The green monster

I don’t know about you, but most people I encounter early on Monday mornings aren’t in the cheeriest of spirits. Maybe they went too hard over the weekend and didn’t get enough sleep, maybe they hate their jobs, or maybe (probably) it’s just too damn early.

I know a lot of people will want to kick me in the shins for saying this, but personally, I love Mondays. After hopefully what was a weekend of adventures and relaxation, I’m usually feeling relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I also tend to be a littleee less healthy on weekends than I am during the week—don’t lie and say you’re not too—and Mondays offer the chance for a new start.

That being said, I can’t judge people who get the Monday blues. I mean, talk to me again on Wednesday, and I might be about ready to punch someone in the face. But whatever the day, we could probably all use a little pick-me-up now and again. This “green monster” smoothie I made this morning is packed with energizing superfoods, packs a punch to the taste buds, and I hope it might help you tackle the rest of your week too.

Ingredients: Oatmeal, ground flaxseed, 1 banana, diced pineapples (plus juice), pure coconut water, plain unsweetened greek yogurt, spinach, green juice, honey

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Instructions: Layer your blender with 1 cup diced pineapples, handful of spinach, 1 diced banana, 3 large spoonfuls of greek yogurt, palmful of oatmeal, 1 tablespoon ground flaxeed. Add a drizzle of honey, and pour 1-2 cups of liquid (I used coconut water and green juice). Pictures below are before (left) and after (right) liquids were added. Blend until smooth.

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Benefits:

  • Banana: Good source of fast-acting carbs, helps regulate muscle contraction, prevents cramping, helps replenish potassium lost through sweat
  • Pineapple: Contains anti-inflammatory benefits, helps body digest protein, good source of vitamin C and potassium
  • Spinach: One cup of this superfood meets 36 percent of the recommended daily iron value (compared to kale, which only supplies 6 percent). Also a great source of potassium, calcium and multiple vitamins
  • Greek yogurt: Contains more protein than most other types of yogurt, helps body burn more fat
  • Oatmeal: Good source of complex carbs with low glycemic index (which results in a sustained release of energy), good source of protein, helps maintain levels of good cholesterol
  • Flaxseed: Good source of omega-3 fatty acid, can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, helps body burn fat. (Tip: Be sure to store ground flaxseed in the refrigerator.)
  • Honey: Many studies have shown that eating honey is one of the best sweeteners to help athletes maintain glycogen levels and improve recovery time. Use in moderation.
  • Coconut water: Helps maintain water balance and triggers muscles to optimally contract and relax. Beneficial both pre- and post-run.

This smoothie is great for breakfast, as well as a pre- or post-workout drink. Cheers!

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Sources:

http://running.about.com/od/nutritionforrunners/tp/bestfoodsforrunners.htm

http://www.active.com/nutrition/articles/top-10-superfoods-for-endurance-athletes

http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/nutrition+tips/the+benefits+of+flaxseeds,6787

http://www.livestrong.com/article/159381-health-benefits-of-pineapple-juice/

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2012/11/08/mango-or-papaya-spinach-or-kale-food-face-offs

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-honey.html

http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-for-runners/natural-solution

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