Sometimes I find smoothies can sit too heavily. Especially when they’re loaded up with bananas and protein powder and 25 other ingredients.
(It also doesn’t help that I tend to drink them too fast… Smoothies are not meant to be chugged, people! Don’t do it! *urp*)
Sometimes a person just wants a light, refreshing smoothie that is still nourishing and green and delicious, but just simple, ya know? It’s gotta match the season.
My friends, let me introduce to you the very satisfying, very nourishing, very light, very green, very fresh, and very relaxing RASPBERRY CHILL-OUT SMOOTHIE. *cue the reggae music!
This recipe is made with fresh raspberries, lemon balm, collagen, spinach (or whatever greens you like), sprouts/micro-greens, and just a bit of coconut milk and avocado for their creaminess and healthy fats.
About each of the ingredients:
RASPBERRIES, when organic or wild, have an amazing antioxidant offering, making them great for repair from daily wear and tear. Between these antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, raspberries are a great anti-cancer agent.1 They’re high in vitamin C and the mineral manganese, making them great for your skin, your immune system, and your joints. Black raspberries in particular are great for preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.
LEMON BALM, or Melissa Officinalis, is a beautifully calming and de-stressifying herb with a lovely, rich, delicate flavour. This herb calms the mind in a focused sort of way, allowing you to be alert, but chilled out and happy. Although it won’t make you drowsy, it can still help you to sleep simply by helping you to calm down and relax. People tend to sleep better through the night after drinking lemon balm tea.2 It is also a great anti-viral that supports the immune system, and is thought to help balance blood sugar levels and protect the liver.
MICROGREENS are a wonderful way to pack a whopping nutritional punch into a single bite (vitamins! minerals! amino acids! phytonutrients! antioxidants! enzymes!). Microgreens are the early growth stages of various plant foods (basically the next stage after being a sprout), bursting with all the potential and energy to grow into a large, mature, full-fledged plant. Their nutrients are incredibly easy to absorb, and a 2012 study concluded that microgreens contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their full grown counterparts.3
Cilantro, cress, and radish microgreens, for example, are delicious and wonderful for you, but for this smoothie, I recommend the milder flavours of microgreens such as sunflower shoots, pea shoots and tendrils, mizuna, buckwheat, parsley, fennel, or broccoli (although I might combine broccoli with another type). Many types of mixes are available, and many come with edible flowers, which make a welcome addition to this smoothie as well. (Although they’re so beautiful it seems almost a shame to blend them!)
CUCUMBER is very high in the mineral silica, making it a beautifying veggie, improving the health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails, as well as supporting bone health. It is also a good source of lignans, a unique polyphenal (a class of substances found in plants) known for its anti-cancer benefits and its ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.4 Cucumbers boast a high antioxidant profile and are even anti-inflammatory. Being mostly water, they’re also great for hydrating (they contain lots of electrolytes, which help to maintain a healthy water balance within the body) and keeping you cool during the hot days of summer.
SPINACH is an incredible source of many, many important nutrients, including minerals magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium; and vitamins E, K, and many B vitamins.5 It’s also rich in chlorophyll, as its colour will attest. So what does that mean for you? Spinach is great for maintaining the physical structure of the body, supports you through stress, improves skin, and helps to gently detoxify you.
COLLAGEN is often touted as a beauty supplement, due to its ability to dramatically increase skin elasticity (or prevent the loss of it),6 reduce cellulite and stretch marks, strengthens nails, and improve hair. But beyond beauty, collagen is also important for healing the lining of the intestines, thereby assisting with digestion. Collagen is also a great boon for achey joints, often used to soothe arthritis.
AVOCADO is a great source of heart-healthy fat (to protect against cardiovascular disease),7 a surprising amount of fibre (about 7 grams per avocado), and an equally surprising amount of protein considering that they’re a fruit made mostly of fat (about 3 -4 grams protein). Avocado’s healthy fat will keep you feeling full and give you lots of energy to run on, which means that, no, eating this wonderful food will not lead to weight gain. Quite the opposite: avocado is great for helping you to maintain a healthy weight, for all the reasons listed above.
COCONUT MILK and various coconut products have tremendous health benefits, including antioxidant capacity, anti-inflammatory effects, brain boosting powers, and wonderful protection against damage from various insults, including viruses, fungi, and oxidative-stress.8 Its fat will also help to keep you feeling full for longer, and to help maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
RAW HONEY is not necessary for this recipe, but for those with numbed tastebuds and who therefore may require a little extra sweetness to help them transition to a healthier diet, this is a wonderful, healthy sweetener with awesome health benefits. Sugar is a powerful immune-suppressant, and yet honey breaks the mold with it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, making it actually supportive to the immune system. Honey must still be consumed in moderation, but raw, unpasteurized honey is also a great antioxidant, and it even has therapeutic benefit for inflammatory disorders.9
Raspberry Chill-Out Smoothie
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1/2 cup micro-greens
- 1 packed cup baby spinach leaves (or other greens of choice)
- 1 tbsp collagen powder
- 1/2 avocado or 3/4 cup chopped frozen pieces
- 2 tbsp coconut cream or 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2.5 cups chilled lemon balm tea
- 1 tsp raw honey (optional – try it without first! I don’t think it’s necessary)
Step 1: brew your tea and chill it (tips below).
Step 2: add all ingredients into a blender and let’er rip until smooth.
Step 3: sip, chill-out, and enjoy!
KEEP IT THERAPEUTIC. To keep your tea medicinal (as opposed to just nicely flavoured water), pour the hot water over the herbs in your tea pot, put the lid on, and brew your tea covered for 15 minutes. Many of the therapeutic compounds can be lost in the steam when your brew steeps uncovered.
PLAN AHEAD. I like to brew my tea the night before. I let it cool on the counter in a glass jar, and once it’s room temperature, I screw on the lid and store it in the fridge. That way, it’s nice and cold by morning.
CHILL-OUT IN THE EVENING AND IN THE MORNING. Doing it this way also means that you can make a big pot of tea and enjoy a mug of it in the evening, while the rest of it cools for tomorrow’s morning smoothie. Win/win!
STRAIN IT THROUGH ICE. If you haven’t prepared your tea in advance, then you can cool it more quickly this way: brew your tea, and then very slowly pour the finished tea into the blender, straining it through a small mesh sieve with ice cubes in it. You’ll have to replace the ice cubes one by one as they melt – to get through all the tea, this will probably take about 6 ice cubes. It may not be cold after, but it won’t be hot any more. You may want to add a few ice cubes into the blender, to blend right into the smoothie to make it actually cool.
. . . . .
This smoothie is so lovely – I highly recommend it. It’s definitely my current favourite. This is an example of how, even if it’s not easy being green, it’s certainly easy drinking green.
Wishing you all a relaxing and nourishing summer!