30 May Joe’s Everything Smoothie – "The Green Beast"!
What goes in the everything smoothie? well… everything!
This breakfast or lunchtime smoothie has anywhere between 20 and 25 ingredients. I know some people make a smoothie because they want to rush their meal (which is never a good idea), well this isn’t that kind of smoothie. But it really is chock full of everything you need!
This little baby takes me longer to make than a sandwich would. I also tend to keep it at a consistency that I can eat with a spoon, so I can get the pre-digestion process going. It’s kind of like a runny, green porridge.
You see, digestion starts in the mouth, so if we bolt our food or slam down liquid meals we are missing out on an important part of the process of eating a meal. We are not necessarily getting the full benefits of the nutritious beast we have just thrown together. So, take your time – enjoy it!
In this power-packed number are tonnes of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, live enzymes, probiotics, proteins containing BCAAs and EAAs, polyphenols, fatty acids and whole host of other goodies. It has the calories needed to sustain a good balance of macros, high fat, medium protein and low to medium carbohydrates.
This really is a powerhouse of a shake, and it tastes good too… well, I think so! Here’s the recipe. Below that is a description of each ingredient, why I’ve added it and what its superb benefits are for your health, fitness and well-being.
In a large and powerful blender put:
- 1/2 apple
- 1/2 pear
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Avocado
- 2 stalks of Kale chopped
- 1 stick of Celery chopped
- 1/2 Lebanese cucumber
- 1/2 Beetroot
- Handful of mixed leaves and herbs (rocket, coriander, parsley anything green)
- 1 tsp Maca Powder (True Protein)
- Large Pinch – 1/4tsp black pepper
- 5-6 Brazil nuts
- 1/4tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp Cinnamon Verum (True Protein)
- 1-2 tbsp Beef collagen and/or Beef Gelatine
- 1 tsp Creatine (True Protein)
- 1 large clove or 2 small cloves Garlic
- 2 tsp Greens Powder (True Protein)
- 1 tsp Tumeric Powder (True Protein)
- 1 scoop Natural Whey Protein Isolate (True Protein)
- 1 tbs Organic Cacao (True Protein)
- 1-2tbs Resistant starch
- Coconut water/Nut milk 50/50 volume to taste for consistency you require
- 1 tbs Grass-fed butter
- 2 tbs MCT oil
- 1 tbs Flaxseed oil
Blast away in the blender until it’s the consistency you like and then either drink it or eat with a spoon. Remember, if you are drinking it, make sure you swish each mouthful around, so you get the full benefit of the pre-digestive process from your saliva working.
NOTE: I will often vary the veggie side slightly. As a general rule, I look for 4-6 things that are green, whether it’s broccoli, chard, beetroot leaves, watercress etc. I always add the apple and the pear as a base and sometimes I may use half a small banana as well. Where possible you should be using organic fruit, veggies and spices (mine are always 90-100% organic)… trust me, it makes a difference to you and the world!
NB: When reading the benefits of the ingredients below, when I say “may have” it usually means that animal studies have been done but no human studies yet, or there have not been enough human studies for the evidence to be conclusive.
Apple: These are a great source of fibre and Vitamin C and contain polyphenols in the peel which are powerful antioxidants. One of those polyphenols is epicatechin which may lower blood pressure and lower your risk of a stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Apples also have a great prebiotic effect; helping promote healthy gut flora (bacteria) which protect against obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They also have several compounds that have been linked to reduced cases of and deaths by cancer. Did you know that a study of 68,000 women showed that the ones who ate apples had the lowest risk of asthma? Apple peel can also help the fight against age-related mental decay.
Apple Cider Vinegar: The amazing ACV is very good at improving insulin sensitivity, helping to lower blood sugar levels, increase satiety and improve skin health. It can lower both cholesterol and triglyceride levels and may also lower your blood pressure. Finally, ACV may have protective effects against cancers and, because of the fermentation process, is filled with probiotics and enzymes which will boost your overall gut health.
Avocado: These are hugely nutritious, containing over 25 different vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain more potassium than bananas (potassium helps with the electrical gradients of the body’s cells, helping to maintain blood pressure and regulate fluid, support bone health and also strength). Really high in Oleic acid and monounsaturated fats, Avos reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. They also support good eye health and relieve symptoms of arthritis. Avos help gut health as they are also loaded with fibre which feeds your good gut bacteria. Fibre also assist with weight loss and metabolic health: an American broad-scale study showed out of 17,567 participants, those who included avocados in their daily diet were much healthier and made better choices than those who didn’t. To top it off, the fat in avocados helps you absorb other plant-based nutrients better.
Celery: This veggie contains no less than 25 anti-inflammatory compounds, is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and has a very low glycaemic index (meaning your blood glucose levels won’t rise much when you eat it). Celery also has an alkalising effect on the body.
Cucumber: This helps to reduce and control blood sugar levels and reduce oxidative stress.
Kale (the King of the superfoods!): High in a range of vitamins and minerals, kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods in existence. It is loaded with antioxidants such as Quercetin and Kaempferol, which are cardio-protective, lower your blood pressure, are anti-inflammatory and anti-viral, have anti-depressant and anti-cancer properties and are a great source of Vitamin C (1 cup has more Vit C than an orange and without the fruit sugars!). Kale also increases HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol, is undoubtedly one of best sources of Vitamin K, is great source of plant-based calcium and is also great for your overall eye health.
Maca Powder (Buy here): This stuff is highly nutritious. It’s high in nutrients including Vitamin C, copper and iron, and bioactive plant compounds such as glucosinolates and polyphenols. It increases libido in both men and women, reduces stress, improves general mood, boosts energy and sporting performance, particularly endurance. Maca also relieves symptoms of menopause and improves brain function… in South America it’s given to school-age kids to help with learning and retention!
Pear: Again, this fruit is high in fibre, great for gut health and packs a high nutrient punch. It is higher in pectin than apples, which means they are also great for lowering cholesterol.
Beetroot: Beetroots are loaded with vitamins and minerals and contain inorganic nitrates and pigments. These have awesome performance values as they convert to nitric oxide and dilate blood vessels, which is great for both strength and endurance athletes. This effect lasts for approximately 6 hours. Beets also improve the efficiency of the mitochondria (the body’s power packs that produce energy in the cells). The nitrates, with their dilatory properties, may also help with increased cognitive function, particularly to the frontal lobes which are responsible for high-level thinking such as decision-making and memory. It’s these factors that also mean that they may help in maintaining mental and cognitive health as we age.
Black Pepper: The active ingredient in this is Piperine. It dramatically increases absorption of Selenium, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10, Beta-carotene and Curcumin. Pepper stimulates the pancreas, enhancing digestive capacity and reducing food transit time. It has also been shown to prevent oxidative damage and may have thermogenic (metabolism-enhancing) properties.
Brazil Nuts: Rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, these nuts are great for your heart as they regulate blood pressure. They are also high in selenium which supports testosterone production and high in fibre which helps to lower your cholesterol. Brazil nuts are a great source of antioxidants and high in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which strengthen the ticker and reduce your chance of heart disease. That’s not all… they’re a good source of copper which helps with tissue production and generating energy in the cells. They contain Thiamine (Vitamin B1) which supports the nervous system and the brain, both in creating neurotransmitters and allowing the brain to convert glucose to energy without which your brain cells would die. They are a complete protein, one of the very few plant-based foods that have a complete amino acid profile, but given their size they can only supplement your daily protein intake, or you’d be eating them by the bucket!
Cayenne Pepper: The active ingredient in this is Capsaicin which causes thermogenesis, boosting metabolism by increasing the heat that the body produces. Cayenne has been shown in several studies to reduce hunger throughout the day and is thought to lower blood pressure. It also reduces your risk of stomach ulcers and stimulates nerves in stomach which aid in fighting infections, increasing digestive fluid production and delivering natural enzymes. Finally, it may aid in the fight against cancer. Studies have shown that cayenne pepper may help kill cancer cells and slow down the growth of cells in many different forms of cancer, including prostate and skin cancers.
Cinnamon Verum (Buy here): There are two types of cinnamon: Cinnamon Verum (True Cinnamon – available from health food stores and gourmet ingredient stores) which is the one with ALL the magic properties and Cassia Cinnamon (common cinnamon available everywhere else and sold by the big brand herb and spice manufacturers) which does jack shit except taste nice.
True cinnamon is chock full of polyphenols which are antioxidants (more so than any other spice and even more than garlic). It has strong anti-inflammatory properties which can lower the risk of chronic disease. It has been shown that just one gram of cinnamon per day has a beneficial effect on the blood markers of diabetes patients. Not only that, it reduces LDL cholesterol whilst HDL remains stable or even elevates. Cinnamon also dramatically reduces insulin resistance, enabling insulin to work properly regulating metabolism, energy and transporting blood sugars into the cells. It lowers the amount of glucose entering the system after a meal by interfering with digestive enzymes, it also mimics insulin, causing cells to uptake more glucose. Last, but not least, cinnamon can lower fasted blood sugar levels by 10-29%, which is a lot, and may also help protect against neurodegenerative disease.
Coconut water: This is a great rehydration aid which replenishes electrolytes in the body. Studies show that they replace electrolytes as well as any synthetic/manufactured sports drink and it doesn’t contain all that extra crap. It’s a good source of fibre, vitamin C and important minerals, and may have antioxidant properties. Coconut water may lower or stabilise blood sugars, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce fat in the liver, reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce blood pressure and may have an anti-thrombotic effect, preventing blood clots.
Collagen: This is the most common protein found in the body. It maintains the integrity of our cartilage, reduces inflammation in the joints, strengthens the skin and improves skin elasticity, maintains bone mass, boosts muscle mass and also helps the body synthesise creatine which stimulates muscle repair and recovery after exercise and muscle growth. Collagen strengthens arteries and their elasticity which aids heart health, it speeds up would healing and supports digestion. It may also reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal system and the effects of leaky gut syndrome and food sensitivities and is also a good source of protein.
Garlic: This stuff is awesome. It contains Allicin, well-known for its medicinal properties. Is there a cure for the common cold? Yes! It’s garlic. One large, 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with the placebo. It’s also one for the bosses… a study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold/flu by 61%! Garlic has a significant effect on reducing blood pressure and studies have found it’s as effective as one of the major blood pressure drugs. It lowers LDL levels without reducing HDL levels and increases antioxidant enzymes, thereby reducing your chances of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Did you know, it was used by athletes in Ancient Greece and to reduce fatigue in the workforce and increase work capacity in labourers in ancient cultures? When testing, athletes found a 12% reduction in their peak heart rate while their exercise capacity improved. Garlic may also help protect against organ damage from nasty heavy metals and may also improve bone health.
Creatine (Buy here): This is the most researched natural performance supplement on the planet (over 1000 studies). It also has a more dramatic effect on performance than any other “legal” supplement available with increases of 15% (this is inclusive of all fitness levels NOT just at an elite level). It increases Phosphocreatine which forms more ATP (used to produce energy, especially during high-intensity training and strength training) and increases IGF1 and stimulation of Art/PKB pathways, telling your body to create more muscle. Creatine reduces Myostatin which inhibits muscle development. Regarding high intensity performance, a plethora of studies show it to improve strength, ballistic power, sprinting ability, muscular endurance, resistance to fatigue, recovery and brain performance. It is shown to have an effect on muscle growth in as little as 5-7 days. There are currently some interesting studies being carried out showing creatine may reduce the symptoms and severity of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. It could also lower blood sugar levels, with studies showing better control of sugar levels in those who took creatine with exercise than those who just exercised. Finally, it plays an important role in healthy brain function and can reduce tiredness and fatigue in those who are sleep deprived.
Gelatin: This is made of Collagen but has not been hydrolysed, so maintains some slightly different properties such as turning jelly-like when added to water and cooled. It will thicken in liquids if left to stand. As it is collagen based has all same health benefits (see collagen notes).
Greens Powder (Buy here): All green powder “Superfood” mixes contain chlorophyll (the pigment that gives them their green colour). They are very high in an array of antioxidants, depending on the makeup of the superfood mix, but will almost certainly contain Glutathione, Vitamin A, C and E as well as a great amino acid profile and minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium. It reduces oxidative damage to cells, lowers cholesterol, aids blood sugar regulation, supports the immune system, alleviates chronic inflammation and could also help kill cancer cells.
Milk Alternatives: Conventional milk is inflammatory to the system and, unfortunately, raw milk is illegal in Australia. So, try one of these for your smoothie:
- Coconut milk: contains no protein, little to no carbohydrates but is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
- Almond Milk: is low in calories, fat and carbohydrates. It is also low in protein and contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium (activated nut milks reduce the physic acid levels).
- Macadamia milk: is high in monounsaturated fats and low in calories and carbohydrates.
