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Is it me, or have smoothies lost a little bit of their mojo? It seemed they were all the rage a few years ago, graduating from their health-nut corner to full-fledged franchise status. But somewhere along the way, folks got bored with their blender creations, and smoothies started to fall flat. Myself, on the other hand, having been a long-time smoothie devotée, have become pretty creative in my recipe-making skills, redefining the rules of ingredients, consistency, and flavor. Two of my favorite books on the subject of smoothies and nutrition that always inspire me are Green For Life by Victoria Butenko and Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe.  So with the summer sun finally upon us, I wanted to share some easy, unconventional smoothie make-over tips that can help you keep the oomph in your glass! Sweet and icy are just the beginning … LOAD UP YOUR BASES!  Everyone has his/her staple smoothie bases. Soy milk, fruit juice, and water are most popular and do just fine, but there’s a whole host of dynamic liquid bases to add new undertones, twists, and creaminess to your daily gulp. Why not consider… Iced Herbal Teas - You can easily create a symphony of smoothie recipes, to fit every season and every mood, by putting the complexities of your tea bags to work. Try green tea for a mellow and bright flavor or chai tea for incendiary spices and enlivening earthiness. Coconut Water or Milk -Fresh from a young coconut or out of a store-bought container, coconut water is filled with electrolytes to usher all the other nutrients of your smoothie more directly into your cells. A few tablespoons of coconut milk, mixed with water, give you that classic coconut flavor, and all the good fats that come with it. Mix the milk with tropical fruits like mangos or pineapple; mix coconut water with anything under the sun. GO GREEN!   Adding a handful of mild greens to your smoothie not only packs a supreme amount of nutrition, it actually makes a smoothie smoother! Just tear up a few leaves, rinse and
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drop ‘em in. While the color will change dramatically, you won’t taste the greens, per se, but rather, you’ll notice a new velvety richness and a change in the overall flavor-hue. The darker the greens, the more they will affect the taste, so experiment! Some mild smoothie greens to get you started are:
  • Red or Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Beet Greens
  • Radish Greens
  • Carrot Tops (yes, you can eat them!)
  • Broccoli
SUPERFOOD IT!   Marine phytoplankton, acai berry, olive leaf extract, noni fruit, and figs – these ancient “superfoods” hold biological secrets from some of the most mineralized places in the world. They’re also a trip on your taste buds. Two of my favorites for smoothies are: Raw Cacao – Turn your smoothie into a magnesium milkshake (or frappe as we like to say here up north)! This mighty bean, in its unprocessed form, holds one of the highest amounts of magnesium of any food source available, and magnesium is a mineral over 60% of Americans are deficient in. When you consider all the nice things magnesium does for your body, from keeping bones strong and heart rhythm steady to keeping muscles from cramping, you know you want it! Maca Powder – This root from the high Andes, beloved of the Incas, has shown some interesting benefits, in small studies, for balancing the endocrine system and improving sexual dysfunction.  The taste is totally funky at first, but piques your interest into a quick affinity. I like to say that Maca puts a nice swerve into your typical morning menu.
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HERBAL ESSENCE!  I once worked as a prep chef in a raw food restaurant. There, I learned how to make nut and seed milks for the first time. The most fun that we had was experimenting with new herbs for interesting flavor compliments to the raw granola. Those experiments inspired these ideas for smoothies: Lavender with banana and frozen blackberries Mint with vanilla rice milk & raw cacao chips Cinnamon with hemp milk and raisins Vanilla Bean with anything! And A Last Trick To Note: No matter what kind of smoothie you’re making, always use a pinch of sea salt to bring out the flavors and cut down on the need for sweetening. Got a far-out smoothie recipe up your sleeve? Please share, and let us know what you’ve whipped up today!  — Sarah

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