Looking for a healthy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Skip the green beer this year… and try a green smoothie or juice!
OK… so maybe consuming a green health drink isn’t the way you envisioned yourself celebrating St. Patrick’s Day… but why not make it a new tradition? Or better yet, incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your regular plan throughout the year. After all, green juices provide energy-boosting nutrition and won’t leave you with a hangover the next day!
IFBB Pro Marzia Prince is an advocate of juicing for athletes who want to burn fat and put on quality muscle while increasing energy. According to Marzia, here are some benefits of juicing:
• Raw fruits and veggies help build lean muscle because they provide high-quality, bio-available vitamins needed for cell repair. They also aid in cardiovascular health and proper heart function.
• Juice aids in weight loss.
• Raw fruits and vegetables speed up enzyme activity, keeping you hydrated and increasing energy levels.
• Drinking a variety of fruits and veggies protects your immune system, keeping you healthy.
• The dark green chlorophyll in plants cleans your blood; when your blood is clean, your body runs more efficiently.
• Fruits and veggies remove toxins from the body.
• Juicing can bring back vitality to the skin, leading to healthy hair, skin and nails.
Marzia’s Lean and Green Juice
1 stalk of romaine
1 stalk of kale
1 celery stalk
3 asparagus spears
1 or 2 pears (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 inch of ginger root
Juice all the above together and stir.
The Green Refresher
I have been really into juicing myself lately, and I make this delicious green juice several times a week. Not only is it SO good, but it’s extremely easy to make with a juicer and minimal ingredients.
Here are just some of the reasons why this is a great detox juice:
• Lemons are a stimulant to the liver, helping with detoxification.
• Kale contains tons of fiber and sulfur, both of which are great detoxifying agents.
• Granny Smith apples add a delicious tart and tangy flavor to this juice! They are also high in vitamin C, have been shown to help prevent certain cancers, and it’s been reported that Granny Smith apples contain a higher level of antioxidants than other varieties.
• Cucumbers contains vitamin K, which among other benefits can help nourish your kidneys.
The Green Refresher
Two handfuls of kale
4 Granny Smith apples
Run through juicer and enjoy!
Lisa’s Morning Energy Burst Smoothie
In addition to juicing, I often make my own smoothies as a meal replacement or a snack. I am just so busy, running to and from work, meetings and other work obligations, exercising, and in between that trying to keep up with family and friends. Smoothies provide an easy way to get a ton of nutrition for someone who is always on the go, so they’re perfect for me.
My Morning Energy Burst Smoothie is a recipe I’ve been playing around with. I have this for breakfast a few times a week, and I always notice that it gives me energy in the morning, and I’m much more productive at work when I start my day with this. I love my coffee… but I have to admit, this smoothie wakes me up better than caffeine. And it also makes the perfect post-workout drink as well.
The energy benefits of this smoothie come mostly from the bananas, which are a great source of natural energy due to the vitamins (like B-6) and minerals they contain. And there’s no caffeine crash! The potassium in bananas is also good for nerve and muscle function, perfect for active individuals. Here are a few other nutritious facts:
• Spinach is packed with vitamins like C and A, as well as flavonoids that help protect you from illness, and it is a great source of iron.
• Greek yogurt is loaded with protein, contains calcium, as well as probiotics, which are good for digestive health.
• Natural peanut butter that doesn’t contain excessive oils, sugar and salt is the best option. It’s full of healthy monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and vitamin E for muscle protection.
Play around with this one… try adding flaxseed and different fruit combinations!
Morning Energy Burst Smoothie
2 cups of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
10 slices of frozen banana (or about a handful of any frozen fruit)
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (or chocolate if you prefer)
Blend until smooth
Gina Aliotti’s Green Goddess Smoothie
IFBB Pro Gina Aliotti makes tons of green nutritious smoothies, and was kind enough to share one with us. Perfect as a pre- or post-workout treat or even a refreshing meal replacement, her Green Goddess smoothie is full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Here are the health benefits of the ingredients found in the Green Goddess smoothie and why it’s worth incorporating into your daily meal plan:
• Kale: Full of iron, vitamin A, C and K, calcium and powerful antioxidants.
• Avocado: Full of vitamins A, D, E and K, potassium and rich in omega 3s, offering great heart health (it also adds creaminess to the smoothie).
• Kiwi: Loaded with vitamins, minerals and high in frolic acid, which is great for expectant mothers.
• Parsley: Loaded with vitamins and minerals, including a rich source of vitamin C, A and K. With over 150 percent the recommended daily allowance for vitamin K, parsley is a great addition to help promote bone health.
• Coconut water/milk: SO many benefits— a great source of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, gut health, provides great energy with its medium-chain fatty acids, and SO much more!
Gina’s Green Goddess Smoothie
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 cups kale or spinach
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 cup coconut water (for added creaminess, use unsweetened coconut milk)
1 cup water
stevia to taste (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
For more: sign up for Gina’s fitness and nutrition newsletter, at http://ginaaliotti.com/fitness-network/newsletter/.
Gina’s Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
Another great smoothie from Gina Aliotti! Green tea is great for your overall health and wellness, but did you know that one cup of matcha green tea’s antioxidant and nutritional content is equivalent to 10 glasses of regular green tea? If you are going to reap all the benefits of green tea, why not gain 10 times the benefit by sipping on matcha green tea?
Here are just some of the health benefits of this smoothie:
Heart Health: Studies have shown green tea to be related to long-term heart health because of its ability to lower harmful blood cholesterol, LDL levels. The flavonoids in green tea also relax the blood vessels so blood can flow more easily, which protect the heart for heart attacks!
Antioxidant boost: Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, catechins, polyphenols and especially EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which are free radical fighting substances that help the body fight disease and slow down the aging process. Green tea promotes longevity!
Weight Loss. Green tea has been shown to help with weight loss due to its fat oxidation properties. Studies show that green tea’s polyphenols help increase metabolism and therefore help with fat loss.
Matcha Green Tea Smoothie
2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
3 tablespoons hot water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 ripe medium banana
2 packets stevia
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup ice
In a small bowl, stir together the matcha powder with the hot water until completely dissolved. Add all ingredients in a blender, leaving a tablespoon of the shredded coconut aside. Blend well until rich and creamy, pour into glass and top off with remaining shredded coconut.
Callie Durbrow’s Green Detox Smoothie
The smoothie recipe from FitnessRx contributor Callie Durbrow can be used as an on-the-go meal, especially in the morning after a party, or as an afternoon pick-me-up. You’ll feel refreshed, detoxified and healthy!
Here’s a little information on the hardworking ingredients in this green smoothie:
• Full of fiber, which helps to regulate your digestive system and lower acid levels
• Contains chlorophyll, which can help eliminate harmful toxins from the body
• High in antioxidant vitamin C, which gives the immune system a boost.
• Contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that has been used to help decrease inflammation.
• High in manganese and thiamin, which are important for energy production and antioxidant defenses.
• High in potassium, an electrolyte that helps to regulate fluids at the cellular level. Consuming alcoholic beverages, among other things, depletes it.
• Contains pectin, which can aid in digestion and removal of toxins.
• A natural prebiotic.
• Contains healthy fat
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups of chopped kale
1 1/2 cups of chopped pineapple
1 ripe banana
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in the blender and chop until smooth. Add some additional water, if you like it with a thinner consistency.