“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life, and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Yesterday morning, the sky threatened rain and I was determined to not let the weather set a gloomy atmosphere. Instead, I decided to make my own vibrant sunrise in the form of a green smoothie. My summer morning routine has been spending my first 30-60 minutes reflecting in my personal journal. I like to listen to classical or meditative music and sometimes, when the weather is murky, I even light a couple of candles. I profoundly believe that we are in charge of our own emotions and moods and I find that quiet time writing and contemplating helps set a positive tone for my day.
I cannot say that I have always been this wise, but in recent years, my state of mind has made a jubilant transformation. The last week of June I celebrated my birthday, and instead of feeling trepidation that I was getting older, I felt a wave of peace wash over me as I blew out my candles (metaphorically, since I did not have a cake). My husband Mike and I are not big on celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. However, this year felt different. Mike did buy me a very special present (which I will explain in a future blog post) and when asked what I wanted to do, I told him that I wanted to watch the sun rise over Lake Superior. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and at the lake shore by 5:45. It was in the 40s that morning and not only was the water frigid, but the sand was so icy it instantly turned our feet numb. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Mike snapped brilliant photos of the sun climbing the horizon and it was the perfect way to welcome my forty-second year.
The contentment that I felt on my birthday was due to how confident I feel in my 40s. I owe much of my positive outlook to the knowledge that I have gained on my Weight Watchers journey. While I would love to have the body back that I had in my 20s — I also remember achieving it in unhealthy ways. I worked out like crazy and didn’t properly nourish my body. (Which obviously was not healthy but also impossible to maintain.) Instead of focusing on health, my goals were strictly for reasons of vanity. Though, after experiencing a major health scare at thirty-five (I suffered a pulmonary embolism) I am thankful that Weight Watchers has helped guide me down the path of nutrition and establishing healthy Routines and Spaces.
This month I will be celebrating my six-year anniversary of reaching Lifetime with Weight Watchers and I have learned so much and have had an inspiring support system along the way. I believe that education, self-reflection, and support are imperative to weight management. A healthy lifestyle helps keep our bodies AND our minds vibrant. Weight Watchers has had a positive ripple effect on my life: It has impacted my personal relationships, organization, ability to plan ahead, and I now have the energy and determination that I need to harness my creativity. Weight Watchers has taught me to be gentle with myself and that food is not a reward, nor is it something that I should feel guilty about. The beauty of the program is that if I encounter a stumbling block, I do not have to wait until the new year, the beginning of the month, or even a new week to start over ~ each meal, each snack, gives me the opportunity to start fresh. Without the experience and knowledge that I have gained with Weight Watchers, I would never have had the confidence to start this blog. Embracing a healthy lifestyle makes me want to help others do the same. Nothing thrills me more than getting a thank you from someone who has tried one of my recipes or was inspired by my reflections here on Produce.
I am thankful that Mike and I celebrated my forty-second year by getting up early on a Sunday and braving the chilly morning. We promised to make time to see the sunrise from the shore again this summer. It felt like the perfect way to start out a new year and yesterday I as I started my day, I imagined the dreamy kaleidoscope of pastels stretching across the horizon. Drinking my Sunrise Green Smoothie I knew that I had to share my recipe with others who are also embracing a healthy lifestyle. As Weight Watchers has taught me, “Together we achieve more.”
This smoothie is the perfect for those that are new to green smoothies. I always suggest adding a frozen banana for sweetness, but I find with this recipe that the banana is not needed since the mango and pineapple do the trick. It is one of my favorite combinations and I love the bright green color gracing my glass.
- 3 cups of spinach or greens of choice (Spinach is naturally sweet and a great choice for those new to green smoothies. I also love kale in this smoothie. This is a great combination for kale and other stronger tasting greens because the sweet fruit helps mask the bitterness)
- 1 cup coconut water (I used young coconut water with pulp. Regular water would be fine as well.)
- 1/2 cup of pineapple (I used fresh)
- 1/2 cup of mango (I used fresh but I often buy it frozen)
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds (Optional ~ I find chia seeds make the smoothie more filling and chia seeds are high in Omega-3)
- Few sprigs of fresh mint (Also optional. Because it is summer and I have mint in my garden, I toss it into everything. Mint is great with sweet and savory dishes and since it is a perennial plant it comes back year-after-year)
You might want to freeze your fruit beforehand or toss in a few ice cubes if you want your green smoothie to be cold.
Other great additions to this smoothie are:
- Fresh ginger root
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh parsley
What are some of your favorite green smoothie combinations? I would love to hear from you. Please post in the comment section or join the conversation at my Produce with Amy facebook page. If you are new to green smoothies, please do not hesitate to ask questions. Many of my Weight Watchers members were leary to try them but now many of them are as hooked as I am.
I really notice a difference in my energy levels and how my body feels when I am consuming many servings of fruit and vegetables and green smoothies are a great way to start your day. They are also great as a snack because they help curb starchy carbohydrate cravings. Sometimes, I like to have one pre-dinner and, of course, the sweeter combinations serve well as a post-dinner dessert.
My goal for my new year is to nourish my body and mind well so I feel more alive. I will strive to find happiness in simple things, like a Lake Superior sunrise, that sometimes get neglected because of a demanding schedule. I will be mindful of seeking and creating beauty.
Do something special for yourself today. Sip a green smoothie and reflect on where you want to be tomorrow and on your next birthday. I raise my glass to you. Cheers to embracing a healthy lifestyle and thriving!