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The 30-Day JGS Challenge: March 2014

The Jamaican Green Smoothie movement is growing and we seemed to have attracted even more interest and fans since the last challenge. So many persons have been begging for another challenge, while others missed the January train. That’s why we couldn’t hold out any longer. In less than a week, hundreds of blenders will get busy and greens will become our new best friend. We have spent the first two months of the year building a new, delicious habit and the effects are so dramatic that very few can afford to drop off the wagon. In fact, just a day or two without your daily green smoothie and your body will start complaining. Yes! They’re addictive. LOL.

Do you want to…?
Feel Energised
Decrease your food cravings
Have glowing skin and healthier hair
Get rid of your PMS
Enhance your digestion
Get a detox
Get more restful sleep
Boost your immune system
Lose Weight

The next 30-Day Jamaican Green Smoothie Challenge will be starting on 1 March 2014. This is your chance to develop a delicious and healthful habit, while keeping it simple, local and inexpensive.

 

Before n After Shot

Yes! I know that I’ve kept you waiting. LOL. But, since most Jamaicans try to modify their lifestyles during the 40 days of Lent, I believe that the timing is just right – not just for us, but also for our loved ones and associates.

Now, just let me quickly clarify: The ‘green’ in a green smoothie refers to the inclusion of dark, green leafy vegetables. In the past, we have seen persons blending up non-leaf vegetables (like carrots, string beans or sweet peppers), instead of edible leaves.

The main purpose of the green smoothie is to help us increase our consumption of LEAFY greens. Remember that every vegetable can be classified into one of three groups:
1. Roots, e.g. carrot, potato, beetroot, turnip.
2. Fruits (flower, seed), e.g. cucumber, tomato, sweet pepper, string beans.
3. Leaves, e.g. spinach, cabbage, lettuce, pakchoy

So, this means that when we say ‘greens’, we’re talking about spinach, callaloo, lettuce, kale, celery, moringa, watercress, radish leaves, etc. We always add ripened, sweet fruits to the liquefied greens to ensure it tastes yummy.

You can find a compilation of frequently asked questions about green smoothies: HERE.

My Jamaican Green Smoothie demo video (which includes: a recipe, the JGS blending technique) using a cheap, regular old blender can be viewed: HERE

So, go ahead and sign up: http://eepurl.com/O2KKX

Sign Up

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Green Smoothie Challenge: Tips & Quips

So, we have completed 2 weeks of the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge, a new shopping list is due out tomorrow and we are in the 3rd week of Melon Madness!! I still have a big watermelon sitting in my kitchen that I need to start slicing up. But, I’m trying to work through quite a bit of pineapple at the same time. LOL. You guys should probably know that since this challenge has begun, I’ve actually changed time zones – which means I lost a day – and I also changed hemispheres – which means I lost access to the lovely Caribbean fruits. This move also meant that the lovely heavy duty, brand-name glass blender that I had been using had to be left behind and I had to go online to order a new personal sized blender – which was delivered the next day, by the way! So, I have a had some challenges with sticking to the challenge – but I’m still smoothing my greens away ūüôā

My New Blender & Mill
My New Blender & Mill

 

I have loved how the fever¬†for consuming more liquefied fruits and vegetables has spread! This excites me because it means one less bottle of soda was consumed by some wonderful human being each time they drink a smoothie. *big grin* In fact, I’ve seen so many variations¬†to this 30 Day Challenge that it has been simply amusing. Some persons are just juicing whatever they find in their kitchen while others are making power punches (oats, peanuts and all). So, I’m having a ball reading all the posts and viewing all the pics. Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

Leafy Greens
Leafy Greens

Now, on a more ‘serious’ note. A green smoothie – in it’s purest form – is a beverage made by blending up leafy green vegetables, fruit and water. For example: lettuce, banana and water. For it to be considered an authentic green smoothie, the beverage must contain leaves and must not be strained, sieved or otherwise modified once blended.

  • It may contain more than one type of leaves, e.g. callaloo, lettuce and mint.
  • It may contain more than one kind of fruit e.g. mango, june plum and pineapple.
  • It may contain extras like ginger, lime, cinnamon powder or even a sweetener like honey or raisins.
  • You may use fresh fruit or frozen fruit.
  • You may use other liquids aside from water like coconut water, cerasee tea or almond milk.
  • You may even use two different liquids, e.g. water and coconut milk.

Image 3If you don’t like bananas, you can leave them out. But, if you still want that smooth creamy texture, you may replace the bananas with mangoes, avocado pears or pawpaws.¬†But, the most important things to note are:

  1. Do not strain the smoothie – you are throwing away all the lovely fibre.
  2. Do include a leafy green vegetable – pumpkin and cucumber do not count as leafy greens. LOL.

