As Spring is upon us, we can’t help but notice all of the GREEN greeting us at every turn. One thing that we’ve thought a lot about is introducing you to The Green Smoothie Goddess, a dear friend and mother of a darling gymnast that Jessie once coached. Liz Phalp is known for her love and commitment not only to her family but also to drinking green smoothies and she’s generous enough to share her thoughts (and even a favorite Green Smoothie recipe) with Gym Gab! Drink it all up!
Why Every Gymnast (and Gymnast’s Mom) Really Needs To Be Drinking Green Smoothies
By Liz Phalp
To be totally open here, I think everyone would be better off drinking a green smoothie every day. I especially think athletes need the nourishment from green smoothies, even more than someone living a sedentary lifestyle. That sometimes surprises people but here is why:
Regular strenuous exercise without a nutrient rich diet will speed degeneration of the cells and the aging process. Recovery time between workouts can be significantly shorter when the body is given the necessary nutrients to speed the renewal of muscle tissue.
That makes sense right? When we work our muscles during exercise, or a strenuous gymnastics practice full of conditioning and repetitive skills training, we tear down muscle fibers. This makes way to build stronger, newer fibers, but only if we are also providing the material to build that from. Otherwise, recovery will take longer and injuries will become a bigger problem.
And what about cold and flu season that seems to make it so difficult to stay consistent with gymnastics practice? An absence of enzymes in your diet can result in the same sickness and disease associated with malnutrition, even if your diet is otherwise healthy.
So why green smoothies? Greens (the leaf part of a plant, not just anything green) are the most nutritious part of any plant. They can have 2 to 150 times the amount of vitamins that you would find in a different part of the same plant (say the root or fruit). We just don’t get the amount of greens in our diet that we need. Even if we are eating a salad every day (which I do recommend), we can get so much more in a smoothie (I put half a pound in one smoothie, that’s a full bag of spinach). We also absorb it so much better since it is almost predigested for us when we blend it. It would take a lot of chewing to break it down like our blender will. And since the greens and fruits in our smoothies are raw, we keep the enzymes in tact.
Also, green smoothies are delicious. I’ve only had one person ever who just could not drink a green smoothie. So many kids (and adults) who don’t like to eat any vegetables, have asked for seconds when I’ve made them a green smoothie. When you blend greens with the right combination of fruits, and with a good, high speed blender, you don’t taste the greens at all.
The basic formula for a green smoothie is ⅓ greens, ⅓ fruit and ⅓ liquid. Usually at least half of my fruit is frozen. If not I replace some of the water with ice.
½ lb kale
2 frozen bananas
1 cup chopped mango
1 cup water
Put the oranges in the blender first, then add about a cup of water, the kale (or spinach or other greens), mango, and bananas. Blend.
Make it a fun presentation (fancy cup or fun straw) and it will have a better chance of competing with the abundance of fun junk food out there.
Hint:I like to throw my greens in the freezer since they can get slimy so fast, just don’t buy greens that are frozen since they are so often blanched as part of the freezing process (killing enzymes).
Drink 1 quart of this a day and you’ll be among the top 1% of healthiest people in the U.S.
Try it for a couple of weeks and see what you notice. Decreased craving for sweets, better digestion, better sleep, more energy, weight loss, these are just a few of the very common benefits of drinking green smoothies. These are all things I want for me and my little athletes.