In the words of Kermit, it’s not easy being green. He would know. He’s the leading expert in the world of green. But you have to admire the little guy for his capacity to cope with his chlorophyll colored life. Why can’t he have Miss Piggy for his very own? Because he’s GREEN. And, you know that’s not easy.
When it comes to eating green I’ve often cast a suspicious glance toward the bottles of NAKED juice at the grocery store. Four bucks for 16 ounces? And besides, I’m a dedicated carnivore with deep ties to the grill. Raw meat and open flames hypnotize me. I grudgingly came to accept and enjoy grilled veggies, but it’s not easy eating green.
My slow slide into eating green began with coconut water. 65 miles into an 85 mile ride with 3000 feet of climbing left, and a frosty bottle of coconut water saved my bacon…so to speak. That was two years ago, and little did I know that Greek yogurt and blueberry recovery smoothies would soon appear on my nutritional horizon. I began to crave salads…really big salads with nuts and sprouts on them.
Last year I read Blood Sugar Solution by Mark Hyman and systematically removed every last bit of high fructose corn syrup from our household. We had been eating lean protein for some time, but began to eat more fish whenever it was available. I began to have dreams of riding through the oceans of the world on the backs of Yellow Fin tuna. The dream would always end with a thick tuna steak sizzling on the grill…
Then came the nutri-bullet green smoothie machine.
But before I go on, I must acknowledge my deepest motivation for eating green. I like riding my bike up hills – which in a manner of speaking is motivated by a concern for good nutrition. When I’m carrying extra pounds I really suffer on long climbs. Suffering may build character, but I believe it to be best for all concerned to limit my character growth. There’s two ways to get faster going uphill: get stronger or lose weight. The pros do it by losing weight, and that is done best through managing diet.
Green smoothies have garnered an almost mythic reputation in the world of healthy eating: and for good reason. A whole food breakfast high in essential vitamins, protein and fiber is really good for a body. Those who prefer juicing contend that pure juice delivers the goods more quickly without taxing the body’s digestive system. Smoothie aficionados [say THAT three times fast] point to three key benefits. FIRST, smoothies deliver everything that you get in juice. SECOND, the pulp and fiber are important for the body to process fat, rather than to store it. THIRD, why try to under-utilize the digestive process? It’s how our bodies are meant to work. In one rather easy step I left behind bagels and cream cheese, and lost four pounds in two weeks. Once a week I enjoy french toast or pancakes, but otherwise don’t feel like I’m deprived of anything.
One of the objections to green smoothies is…well…they’re green, and they look slimy. Yes…they are green – there’s no getting past that. However, they are not slimy like pond scum or cow snot, and really not slimy at all. Combining apple, seedless grapes, pear or pretty much any kind of fruit to the mix of veggies gives the smoothie a subtle sweetness that’s quite tasty – especially for a chloro-phobe like yours truly. Here’s a favorite protein recipe:
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 cored apple
1/8 c. flax seed
1 c. almond milk or filtered water
sprig of cilantro
This much I know: I’m already within 6 pounds of riding weight. Last year I didn’t get there until the end of June. This year I’ll easily arrive at the magic 218 by the beginning of April – which translates into getting into form earlier in the season. It’s going to be a good year.