Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rejuvinate with a Blue Lagoon Green Smoothie



Did you know there is a place called the Blue Lagoon? It's real and yet totally out of this world...I should know, I went last year! The Blue Lagoon is a remote spa next to a geothermal energy plant outside of Reykjavik, Iceland...though the drive there will make you feel like you just landed on Mars and are lost in a field of craters and strange rock formations. People from all over the world come to visit the attraction and bathe in the milky yet neon blue waters. The spa is more of a fancy modern change-room for an exotic giant bathtub. There are spa services like massages and facials available, there's even a hotel, but many visitors just go for a swim. Bathers wear swimsuits and wade through the murky but breathtaking man made lake, soaking up the amazing benefits of the warm mineral rich water. Little buckets of white mud are stationed around and throughout the pools and visitors use ladles to scoop it out and smear themselves all over. The mud is rich in silica which is amazing for the skin, as well as many other naturally sourced minerals from the area. You rub the mud gently onto your face, arms and hands and it exfoliates, tightens and brightens your skin. My husband and I left the spa on our first day in Iceland deeply relaxed and glowing like we'd swallowed a string of Christmas lights.




Did you know "stressed" spelled backwards is desserts? I have been feeling run down for the last couple of weeks. I have been under an unusual amount of stress which has left me searching my house for sweet, fat and salty foods and I have been impossibly hungry. I have also switched to working at home, in my kitchen to be exact, which means I am constantly thinking about food. This is unusual for me as in times of stress I usually lose interest in food so I have been a little anxious about my new insatiable appetite to say the least as I have been unsure how to find the off switch! Up until yesterday my solution was to have healthy homemade desserts around to snack on -- like my chocolate chip power cookies


 As healthy as those cookies are, I don't like eating dessert every day as I feel much healthier including it once a week or less. Yesterday I was determined to break my new daily dessert habit and institute a better food routine for awhile -- one that may help me battle my stress rather than cave to it. I had been meaning to refresh my old daily green smoothie habit and now seemed like the best time. Enter my new Blue Lagoon Green Smoothie. I made this for the first time last night and it was too delicious for something so healthy. It is frosty, nutty, sweet and packed with fresh fruit and veg -- I may have discovered the cure for stress eating!...for my stress eating anyway.

Though I've made many green smoothies before this one, I have never added nut/seed butter or coconut milk to them before. I tended to keep my green smoothies pretty basic -- just fruit, veg and water or juice, sometimes herbs or cocoa. I wanted to make a heartier smoothie this time, one that would hopefully fill me up enough to kick my dessert cravings in the butt. I'm so glad I changed my routine! 


The pumpkin seed butter I added gave my smoothie a hit of good fat, magnesium and protein, all of which killed my crazy dessert cravings instantly. For more on the benefits of pumpkin seeds, click here. I sometimes find pumpkin seed butter and other seed or nut butters hard to digest so I added some coconut milk (coconut helps your body digest other fat sources more effectively). Together they made my smoothie rich, creamy and satisfying. This smoothie reminds me a lot of peanut butter and jam but is so much more balanced as a light meal or large snack and happens to be peanut-free. I eat peanut butter, but only once in awhile as it tends to upset my stomach. Pumpkin seed butter is my favorite peanut butter alternative since I don't eat tree nuts (which rules out almond butter and cashew butter). The coconut milk is what I had on hand to make my smoothie a little creamy. If you don't like coconut milk, try adding half a frozen banana or a splash of non-dairy milk for creaminess. You could also substitute a tbsp or two of yogurt if you want to make a probiotic smoothie -- I recommend using non-dairy yogurt as milk does not combine well with fruit in the stomach.

I usually don't add any sweeteners to my smoothies -- fruit is sweet enough! But in this case the nut/seed butter reduced the sweetness of the fruit a lot and I wanted this drink to satisfy my dessert cravings. I added 1 tsp raw honey which goes a long way and happens to be anti-viral, anti-infective, and anti-bacterial. If you don't use honey (or are a vegan) try maple syrup or coconut sugar which is low-glycemic, or you could add a few drops of liquid stevia. If you are adding banana to this drink you won't need any sweetener.


I love this smoothie so much that I made it again tonight and thought about it all day. That says a lot because there haven't been many smoothies in my kitchen that I've found intriguing enough to make more than once. This green smoothie has so many interesting flavors going on I'm not sure someone would be able to guess its ingredients.





I named my green smoothie the Blue Lagoon because much like the mystical and murky waters of the Blue Lagoon spa, you might not know at first sight what's in it, but man does it make you feel and look great!





Blue Lagoon Green Smoothie
(vegan, gluten-free, paleo, soy-free, nut-free)

 
Makes 2 smoothies or 1 gigantic smoothie
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 3/4-1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkinseed butter
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1-2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ripe star crimson or red bartlett pear, sliced and pitted


Choose 1 of the following add-ins:


For A Creamy Smoothie :
  • 1 tbsp or more coconut cream or coconut milk (skimmed from top of chilled can coconut milk)
  • OR ½ a frozen banana
  • OR 1-2 tbsp non-dairy yogurt
  • OR ¼ cup non-dairy milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until very smooth. Add extra water if too thick. Add one of the optional ingredients for creamier texture if desired and blend well.
Pour into two glasses or 1 huge glass and serve.