Remember when a smoothie meant a ‘fruit smoothie’ filled with bananas, strawberries, and sweet sugary mixes? Oh my how we have evolved in our thinking. As we’ve educated ourselves more about food and health, this concept of ‘you are what you eat’ seems to have really sunk in. With it the days of sugary sweet smoothies are gone, and in comes an era of kale green and beet red smoothies that can still be somewhat sweet in flavor, but more importantly packed with good stuff. In this quest for healthy living it is also important to remember that one of the essential flavors in our diet is ‘bitter’ – a flavor that the modern day diet seems to be almost void of. Bitter foods (dandelion greens and root, kale, arugula, watercress, wormwood, grapefruit, etc) are necessary for digestive health – they cleanse and they boost the body’s performance by aiding in digestion and increasing energy. So next time you want to replace the bitter taste with something sugary sweet, you may just want to rethink that notion.
Armed with a Vitamix I made a green smoothie with bitter greens and some yummy fruit too, appropriately named The Mean Green this uses kale along with dandelion greens which Ancient civilizations looked upon as a powerful healer, used to purify the blood, settle digestion and prevent piles and gall stones. The fact is the greens of the dandelion found in your backyard provide 535 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which may be the most important source of any other plant-based food to strengthen bones, but may also play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuron damage in the brain. Dandelion greens also give the body 112 percent of the daily minimum requirement of vitamin A as an antioxidant carotenoid, which is very good for the skin, mucus membranes and vision. A flavonoid called zeaxanthin protects the retina from UV rays, while others, primarily carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin, protect the body from lung and mouth cancers.
The Mean Green Smoothie, makes 2
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 cup kale
1 cup dandelion greens
1 cup water or organic juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, or honey, whichever you prefer)
Combine ingredients in Vitamix. Set to Variable 1 and start, slowly increase to variable 5. SLowly increase a little more until all ingredients look incorporated. Serve.