It just hit me: Not only am I getting older, if I want to stay healthy pass my 30's, I better start making some changes to my lifestyle choices NOW. Unlike always, this one just can't be another fad. It's never easy seeing your loved ones not only aging, but also plagued by ailments and other complications. If I want them to make changes to their lifestyle and diet, I may as well not be a hypocrite and start with myself.
If you care enough to read my other posts, you may notice I dine out a lot. I'm also a fanatic of cheese, and anything that's been graced by the deep fryer. Fruits and vegetables are my nemesis. But I gotta figure out a way to slowly increase the daily intake to my diet and make it into a habit, which can be extremely difficult. I could easily see myself breaking down after 3 days and binge eat everything in the fridge, whether it be a tub of mayo, a whole pack of bacon (raw), a loaf of bread, etc.
My previous sedentary lifestyle also contributed to my vitamin deficiency. The doctor strongly urged me to go on vitamin B supplement ASAP before I crash and burn. No wonder I always felt so tired and sluggish no matter how many hours of sleep I got. Finally, I dragged my lazy bum off the sofa and vowed to work out more. The vitamin B supplement did make me feel more awake, but I was looking for something more natural, makes me feel less bloated, boosts my immune system (I got sick 3 times in a month), stimulates metabolism, and has anti-oxidant properties.
That was when I spoke to J, a real advocate of healthy eating. I asked him questions about the green juice photo he posted on his Instagram and received a very informative and educational response that had inspired me to follow. The green juice detox has been around for a while, but I never really bought into the hype until I heard J's testimonial.
The day after, I went to the market and picked up as many green leaf vegetables that J mentioned as I could. The ingredients I had were: spinach, cilantro, parsley, kale, ginger, lime, blackberries. I was nervous about drinking something that would taste too much like "grass" and figured berries will add to taste and anti-oxidant component. Anyways, my first try was not really successful. My "handful" of each vegetables packed the blender and it wasn't really blending at all. I also didn't add enough liquid (this time I used water, but really want to try coconut water next time). So the drink turned out really thick, frothy and extremely pulpy on the top layer. Of course, the blackberries turned the bright green color to a murky brown. Chewing the raw pulp was not great either. Fortunately, I didn't mind the taste of the juice itself that much and was able to drink 2 cups and proved my skeptic siblings wrong. Oddly, the ginger burned my throat but with a late reaction. It didn't happen til an hour and a half after I drank it. This was mostly my dinner and it kept me moderately full. My mind was not completely satisfied and craved for something more hearty, but that's something else I have to work on. I also had to go to the washroom for #1 like 4-5 times in 2 hours, which may be TMI, but it's a good sign I guess.
My blender is not the caliber of Vitamix as someone kindly mentioned I should get, but if I get the ratio right, it should be okay. I'm really thinking of ways to make this concoction taste 'gourmet', tasty with a variety of flavours and only using natural ingredients and low in sodium. J also advise to drink either in the morning or a few hours after a meal to maximize absorption. I think it will be a couple more times before I perfect this nutritious green drink but I'm looking forward to incorporating it to my daily diet. As well, I may keep logs of how I feel after a week or so of being on the drink so stay posted.
Here is J's very helpful advice and recipe of the green drink!
"Here’s the smoothie Im always so excited and raving on about, its high in antioxidants, great for hydration and cleansing of heavy metals, sodium, detoxification, overall balanced health, energy, and replenishment of lost nutrients/vitamins. The biggest difference between eating a salad and drinking your vegetables is your optimizing your vitamin/mineral intake as the essential capillary walls of these ingredients are broken down and easily absorbed/digested by your body. More often than not, vegetables in particular are ingested and are not fully digested (they go in and come out looking the same - example: Corn), thereby limiting the absorption of the good stuff (ex: 50% aborption vs 100% of the minerals/nutrients/antioxidants/vitamins/phtyos). The only word of caution is with a lot of veggies like kale, broccoli, parsley, these are high in vitamin K, so if you have a blood condition or are on blood thinners, it might not be advisable. Blend and enjoy as follows:
Base Vegetable Essentials:
-2 Kale leaves
-Handful of spinach (for the handful portions judge accordingly to the size of your blender)
-Handful of parsley
-Handful of cilantro
-1.5 inch chunk of ginger (skin peeled)
-1/5 of a cucumber
-1 Celery stalk
-1/2 green pepper
-Half a large or one small lemon (Keeps fruits and veggies from oxidizing as quickly)
-8-10 Mint leaves (optional but I really like this, it adds a nice refreshing twist)
-1 hot red pepper (optional)
-2-3 heads of broccoli (florets and stems – you can use this if you don’t have kale) (optional)
-1 beet (optional)
-1 Carrot stalk (optional)
-1 scoop of protein powder (optional)
Fruit (optional, but makes it taste a lot less grassy):
-2-3 Tablespoons of crushed pineapple
-5-10 Green Grapes
-One or a combination of these are always good. I usually combine the banana, pear, kiwi and apple
-Orange or Apple Juice or Pineapple
2-3 cups of water/juice combo. 3 cups breaks it down to a very fluid consistency, whereas 2 is a bit thicker.
Combine all the ingredients and blend to a smoothie consistency. I usually add about 3 cups of water or juice and it gives me a very drinkable consistency. For me, this recipe will make about 2 liters of smoothie but it really depends on the size of your blender. You might need to play around with the portions a bit to get you to a place where it is easily drinkable both taste and texture wise. I had to work with a few different iterations of it until I was happy with mine (Both taste and texture). Try not to make the drink overly sweet with the fruits, it should be mildly tart with a slightly sweet edge, you don’t want to overdue your sugar intake in one sitting, even though it is from fruits.
The key is FRESH (I've drank a lot of bottled green smoothies but I think through the pasteurization process a lot of those minerals and nutrients are lost, they have never given me the same re-energized feeling I get from this recipe ) to gain the maximum health benefits, try not to leave your batch for more than 1 day max, you’ll notice that the color actually changes from a bright green to a duller green even overnight from the oxidization of the ingredients. Give it a whirl, I noticed a huge difference within about 2 days in my energy levels and focus. Go for smooth not pulpy!"