Spring is finally here! I live in Minnesota and this year we literally jumped from winter to spring/summer in about a week. A couple weekends ago we had a blizzard and then 2 days ago we hit 84 degrees! However we got into spring, I’m just glad it’s finally here.
With the warmer temps, smoothie are always a great treat! They are super healthy, can take the place of an ice-cream craving, and are a delicious way to cool down on a hot day. Lately, I have been listening to some diet- related audio books. The two most recent are “How Not To Die” and “Veganist.” They are both focused on a consuming a plant-based diet. They advocate for eating your fruits and veggies and skipping dairy, meat, and eggs all-together for the healthiest lifestyle possible. I highly recommend either book if you are looking for more information on this subject. I am also just starting to read on my kindle “Forks over Knives.” A little FYI- the “knives” part of the title is about the surgical knife. That we should favor and improve our health by what we eat, verses needing surgery (like bi-pass heart surgery) as a plant-based diet can prevent/reverse/help treat many health problems common in the US.
I won’t pretend like I have all of their research and facts, but the “Standard American Diet” is pretty depressing once you start looking at it. Hardly anyone eats enough fruits and veggies. All the research presented in these books also show that eating a plant-based (vegan/vegetarian) diet can reduce your risk of heart disease (America’s #1 killer). It can help Type 2 Diabetics to come off their medications. It can help prevent and sometimes even help reverse cancer. It’s pretty amazing what eating a better diet can do for your health.
While I’m not a full-on vegetarian yet, I am working towards it. I do not have any obvious health issues at the moment that I’m trying to help by improving my diet. I am not overweight (but eating a plant-based diet can help you loose weight as you will be eating way less fats and processed food). My plan is to start trying more and more vegetarian and vegan recipes that will help replace some of our regular menu items. I’m working on baby steps for my family’s transition. (Also, we have a lot of beef in our chest freezer from splitting a 1/4 cow with my parents last fall. I’m not going to waste that, so we will slowly incorporate vegetarian meals while using up the last of the steaks, roasts, and ground beef we have in our freezer.)
While some of you out there, couldn’t imagine a life without bacon cheeseburgers and a big plate of greasy fries, I do suggest you try to incorporate a healthy salad from time-to-time instead of your cheeseburger. Or, whip up this tasty smoothie instead of a soda and know you got a healthy serving of fruits in with the added benefits of turmeric.
Now, you might be very hesitant of the idea of putting a spice into your smoothie. I know it struck me as a bit odd, but turmeric is one of the “power food gold mines,” if you will. Turmeric contains curcumin, which makes it golden yellow. Curcumin has many health benefits including: anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, can lower your risk of heart disease, can help prevent (potentially treat) cancer, can help with depression, can help with arthritis, etc… Really, when you look at it, there is NO downside or side effect to it. Only good things can happen when consuming it (in moderation, 1/4 tsp. a day is about all you need). I do recommend doing your own few minutes searching the benefits of turmeric, it really might surprise you and convince you to purchase a little jar of it the next time you’re at the grocery store.
To finish my plug for adding turmeric to your diet, by adding it into a smoothie like this, you are never going to notice it’s there. Really. I have been making this smoothie daily at about 10 am when I need a morning snack for a couple weeks now. You really won’t notice or be put off by the smoothie when it’s in there. I promise.
Mango Pineapple Smoothie
2 Green Smoothie Ice Cubes (see post) or a big handful (or two) of spinach
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup vanilla soy milk or vanilla almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
1/4 tsp. Turmeric (totally optional, but I highly recommend it)
1. Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
…and I’m ready to go! I love having a smoothie cup with a lid. It allows me to chase after my very rambunctious daughter and not worry about it too much. It’s also great for taking in the car when we are out and about instead of finding a coffee-shop drive thru!