 

 

Please remember the advice we got from the ladies over by Simple Green Smoothies. The 60:40 rule or 60/40 formula (60% fruits; 40% leafy greens) means that you put more fruits than greens into your smoothie. The next big piece of advice is: always blend your greens and liquid first! Afterwards, you can add your fruits and extras. It’s the only way to get a balanced and creamy smoothie each and every time. I tried it many other ways and only the ‘greens first’ method works. Now, I would’ve loved to post all the beautiful pics that you guys have shared on here, but I’m just going to add a few of my favourites to the 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge (July 2013) album on the Didan Ashanta Facebook page. So, check it out, because I’ll be posting some recipe ideas for you to try on there as well.

 

Image 5

Oh! Before I go. Did you know that Real Farm Freshness has recently created a specially customised “Green Juice Pack” which features a varied mix of herbs like cilantro and parsley, leafy greens like kale and swiss chard – all from The Family Garden – as well as good stuff like grapefruit, ginger and lime. This market delivery service also carries fruits like pineapples and ripe bananas, along with leafy greens like pakchoi and lettuce. So, you have no excuse for not stocking up your fridge.

 

Another thing: I don’t know if anyone else has noticed the changes in their bodies… I’m definitely going through a detox because of this challenge – and I’m not even going hard like my friend Sapphire of Karisma Krochet! LOL. So, I’ve had to ensure that I’m drinking large quantities of water to help my body flush out the toxins. All, I can say to you is observe your skin and your stool – those two organ systems tell the tales. Based on these results, if you know someone else who you think would benefit from green smoothies, serve them up a cup. Let them taste and see that it is good ūüėČ Soon, more and more people will be grabbing their greens, fruits, liquids and blending away as we transform our lives… one cup at a time.

Spinach & Japanese Ume Plum
Spinach & Japanese Ume Plum
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The 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge

Everyone wants to have a high quality life! We want to be free from illness, full of energy, have radiant hair, skin and nails, and maintain a fit body with an ideal weight. But, for many persons, the thought of reducing or eliminating certain foods from their diet (like refined sugars, refined flours, salt, saturated fat, chemical preservatives, animal flesh, dairy, etc.) is just unimaginable. They feel like they can’t do without these ‘dietary norms’, but still want to be healthier. But, whatever your aim is – weight-loss, glowing skin, improved digestion, extra energy, mental clarity, a detox or optimal nutritional intake – green smoothies are the answer! Nope, I’m not joking. In fact, I’m challenging you to start a daily habit of drinking green smoothies. Yes, for the month of July, I will being doing it and you should join me. My long-time friend, Cheryl, and I are taking on this 30-day challenge.

 

The 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge, which is being hosted by Jadah & Jen of Simple Green Smoothies from 1-30 July 2013, is right around the corner and you need to jump on-board! The primary objective of this challenge is for us to drink a 2-cup serving green smoothie each day, for 30 days, in addition to our regular diets. No reduction or elimination of anything! Easy, right?! So, you just keep eating your regular food (healthy or otherwise РLOL) and drink a smoothie everyday. However, if your aim is weight-loss, you may choose to use the green smoothie to replace a meal or two.

 

So, tomorrow (Thursday June 27) the first shopping list will be sent out (and one will be sent out each Thursday)! Remember that this information should be used just as a guide and for inspiration. It’s not supposed to overwhelm you. If you take a quick look back at the last blog post I made about Jamaican Green Smoothies, you will see that we have easy to find leafy greens in Jamaica that you can use if you have difficulties finding some ingredients like swiss chard or dandelion greens. So, this would be a good time to stock up on some Callaloo, Pakchoy, Cabbage, Lettuce, Chinese Cabbage, Celery, Spinach and Indian Kale. It’s key to remember that you should rotate your leafy greens, and that you should experiment and try out new recipes on your own. In fact, if you are adventurous, you may even want to try other, not-so-popular edible leaves from the plants of the dasheen, yam, sweet potato, pumpkin or the pawpaw.

 

For this 30-day challenge, we want to team up to start a daily green smoothie habit and use this new habit to change our lifestyle – one cup at a time! Wouldn’t it be great to see all the transformation pictures and stories on Augus’ Maanin?! Now, if you’re still timid and hesitant, they have posted a FAQ¬†page where they deal with all the basics for green smoothie beginners and explain the ‘terms & conditions’ of the challenge. Some of you may want to read that first to feel comfortable that you can handle this challenge ūüôā When you’re done, please go to this link to get signed up:¬†http://simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge.

 

So, what will you need? Between today and Sunday (June 30), please try to get (if you don’t already have them):

  1. Blender – to make the green smoothies in, any type is fine.
  2. Travel cup/mug/jar – to take your green smoothies with you wherever you go.
  3. Leafy greens – the more variety you use, the better.
  4. Fruits – both fresh and frozen can be used.
  5. Water – or any other healthy liquid like coconut water, almond milk or mint tea.

It’s as easy as blend, pour, drink!

If for any reason, you sign up after the challenge has started, you will still be able to have links to access past shopping lists (for the duration of the challenge). Please remember to share your daily green smoothies Рpics, recipes, your feelings, anything Рon your personal Facebook profile and on the Didan Ashanta Facebook page.

 

Let’s take on this challenge to jump-start a healthy lifestyle – “one cup at a time”.

 

 

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Jamaican Green Smoothies

 

Almost every week, I see a friend posting about some green juice or green smoothie they had or need to have. I’ve enjoyed a few myself and I remember my introduction to the world of green beverages: an extremely refreshing bottle of callaloo juice I randomly picked up off a supermarket shelf some years ago. It had only 5 ingredients: water, callaloo, lime juice, ginger and sugarcane juice. You can’t do it any better than that! *ahhhhhh*

I usually whip¬†up my green smoothies at home by grabbing whatever’s green and blending it with a little water and a bit of fruit. If I have any bananas that are becoming over-ripe, I normally chuck them into the freezer for use in a smoothie. This is because I find that frozen fruit makes the drink extra chilly and quite the right stuff on these ‘force-ripe-summer’ hot days we’re having.

Most green smoothie recipes that you’ll find online will call for green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens or mustard. But, if you’re in Jamaica, you don’t need to complicate things by thinking ‘foreign’! We have an abundance of our own green leafy vegetables to choose from. Don’t believe me? Look in your fridge! Don’t you see something green?! LOL.

Unless you live in a home with a very blessed backyard, or just went to visit your granny in the country, you’ll need to add the ingredients for your green smoothie stash to your regular grocery list. No! You don’t need to go through the hassle of travelling to the market to haggle for quality produce at great prices.¬†To get all your fruits and leafy greens, you could use an affordable but high quality market delivery service like Real Farm Freshness.¬†These are some courteous people who will bring your fruits, veggies and any other produce to your home or office door for likkl n nutten. ¬†But, if you need the exercise from walking around and you enjoy the social interaction, please go to your neighbourhood fruit stand and green grocer, or a farmer’s market like the one held at Michi Super Center every month. Don’t forget that we need to build Jamaica by buying Jamaican and eating Jamaican!

Once you’ve got your fruit and leafy green stash, you’ll probably need some ideas for how to combine them for yummy beverages. While I enjoy my spontaneously crazy fruit and vegetable combinations, my green smoothies may not get the same frothy grins from you. ¬†So, I checked out the blog at Simple Green Smoothies and they have a lot of info for the clueless and even offer a Free Green Smoothie Recipe e-Book. They also have what they call “The 60/40 Formula” in which your recipe is always 60% fruits and 40% leafy greens.

“For example: 3 cups fruit, 2 cups dark leafy greens, 1-2 cups of water. Makes 32-40oz or 4-5 cups.”

So you don’t have any excuse to say the smoothies will taste yucky or ‘green’. In fact, you could really benefit from taking on their “30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge” – which begins 1 July 2013 – and try to drink one cup¬†of green smoothie goodness a day.

But, don’t get bogged down by all the recipes that call for weird sounding leafy greens, berries and¬†super foods –¬† just use my list Jamaican fruits, vegetables and liquids outlined below, to make your green smoothies low-cost and local:

  Leafy Green Fruit Liquid Extras
Basic Callaloo Banana Water Lime
  Pak Choi Pineapple Coconut Water Ginger
  Lettuce Watermelon Nut Milk (coconut/soy/almond)  
  Cabbage Orange Tea (Peppermint/Lemongrass)  
         
Special Cucumber Mango    
  Stringbean Cherry    
  Carrot Guava    
  Tomato Passionfruit    
  Avocado Pear Otheiti Apple    
  Chocho June Plum    
  Broccoli Soursop    
   Sweet Pepper Sweetsop    

 

Once you’ve decided that you want to get your green smoothie habit going, my recommendation is that you:

  1. Plan for one week of juices.
    Fail to plan? Plan to fail!
  2. Make a shopping list.
    Don’t get too much of anything and don’t end up with snacks or other junk that distracts you while you shop.
  3. Get your ingredients.
    Wherever you can: Coronation Market. Market Delivery Service. Local fruit stand and green grocer. Farmer’s Market. Your backyard.
  4. Grab 5 mins to gather your stuff, blend and fill your bottle to go.
    The quickest meal you ever made! LOL.
  5. Always use local  fruits and veggies and buy whatever is in season.
    Healthy doesn’t mean you have to be wealthy nor make someone else wealthy.

Now, if you’re lazy –¬†sorry¬†– extremely busy, you could simply call up¬†Live Juice Bar¬†and order a few bottles of their “100% Fruit and Vegetable Juices and Smoothies made Live!” They deliver and you can win cool juice jars, bottles or even bonus juices when you order.

Remember, if you want to up your veg intake or just ensure you have something sensible for the day, try a green smoothie! No strainers, no twisting of muslin cloths to wring out precious juices. No fibre lost.

But, whatever you do, just keep it simple and fill up on your greens!