Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Smoothies

A lot of families with autistic children have their kids on a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet. We do. But lately, my wife has been taking our nutritional health to a whole new level.

I think most would agree that the diet of many Americans often leaves a lot to be desired. I do not exclude myself as, in my single days, my meals sometimes consisted of Doritos, Oreo cookies, and fried foods.

With the benefit of my wife’s cooking, I’ve eaten much healthier the past few years. And, we both have become more conscious of nutrition as we’ve tried to instill good eating habits onto our son. But, while Kai isn’t the picky eater he was until a couple of years ago, it still is sometimes hard to get him to consume as much vegetables as we would like.

So, my wife found a new approach: Green smoothies!

We have found that it can be easier to get our son to consume a green smoothie than to eat an equivalent amount of vegetables. And, it’s not just for our son; my wife and I are also getting more greens into our diet.

More greens mean more nutrition, including antioxidants, and better health overall. I can tell that my wife has more energy and I am feeling better overall. We’ve cut way back on processed foods which contribute to so many of the health problems that people have today.

The basic formula for a green smoothie is pretty simple. My wife usually blends a green vegetable with fruit. Often, she will add water or fruit juice to give it a more liquid consistency. Sometimes she will add herbs or sprouts as well. For me, the fruit part is what makes it taste great.

Some of the specific ingredients she has used include:
  • Green vegetables – kale, spinach, wheatgrass, greens, lettuce, celery, bok choy, just to name a few
  • Fruits – apples, avocado, banana, mango, raspberries, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, among others
  • Herbs – cilantro, parsley, basil are my wife’s favorites
  • Sprouts such as alfalfa, broccoli or clover can also be added

My wife tells me that a completely raw food diet has even more health benefits. I love my burgers and roast chicken too much to do that. But, it is good to know that we’re adding the nutrition we need without really sacrificing a lot of taste.

Raising children is hard work sometimes. The consequences of poor nutrition – being sick or just feeling sluggish – adds to the challenge. With a child who has autism, it is even more important that we parents stay healthy and feel good.

Consider going green. With a smoothie, that is.

My wife’s favorite resource for green smoothies is a book by Victoria Boutenko. “Green Smoothie Revolution" gives more explanations of the benefits of green smoothies as well as lots of recipes.

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