I started out my raw food journey with green smoothies. It didn't take long before I started noticing changes. The first unpleasant changes were the detoxification symptoms. They lasted about three days for me, but after I got over that I began to feel very good. People experience all kinds of different symptoms, mine were mainly headaches and lethargy. If you are interested, here is a blog post on what you might feel. These symptoms are brought on by toxins trying to leave the body, so that is a very good thing! How long it lasts depends primarily on how many toxins are trying to leave your body and how long you may have abused your body. If you have sluggish bowels, you probably will have a more difficult time with the detox symptoms. (Toxins mainly leave the body through the colon.) There are ways to curtail this. For instance, if someone is highly toxic with cancer, The Gerson Institute has a method titled "detoxification" that is described at the bottom of the page on the prior link. If you don't have cancer, but still would like to do what you can to help things along, look into Dr. Richard Schulze's Intestinal Formula #1 and #2. It's unpleasant for me to talk about this, but it is a reality of life that must be dealt with especially if you are on the Standard American Diet.
Onto the benefits of smoothies! Much more fun!
1. Green Smoothies are quick and easy to prepare. Juicing is fantastic but it usually takes a very long time to prepare the greens, fruits and vegetables. Then the juicer needs to be dismantled and cleaned. On the other hand, using a blender to make smoothies is less labor intensive. The blender carafe is all that needs to be cleaned when blending a smoothie. A high powered blender like Vitamix or Blendtec is highly recommended.
2. Green smoothies are easily digested. Because the greens and fruit are already broken down when blended, digestion and assimilation takes much less time. Green smoothies have fiber which also aids in digestion. Take time to"chew" your smoothie, however, by allowing to remain in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Digestive enzymes begin their work in your mouth.
3. Green smoothies can taste like fruit smoothies. Begin making green smoothies with 60% fruit and 40% greens. Also, start by using spinach, which is very mild in flavor compared to many other types of greens. If the color offends you, try adding blueberries. Once you get used to having green smoothies like that, try adding a leaf or two of kale, chard or collards. Experiment with all different kinds of greens!
4. Green smoothies help to alkalize the body and provide many antioxidants and phytonutrients. Greens are alkaline and provide such nutrients as calcium and amino acids, the building blocks of protein. People think that meat is always a better source of protein. Meat has to be liquified in the body before it is assimilated. Imagine the effort the body has to go through to perform a task like that! Greens are highly bioavailable, it takes hardly any effort to liquify greens and assimilate them. If you are worried about getting complete protein, don't worry. If you are getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, your body knows how to gather and assemble the amino acids they provide in order to build complete protein. (I have never heard of a protein deficient vegetarian -- or a protein deficient cow, horse or elephant for that matter!)
5. Greens contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is almost identical to hemoglobin which is the part of the blood that transports oxygen to the cells. An oxygen rich body is what we are aiming for! Chlorophyll replenishes blood cells and helps to bind up toxins to remove them from the body.
6. Dark leafy greens are among the most nutrient dense Foods. Dr. Fuhrman ranks food according to nutrient density. This list of foods is very telling! View the list here. Dark leafy greens are also far more affordable than all the exotic superfoods that are all the rage these days. Don't get me wrong! I love them all, but I can't afford them all, at least not at the same time. Dark leafy greens are affordable and packed with nutrition!
7. The physical benefits on the body are impressive. I obtained the following information from The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw. She polled 175 people who began using green smoothies. These are some of the results: 85% experienced more energy; 79.5% experienced improved digestion; 65% experienced fewer cravings for sweets; 54% experienced a more positive, stable mood; 50% improved skin tone; (For simplicity in posting, I will omit the percentages in the rest of these results and just list them.) Here they are: increased desire to exercise, improved sleep, less stress, blood sugar stabilization, stronger finger nails, shinier hair, less PMS symptoms, improved sex drive, arthritis symptoms reduced or gone, reduced asthma symptoms, decreased blood pressure. Wow! I am impressed with this list and I haven't even mentioned everything reported! I covered less than half of the list of benefits experienced.
When starting your green smoothie experience, begin with one eight ounce glass a day and work up to two or three glasses a day. Once blended, I keep the unused portion in the fridge for no more than two days. Green smoothie recipes to follow!
Enjoy the Journey!