Nutrition Overload: Green Drink Challenge!

What Just Happened?

Do you ever feel bloated, sluggish or uncomfortable?  Do you feel like you need to detox or just reset your system?  Do you want to feel more energetic, stronger and leaner?  Let’s go green together for the month of September!

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Challenge Accepted

Earlier this month I had a brief moment of insanity where I proclaimed that I would swap my coffee for a green drink or smoothie for the month of September.  You know I love these types of “experiments”, but you cannot just dive blindly into something like this.  It requires a plan.  For any of you wanting to join me, you’re welcome to design your own plan, but if you’d rather not be the responsible party, just follow mine 🙂  There are a few things to consider before committing to this plan.

1) You’ll need a blender.  I bet most of you have one.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy one.  I will be using a Cuisinart that I’ve had for years.  I think it was around $100 at Costco.  If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, then fabulous!  Your smoothies will blend to perfection every time with nary a lump.  If you’re in the same boat as me, just blend it twice if you miss a few chunks.

2) You will want a juicer.  My juicer was also very inexpensive.  I’ve had it for over 10 years.  It was $60 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  The brand is Waring Pro.  It works great and something like this is good enough to serve the purpose if you’re just trying juicing for the first time.  If you do have one of the high powered blenders listed above, you may want to blend instead of juice.  It’s a personal choice really.

3) I’ll try to keep it simple.  You and I may not have the same opinion as to what “simple” is, but I will try to keep the shopping lists simple enough to where most any supermarket will carry what you need.

4) Make it your own plan.  I’m providing a specific plan, but feel free to make swaps.  I don’t know what your food allergies or aversions are, so take the liberty to adjust accordingly.

The [Bendable] Rules:

  1. Each morning, upon waking: Have a tall glass of water.  Add lemon if you’d like.  For more on the benefits of this “rule” click here.
  2. About 30 minutes after you’ve had your water, enjoy your smoothie or juice of the day.  If the menu called for a juice, you’ll have breakfast a short time after (and I will offer a few suggestions).  If the menu calls for a smoothie, the smoothie will also act as your breakfast.  You can resume your normal eating schedule with your first snack or lunch.
  3. Skip the caffeine.  I love coffee.  I drink it everyday.  It does have it’s health benefits.  However, it’s easy to increase the quantity over time until you are depending on it for energy that your body should be able to produce on it’s own.  I strongly encourage the occasional caffeine cleanse.  This can help you discover just how dependent you are on caffeine.  It can help you reset healthier sleep patterns.  It can allow your adrenal system to do it’s job more effectively (especially if you suffer from adrenal fatigue).  It can also help you stay more hydrated.  You’ll naturally sip on more water throughout the day, plus you won’t be drinking beverages that have a diuretic affect.
  4. Floss.  This is the last rule and the one I want you to bend the least.  This may already be a daily habit for you.  That’s great.  But if it’s not, you may be wondering what this has to do with a  smoothie challenge.  Practicing oral health habits like flossing actually improves your overall health, not just the condition of your teeth.  The purpose of this challenge is to increase overall nutrient absorption for increased energy and overall health.  Plaque built up on the gum line can lead to gum disease, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and other issues we’d rather just avoid.  So, if it’s already a habit, keep it up.  If it’s not, add it to your morning (or nighttime) routine.

Now, The Recipes!

I’m going to give you 7 different recipes (one for each day of the week).  You’ll repeat this for 4 weeks.  As you go through the first week of the challenge, you can make tweaks to help perfect the recipes to your own palate.  I’ve been juicing for years and am accustomed to beverages that aren’t sweet.  You may need to ease into the “greener” options if you aren’t used to it.  With that being said, I have tried to put together combinations that are nutritious and delicious.  After all, I do like you and want you to enjoy this experience 🙂

DAY 1

We’ll ease into day one with a classic smoothie that’s filling and delicious.  It will help eliminate bloating, aid in digestion and leave you satisfied until your next planned meal.  I suggest you slice and freeze some bananas, because they allow you to avoid adding ice to your smoothie and will keep your bananas fresher longer.

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Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana

2/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks

2 handfuls baby spinach (or 3/4 cup frozen)

1 cup coconut water (no sugar added)

6 oz plain (grass fed 2%) greek yogurt. I recommend Siggi’s brand.

1 TBSP milled flaxseed (or chia seed if you don’t have flaxseed)

Directions:

Toss it into the blender and blend until smooth.

Strong Calm Sneak: Reserve a few slices of the solid ingredients (banana slices, pineapple and a dusting of flaxseed) to top the smoothie with.  This will give you something to spoon and chew before you sip your smoothie.  The chewing action stimulates your stomach to produce necessary digestive enzymes and also allows your brain to release Leptin (the hormone that tells you you’re full).

DAY 2

On day 2 we’ll juice.  This is an energizing and refreshing juice that should go down pretty easily.  If you’re a StrongCalmSexy.com member (or get private meal plans from me) then you know how much I love green apples.  Here’s what you’ll need:

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1 Granny Smith Apple

4 romaine leaves

2 cucumbers

8 mint leaves

1 lime

Directions:

Run these ingredients through your juicer and enjoy ASAP.  About 30 minutes after your juice (give the nutrients time to absorb), you can enjoy a light, nourishing breakfast.  I recommend following it up with 1-2 eggs with some tomato slices or a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread with almond butter and cinnamon.

Day 3

Back to a breakfast worthy smoothie.  This one calls for a serving of protein powder.  My top recommendation is Tera’s Whey (the organic, grass fed variety).  There is also a website called Swanson’s Vitamins that carries their own grass fed whey protein concentrate.  It’s less expensive (about $16) and just as good, so if you have time to order it, then go for it!  You can also use a vegan protein if you prefer it.  I’ve told you before, my favorite vegan protein is from Arbonne.  I’ve yet to find one that blends better and doesn’t taste “beany”.

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Ingredients:

1/2 small avocado (peeled, pitted, cubed)

2/3 cup frozen mango (this will save you time and mess)

1 peeled kiwi

1 serving vanilla protein powder (recommendations above)

1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk.

Directions:

Blend it.  Drink it.

Day 4

Another smoothie day!  This is our super-est of all of the superfood smoothies.  We’ve packed them all in here for the most powerful nutrient punch.

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Ingredients:

1 cup raspberries

1/2 cup wild blueberries

1/2 banana (can substitute 3 pitted dates)

1 TBSP cocoa powder or raw cacao

1 TBSP Peanut Butter (natural, organic-even better)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or grass fed milk

2 handfuls mixed greens

Directions:

Blend & Enjoy.  Remember, you can top with fresh berries or banana slices for something to chew.

Day 5

Back to juice.  This one is about as fresh as fresh can taste, but probably not for beginners 🙂  If you need to replace the 1/2 of the carrots with a small apple it will sweeten it up quite a bit.

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(source)

Ingredients:

5 small carrots

1 large cucumber

A few handfuls of cilantro

A few handfuls of kale

1 lemon

Directions:

Run these through the juicer and sip away 🙂  Remember, about 30 min later to have a simple breakfast with just a few ingredients.  Even a handful of walnuts with a few dried apricots will suffice.

Day 6

(serves 2)

This is like having pecan pie for breakfast.  It’s filling and energizing, so use this fuel for good and not evil.  Think about getting a good workout in after this smoothie (like completing an 8 Minute Meltdown, or 2 or 3).

Medjool dates

(source)

1/2 cup whole, rolled oats (non GMO and organic are preferred)

1/4 cup pecans

4 pitted dates

6 oz Siggi’s 0% plain greek yogurt

2 handfuls of spinach (or 1 cup frozen)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

several dashes of cinnamon

If you don’t use frozen spinach, add some ice

Directions:

Blend and enjoy this creamy, smoothie pie!

Day 7

Let’s finish strong with a juice that tastes like we really care about our health.  This is one that you’ll end up craving someday…I promise 🙂  I’ll need selfies shared with your reaction when you give this one a try for the first time 🙂

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(source)

Ingredients:

1 bulb of fennel

1 Swiss Chard leaf

1 orange

1/2 lemon

1 handful of mint

Directions:

Run through the juicer and enjoy!  Follow up with a satisfying breakfast about 30 minutes later.  I recommend a serving of steel cut oat topped with orange zest, sunflower seeds and some flaked coconut.

Support:

I’ll be going through this with you, so we can share opinions and ideas.  If I decide to make tweaks, I will let you know.  I intend to still drink some green tea, so I will be getting some caffeine from that.  I will being trying different teas and tea lattes in lieu of coffee and espresso. I’ll share with you what I consider to be share worthy.  I’ll also be going through the workouts that are on the website and I’ll be adding some new 8 Minute Meltdowns if you’d like to add more activity to your day.  I’d love for you to share pics and comments of your experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.  Use the hashtags: #StrongCalmSmoothie #StrongCalmSmoothieChallenge #8MM #8MinuteMeltdown and you can tag me on Instagram and Twitter @omnoshedidnt and if you don’t already “like” my Facebook page, you can like it at www.Facebook.com/StrongCalmSexy 

Feel free to forward this challenge to your friends and family and refer them to the site or to the social media pages.

Cheers!

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Bonus juice!  My all time fave! Broccoli stem, ginger, lemon, pear, cucumber and kale 🙂

The List:

Your shopping list may seem lengthy at first, but note that most all of these items can be frozen.  You’ll want the produce you are juicing to be as fresh as possible, but even the greens can be frozen for the smoothies.  Some of the items have a long shelf or refrigerator life (like the dates, oats, cocoa, flaxseed, etc.)  The green apples and citrus are also pretty hearty.  If you over buy, the chard can been cooked down for dinner and salads can be made out of any leftover greens and herbs.  These are all nutritious staples to have around, so buy a little extra and freeze what you can’t use right away.

Here is a summary of what you’ll need (I tried to categorize for your convenience):

Almond Milk

Coconut Water (no sugar added)

Plain Greek Yogurt (recommendations above-vegans swap for dairy alternative)

Vanilla Protein Powder (recommendations above)

Flaxseed (milled or mill it on your own in a coffee bean grinder or food processor)

Organic Rolled Oats

Cocoa Powder or Raw Cacao

Pecans

Dates (pitted)

Baby Spinach

Mixed Greens

Swiss Chard

Kale

Romaine

Cilantro

Mint

Fennel

Cucumbers

Carrots

Avocados

Oranges

Lemons

Limes

Pineapples

Mangos

Kiwis

Raspberries

Blueberries

Granny Smith Apples

Bananas

 

 

 

 

 

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