I know, it’s fall and there’s a distinct chill in the air. If you live in the high country, you might even have a skiff of snow on the ground. Not exactly smoothie weather, but my detox buddy and I have been doing a fall cleanse for the past three weeks and smoothies have been a major part of our diet. Although I didn’t have the time this fall to document our progress like I did last spring, the results have been the same. I’ve lost a few pounds and feel light, healthy, energetic and rejuvenated. In fact, even though I do this every spring and fall, I’m always struck by how good I can feel. It’s a twice-yearly reminder to reset my health goals and pay attention to how I treat myself. Everything we eat, drink, breathe and absorb through our skin must be dealt with by the body. We’re exposed to a long list of icky environmental toxins on a daily basis. Periodic cleansing gives the body a chance to sort through the muck and unload some of that toxic burden that has accumulated over time. Every system and organ in the body is impacted by what we eat, but the liver is the workhorse. Periodic cleansing gives it a chance to catch up on its workload and regenerate, which is vital to overall wellness.
This smoothie is filled with antioxidant goodness, high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to boost health and combat free-radical damage. Hemp is one of nature’s best plant-based protein sources, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs. And no, you won’t flunk a drug test if you’ve had a hemp smoothie for breakfast. I’m a product of the sixties, a hippie-girl at heart, so the word “hemp” brings to mind marijuana, peace, love and tie-dyes. Having said that, I never inhaled.
Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa L., but from different varieties. There are different breeds of dogs in the Canis familiari group – think Chihuahuas and my guy, Fairbanks. This is no different. Hemp protein powder and marijuana are not the same, so don’t worry that you’ll start wearing bell bottoms and sporting flowers in your hair. Or singing old Janis Joplin or Jefferson Airplane songs. Not that that’s a bad thing. “Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know.”
Quick, what’s that song?
hemp protein smoothie
what you need
2 ripe pears *
2 cups Romaine lettuce or spinach
1 ripe banana *
1 cup goat kefir or goat yogurt
1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup shredded raw zucchini
1/4 cup berries (any kind, organic preferred, frozen is fine)
3 tablespoons hemp protein powder
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
what you do
Wash and cut fruit, throw it in the blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Makes 2 BIG servings or 4 small ones. If you don’t have this mix of ingredients, make up your own. Color outside the lines! Some of these ingredients were from my weekly CSA share. This is a great way to use fruit that is on the far-side of mid-life.
* Overly-ripe fruit is actually better in some ways, especially in smoothies. Ripe bananas are more alkalizing, green bananas are more acidic. Which foods give you the best chance for a healthy pH balance is for another post, but this is a good way to add alkalizing foods to the diet (that’s a good thing), so don’t toss overly ripe bananas. Use them in smoothies.
A sampling of nutritional highlights
Pears are in season now and full of vitamin C and copper, both of these nutrients help protect cells from free-radical damage. High in fiber and considered a “hypoallergenic” fruit, pears are not only healthy, but creamy and delicious as well.
Romaine lettuce is packed with nutrient goodness and contain only 7 or 8 calories per cup. You get a lot of bang for your buck with Romaine, but make it organic as the Environmental Working Group lists lettuce as one of the “dirty dozen” on their shopper’s guide to pesticides.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which may be protective against arthritis and joint inflammation. Guys – pumpkin seeds contain a rich blend of health-promoting minerals, including zinc which helps protect your “boy” parts and your bones. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found a connection between low zinc levels and osteoporosis of the hip and spine. We always think of osteoporosis as a female condition, but it can be a problem for older men as well.
Cinnamon contains unique essential oils that are anti-microbial and help balance yeast and bacteria in the intestinal tract. In addition, cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels and is rich in fiber, iron, manganese and even calcium. Plus, cinnamon is sweet and tasty. I add it to everything I can think of.
Go forth and power up your smoothies! Singing songs from the sixties is optional.