Thursday, July 5, 2012

the green smoothie

I thought I’d start this blog the same way I start my morning - with a delicious, healthy, easy and very green smoothie. Korean summer has well and truly set in and waking up to this for breakfast really does hit the spot.

The seasons here are different to home. Winters are dry and extremely crisp. But once I’m rugged up, there’s not too much to complain about – there’s not one drop of rain and the continuous blue-bird days make me a pretty happy little winter bunny. Don’t get me wrong though, I do love a good New Zealand winter hit - stormy, crazy winds and getting cosy indoors while outside buckets down a series of sleet, snow, rain and hail!

When I think of the summer heat in NZ I think hot, dry, burning sun streaming from blue Central Otago skies. Although the burn is intense, a shady spot under a tree or umbrella usually does the trick so I can keep my cool and enjoy a lazy summer’s day. In Korea, on the other hand, there is no escaping the heat. It’s wet, humid and sticks to you like glue.

The contrasts are just so extreme - winter here is as dry as a Kiwi summer, and the Korean summer is wet like our winter.

Anyway, where was I going with this?? Ah yes… The sticky heat and green smoothies! As temperatures and humidity continue to rise, so do my cravings for my morning smoothie concoction. For those of you experiencing blasting southerlies and the serious winter cold however, this is no reason to be missing out. Starting your day with one of these puppies has too many benefits to count. But to name a few, it's healthy, 100% raw, full of nutrients, ridiculously easy to make and it will boost you with a good dose of fruit and veg before the day has even begun.

Why is it bright green?
I love a smoothie because you can pack in a whole bunch of food and nutrients that our bodies need and often lack. My morning fix sees me dose up on proteins, omega 3s (the good fats that our body needs to function), and, drum role please...

... Chlorophyll! 

Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their green colour and helps them convert energy from the sun (it makes sense that green vegetables grow up out of the ground - ever wondered why the top of your carrot has a little green glow?). A Chlorophyll-rich diet provides you with a whole lot of goodness. It helps the body produce healthy blood (healthy blood = healthy heart!), strengthens the immune system, encourages strong liver function, fuels new healthy cell growth and supports the body in cleaning and detoxifying itself. 

So, the first two things I chuck in the blender are spinach and celery (…yes you read it right). What may seem strange at first takes very little time to get used to and you can always start with small amounts and build up from there.

A teaspoon of Chlorella is where I get the next Chlorophyll hit. Chlorella is an extremely chlorophyll rich water grown green alga. Up your Chlorella intake and you’re taking about ten massive steps forward in looking after your body because this wee beauty does not stop with Chlorophyll! It is full of vitamins including A, C, E and high levels of B12, contains omega 3's, is a complete protein source - which is exciting to find in a plant based food - and is a highly digestible protein at that, so you don't have to worry about putting too much strain on your digestive system.  

Chlorella can help to stabilise blood pressure and blood sugar levels, balance the bodies pH levels (which get seriously out of whack when we're eating processed foods), literally clean your insides and give your organs that boost they need to function well. It's a great detox food too, and considering our bodies are naturally detoxing from the early hours of the morning, I love to give it a hand. 


Once you've added chia seeds and a handful of almonds and sunflower or pumpkin seeds (amazing wee gems that each deserve a post of their own, and will, in due course!), you've got even more protein and Omega 3s covered too.

And this my friends, is why a super green smoothie is my favourite way to start the day - whatever the season. Get into it!

the green smoothie
(serves one monster size glass)

one stick of celery roughly broken up
a handful of spinach
1 cup of water
1 banana - frozen*
2 kiwi fruit
1 tsp of chlorella
a handful of nuts and seeds - I usually throw in a mix of almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts (preferably soaked**)
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs chia seeds

Blend together celery, spinach and water. Once they're thoroughly mixed and the greens are well munched stop the blender and add all other ingredients. It's up to you how you like your kiwi fruit. Although I love the taste of the skins, I tend to peel them to avoid any yucky sprays if I can't source them organic. Turn the blender on and whiz for about a 30 seconds or until the texture is smooth. Add more water and blend again if it's too thick.

* Freezing bananas ensures your smoothie is icy fresh and you can buy a bunch and not worry if you can't eat them all before they brown. Here's my trick to keep things organised and easy in your kitchen. Before you freeze them, peel and chop each banana into approx 5 pieces (I make them all the same-ish size so I know when I want 1 banana I always grab the same amount). Freeze separately on a tray, and bag together once frozen (this will stop them sticking together - 'free flow' I've been told is the kitchen lingo). 

** Soaking your seeds and nuts breaks down their enzymes which inhibits our bodies from efficiently absorbing their nutrients. There'll be a beasty post with all the details to come. For now, soak your seeds for 5 -7 hours (or before you go to bed at night), and make sure they're thoroughly rinsed before you use them. If you haven't any prepared just add dried nuts and seeds as they are still filled with goodness!

I encourage you to get creative and mix up combinations. I make my smoothie with the same green veg and water base each morning. But feel free to try different fruits (pineapple is a winner), switch chia seeds for ground flaxseeds or add some dates for extra sweetness. Minus and subtract what you like from this recipe, but I ask one thing...

 Make it green!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. My lovely mother reminded me of a very good point! If you're using fresh bananas instead of frozen bananas, chuck in a couple of ice cubes - These smoothies are definitely best served cold


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