Simple Green Smoothie + A Stroke of Squash Genius

I wanted to write “A Stroke of Sleep Deprived Squash Genius”, but I thought that might get a little long.

International travel, my friends, is a terrifically wonderful thing. So often we can take for granted the fact that we can get in a giant metal bird and FLY. Honestly, whenever I get a little tired of a flight: dehydrated, headachey, full of airplane food – I remember that it is a miracle that I am even above the clouds at all.

However, I do believe that our bodies have not quite adapted to the wonder of zooming through dozens of time zones in a matter of hours. After a few weeks of here-and-back-again, I am craving the balance of a few goods nights sleep in a row. While I wait for that balance to come back in my sleep schedule, I’ve noticed how incredibly valuable it is to support jet lag and travel with proper nutrition.

Back in my sugar and gluten eating days, I would use travel as an excuse to indulge in a few treats. But the patterns of fatigue and sugar crashes put another toll on my already tired body and just gave me another level of stress to deal with during my travels. Now, even when I am tired, I choose foods that I know will be kind to my jet-lagged body and help it recover or give it energy to make it through the day. One great way to restore some balance is with a green smoothie.

Green smoothies are great any time of day – breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, afternoon energizer, dinner supplement, or dessert. They are a good way to use up any random greens or fruits left over. Also, if you have any fruits that are about to go bad or a little too ripe for your tastes, you can freeze them and then have your own supply of prepared frozen fruit!

One particularly warm day while I was in America, the heat left me without much of an appetite, and I had eaten basically two breakfasts since I woke up at 3am that day. I decided on this smoothie for lunch: collard greens, kale, coconut-almond milk, and a pear.  Very simple. Very delicious. I don’t need my green smoothies to be very sweet, but you could add more fruits or your sweetener of choice.

Before I went back to Japan (or tried to anyway), I used up the last of my collard greens and kale in a smoothie for myself and then I made one for my mom and brother too. In a stroke of tired, travel genius, I added some leftover butternut squash to my smoothie. It sounds strange, but it added the perfect amount of sweetness and rich texture. My mom’s smoothie had collard greens, kale, an apple, half a mango, and coconut milk.

The beautiful thing about smoothies is that the recipes are super flexible. You could add a half an avocado for volume and creaminess, frozen banana or mango or roasted squash for sweetness, or change up the type of nut milk: coconut, almond, or even hemp or whatever else you like to use. I like to blend the milk and the greens together first on their own so they get properly broken up and mixed in. I’m ok with chunks of fruit, but chunks of kale get stuck in my teeth. I like to use a VitaMix or a really strong blender.

leftovers

This makes a large serving – maybe 16 ounces or so. You can store leftovers in a glass like this one with a lid, a mason jar (transportable!), the container of your Magic Bullet, and leave it in the fridge for a snack later or take it with you for the day. A great tip I heard was to prepare everything at night, store it in the blender container overnight, and then just whiz it up and go in the morning.

Green Smoothies, three ways

All these measurements are approximate. Feel free to add more milk if you want it thinner, more fruit if you want it thicker, adapt the sweetness to your taste, or substitute out whatever you don’t like for whatever you do like.

Super Simple

3 large collard leaves, stalks removed

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed

1 small pear, core removed and cut into small chunks (I leave the skins on because I don’t like peeling and the skin has more fiber)

1 1/2 cups coconut almond milk blend

Add the greens and the milk to a blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth. Add the pear (or you can use an apple) and blend until no large chunks remain. Makes 1 large 16 oz serving or 2 smaller servings.

Super Simple Squash Genius

3 large collard leaves, stalks removed

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed

1 small apple, core removed and cut into small chunks

1/3 cup roasted butternut squash

1 1/2 cups coconut almond milk blend

Follow the instructions above, adding the squash in with apple.

Sweeter Green Smoothie

3 large collard leaves, stalks removed

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed

1 small apple, core removed and cut into chunks

about 3/4 cup peeled mango, cut into chunks

1 1/2 cups coconut almond milk blend

Add the greens and the milk to a blender or Vitamix and blend until smooth. Add the fruit and blend until no large chunks remain. Makes 1 large 16 oz serving or 2 smaller servings.

What kind of things do you like to put in your smoothies? Let us know in the comments!

One last tip: I washed and dried the collard greens and kale right after I bought them, then stored them in the fridge in a tall glass of cold water. This made it super easy to throw together a smoothie without any hassle and ensured the greens didn’t go to waste.

Want more smoothie ideas? The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is the green smoothie guru:

Harvest Green Smoothie

Spring Green Smoothie

Cherry Beet Detox Smoothie

Sorry if there are typos in this – I’m making the best of my 3am wake ups by writing posts but it isn’t always good for grammar and spelling (I typed speeling at first, ha!). I’ll double check everything later tonight, but for now it is time to go hiking near Mt. Fuji. The best way to deal with jet lag? Stay active and eat healthy! Enjoy.

Part of Diet, Dessert, & Dog’s Wellness Weekend May 10-14

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays