We have had one of the most incredibly busy two weeks of our lives. From traveling down south to spend time end our summer in the Carolina coasts to having my in-laws visit, our days have been a blur of activity. Now that school (kindergarten for my oldest) is in full swing, it’s difficult to imagine a day where we are not almost always on the run from one activity to another. This type of schedule can sometimes take a toll on health, especially now that Fall is right at our doorstep.
I am starting to take a more serious approach to bolstering our immune systems. I read last night about a respiratory virus that is causing children in Colorado to be hospitalized. It’s troubling and although it’s a few thousand miles away from us, I am not dismissing it, as things do have a tendency to spread quickly. So we have made a decision to make our health a priority, starting especially, with what foods we eat.
One of the best ways to get as many veggies into your diet as possible is through a shake/smoothie. While some people use ready-to-made blends, we prefer to use fresh as many fresh ingredients as possible. Using fresh ingredients does require a good quality blender. We bought a Vitamix a few years ago and I have to say, it has been worth it for us. We have blended countless carrots, kale, spinach, beets, fresh ginger, turnips, and even mustard greens into our shakes and our Vitamix has performed beautifully every single time.
I had this shake this Blueberry based shake this morning:
While the fruits and veggies vary a great deal on our shakes, here are the ingredients that always make it on our list.
FRESH ORGANIC SPINACH – a very nutrient-dense green that is also low in calories! Among other things, spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. Basically, it’s all the good stuff we need.
RAW CHIA SEEDS – chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica that grows in South America. This seed was extremely important to the Aztecs and Mayans, and the word “chia” is actually the Mayan word for “strength.” Just like spinach, chia seeds are low in calorie, but dense in nutrients. In addition to this, it is also loaded with antioxidants.
RAW FLAX SEEDS – another seed loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, flax seeds also aid in digestive health, reduction in bone loss, and increase immunity.
RAW GINGER – this herb has been used in traditional medicine in many countries and cultures across the world. it’s known to have more than 12 antioxidants in addition to containing essential oils, protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C, choline, folate, inositol, manganese, panthotenic acid, silicon, and a small amount of vitamin B3.
RAW HEMP SEEDS – our household cycles back and forth between eating meat and being vegetarian. we think this is important for optimum health. hemp seeds are considered a “superfood,” because not only are they, like the others above, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, but they also a great protein supplement for those who do not eat animal products.
RAW ALMONDS – though typically considered a nut, almonds are actually the seeds of the almond tree! almond skins alone contain an abundance of antioxidants while the almond itself is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.
We have found great benefits to incorporating these ingredients into our shakes on a daily basis. As a family, we rarely get sick. We are a snowboarding family and are outdoors all winter long. My two children get sick at most, maybe 2x a year, 1 mild cold in the fall/winter and seasonal allergies in the spring, which I am still working on finding ways to alleviate using natural means. And, predictably, the colds usually come after the holidays, when we’ve been feasting on one too many treats and goodies from family gatherings. When this happens, we whip out our Vitamix and take it from there.