What’s your guess? Wine? Margaritas? Milk? Orange juice? Energy drinks?
Now, before you turn up your nose, let me assure you that I resisted the whole green smoothie thing for years. I bought a VitaMix 16 years ago when I first learned about the amazing health benefits of ‘liquid greens’ but the only thing it got used for was protein shakes and the best margaritas in the neighborhood. But for some reason, a few weeks ago I decided to experiment with making a green smoothie. I went to YouTube and watched a few demonstrations, then I went to see what I had in my fridge that might work. I had kale, a lemon and some apples. So I decided to give it a whirl. I put ice and water to the 3 cup line then added 2 huge handfuls of kale that I had torn into tiny pieces, the juice of ½ a lemon and the apple (without seeds). At the last minute I put half a dropper full of Valencia Orange-flavored Stevia.
The result was a foamy, bright green smoothie that smelled delicious. But how would it taste? With some trepidation I poured myself a glass and took a teeny, tiny sip, expecting to gag. But to my surprise, it was absolutely delicious! Fresh, slightly sweet, refreshing, clean-tasting. In a word: yummy!
If that wasn’t surprising enough, my husband walked by and asked if he could taste it. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but you have to understand my family. I’m forever experimenting with some new health food and trying to get my family to try it, so they are usually a bit wary of my concoctions. But the vivid green color of this smoothie was just too appealing (or perhaps intriguing) to pass up. So he tried it. And LOVED it!
As great as that was, the real excitement for me was when my 13 year-old son came home from school and drank some of my green smoothie for his afternoon snack – and loved it, too!
So we all three began drinking green smoothies. Here are our favorite combos so far:
1. 3 cups water/ice
2. 2-3 cups spinach, kale, chard or romaine lettuce torn into small pieces
3. 1 apple or 1-2 cups of any kind of berry
4. Liquid Stevia to taste (our favorite is the Valencia Orange flavored)
5. Juice from ½ a lemon
6. (I add a thumb-sized chunk of ginger to mine, but the boys aren’t fond of that)
Everyone knows that eating leafy greens is good for you. But why the title: “Happiness in a Glass?” Well, I noticed that all three of us seemed happier after drinking our smoothies. My husband would literally start whistling while he worked. My son invariably had more jokes or funny vignettes from the day to share with me. And I felt lighter, happier and brighter.
So, as any good scientist would do, I began reading and researching this phenomenon. In the process, I came across the work of Dr. Mao Shing Ni, known as Dr. Mao. Dr. Mao is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine, an authority on Taoist anti-aging medicine, and author of the best-selling book Secrets of Longevity, Second Spring: Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age, Secrets of Self-Healing, and most recently, Secrets of Longevity 8-Week Program: Simple Steps that Add Years to Your Life.
In his book, Dr. Mao explains that leafy greens like the ones I was using in my green smoothies are rich in folate. Folate, also known as folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for cell division, DNA synthesis, and healthy blood cell production. And here’s the happiness connection: research at the University of York and Hull Medical School has found a link between depression and low levels of folate. So, to keep you smiling, increase your intake of folate-rich foods. Drink green smoothies!!!
Share your favorite green smoothie concoction below in the comments.