Resolving to be healthier? If you’ve ever related to the sentiment, “I’m going to start drinking green sh#% and jogging“, here’s your chance to start (well, minus the jogging). Introducing a summer-appropriate, thick and green (so it must be healthy) smoothie! This is a protein-rich smoothie that contains two servings of greens, healthy fats, fibre and plenty of phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are great for your skin, your brain and digestive systems.
So while the spring seems to be a season of detoxifying the winter stagnation and embracing a feeling of warmth and lightness, my personal nutritional philosophy cautions against commercial detoxes. While they do have a time and a place, I’d rather see myself and others make small, real commitments towards a lifetime of health than large, dramatic diet alterations that are not likely to be sustained for a long period of time.
Reasons for a 2-3 week, naturopathic doctor-assisted detoxification protocol include: easing the body into a new season, regulating hormones, giving the main organs of detoxification a break by removing toxic burden, resetting metabolism, providing motivation for a lifetime commitment to healthy eating, healing leaky gut, etc. In essence, I believe that short, periodic detoxes and fasts are mainly for resetting the body so that you can get on the lifelong path of healthy eating.
Two years ago I tried a commerical detox plan, which consisted of replacing breakfast and lunch with smoothie mixes. The detox lasted a week and, though I felt pretty good while doing it (the results began to level off after the first few days, and then I just started to feel “normal” again), the week was heck to get through. I did lose about 5 pounds during that time, which was mostly water weight, I’m sure, but I didn’t feel like I was living real life while on the diet. I couldn’t share food with others or eat at anyone’s house, even if what I wanted to eat was healthy (eggs and avocado for breakfast, for example). Worst of all, after the detox was over and I reverted back to my more or less healthful eating pattern, the positive changes I experienced took less time to dissipate than the time I spent on the detox.
Remember that whatever ground you gain by making any lifestyle changes will only be lost when you revert back to your old ways. If you want the positive effects of any change to last, that change needs to be something you can sustain for life, perhaps making 1 or 2 healthy changes each week, month or year that you can commit to inevitably. For many of us, a great, small step for vowing to be healthier would be, rather than remove foods, to add in the foods missing from our diets. The 4th greatest source of antioxidants in the Standard American Diet is corn (the first is coffee). This tells us that the average North American is not getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, and especially not enough leafy greens. Adding in 1-2 servings of leafy greens each day will do far more for your health, if sustained over a long period of time, i.e.: the rest of your life, than the torture of a week-long juice fast.
Try this simple recipe as an easy and delicious way to cram a ton of healthy foods into your diet while you pretend you’re lying on a tropical beach somewhere. You can use it as a meal replacement (it is a meal in and of itself), or as a snack, depending on how active you are.
The Triple Thick Tropical Green Smoothie
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
1/3 cup water
1 big heaping handful of spinach, kale or both (approx. 1 cup)
1/2 a banana
1/3 cup mango
1 scoop protein powder (your choice of flavour)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Blend ingredients together, serve and repeat! Then get back to me about the jogging…