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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Morning Smoothie

GLUTEN-FREE | GRAIN-FREE | DAIRY OPTIONAL

Making a smoothie for breakfast is a quick and easy way to start the day right: with healthy fat and protein. You can make it in just one minute and it's a good way to get berries and ground flax seeds into your diet. I'm in the middle of my annual spring cleanse, so berries and ground flax seeds are at the top of my list.

This smoothie is good for almost everyone, and not just during detox. Berries contain powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds. Flax seeds are full of fiber and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. They help regulate digestion, improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. (Individuals with intestinal inflammation or obstruction should avoid ground flax seeds.) Cinnamon and ginger also fight inflammation and they help our bodies eliminate toxins.

I add yogurt because it's full of healthy bacteria and whey protein that boosts the production of glutathione (which helps the liver detoxify compounds in the blood). For a dairy-free smoothie, omit the yogurt and add ¼ cup of full-fat coconut milk or 2 scoops of raw hemp protein powder or other protein powder.

Because each meal should contain a green leafy vegetable, I throw in a handful of spinach. It purées nicely, thanks to its  tender texture. You can use any leafy green you like, and if you can't use fresh greens, substitute a scoop of green powder.

Because the unsaturated fatty acids in flax seeds are fragile, they should be freshly ground, then consumed immediately or stored in the fridge until eaten. Frozen organic berries work well and add an icy texture. If you want the icy effect but you're using fresh fruit, add a few ice cubes.

½ cup organic frozen wild blueberries, blackberries or raspberries
Handful of fresh spinach leaves or other green leafy vegetable or green powder
½ cup organic whole milk plain yogurt (from grass-fed cows if you can find it)
2 rounded tbsp freshly ground flax seeds 
¼ cup water 
Pinch cinnamon
Freshly grated ginger to taste

Purée all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. If you desire a thinner consistency, add more water. Drink immediately.

 

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