Growing up, I watched my mom cook from recipes on thousands of food-splotched index cards. By the time I was old enough to be making meals for my own family, I felt I could follow a recipe exceptionally well, but I knew very little about making food.
So, I started over. I studied food principles by studying the holistic medical system from ancient India, still in use today: Ayurveda, the ancient sister science of Yoga.
I learned about the benefits of living food and decided that my body must crave this stuff on some level, even though what it felt like it wanted was just more Cliff Bars, so I went with the old saying – fake it til you make it. Until it actually started to taste good. And in the meantime, even if I wasn’t enjoying it, I figured at least I’d be getting healthier.
My attitude toward making food right now is that improvising is the way to go. Imagine you decide to write a poem by following instructions: sit at your computer, come up with a metaphor, refer to it in the title; set the time and place, then write something that sets a tone. Describe with adjectives, use an adverb… you get the point. You might come up with a good poem, but the experience of making it – and maybe even the experience of reading it – will feel a little blah.
Now picture this: go out to your back yard and pick some leaves off of dandelion plants that haven’t flowered yet (the flowered ones are fine, they are just more bitter). Throw a couple handfuls in to your blender, along with an apple and that half banana sitting around. Cut the skin off the lemon slice that’s in the butter compartment, and use a handful of the cilantro from the drawer. Two cups of water and voila! Delicioso!
And the experience of making it – and even drinking it – is full of Consciousness. You feel proud and connected to the result. And you begin to awaken the intelligence of your cells, your cravings, and your ability to co-create with nature.
Not only that, but if you are a busy mom like me, or pregnant and wanting the best for you and baby, or exhausted and depleted from breastfeeding, you need to get some serious bang for your buck – or lots of energy for the time spent preparing your food. I promise – once you have this down, it’s easier and faster than running to Whole Foods!
6 Fundamental MAyurvedic (Ayurveda for Busy Mamas) Principles for a Green Smoothie:
1.) You don’t need a Vitamix or a Blendtec – any blender will do (you just might have to do a little bit of chewing). A Nutribullet is great because it’s powerful and easy to clean and you make it in the cup you bring with you. Any food in liquid form is easier to digest, and requires less energy from the body – leaving you with more!
2.) Dark leafy greens contain the deepest intelligence of the plant: chlorophyll is the plant’s ability to transform sunlight to energy. Our world, our lives depend on this. When we eat this green stuff, it awakens our cells’ intelligence, that might have gotten buried under lots of – well, not-so-smart food. Our cravings begin to change; our feeling of connectedness to our ecosystem grows; our access to our inner knowing and thus our greatest potential emerges. Not to mention an awesome buzz.
Walk through the aisle of Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market and see which green leaves seem to be calling out to you. Buy them.
3.) Greens are cooling and detoxifying. Eat them for breakfast (or with if you’re super hungry) to clear out your channels and put some natural air conditioning into your blood. Great for acne, itchy rashes, and overheating, from general frustration all the way to blowing your top.
4.) Of the 6 tastes (according to Ayurveda we want all 6 in every meal), greens are bitter. Of all the 6 tastes available in our cultural food in the US, bitter is the most rare. And yet according to Ayurveda it has this wonderful ability to scrape and clean our channels and cool us down! We’re not used to it, so at first, you might need lots of sweet fruit with it. Bananas and apples are great. Peaches and strawberries work too. Pineapple and pears – yum! And dates are always a sweet addition to anything.
5.) Each time you get creative, you learn something. Celery can add natural salty flavor; cucumbers are sweet. Carrots are even sweeter. Try sweet potatoes! Try avocado! Add oats if you’re super hungry.
Concerned about too much sugar? There’s so much fiber in here it’s general considered fine, but add some protein! Almond butter or tahini is great. Breaking down food in a blender makes food more easily digestible, so nutrients become more accessible to the body.
6.) Don’t add cruciferous vegetables with fruits, like broccoli. Leafy greens are more like fruit. Other veggies don’t digest so well with fruit.
So, to sum up the principles of your green smoothie (and once you have this list down, change it!):
Huge handful of greens – dandelion leaves from your (unsprayed) yard; or from the Farmer’s Market or Whole Foods; or dino/red/regular kale, chard, spinach; or greens from the tops of root vegetables like beet greens; or herby greens like parsley or lettuce greens.
some sweet fruit – bananas, dates, apples, berries, pineapples, pears.
Blend, pour into a jar, and drink all morning. Check in and see how you feel after drinking. You are becoming a creative goddess in all things food!
Some other things to try (I do all of these things when I’m hungry):
– soak almonds overnight and slip off the skin (soaking almonds increases your body’s ability to extract the nutrients) – add for protein;
– throw in a few Medjool dates (Trader Joe’s) to make it super yummy and sweet;
– add lemon or lime to alkalinize your blood;
– add a chunk of a ripe avocado for a super smooth, satiating smoothie;
– if you want to make sure you’re getting extra nutrients – add in some seeds like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds;
p.s. thought I’d share exactly what I’m enjoying lately:
1/2 farmer’s market organic local apple
1 big handful of kale or spinach
sprinkle of chia seeds
Enjoy! Smoothies are an easy transition into exploring your body’s intelligent desires for natural nourishment through food.