I know. You are rolling your eyes at “Instead of Coffee” Green Smoothie. I would be too. Except that I drink this green juice (as I call it), these days, instead of coffee. It’s the closest quick hit of drinkable energy that I’ve found.
I stopped drinking coffee because . . .
of some health issues I was having. This past summer, I was having terrible headaches and trying to get to the bottom of it. I’ve always been a headache prone person, but recently they had become so frequent and intense that all I wanted to do was to be in a quiet room by myself – which doesn’t work so well when you have four children on summer break.
I started reading books, trying medication, and figured I’d have to start eliminating certain foods to see if that might be the culprit. I was beginning to notice that my headaches would be much worse when I ate super sugary foods (like icing on cinnamon rolls) almonds, and strong iced coffees (I miss you!). Before, I relented to denying myself, I had an appointment with an ENT, that was scheduled a month prior. He told me my sinuses were obstructed. And, he believed this was the reason for my headaches. I knew weather was a factor too, so maybe there (is) was something there? He wanted to do imaging but said my insurance wouldn’t pay for it until I did a round of antibiotics. Saying something along the lines of…. you may have a sinus infection, anyways (which I was pretty certain I didn’t). I took the antibiotics because they told me too and because it never crossed my mind to just toss them when I got home and then go back for imaging. I wish I would have. About nine days into taking the antibiotics I got a bad rash and was red from head to toe. I knew something was very wrong when my limbs were getting heavy….so I went to the ER. They told me it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. They gave me meds and I went home. I still wasn’t feeling right for about about a week and then became very ill. After another visit to the ER, it was apparent that the medication had effected my liver. They couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with me and were checking me for all kinds of hepatitis and strange viruses, which thank God, all tests came back negative. To make a long story short, I had acute injury to my liver. I spent a lot of time back and forth to doctors and labs and it was scary. My faith sustained me and I truly believe God intervened and healed my liver.
While my liver enzymes normalized, it appears the medication and entire episode seemed to really upset my whole system. I really couldn’t stomach much. My digestive system seemed to be entirely out of whack (and still not back to 100% yet). In the midst of this, I organically had to eliminate a lot of food groups. And, about a week into eating close to nothing, I noticed my headaches were almost completely gone. If I did get a headache it was pretty mild and I could sleep it off (I was so scared to even take an Advil and still a little phobic of meds, as you can imagine).
I became pretty convinced that my headaches had a lot to do with caffeine, chocolate, almonds and aged cheese (and stress). So I avoided these foods. Which thankfully was pretty easy to do because I couldn’t digest them well anyways.
Honestly, I don’t miss the caffeine much…maybe just on Thursdays when the week feels long and the temps are sub-zero. But, I do miss the ritual and taste of coffee. I know there is always decaf, but I read that it can actually be worse for headaches because of the chemicals they use to extract the caffeine. So, I’m now the weirdo that goes around asking to smell other’s coffees, candy bars and donuts.
One day as I was reading up on digestion, I came across a recipe for a glowing green smoothie that had many health benefits, and thought I’d give it a try. I was surprised at how much of a pick me up it was. I, now, make this most mornings and find that when I skip making it, my body craves it. It’s my instead of coffee green smoothie. Literally. And, here is what’s in it:
INTEAD OF COFFEE GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPE
1 cup room temperature water
1 generous handful of spinach
1 generous handful of romaine (I tear up about 4-5 long pieces)
1 celery stalk
1/4 of a handful of cilantro (stems included)
1/4 to 1/2 of fresh squeezed lemon (depending on how tart you like things)
1/2 tsp turmeric
Mix water, greens, lemon and turmeric on low and then add in fruit on high speed. Blend until smooth.
This makes about two cups (the size pictured). I usually try to get my husband to drink the extra cup or save it in the fridge (it’s good for up to two days, covered). When I know I’m making it for only me, I half the recipe.
I understand cilantro seems a little iffy. I used to not even be able to take celery in a smoothie or juice but somehow it just all works. You can substitute parsley for the celery (or do both) to make it a little milder, but cilantro is good for detoxing and I needed that. I love it in my juice now. But, feel free to play around with the quantity of ingredients to taste.
Also, I know when we think of the word smoothie we think frozen or freezing cold… you can make yours colder by using very cold water and frozen bananas if you like, but I’ve found a room temperature smoothie to be easier on my system. In fact, I made a frozen smoothie a few weeks back and got an instant headache. I guess I’m just super sensitive, but it was enough to make me want to stick with room temperature for the most part.
I hope you give this green smoothie a try!
On a side note : I have been slowly incorporating foods again to see what I do tolerate. I tried coffee the other week, for the first time in over 3 months. At first it didn’t even taste that great to me, but after a few minutes it was as good as I remembered. It didn’t seem to bother me that day, but I’m pretty certain that if I drank it everyday I’d be having more headaches (same with chocolate). So I’ve decided, at this point, if I want it for a special occasion or once in a while then I’ll have it. Not having headaches everyday is far better than having coffee. As of right now, I’m gluten free (another story for another day), mostly dairy free (I have goat cheese occasionally, and will eat things like mashed potatoes if they have a little milk in them), mostly caffeine free (a little chocolate here and there and maybe a small coffee every once in a blue moon), and I avoid greasy foods too.
If you’ve been on health journey, whether by choice or necessity, I’d love to hear about it!
*Recipe adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie