If you have read the articles related to nutrition in this blog, you probably realize that I pay very close to micronutrient intake. The basis of an awesome diet is supplying your body’s caloric needs with the best nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient density can be thought of the amount of nutrients present per unit calorie. Top of the list for these foods usually are green/cruciferous vegetables, spices, oysters, etc. The easiest explanation is that you try to get a lot of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, polyphenols and other micronutrients while eating as low-calorie as possible. Why do I seek after such a protocol? It’s simply because I do not want to be deficient in any key vitamins and/or minerals, avoid thyroid issues and gut abnormalities, promote anti-aging, and address much more. By eating this way, I make sure that I do everything I can nutrition-wise to help me recover from my workouts.
Let’s get to how. Probably at least 3 times a week, I make myself a giant 32-oz. smoothie packed with goodness. You can do a vegan version of this as well by taking out just 1 ingredient I use. If you eat animal products though, I think that ingredient is very beneficial. So, stay tuned. What do you need for a giant smoothie? Some ice, water (or milk like coconut milk, almond milk), vegetables, spices, seeds and/or nuts, a good protein powder, a clean sweetener, some powder extracts for extra nutrition punch, and maybe some berries. I’m going to give you 2 recipes where one includes some blueberries, and the other one has no fruits. You will see similarities between the two recipes where the difference is only the vegetables being used (and the color they turn out to be). Why do I make 2 different smoothies if one is already good? Well, first of all, I get to use different vegetables, and secondly the one with the fruit is usually the way I make after workouts or if I want to eat some carbs. So, the one with blueberries is for post-workout meals (not that I drink it right after the workout), and the one without the fruit is like a regular low-carb meal. I wish I can say that I measure the vegetables by measuring cups, but I don’t. So, you will see some savage-style words like a bunch, or a handful. Any mouthwatering yet? Ok, ok! Let’s get to the recipe #1.
The Green G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)
The vegetables in The Green GOAT, you guessed it, are green. They can be green kale, dinosaur kale, spinach, beet greens, cucumbers, celery, parsley, cilantro. But more often than not, I use green kale, spinach, cucumbers and celery. When you combine these 4 vegetables, you get micronutrients like Vitamin A, all B-vitamins (except for B12), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, carotenoids like lutein, and zeaxanthin, bunch of flavonoids, anti-oxidants, and triterpenes. We haven’t gotten into the extra stuff yet, but look at this list. You pretty much cover all your vitamins (except for Vitamin D and K2), all your major minerals (except for iodine, selenium), anti-oxidant support system, potential anti-cancer compounds, carotenoids for optimal eye health and much more. It’s crazy. It’s time to take this base to the next level. Let’s get to the spices.
I add 2 teaspoons of organic Ceylon cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose management, 2 teaspoons of organic turmeric powder for anti-inflammatory properties, an inch-long ginger root for more benefits, and ½ teaspoon of Aztec sea salt. Spices can be crucial to overall health because of their amazing health benefits. For this reason, I do not shy away from using them in my smoothies or other meals. Even though sweeteners are not spices, I’m going to list them here. You can add a few drops of stevia here or you can add about 1/16 (one-sixteenth) teaspoon of monk fruit powder. Monk fruit is a powerful sweetener therefore, do not use a lot of it. And ¼ teaspoon is a lot, just saying. Also, make sure to look at the ingredients of the monk fruit you buy because they are usually cut with erythritol. The one I use is by Julian Bakery and it is pure. What about fats?
Fats are bad, fats are good. We heard it all. But when it comes to optimal hormone production, healthy fats are very important and they come with extra micronutrients. I add 1 tablespoon of organic white chia seeds and 1 tablespoon of organic hemp seeds for some beneficial monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). Then I make a decision. Do I want to make eggs next to this smoothie or not? If yes, I don’t add anymore fats and I cook 3 eggs with a teaspoon of coconut oil. If not, I add half of an avocado and a teaspoon of coconut oil into the smoothie. Vegetables, check! Spices, check! Fats, check! It’s time for some protein. However, before I add the protein to the smoothie, I make sure I blend everything listed above really well for at least 1 minute on high. Because when you blend the protein, you may pulverize it which can have its own issues. So, before you add your protein powder, blend it up really well.
I add a scoop of unflavored pea protein to my smoothie. You can also use a clean source of whey protein but me being lactose intolerant kicks this option out the window. Also, rice protein, beef protein and egg protein powder can be an option. Then it comes to that one ingredient that you can take out if you are vegan. That is collagen protein. You don’t get enough collagen protein if you are not drinking bone broth, or eating collagen protein bars. I’m in that camp. I don’t always have bone broth in the house, but I do always have collagen hydrolysate which is a fancy way of saying broken-down gelatin. So, I add 2 tablespoons of Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate to this. Then, I blend it again for about 15 seconds and serve it.
Optional: Before I add the protein, I usually put some superfood powders and extras to make this smoothie awesome. I usually add a teaspoon of cacao powder, a teaspoon of Four Sigmatic Viking blend, a teaspoon of Four Sigmatic 5-mushroom blend, a teaspoon of maca powder, a teaspoon of wild moringa powder, a teaspoon of matcha powder and a teaspoon of spirulina powder. I do not always add all of these, but I usually add a few of them every time I make a smoothie.
Make a smoothie every now and then to boost your micronutrient intake. It’s a great way to eat/drink a lot of vegetables and high-quality fats. In a later post, I’m going to give the recipe for The Purple Phoenix which has blueberries. Let me know what you think in the comments what you think of this recipe. Are there any other things I should try? What do you use? Let’s contribute to this greatness.