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When my youngest daughter went back to school, her mother went back to work part time. The hours spent blending smoothies for my customers helped me understand what makes a smoothie good, although since most smoothies fail to incorporate an appropriate balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein, people believe that they are consuming something healthy when they're robbing their body of what it needs to function optimally. Fructose is processed by the liver, so its intake should be minimal. Fruit is a treat, and that's what this smoothie is. A pale rose treat that I like to garnish with table grapes and hemp hearts.

Fresh cherries are best, however I have successfully used frozen fruit with good results. Raspberries or blueberries may also be substituted. Soak one cup of raw cashews in water overnight. Drain, and process in a blender or food processor with enough water to make it smooth. I steam my spinach, you wouldn't have to though. When I have frozen cherries, I thaw them until they are almost totally defrosted. If you are pressed for time in the morning, you can assemble your smoothie ingredients the night before.

In a narrow necked glass mason jar, put your cherries, or other berries at the bottom. Cover with several ounces of spinach, add your cashew cream, and a generous splash of olive oil. Store this in your refrigerator until you wake up the next morning. Juice half of a grapefruit, add that to the contents of your jar, and if you have a blender that is threaded the way mine is, you can screw your blade over the top, upend your jar, and either drink it out of your jar, pour it into a glass, or seal your jar with a lid so your smoothie becomes portable.

If you don't have a blender, all is not lost. Simply turn this into a salad by tossing the grapefruit juice with olive oil, and pouring that over your spinach, cherries, and cashews. I like hemp hearts as they provide essential amino acids, but they are costly, and aren't strictly necessary. There are infinite variations I could suggest, let your imagination run wild while you're exploring spinach smoothie territory. For those of you who need approximate quanties, I've listed those below. Please enjoy responsibly, healthy eating can become an addiction you won't ever quit.

  • 2 ounces cashew cream
  • 3-4 ounces of cherries, blueberries, blackberries, you get the idea
  • Juice from 1/2 orange, grapefuit, ideally some citrus fruit although other fresh juices may be used
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup raw spinach, or a small bundle of steamed spinach
  • Hemp hearts for garnish - may also be incorporated into the smoothie
  • Raw honey or banana for sweetening if needed

Add ingredients from most liquid to least, blend until desired consistency had been attained. Have fun, play around with it. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to eating well. Does cashew cream seem like a pricey waste of dairy free nonsense? Try yogurt or kefir instead. Need more protein? Throw a raw egg into your blender. Looking for a green powerhouse smoothie? Skip the fruit, use fresh carrot juice or vegetable stock as your base, and add some spirulina along with other assorted vegetables such as zucchini or cucumbers. My recipe is just a framework for people to embroider with their individual ideas.

I used to sell smoothies for a living, they're typically loaded with sugar, low on fat, served in sickeningly large quanities, and leave you hungry not long after you're done. The protein powders, fiber, and other boosts you can add are chemicals that can't compete with real whole foods. Don't be a victim of marketing, or delude yourself into thinking you're making a healthy choice at the mall because you're not. Real food doesn't have a list of unpronounceable ingredients. We have one life to live, one body to sustain, and how well you feed and care for it it is up to you, so please, choose wisely.

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