St. Patrick’s Day, Green Smoothies and a few deep thoughts by Steph
About this time four years ago, I started reading Kimberly Snyder’s blog (http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/) and was introduced to the amazing concept of a green smoothie. At first I was skeptical, as I’m sure all of you were (or perhaps still are) about a drink made from greens. At that time in my life, I was a stay at home mom of 3 children: a 4 year old and 3 year old twins. I worked hard to make sure their little bellies got the nutrients they deserved, but at the same time, this season was survival mode. This meant that sometimes their nutrition wasn’t quite stellar and at times, neither was mine. I needed fast and convenient for the kids and me but not necessarily packaged and processed.
So after I “educated” myself, I pulled out my $50 dollar blender and followed the recipe. It was alright, a bit more textured than the smoothies I make now in my Vitamix, but the taste was surprisingly good. This got me excited so I started making them for my breakfast but was still nervous to introduce the green to my kids. Then one day before St. Patrick’s Day, my mother-in-law came over bearing green cupcakes with green frosting and a candy green shamrock on top, and my kids were over the moon (I was not)! Surprisingly, their favorite part of the cupcake was that it was green.
As my mother-in-law was instructing her grandchildren to save the cupcake till St. Patrick’s Day, my brain was already putting together a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast menu. Here’s what I did: Once I had the kids to myself again, I announced that they could have their cupcakes for breakfast the next morning and that to celebrate the day, our whole breakfast would be green. My kids shrieked and cheered over the thought of a green breakfast! The next morning we did eat that green breakfast, cupcake and all, but despite the cupcake, my kids also had 16-20 ounces of Green Spinach smoothies and they devoured them! I didn’t know then if the green would still work come April 17th, but it sure worked well on March 17th. I celebrated this as a victory. Even though I had lost the cupcake battle, I felt I had won the war.
My kids still drink green smoothies today, and although they do sometimes complain about the color, they do love the taste as long as I throw some fruit in with all the veggies. As for me, my sometimes sporadic smoothie habit of 4 years ago has become a daily habit today. My smoothies have improved partially because of a different blender but mostly just because I have more practice. The health benefits are noticeable: improved skin, hair, energy level, mood and health.
More than anything, I am grateful for what the smoothies have done for my peace of mind. Let me explain. My kids are 8 and 6 now, and I would be naive to think that I can save them from all things sugary, fried and processed. In reality, most of the time their out-in-the-world food choices (the snacks and meals they get when I’m not around) usually look more like that green cupcake than a green smoothie. However, I know that no matter what treats they get a hold of during the day, at home they are given healthy choices including a breakfast of fruits, veggies and leafy greens. In addition, if they don’t always slurp down their morning smoothies or even outright refuse them at times, I know that I am teaching them the difference between healthy and unhealthy choices. It is the same as teaching your kids to do their homework or make their beds. You don’t give up on the idea just because they roll their eyes and say no. Even if my kid doesn’t gulp down this “real energy drink”, it’s still there on the breakfast table as an example of what I expect. If I get home from school drop-off to find an unfinished glass, I just add it to my morning smoothie and try again the next day. I won’t give up on their health and I pray that these health practices during their youth will carry through to their adulthood when they become responsible for their food choices.
I’m grateful I tried something new that day and took a chance on a weird sounding concoction. In life, trying new things is always a win. Changes, even small ones, open new doors and create new beginnings. One year ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, Mary Ellen and I posted our first Kitchen Remix post on Facebook. We were being brave and trying something new. Throughout this year, we have felt elated, deflated, frustrated, excited, overwhelmed, humbled and amazed. We have experienced success, not just because The Kitchen Remix is a success, but because we tried something new; we were brave and took a chance.
Thank you all for being a part of this journey with us. As I reflect on the year (and it has been a rough one for me personally), this is what stands out: I feel more courageous, more passionate, more community-minded and more healthful than ever before…all this because I started talking about my kitchen. Go figure!
Do something brave today. Don’t give up on your dreams. Realize that life is in the details and small changes do make a big impact!
Here is a green smoothie recipe* for you and your little ones this Sunday:
3 cups spinach
1/2 cup romaine
1/4 cup shredded coconut
A dash of vanilla
Stevia to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cup water
1 cup Ice
Mix ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. This will give you enough smoothie for the whole family!
*This is not the smoothie in the featured picture