Winter always takes a toll on my body. I am a sunshine-loving, outdoorsy person who loves to munch on fresh fruits and veggies, and living in Siberia (may as well be with the subzero temperatures we’ve had in New England this year), it is a real challenge to stay balanced and healthy.
I have to make an extra effort to stay active, eat well and not turn into a couch potato. It’s a battle, and I am sure you can relate. There are days (almost every day really) when all I want to do is curl up in bed and do nothing but stuff my face with comfort food and sip on red wine.
When I notice an unhealthy behaviors sneaking up on me, like eating chocolate chip cookies in the middle of the night, or refusing to leave my bed on weekends “cause it’s too cold”, I nip it in the bud right away!
For example, I noticed how lazy the cold weather makes me feel. Instead of sleeping in each morning, though it is takes a monster effort to leave the warm and cozy bed, I try to get up at sunrise and move, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It makes all the difference, trust me! I also try to go to heated yoga classes whenever I can, or just turn up the heat in my house and move through a series of sun salutations until I break a sweat. Although this doesn’t sound like a lot, it sure does make all the ice and snow outside seem so much more bearable.
I have also gotten into the habit of blending up green smoothies in the morning. My body generally runs cold, so freshly squeezed juices are way too cooling for me this time of year. I need fiber and substance to survive the frigid weather, so I blend up my vegetables adding in warming superfoods like cashew nuts, hemp seeds, pitted dates or fresh avocado.
The recipe I am sharing today is one of my favorite breakfast drinks during wintertime. It is sweet and nourishing, and although it contains a fair amount of cooling leafy greens, it is pretty warming for your body. This smoothie can be made in so many different ways, and you can experiment with your own flavors and superfoods, but the base always involves a handful of dark greens, like Lacinato kale or spinach and potassium-rich banana and avocado for extra creaminess and fiber.
I have been hooked on raw cacao nibs lately as I love chocolate and these guys give me all the benefits without the added sugar and hydrogenated oils found in commercially sold chocolate. Raw cacao doesn’t go through high-heat processing and has all its nutrients intact. The nibs resemble dark chocolate chips. They are packed full of antioxidant flavanols (catechin and epicatechin) and magnesium, which many of us are deficient in, which is why we may experience sore muscles and stiffness especially pronounced in cold weather.
Raw cacao nibs are bitter if eaten alone, it is definitely an acquired taste, but if you blend them in your smoothies, sprinkle them on your chocolate mousse or breakfast cereal, they are actually a great little treat!
I also like to add a teaspoon of probiotic powder to my energy drinks in the morning. Improving your digestion, especially this time of year, is key to preventing disease. Almost eighty percent of your immune system is concentrated in the gut, and giving your GI tract a gentle boost through good quality probiotics is essential. This practice will help with eliminating toxic waste and improving the absorption of important nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.
The green leafy probiotic smoothie is such a yummy treat that I urge you to try it for yourself! There is so much nutrition packed in this delicious energy cocktail and it only takes a few minutes to prepare before heading out the door in the morning.
Be sure to share with your friends!
- 2 stalks fresh kale or a handful of spinach leaves
- 1 ripe banana
- ¼-1/2 fresh avocado (peeled and pitted)
- 2-3 pitted dates
- 1 teaspoon probiotic powder
- 1 teaspoon raw cacao nibs or more to garnish*
- 1 tsp maca powder (optional)
- 3 cups of almond milk, or any other nut milk of choice
- Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy right away!