Once again I put my body through the rigors of another science experiment. For the past month I decided to incorporate a green smoothie or green juice at least once and sometimes twice a day. It seemed that everywhere I turned someone was touting the benefits of GREEN drinks……. and I don’t mean the celebratory effervescent Green drink that is liberally consumed on St. Patty’s Day!
My goal was twofold. I wanted to see if I could gain:
- More energy and less joint pain
- Healthier looking skin
I’ve noticed that with each passing year my quest for vibrant, glowing skin along with fewer aches and pains has consumed more of my attention. So….I decided this go around, I’d try working the magic from the inside out rather than the outside in. Enter stage left: GREEN drinks!
In the Standard American Diet (SAD) the typical ratio of acidic to alkaline foods is about 80/ 20 – that is 80 percent of the diet is acidic foods, while only 20 percent comes from alkaline foods like raw vegetables. We need to flip that ratio. Ideally, we want to have between 60 and 80 percent of our foods coming from the alkaline side – and only 20 to 40 percent coming from the acidic side. Keep in mind though that not all acidic foods are created equal. In fact, we need some acidic foods in order to get proper nutrition. For example, some nuts, grains, and beans are slightly acidic, but they’re also protein power houses. So including some of these gems in your diet is important.
The optimal blood pH for the human body is between 7.35 and 7.45, neutral being 7. Most vegetables, especially those that are green, are alkaline forming in our bodies meaning they have a higher pH. When we eat a diet loaded with raw and cooked vegetables we are setting ourselves up for a boost of magic goodness! Not only are we oxygenating our cells, we’re eating liquid sunshine in the form of chlorophyll. Oh yeah my friends…. we’re talking plant blood!! When our cells are rich in oxygen, chronic and degenerative diseases have a difficult time thriving. Cancer cells prefer an anaerobic or oxygen depleted environment so our goal is to abolish that condition from our bodies.
Christopher Vasey explains in his book, The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health, that the acids in plant foods are often referred to as weak acids. On the other hand, animal proteins are called strong acids. Neutralizing strong acids takes tons of energy and stresses the liver and kidneys. Since our kidneys can only eliminate a fixed amount of strong acids per day, the rest of the stuff is stored in our tissues, leading to an inflammatory response in our body. Weak acids however, are easy-peezy to eliminate. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on the amount of weak acids that our kidneys can remove. So as you can see, there is a huge difference between (slightly acidic) brown rice and (highly acidic) steak!
Even if you occasionally include a small amount of animal products in your diet, you’ll be in much better shape than if you consume them two or three times a day. Remember, eating a mostly plant-based diet is a direction, not a rigid absolute. Even though I have an exceptionally healthy diet, I still eat a schnibble here and there of 100% pasture raised meat and poultry accompanied by a glass of wine. Occasional compromises and tiny indulgences remind me that I’m human. As long as the majority of the time I’m giving my body what it needs, I can give myself permission to the minor detours. It’s the regular bad habits that will get me into trouble
Now you might be wondering what my conclusions were from my little chemistry experiment….. I have to say that over the past month, I’ve definitely noticed that my skin has a healthier appearance, my physical health has improved and I feel less joint pain! So the bottom line here is: Eat and Drink your GREENS!! Will you join me?
Here’s the recipe for one of my favorite Green Smoothies.
1 ½ cups coconut water
½ green apple or pear
1 small orange
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
3-4 inch piece of cucumber
½ to 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 large handful of baby spinach
4-5 stalks of kale stripped from the rib
½ bunch of fresh mint, stems and all
1 tbsp. hemp seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4-5 drops of liquid stevia or to taste
Combine all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or high speed blender. Process until smooth. Add additional coconut water or filtered water to reach desired consistency.
This will probably make more than you can consume at once, so pour what you can’t finish into a glass jar and enjoy an additional healthy infusion of GREEN later in the day. Or better yet, share your liquid green yumminess with a friend! Their body will sing after their glass of O’Healthy Liquid Green!