Through My Kitchen Window – The Perfect Smoothie

Im thrilled to introduce you to Becky. When a loved one was diagnosed with cancer, she dedicated a lot of time and energy to studying nutrition. She used her new-found knowledge to set in place healthy eating habits that enabled her to lose 70 pounds! Shes here to show us one simple way to fill our day with delicious and nutritious food in a smoothie! - Davina

Ive been working hard to create the perfect smoothie for myself, one that contains the nutrients necessary for a healthy and active life. For both health and personal reasons I mainly eat a plant-based diet, so its important to me to make sure that Im getting everything I need to thrive.

Last month I invested in a high powered blender that Ive used daily to make smoothies. Since then I have lost 6 pounds and both my energy and my level of fitness have improved tremendously.

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Im so excited to have the opportunity to share my favorite smoothie recipe and some of the research Ive done on nutrition. There are a lot of ingredients, but it comes together quickly and each one has a specific purpose. Organic ingredients are best, but just make sure to wash your produce well if that isnt an option for you.

1. KALE. This is the foundation for my everyday smoothie. Leafy greens provide tons of nutrients, and kale has two of the most powerful superstar antioxidants, carotenoinds and flavonoids. These aid in expelling radicals and help to fight against cancer. Kale is also anti-inflammatory, allowing the body to focus on healing, rather than attacking itself.

2. CARROTS. Carrots contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and carotenoids including beta-carotene. Beta-carotenoids are converted to retinol and retinoic acid. Retinol is essential for healthy vision and retinoic acid is used for essential functions including cellular differentiation and growth.

3. CELERY. The phytochemicals in celery called phthalides, are responsible for relaxing muscle tissue in artery walls and increasing blood flow.

4. GRANNY SMITH APPLES. Granny Smith apples stabilize your blood sugar levels, which is particularly important if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes. Foods rich in soluble fiber delay absorption of sugar in your small intestine and may lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Granny Smith apples are also particularly high in the flavonoids cyanidin and epicatechin.

5. STRAWBERRIES. Strawberries are high in potassium, and high-potassium diets have been shown to reduce bone loss by preserving calcium stores and preventing the breakdown of bones.

6. BLUEBERRIES. Blueberries are loaded with vitamins. A cup of raw blueberries contains 14.4 milligrams of vitamin C, or between 16 and 19 percent of the recommended daily allowance for adults of this antioxidant. Theyre also a good source of vitamin K, which enables blood coagulation. A cup of blueberries supplies 31% of the recommended daily allowance for adults.

7. LEMON. Lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers. Lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser often used as a weight loss aid. Lemons contain many substances (notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene) that promote immunity and fight infection. Its okay to throw the entire lemon into the blender, peel and all.

8. GINGER ROOT. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb often used for joint problems. Research shows it may help with arthritis, fevers, headaches, toothaches, coughs, bronchitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, high cholesterol, high blood-pressure, and aid in preventing internal blood clots. It improves circulation, digestion, and healing.

9. PSYLLIUM HUSK. Fiber moves through the intestines without being absorbed, allowing it to carry metabolic wastes out of the body. Without fiber much of this waste would be reabsorbed. This waste includes toxins and hormones that our bodies are trying to get rid of. Fiber is especially important when youre trying to lose weight, because our fat cells store and and even produce excess hormones. As we lose weight, these hormones are released and without fiber they may upset hormonal balances.

10. FLAX SEEDS. One tablespoon of flax seeds contains enough omega 3 fatty acids to fulfill your daily requirement. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C, are better absorbed by our bodies when taken with fats. So adding flax seeds boosts the effectiveness of the other smoothie ingredients.

11. PEA PROTEIN POWDER. The protein from peas is highly digestible. It works effectively to regulate the appetite and encourage significant weight loss. Ghrelin, a substance secreted by the stomach signals the brain to stimulate the sensation of hunger. In general, ghrelin levels rise within a certain period of time after eating in anticipation of the next meal. Pea protein slows this process by forming a greater number of peptides that delay the gastric emptying, lower ghrelin levels, and sustain satiety for longer periods of time.

12. HEMP PROTEIN POWDER. Hemp protein is also an excellent source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids help to form brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Humans can produce 10 out of the 20 known amino acids. But we have to make up the deficit in the food we eat. Failure to obtain even one of the essential amino acids can result in protein degradation. Some of the amino acids hemp protein contains are cysteine, glutamine, glycine, isoleucine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine and phenylalanine.

13. VITAMIN B 12. A deficiency of vitamin B-12 leads to a condition called pernicious anemia. Vitamin B-12 allows the body to produce red blood cells of the proper size and in the proper quantity needed to keep blood levels normal. B-12 is not readily available in most foods, especially vegan and plant based sources. So I grind up a tablet into my smoothie to ensure that my daily need is met.

14. ZINC. I have found that supplementing with Zinc has helped clear my acne, harden my nails, and improve my hairs strength and growth. Zinc helps to balance hormones, heal wounds, and is also a powerful antioxidant. Because some of the best sources for Zinc come from animal products, people eating a plant based or vegan diet may be at more of a risk for developing Zinc deficiencies. Pumpkin seeds are a great natural alternative.

15. DAILY MULTIVITAMIN. Although the other smoothie ingredients are loaded with vitamins and minerals, I still throw a multivitamin in to cover my bases.

16. WATER. Water provides hydration, and helps fiber to expand. You cannot add too much water to this smoothie, the more the better. I add enough water to fill the blender pitcher to the max level line, approximately 7 cups.

There you have it! The how and why of building a smoothie to help you lose weight, reduce hunger, and ensure your daily nutritional needs are met. I fill several containers with this and sip on it throughout the day. It blends into a reddish purple color and tastes like strawberries. - Becky

The Perfect Smoothie

2 organic kale leaves

2 organic carrots

2 organic celery stalks

1 organic Granny Smith apple

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 small organic lemon, unpeeled

1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger root (approx. 1 Tb)

1 tsp (5g) psyllium husk powder

1 Tb (15g) whole flax seeds

2 Tb (30g) pea protein powder

1 Tb (15g) hemp protein powder

1 tablet (1000mcg) Vitamin B-12

1 tablet (50mg) Zinc

1 multivitamin

Water (enough to fill blender to its maximum limit)

Wash all the produce and roughly chop the carrots, celery, and apples.

Load the ingredients into a high powered blender in the order shown. Allow the blender to run long enough to thoroughly break down the ingredients.

Drink throughout the day, or as a meal replacement.

Note: A blender with less horsepower (under 2HP, 13 Amps, or 1,500 Watts) cannot handle raw veggies or a whole lemon. To use that blender: zest and juice the lemon and grate the carrots, celery, and apple before placing in the blender.

495 calories, 81g carbs, 7g fat, 36g protein