I mustache you a question.
How do you feel about a green smoothie in the winter?
Me, I can't take the cold. So lately I've been making a warm smoothie and while I have to admit it sounded a little weird at first, I gotta say I like the change. And it gets me back in the habit of getting my greens in at breakfast which, well, if you've been following along you know how I feel about greens.
I have to admit I feel sort of silly for not thinking of making a warm smoothie sooner. It used to be that come late fall/winter I'd abandon my green smoothie routine all together. It'd make me too cold and I spend the rest of the day trying to warm up (I really don't like being cold).
So, I'll admit, it's been sort of an excuse to forego the greens in the mornings. I'm not much of an egg eater so that delivery mechanism for greens wasn't happening either. I do a lot of plain fruit, yogurt, the occasional muffin or a Larabar, but it's hard to get greens in.
Then a fellow health coach suggested just making my smoothie warm. Use hot or warm or room temp water, fresh ingredients versus frozen and problem solved.
When he told me this I just kinda stood there thinking "well, why didn't I think of that?"
It's funny, I get the same reaction from my clients when I point out an idea or solution that in hind sight may be obvious, but it took an outside perspective to spot.
Sometimes you just can't see it when you're in it.
Anyway, I digress... point is I'm so glad I had that conversation because lord knows how long it would have taken me to come to this realization on my own.
And you know what, being able to cut to the chase, get there faster, stop wasting your time, get out of your own way is exactly what health coaches are for!
OK, back to the warm smoothie... I based this warm smoothie recipe on an old recipe from the blog. Pear is a winter fruit, so in season. And ginger root has heat generating properties so along with the smoothie itself being hot, the ginger in it warms you up from the inside out as well.
I want to point out a hack in this recipe, too.
Nut Milk Hack
You'll notice this recipe calls for a tablespoon of nuts (any kind of nut will do here, I suggest going with whatever type of nut milk you prefer), and a tablespoon of hemp seeds or hemp protein. It does not call for milk or nut milk, I'll explain why....
When you blend water with nuts you basically make nut milk. If you've ever made homemade almond or cashew or any other type of nut milk you know what a simple process it really is. You literally blend the nuts with water. Then you strain the milk through a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth to get rid of any pulp. And if you're making it with cashews you don't even have to do that. Just blend and done!
To make it, it does help to soak the nuts overnight the night before. This softens the nuts and activates the nutrients that usually lay dormant inside. It also helps to deactivate some anti nutrients.
This step isn't necessary for the warm smoothie here, but it's something you can always do with nuts in general to help make them more nutritious and easier to digest.
Soaked nuts should be throughly drained and dried, either on the countertop or in the oven at a low temperature, then stored in the fridge. There they'll last about a week.
I tell you all of this to say, simply adding a small handful (soaked or not) to your smoothie with water is like making instant nut milk.
It's easy and convenient. Nuts last a heck of a lot longer than an opened container of nut milk. And this will save you big time on buying it by the bottle. Those nut milks get pricy, especially the highest quality ones that are made with only nuts, water and salt (which is what you want to be looking for anyway) no carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, natural flavors, etc., which you'll find in most store brand nut milks (I'm looking at you Almond Breeze).
Soooo, you could make your own nut milk, or you could just use this little hack if you're mostly only using it for smoothies.
I know this gnarled root may look intimidating, but one you get to know it a little better, I promise, not so scary.
Ginger is a powerful medicinal food, and I'm not just talking about settling the stomach. Though it does have amazing abilities to do that, too. Ginger is a strong antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of inflammatory compounds, and has direct anti-inflammatory effects. It contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that are believed to be the reason behind the relief that people suffering with joint pain get when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn't, physicians found that 75 percent of arthritis patients and 100 percent of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling (whfoods.com).
As I mentioned earlier, ginger has heat properties and naturally warms the body, which can be quite comforting in the winter and also generally supportive of the immune system (also what you want in winter).
This is also interesting: studies have shown that the active phytonutrients in ginger can inhibit the growth of and kill cancer cells (specifically looking at cervical and colorectal cancer)(whfoods.com).
Ginger is common in asian-style meals but I like to sneak it into things like chili, tortilla soup and beef stew for a little extra heat. To use in recipes, you can either use the root and grate it or go with ground (I typically use ground to save time).
I'm also really digging ginger root in my morning lemon water right now. I peel or slice a few thin pieces and add it to my cup, then pour in the boiling water and let it steep a few minutes before squeezing in the lemon.
OK, now on to the good stuff... the warm smoothie recipe.
BTW, if you make this, I'd love to hear how it turns out. Come back and let us know what you thought in the comments.
Green Gingered Pear Warm Smoothie
2 cups greens (kale or spinach)
1 large pear, cored and cut into pieces
1 small handful nuts (almonds, cashews or walnuts)
1 tbsp hemp seeds or hemp protein powder
1 date, pit removed
tiny dash pure vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 inch ginger root, peeled (or can use ground ginger)
shake of sea salt (or pink salt)
1 cup hot water
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass or mug. Sip and enjoy.
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Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.