As a naturopath, one of the main complaints I hear from my clients is that they do not have enough energy to get through their day. While there may be clinical or sub-clinincal causes for this, when I investigate their food intake there is usually a nutritionally poor diet, including a sub-par breakfast, if they eat breakfast at all!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day…
What you have for breakfast will determine your energy for the rest of the day. A high-sugar and caffeine kick may give you an initial energy burst but later in the day your blood sugar will drop, along with your energy, ability to concentrate and mood. In other words, you are setting yourself up for a tired and grumpy afternoon!
While we may think that we are having a healthy breakfast, many of the commercial cereals that make health claims are extremely high in sugar and salt. They also contain wheat usually, which contains a protein called gluten which is not tolerated well by most people, and can cause inflammation, bloating, skin disorders, sinus issues and foggy thinking to name just a few. Likewise that packaged fruit juice you may like to drink with your toast or wheat flakes, even if 100% is sure to spike your blood sugar levels even more!
Green smoothies are a great way to start the day!
As soon as my clients start having a green smoothie for breakfast, they report better energy and mood throughout the day, less sugar cravings and they come back with glowing skin and shining eyes. The greens in the recipe provide calcium and magnesium, and help to alkalise the body, which is really important for maintaining good health and preventing disease and inflammation.
The basic recipe for a green smoothie is a non-dairy milk such as almond, rice, oat or soy, or water can be used. Two serves of fruit, bananas and berries or kiwis taste great, and at least one serve of greens, for example a bunch of kale, baby spinach, watercress etc. After whizzing it all up in a blender, it’s ready in a jiffy. I also get my clients to add a scoop of protein powder as well to keep them fuller for longer, there are many good plant proteins on the market now, made from bio-fermented brown rice or pea protein.
The SUPER smoothie..
So the above recipe is the basic formula, which will have you feeling great in no time. But if you want off-the-charts vitality and exuberance, or if you have been suffering from chronic health or have nutritional deficiencies, there are a few very special ingredients I recommend to turn the basic smoothie into the….SUPER smoothie.
1) Organic Cacao
You CAN have chocolate for breakfast! Cacao is the natural from of cocoa, from which we make all things chocolatey. In it’s natural form, it is very nutritious (and delicious) containing lots of vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium which is essential for helping to reduce stress and irritability. Add a a spoonful or two for a healthy chocolate-flavoured smoothie.
2) Acai Berry Powder
This fruit from the amazon rainforest is an excellent source of antioxidants, a group of nutrients that help to protect the body from ageing and cellular damage. Other anti-oxidant rich foods you could try include blueberries, black cherries and pomegranates.
The root of this Peruvian herb is highly nutritious, containing high quality carbohydrates, proteins, fibre and essential fats, as well as being high in calcium and iron. It also has an effect on the endocrine system, improving libido and fertility in both males and females, so is a good one to take when preparing to get pregnant.
4) Chia Seeds
These tiny little seeds are jam-packed with calcium, iron, 8 times more omega 3 than salmon and plenty of protein. Add a tablespoon to your smoothies, and your skin and hair (and heart and brain!) will thank you.
5) Green Supplements
For an extra dose of green-goodness you can add powdered spirulena, chlorella or wheat grass to your smoothies. Greens contain chlorophyll which is one of natures truly miraculous healers. It has been shown to be protective against cancer, blood-cleansing, anti-inflammatory, anti-candida and naturally deodorizing – it even helps to reduce bad breath!
So, wherever you are at in your wellness journey, make your morning meal an act of love to your body and mind , by giving yourself the most nutritious start to the day as possible. Experiment with different combinations of fruits, veggies and superfoods until you find something you love, and watch your life change on all levels as you begin to fulfil your inherent potential for health and vitality.
And, if you’re already a smoothie fan, share your special super-ingredients or favourite recipe in the comments below!