BEET The Flu Smoothie.
Although Winter officially arrived this past Saturday, Mother Nature decided to tease us with an early glimpse into Spring. Either way, it's that time of year again when we need to start thinking about whether or not it's going to be the year we cave in and get the flu shot, or the year we continue to brave it, lay off the alcohol and processed food a bit and up the dosage of flu fighting foods into our daily routine. I was tempted to name this the BEET the blues smoothie, because well, with shorter days and brisk winter weather tends to come the dreary winter blues. However, with the cold and flu season in effect I figured adding "flu" into the mix was a bit more appropriate.
A fellow wellness warrior mentioned something the other day that really stuck with me. She reminded me that in the summer months we tend to be more extroverted. You know, we like to frolic in the warm weather, dip our toes in the salty waters and bask in the sun. Well, to keep our energy levels up during all these outdoor activities our body craves raw foods (seasonal veggies and fruits).
Well, the summer, here in New York anyway, has too quickly come and gone. We bundle up in layers to help keep our sensitive insides warm. We start to crave hibernation. We long for weekends in a cozy knitted sweater next to the fireplace (or space heater, whatever suits your fancy) with a warm cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa. This is the time of year we desire to become more grounded, so it's no coincidence that root veggies (in this case beets and ginger) are now in season. We also need to take in some more antioxidants & vitmamin c in hopes to ward off a drippy nose and scratchy throat.
With all that in mind, let's talk about the goods...
Satsuma: To my surprise, many don't know that most citrus fruits are at their prime during the winter months. (yep. google it if you must). Toss in a peeled satsuma (which mom just informed me is described as a "cool hardy mandarin") to your smoothie for an extra boost of vitamin C.
Quick bit on queen bee vitamin C: contrary to popular belief, although it will gladly help prevent a cold, vitamin C isn't your knight in shining armor when it comes to curing the cold once you've fallen victim to it.
Coconut h2o: Alright first things first - coconut water is not coconut milk. Giggle if you must, but this, my wellness junkies, is a common misinterpretation. The water is what comes from the young coconut when it is cracked open. Coconut milk, however, is easily made by blending the coconut meat and coconut water together, in turn creating a creamy, delicious milk-like substance. Now that we've cleared that up, the obvious benefit from this is hydration. I know I'm not the first to inform you that water is an excellent source of hydration, but coconut water in a whole other ball game. Also, feel free to pass on your morning coffee ritual. (well, don't pass on it entirely, nothing wrong with a quality cup of brewed coffee). Coconut water will also help you out with that enormous energy boost your usually looking to get from your local coffee joint.
Fun fact: during the Pacific War, coconut water was used in IVs and plasma transfusions, to save many lives. Turns out that the contents of natural coconut water are identical to that in human plasma, making it a kind of “universal donor”! It is still used that way in countries that have limited access to medical aid.
Ging-ah: This knobby looking root gives this sweet, cold weather smoothie just the warm and spicy kick it needs. Numerous studies have shown that ginger is effective against nausea and aids in digestion. With all it's antiviral properties, consuming this fellah while you're sick (or even if you're winning the battle against the flu) may help to knock out whatever is ailing you.
Beets: These beauties are a detox power house and an excellent source of fiber. I mentioned many of the benefits of beets in my Spring blushing beet smoothie, and yes, those same nutritious facts still apply. Not much has changed in the world of beets. Something new I found out recently though, is the fact that beets carry with them a calming energy with their phytonutrients (remember i mentioned how root veggies help to ground us?).
Cranberries: Around this time of year we begin to think about things we are thankful for. And, from a health coach perspective, those bitter, ruby berries should be scribbled on that list. These babies are packed with vitamin C, health-promoting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. They have been known to prevent bacterial attachment to the lining of the urinary tract (hence the reason mom always tells you to load up on the cranberry juice when you feel a dreadful UTI coming along). Studies have even shown that they may also do the same for the stomach lining, helping prevent stomach ulcers.
Pomegranates: These gorgeous, jewel-like, superfood seeds are well worth the mess it takes to enjoy them. They pack a high antioxidant potency punch which are essential for protecting us against heart attacks and strokes, not to mention anti-aging. These tiny, sweet bombs (which happen to marry perfectly with the bitter cranberries) are also known to strengthen the brain and cleanse the body and blood from toxins.
1 satsuma, peeled (they are super easy to peel, and don't worry, a little pith [that stringy white stuff] never hurt anyone)
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 beet, peeled and diced
small piece of ginger (an inch, or two depending on how spicy you like it), peeled and diced
2 cups coconut water
|garnish with me if you wish|:
unsweetened shredded coconut
goji berries (extra antioxidant punch & texture)
Easy. Throw everything in a blender and flip the switch. Blend until smooth. Pour in your favorite glass (or mug), add any garnishes you wish, and drink that baby up!
Let the battle begin....
you: 1 flu: 0