For everyone who has joined us this week – welcome!  I’ve heard from many people have been inspired by your posts on Facebook and are ready to join the mix – or the blend – of people making green smoothies in this challenge!  It doesn’t matter when you start; what matters is starting, so congratulations!  I can’t wait to hear how you find making your first smoothies.  For all who have been with us over the past week, how have you been finding adding protein?  Last night I made a smoothie to enjoy while we watched for the highly anticipated Downton Abbey season premier.  Most often these big television events are accompanied by chips and dips and things to sip.  But not in our house!  Last night, my husband made homemade salsa and I made PB & J smoothies!  It was a wonderful treat and we felt like we were indulging – perception is reality!

This morning I dropped my kids off, ran home and made a smoothie before heading to 10am bootcamp at Fitness Your Weigh.  I was looking for a protein heavy drink to compliment my work out and help me build some lean muscle mass.  My ingredients were:

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1 cup kale, raw

1 cup spinach, fresh

1 banana

1 cup pineapple, frozen

6 spirulina tablets

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup goji berries

2 tbsp hemp protein powder

I added my greens and blended with a little bit of water and then I added all my remaining ingredients.

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This was a fast and easy smoothie that tasted ok.  Not my best, but I was happy with it.  The goji berries were an over-powering taste, I like to be able to taste my greens in a smoothie.  But it did the job for me this morning!

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I have been doing a nutritional analysis everyday of my smoothies. I am trying to find the ultimate smoothie that is lower in calories and has the perfect carb/protein balance.  This smoothies was lower in calories than some of my others (the entire batch was 485 calories but could be shared with 2-4 people) it had 97 carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein.  Not quite perfect but it’s getting there.  I have been drinking this smoothie all day so by the end of it I will have downed all of those calorie, carbs, fats and proteins.

Something I put in my smoothie today was Spirulina (the 6 tablets added 2 grams of protein).  Spirulina is a simple one-celled microscopic blue-green algae that has been studied greatly over the last 20 years.  Spirulina is a rich source of beta carotene food, with a full spectrum of ten mixed carotenoids. About half are orange carotenes: alpha, beta and gamma and half are yellow xanthophylls. They work synergistically at different sites in our body to enhance antioxidant protection.

Spirulina is an ideal anti-aging food; concentrated nutrient value, easily digested and loaded with antioxidants. Beta carotene is good for healthy eyes and vision. Spirulina beta carotene is ten times more concentrated than carrots. Iron is essential to build a strong system, yet is the most common mineral deficiency. Spirulina is rich in iron, magnesium and trace minerals, and is easier to absorb than iron supplements. Spirulina is the highest source of B-12, essential for healthy nerves and tissue, especially for vegetarians.

About 60% of spirulina’s dry weight is protein, which is essential for growth and cell regeneration. It is a good replacement for fatty and cholesterol-rich meat and dairy products in one’s diet. Every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.  Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body. Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and its high protein content helps build muscle mass. At the same time, it can curb hunger that may develop during the most demanding training routines. Thus, it indirectly acts as an effective way to maintain an athlete’s ideal body weight.

Well…how about that!  Have any of you added spirulina to your smoothies?


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