution. She literally wrote the book on green smoothie nutrition.

*http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=15674

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