Archive for the ‘Green Smoothie Experiments’ category

Green Smoothies and Medication

March 18, 2010

Since we’ve been on this raw diet with green smoothies, I found a really perplexing trend. I have high blood pressure, and with medication, my blood pressure has been normal. I assumed that being on green smoothies might mean I would need to change the dosage of my BP medication because I’d read that green smoothies lower blood pressure. Imagine my shock when I found that my BP had spiked to an unacceptably high number seemingly over night. What could possibly be wrong? Was it kale? Was it raw food? Was it the smoothie?  

I have always taken my blood pressure medication after breakfast and continued the same regimen after drinking my green smoothie at breakfast. For the first few days, I felt great, but gradually I noticed that my ears were ringing and I was having a hard time sleeping. I was also agitated and felt wound up. When I took my blood pressure out of curiosity, the numbers had spiked 65 points above normal. I’d thought at first there was something wrong with my BP machine, but the next day it was the same thing. Over the past two days, I’ve been trying to determine what the culprit has been, and finally, after talking with my daughter, she seems to have found the answer. She asked me when I was taking the medication, and I told her. She suggested that perhaps the smoothie was blocking absorption of the BP medication, and so just as with thyroid pills, the need may be to take it an hour before eating anything (including a smoothie).

This morning, I felt especially weird, and went back to bed after Steve left for work. I decided to do what my daughter suggested, and took the BP medication prior to eating anything. As I lay there, I could feel the body tension releasing, and normalcy returning. I took my BP, and it had dropped by 50 points to an acceptable level – close to my normal readings. So, I learned a valuable lesson. The smoothies are very powerful drinks. They are highly concentrated, and probably need to be given time for full digestion.

This situation brought up again the importance of being aware of our own bodies. Just because something may be the answer for someone else doesn’t mean that we can assume it will be right for us – or as in my case, that I could just go about my old regimen with this new food without thinking through what I was doing in relation to my medication. In the long run, my blood pressure might drop as a result of the new diet, but in the short-term, it hasn’t, and I need to take care not to make assumptions based on what happened to someone else.

Point taken! (KJ)

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How to Get Kids to Drink Green Smoothies

March 13, 2010
Baby Phoebe's Green Smoothie

Baby Phoebe's Green Smoothie

The younger they are, the better. Rather than presenting a glass of dark green smoothie to a child, an excellent way to get them to want it is to include them in the process of making it. Instead of telling them it is something good for them, tell them you are going to make a very special drink – or magical drink – together. Start out with the 60% fruit, 40% deep green veggies. You can gather the veggies you want to use and not really put much attention on them. Spinach is often good for beginners as its flavor is mild. You can have it in the blender already and then     lay out all the different fruit you are going to use, asking your child to help you decide which should be first, second, third, and so on til they are all cut up and put in the blender. Then you add a cup or two of water, handful of ice cubes, and turn on the blender.  At that point, you can express your own excitement about what you are creating, and get your glasses ready for the new wonder drink.

I gave my daughter this idea for her two year old, and the results were what I expected. Our little one is quite determined in whatever she is determined about at the moment.  Her mom and dad try to cajole her to eat her veggies, but certain things like spinach and any other deep leafy green are greeted with an adamant, “NO!” Enter green smoothies.

My daughter followed my suggestion, and our two year old was delighted to point and direct her mother in which fruits to put into the blender. When the smoothie was ready, she drank a half glass. For her, that is a remarkable amount. My other granddaughter, who is 13, happened to be visiting her aunt at the time, and she liked the smoothie so much, she had two glasses.

The most important thing with little children is to become a child yourself. Be playful and enthusiastic about what you are going to create together. Make it fun, and the child will pick up on the excitement and think they have been part of creating a very special concoction.  Once they start drinking the smoothies, they will want to help you experiment with different fruits. If they make comments about the veggies, you can let them know that the drink can’t be special without them, and that’s why you need to find just the right fruits to make the green veggies happy.

It’s all a PR job, and you can have a good time exploring. You might even be surprised when your child comes up with some good ideas for combinations you hadn’t even thought of!

Happy Smoothie making! (KJ)

One Size Does NOT Fit All!

March 9, 2010

I received an e-mail this morning from a friend who has been reading Adrenal Fatigue, by Wilson and Wright, and on page 145 the following excerpt is found: “people with adrenal fatigue and blood sugar problems should go lightly on fruits, especially in the morning.  But if you exercise early in the day it may be possible for you to handle a small amount of fruit for breakfast.  Exercise elevates cortisol and aldosterone levels, which in turn raise sodium levels in your blood, allowing for greater tolerance to the effects of fruit.  However, be very careful of fruit consumption and if you notice that you become more tired, thick headed or start to experience other symptoms of either low blood sugar or low adrenals, then eliminate fruit in the morning.” Furthermore, my friend’s doctor told her that adrenal issues often are in tandem with thyroid issues, so again we see that ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.

I also have thyroid issues, and it brings up how important it is  when embarking on a new diet that works for us that we don’t assume it is the right one for everybody else. This was my point about the green smoothies and the 60% fruit to 40% leafy greens.

Smoothie Failure

I have to drink THAT?!!!

Granted, my smoothie was a BIG failure, but now I know that for me I cannot have the smoothie til later in the morning because of the fruit, so I’m going back to my normal protein, fruitless breakfast! As for Steve, he is doing great with the smoothies. He’s lost 15 lbs now, and it is very noticeable. His results are more dramatic than mine, although I’m also feeling and looking better, too. (KJ)

Disagreement Over Smoothies

March 6, 2010
Green Smoothie Taste Test

Steve and I have a disagreement over smoothies. He feels they should be 60% fruit and 40% veggies. He’s taken that straight from one book on smoothies. However, I have found that having the smoothie in the morning with that much fruit is not working for me. It makes me feel light headed and not good a little while after drinking it, and that brings me to another book that recommends using mostly greens and trying not to have too much fruit in the mix. Beyond that, when we were at a talk given by Steven Fowkes, who is a molecular biologist (www.ceri.com), he strongly suggested that people have to follow their own metabolism, and that for him, fruit in the morning is absolutely not appropriate. According to each of our own unique systems, we need to find out what works to make the body hum. What is just right at noon may not be appropriate at 8 AM, while for someone else, the opposite holds true.

This whole process shows us how important it is to not be fanatical, and not to get caught in the trap of believing that one size fits all. I’m off now to see if making a green smoothie with veggies and perhaps one small chunk of banana will be the right thing for me. If not, maybe I have to eat something first and then have a smoothie later in the day. It is an experimentation in process! (KJ)

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Update by Steve

Steve's Green Smoothie with Fruit

Steve's Green Smoothie with Fruit

I went to get a haircut this morning while Kathleen was left to her own devices. She would not drink my beautiful delicious Green Smoothie this morning because she protested that I made them with too much fruit. Today I made mine with Mango, Pineapple, Orange, Banana, Baby Spinach and a large leaf of Mustard Greens. Yuuuuummmmm!  Beware of mustard greens because they are very peppery and tangy and spicey!

Kathleen’s smoothie was made with spinach, mustard greens, ginger, mint, 2 carrots and parsley.

I took photos of the results for your edification.

Kathleen's Green Smoothie without Fruit

Kathleen's Green Smoothie without Fruit

Note: She said she drank a glassful and had a hard time not upchucking it. I took one sip of hers and nearly gagged. So there you have it, the disagreement resolved!