Winter in Ontario, Canada is hard for many people, myself included.
The lack of light gets me feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I crave sunshine, plants, colours and the sweetness of life. I know there are a lot of important things going on underground that I can’t see, but darlings, at a certain point, deep into the season, I just don’t care. Knowing is not enough. I want to see and feel the life.
In my efforts to balance my energy and mood, I wish to feed my brain ALL of the supplements. The nootropics that make me smart and sane, the goopy brown stuff that helps with mental calmness and clarity, the body boosting green tablets that promise energy and antioxidant action. All of these things are great and helpful, but they can be super expensive to maintain. Since I have been saving my time and pennies lately (as many of us do), I’ve had to think about more convenient and money savvy ways of getting my feel-good nutrients. Smoothies are what have really been doing it for me. The sun may not be shining on my skin, but I shall get the sun through pulverizing plants!
I thought I’d share my latest favourite Green Smoothie that has put a little bounce back in my step these days. It’s versatile, tangy, sweet, refreshing and nutrient packed so it gets your brain and body buzzing quickly. Oh, and it only costs a couple bucks!
I will have sunshine, Sam I Am. I will hold sunshine in my hand…
Green Sunshine Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 2 cups raw spinach or other greens - kale, collards, mixed - you may have in your fridge
- 1/2 small lemon
- 3/4 cup mango orange juice or more, if needed
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 1/2 tsp moringa powder or other superfood/supplement powder
Blend on high in your favourite blender and enjoy.
The Magical Ingredients
Moringa is pretty mystical. I’m only a teeny bit obsessed with it. Just a small amount of this ground up, dried tree leaf contains more protein than yogurt, more vitamin A than carrots, more potassium than bananas, more calcium than conventional milk and more vitamin C than oranges. It’s also a good source of iron, B6, riboflavin, magnesium and vitamin E.
All of this goodness translates to a lot of major health benefits, from healing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, improving digestion, supporting the brain and mental health, boosting the immune system and increasing energy.
Moringa leaf is a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogens are plants that help the body cope with the toxic effects of stress. Moringa also contains tryptophan, which is important for maintaining neurotransmitter functions, like producing the hormone serotonin, which makes us feel happy. These factors, along with the super boost of vitamins and minerals, add up to a very feel good leaf.
Spinach on its own is a veritable multi-vitamin of a food, it is so rich with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. It is an amazing source of antioxidants, which fight free radicals that would otherwise cause us damage. It also contains high levels of magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxer. Along with about 300 other functions, magnesium also helps the body to replenish energy, which is a big part of what this smoothie is all about.
Oh, the humble banana. So unassuming, yet such a nutritional rock star.
Bananas are a mood stabilizing food. They contain B9 (folate), which helps serotonin (a happy hormone) enter the brain faster. Bananas also have tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. The high levels of manganese in bananas help with smooth functioning of the brain and nervous system. They’re also a great source of energy, you may have noticed! If you can get organic bananas, get organic bananas. There is a huge difference in taste and nutrient value.
I keep frozen bananas in my freezer now, chopped up and placed in a freezer safe containers for easy, instant use.
Lemon, Mango & Orange
All of the fruit adds to the pools of antioxidants, fibre, anti-inflammatory properties, rich vitamin content, and energy boosting properties. They also add a little sweetness and zing!
As mentioned in the recipe, you can use any dark leafy green that you have.
I threw moringa powder in there because I had some lying around and it’s super nutrient packed. I highly recommend having some in your kitchen for smoothies, oatmeal, soups, etc., but you can substitute it with any supplement powders that you may have, like spirulina, greens powder, sunflower lecithin, to name a few. You can also open up capsules and add them if you like.
I used Kiju Organic Mango-Orange juice, but you can use actual mango and orange and add some water to thin it out.
Make It Easy On Yourself
If you think you don’t have time to make a smoothie every day, you can make it a little easier on yourself by prepping ahead of time. Make little smoothie packages for your freezer. Just add all of the ingredients into individual freezer-safe dishes (except the liquid and moringa) and toss it all in the blender together when the time comes.
Happy smoothie making!
All Photos by Tara Rice