Like most people, I’m a sucker for a good cause. So when I was invited to join Bloggers Without Borders in an effort to raise money to build a school in Zambia that would benefit AIDS orphans, how could I refuse? All I had to do was promote the cause to my readers here and on social media and tell you about the amazing prizes you can win if you follow the campaign. It would have been easy enough except I decided to take it one step further and accept the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge. Clearly I can’t just leave well enough alone.
So here’s the deal. A group of bloggers have come together to combine our influence for humanitarian purposes. Our first project is to help Mothers Without Borders raise $150,000 to build a school in Zambia that will not only provide an education for children orphaned by AIDS but will also feed them with one hot meal a day.
This humanitarian project is being sponsored by BlendTec and GreenSmoothieGirl.com. My friend Robin, the GreenSmoothieGirl herself, is drinking nothing but green smoothies for 30 days to help raise awareness of these kids, many of whom don’t get one hot meal in a day.
She asked me and some other bloggers to join her and in a moment of weakness I said yes. Nothing but green smoothies for 30 days? No biggie, right? HA!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what to put in all these smoothies so I don’t die (or try to kill someone) during this challenge.
Here’s what’s on the smoothie menu so far:
Ice–okay, not really an ingredient but still totally necessary to thicken up smoothies and make them cold. Because room temperature smoothies are nasty.
Coconut Milk–highly nutritious and rich in vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Almond Milk–a drink made from blending water and almonds. I will be making it myself but bought some from the store to start just for the sake of convenience.
Greek Yogurt (plain)–an excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures, is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.
Raw Honey–is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains all the B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C, D, E and K, magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, copper and has a higher enzyme content than almost any other food. Read all about it in my post 5 Fabulous Reasons To Use Raw Honey.
Bananas–loaded with vitamins and minerals, bananas are sometimes called the world’s healthiest food. For smoothies I like them very ripe so they add sweetness and a strong banana flavor. I usually freeze them for use in smoothies.
Pineapple–Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which may help in alleviating joint pain, arthritis and reducing inflammation. One cup of fresh pineapple chunks provides 131% of your vitamin C needs for the day. Next time you have a cold, make a pineapple smoothie.
Berries–because everything tastes better with berries. Oh, and they’re crazy nutritious too.
Citrus–a lot of the nutrients are in the part we throw away–the peel. I’ll be adding some of it to my smoothies along with the fruit. That should be interesting.
Other Fruit–peaches, pears, apples, grapes, melons and anything else in season that I can get from my garden or the farmer’s market.
Spinach–Dark leafy greens are a super-food and provide essential nutrients for skin and hair, bone health, heart health and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.
Swiss Chard–see Spinach.
Other Greens–beet greens, carrot tops, turnip greens and other stuff from my garden that I usually throw to the chickens or into the compost pile. Perhaps we all need to stop being so prejudiced in the dark, leafy greens category. (This challenge will not make the hens happy).
Veggies–beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, which makes me think I’ll be experimenting with some “hot” smoothies, a.k.a. “soup”.
Ground Flax–one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids plus fiber and micro-nutrients.
Chia Seed–the stuff that grows fur on your chia pet is actually a tiny seed that packs a nutritional punch. Who knew? Ch-ch-ch-chia!
Sprouted Grains/Seeds/Legumes–I could tell you all about the benefits but the folks who call themselves Sprout People will do a better job. Clearly.
Peanut Butter–has protein, potassium, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin E and antioxidants. Only use natural peanut butter, the kind you have to stir up. If you don’t have to stir it up, it’s not real peanut butter. Consider it your upper body workout for the day.
Protein Powder–I’ll be testing out some different protein powders throughout the month but for now I’ll just use the one my hubby bought at Walmart. He’s requesting that we all reserve judgment.
What I’ll be giving up (whether I want to or not):
Meat–we are definitely a family of carnivores so this one will be tough. I won’t be going completely vegetarian though as I’ll be using bone broth in some of my hot smoothies, a.k.a. “soup”.
Refined Sugar–good thing I loaded up on dessert last night to keep me going for a whole month without dessert. That totally works, right?
Wheat–this will be my biggest challenge because I love bread and it’s my go-to snack. Seriously, I eat a lot of bread!
Processed Food–we’ve been slowly eliminating processed food from our family’s diet for years but we’re far from perfect. I’m not gonna lie, there’s a bag of Cheetos in my cupboard right now. I wonder how those would taste in a smoothie?
Added salt, dyes, flavorings, preservatives and ingredients I can’t pronounce–so pretty much anything made by the processed food industry. See: “Cheetos”.
I’ll be documenting this process so you can get a first-hand look at what happens to a person who stops eating solid food for a month. On purpose.
Physically–weight, energy levels, sleep patterns, stamina, overall health
Mentally–productivity, mental clarity, memory, will power
Emotionally–do I actually start using the word “hangry” and are any of my friends and family still speaking to me?
The best part about this crazy challenge is that you can help. Just sign up by clicking the picture below to follow along with the campaign. For every person that signs up, $1 will be donated by our sponsors BlendTec, GreenSmoothieGirl and Roxbury. Everyday you go back and comment on the BlendAid blog you’ll be entered to win that day’s prize worth $200-$5,000. A prize will be given away every day for 30 days.
It starts today, Sept. 15 so go register now and leave a comment on the BlendAid website so you’re entered to win. Go back to the site everyday and comment for your chance to win that day’s prize. You might even win the prize from me. Good Luck!
What’s your favorite thing to put in a smoothie?