Every morning I start my day with a little green smoothie. But I don’t always have the right fresh dark green leafy veggies on hand because I live on a sailboat in Mexico. And I don’t have a Vitamix blender anymore either (we sold it before we left Canada :-(). But I do have a little Braun hand blender. And it works perfectly for this healthy breakfast boost.
I’ve tried different combinations of this little green nutrient bomb and this is what works best for me. I like the flavour, texture, and the combination of health benefits that really improve how I feel even though I’ve got fibromyalgia. First I’ll describe the ingredients, and then I’ll follow with my recipe.
Organic Coconut Water
I buy the organic kind, and here in Mexico there are plenty of options to choose from. I personally don’t enjoy the kind that contains the coconut fibres – for me, that’s a gag factor. Coconut water is low calorie and offers a gentle, refreshing flavour. It’s loaded with antioxidants, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, amino acids and enzymes, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Organic Coconut Oil
Yes, coconut oil is high in natural saturated fats. Don’t let that scare you off. Worried about all those old horror stories about saturated fats? They’ve all been debunked. Disproven. Bollocks. Coconut oil is actually good for the heart. It’s high in lauric acid which helps prevent a buildup of LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, which is the bad cholesterol. And it helps protect against heart disease.
Coconut oil is also a great tool for weight loss, because of its short and medium-chain fatty acids. Research suggests that coconut oil can help reduce abdominal obesity in women. It’s easily digested and it promotes healthy function in the thyroid and endocrine system. It’s great for the immune system because it has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. And how about its benefits for the brain? Those medium-chain fatty acids, called triglycerides, that help with weight loss? They also help the brain. Your brain is about 60 percent fat, and the integrity of your brain cell membrane is affected by the fats you eat. More than any other organ in the body, your brain needs healthy dietary fat like coconut oil and its medium-chain triglycerides. Which, by the way, are found in only three places: coconut oil, dairy products, and palm kernel oil.
This dark green powder is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. It is a good source of protein, vitamin B1, iron, and calcium. It also contains vitamins B-2, B-3, B-6, folic acid, and vitamins C, D, A and E. There’s potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, and zinc too.
Spirulina is blue-green fresh-water algae and contains cyanobacteria rich in chlorophyll. It helps to promote healthy bacterial flora in the gut, which works to reduce candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth is known to cause symptoms (including fungal infections, yeast infections, abdominal discomfort and fatigue) in those with autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It certainly does for me.
Turmeric is the ingredient that gives curry it’s golden colour. And curcumin is the ingredient in turmeric that gives it is healthy food status. If you’ve ever spilled any, like I did with this morning’s entire green-smoothie mix, you’ll know it temporarily stains everything it comes in contact with. But don’t let that discourage you: curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Bingo. I’m always looking for ways to reduce inflammation, and sometimes I just can’t tell what’s got my body all riled up and inflamed. So a little anti-inflammatory boost is a good thing. Here’s a very high-level explanation of how it works:
Curcumin blocks the NF-kB molecule. That’s the bugger that penetrates cell nuclei and activates the inflammation genes. Researchers believe this NF-k8 molecule plays a significant role in chronic illness.
What you need to know though is that the body has trouble absorbing curcumin. It helps if you consume it either with piperine (found in black pepper) or with healthy fats. Another reason I add the coconut oil to this recipe. It’s also worth noting that only about 3 percent, by weight, of turmeric is actually curcumin. This is why concentrated curcumin will be a more effective supplement that ingesting the powdered form of turmeric. If you prefer, you can purchase high-quality curcumin extract tablets and wash the tablet down with the green smoothie. But I like the taste.
Filtered Ice Water
Cold, cold water makes a difference for me in both texture and flavour of this healthy breakfast boost. I say filtered mainly because my fibromyalgia brings with it multiple sensitivities. I always feel better when I’m drinking filtered water. And on the boat, where we use a watermaker to turn salt water into drinking water, it is heavily filtered. As in, we actually add trace minerals back in before we consume. If you’re not uber-sensitive, and you’ve got a good supply of municipally treated water, you’re probably fine without filtering.
My Morning Green Recipe
I’ve experimented with the ratios here. I’ve tried plain water with spirulina, and it tastes like I’m drinking pond scum. (Which I am: that’s what spirulina is!) This mixture works for me because it makes the coconut water go a little further while still sweetening the flavour. Until I started adding the coconut oil, I found the texture to be a little gritty. The coconut oil smooths it right out, in addition to delivering awesome health benefits. And the turmeric gives it a nice little flavour kick.
- 1/2 cup cold filtered water
- 1/2 cup cold coconut water
- 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 tsp turmeric (or substitute for a curcumin tablet for maximum anti-inflammatory boost)
- Servings: 1
I put these into a container that works well with my Braun hand blender, and blend it all up. Then I use the smoothie to take my morning vitamins. Which include:
- a good multivitamin
- probiotic tablet with 30 billion active cells
- 2,000 mg vitamin C
These are the basic vitamins I always have on hand and can find without too much trouble here in Mexico. You may have your own daily stable of vitamins, and there’s plenty of advice out there about supplements that can be helpful to those of us with fibromyalgia or other chronic illness. My point is to take those vitamins with this green smoothie rather than with plain water.
I drink this healthy breakfast boost every morning as soon as I get up, and then follow up 1-2 hours later with a mid-morning meal of protein, fresh veggies and a little fruit.
And I’m feeling great! Try this and let me know how it works for you. Any other tips for a great morning nutrient boost? I’m all ears.