- Oat milk: is high in protein and fibre, but also high in calories and carbohydrates. Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Organic Turmeric (Buy here): High in Curcumin and well-researched, turmeric is awesome at reducing chronic inflammation to the point of being as effective as some western drugs and without the side effects. It is not that easily absorbed by the body, except when taken with black pepper which aids absorption. Turmeric blocks NF-kB, a major player in many chronic diseases. As well as being a powerful antioxidant, Curcumin boosts the activity of the antioxidant enzymes already found in the body and increases BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which can aid in protecting against depression and Alzheimer’s and delaying or even reversing brain diseases. Studies have shown turmeric has amazing benefits when taken to combat depression. It may also slow down age-related decreases in brain function, make you smarter and improve your memory. It may reverse many of the steps involved in heart disease, including improving function of endothelium (blood vessel lining). It is currently being used in the fight against cancer and studies are hopeful that it affects cancer growth, development and spread.
Protein Powder: Whey Protein Isolate (Buy here), Pea-based protein or Pea/Rice blend (Buy here): Whey Protein is the next most-studied supplement after creatine. Isolate contains the highest ratio of absorbable protein and study after study has shown it is hands down the best for athletic performance, recovery and muscular development. If you are a vegetarian or just want to mix up your proteins (it’s a good idea to cycle your protein powders) then the modern blends of vegetable-based proteins have a better amino acid profile than single source eve table proteins, closely followed by Pea Protein (links above).
What does protein do? It plays a major role in muscle growth and recovery following both resistance and endurance exercise. Studies also show that protein aids in reducing body fat mass, increasing lean muscle mass and promoting muscular health.
Raw Cacao (Buy here): Again, this stuff is heavily laden with fibre, vitamins and minerals. On the ORAC score (the way they test antioxidants against free radicals), raw cacao is one of the highest-scoring foods tested. In another test, they show more antioxidant activity than any other fruits tested. Due to a flavanol in cacao, called endothelium, blood flow can improve and blood pressure can lower due to the production of Nitric Oxide. It also stops LDL cholesterol oxidising, preventing it from damaging tissues, and can increase HDL. Cacao has also been shown to reduce insulin resistance, which is a common risk factor for metabolic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In a study of 470 men, cacao reduced the death rate of cardiovascular disease by 50% over 15 years… that’s massive! It has also been shown to reduce risk of arteriosclerosis (plaque in arteries) by 32%. The high flavanols improve blood flow to the brain improving cognitive function and may protect against diseases of the brain.
Resistant Starch: This has powerful health benefits including improving insulin sensitivity (important in weight loss and performance), lowering blood sugar levels and improving and increasing uptake of important minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. It is basically a superfood for your digestive system! It feeds friendly gut flora, increases production of short chain fatty acids such as butyrate, reduces risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease (number 1 killer in the world) and colorectal cancer (number 4 killer in the world). It acts as a gut prebiotic, helps with satiety, reduces oxidative stress and forces the body to use more fat as fuel by inhibiting glucose breakdown.
Grass fed Butter: This superfood is loaded with K2 that helps de-calcify the arteries (one of the highest sources in nature). Filled with the anti-inflammatory short chain fatty acid Butyrate, it is great for heart health. Butter was demonised in the 20s and 30s when the heart epidemic first started, but as we’ve cut out saturated fats our heart disease has risen. We’ve been eating butter and having high fat diets for thousands of years before this epidemic started (coincidently, the epidemic started at the same time as we started pushing cereals onto the table during the great depression… funny that!) and as health line says “Blaming new health problems on old food doesn’t make sense.”
MCT Oil (Buy here): MCT Oil is made from processed coconut oils and is absorbed way faster than long chain triglycerides, making it an awesome fuel. Fats are usually processed in the liver with the aid of bile to be either used as fuel or stored as fats. Because MCT is shorter in length, it enters the cells more easily and does not have to be broken down, making it an immediate source of energy. MCTs can also be converted into Ketones in the liver and fuel the brain. They can help reduce lactate levels in athletic performance, may help with Epilepsy, Autism and Alzheimer’s, may help control blood sugars and when used in conjunction with other fats such as flaxseed, reduce cholesterol at a higher rate than flaxseed and olive oils by themselves.
Flaxseed Oil: This is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. It may reduce cancer cell growth, improve heart health and lower blood pressure. Flaxseed oil also improves the elasticity of the arteries, may help with bowel movements, mat reduce inflammation and can improve skin health.
References: All nutritional facts have come from the following evidence-based sites. We highly recommend the sites below as a source when searching for fact-based nutritional information. (FYI our favourite evidence based resource sites are: mercola.com, Healthline.com , examine.com, draxe.com)
Here’s the links so you can read more about the health benefits I’ve summarised for each of the ingredients above:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits (use for Gelatin as well)