Whether it was Mercury in retrograde, the continuing depressive contribution of an especially trying winter, or turning 31, the first few weeks of 2011 were rough, people. The energy was that of scratching one’s way through an increasingly narrow tunnel through the dirt.
Worse, I ended up with crippling late-night abdominal pain, the result of an infection, and took antibiotics for the first time in about seven years. To me, the girl who prides herself on an immune system of steel, this was a bit of a wake-up call. I re-quit coffee, decided to go on a two-week alcohol-free vegan diet, and dusted off the old Vita-Mix to reintroduce green smoothies into my life.
But these are not the yogurt-and-berry breakfast-in-a-glass concoctions of the past – these are lean and streamlined, for someone who doesn’t fear the grassiness of raw greens or the grainy texture of flax. One cup of local apple juice or cranberry-apple juice, about a cup of raw kale leaves, a half-cup of parsley, and one tablespoon freshly-ground flax seed, liquefied in my darling machine.
Raw kale we know: it’s full of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, etc. Parsley is the overlooked nutritional powerhouse in this equation: astounding amounts of vitamin K in addition the expected A and C, as well as good levels of iron and folate; and the volatile oils and flavonoids that give parsley its vibrant, grassy piquancy are especially anti-carcinogenic and blood-cleansing. And, of course, the flax provides yet more fiber and most of a day’s worth of omega-3 fatty acids.
I’m not exaggerating to say that bringing green smoothies back into my life felt like coming home again. While I’ve cleaned up my act in other ways (though I've gone back to coffee), I can trace my morning exuberance directly to that cup-and-a-half of chlorophyll-laden freshness. Green smoothie for president!