How To Make Smoothies “Hormone Friendly”

Earlier this week, I posted the first part of my email conversation with Kristine Miles, author of the just published The Green Smoothie Bible. The first half of the book is a primer on smoothies: what they are, how to make them, and why they’re so good for you. The second half is a recipe book –  300 of them arranged by health benefit, as well as by season, so you can use ingredients that are fresh and readily available. I asked Kristine about the chapter called “Happy Hormones.”  I was curious: what makes a smoothie “hormone friendly?”  Here’s the rest of our conversation:

Please explain what makes a smoothie “hormone friendly.”

With the right ingredients, a smoothie can deliver the nutrients you need to achieve two goals:  correcting estrogen dominance, which can cause symptoms such as mood swings, migraines and weight gain; and balancing your blood sugar, which is vital for management of weight and hormone health.  My recipes thus include fiber dense foods, low glycemic carbohydrates, the minerals chromium, magnesium and zinc, as well as cinnamon, Vitamin C and coriander/cilantro.

What are some examples of foods that are especially beneficial for women?

Kristine Miles, green smoothies, menopause, belly fat, hormones, menopause weight gainWhenever I can, I like to include beets, spinach, goji berries, avocados and lots of leafy greens because these foods contain the compound Betaine, which can combat high levels of homocysteine, an important amino-acid, that in excess can contribute to conditions such as heart disease. There are also foods that can help remove “bad” estrogens, derived from our daily exposure to toxins and chemicals, that can lead to estrogen dominance. These foods include lemon and lime peel, apples, cruciferous vegetables and iodine-rich foods such as seaweed. In addition to a whole-food, plant-based diet, hormone health can be boosted by adequate intake of essential fats; vitamins B3 (abundant in cremini and shiitake mushrooms) and B6 (bananas, watermelon); super-foods such as maca, bee pollen and cacoa; and the minerals magnesium and zinc.

I love your suggestion for using cooled teas as liquids. It’s a great alternative to yogurt or high calorie drinks.

Two of my favourite authors on the subject of hormones are Gabriela Rosa and Sherrill Sellman. They both recommend staying away from both gluten and dairy for hormone health for both fertility and menopause.  Hence a non-dairy based smoothie such as a plant-based green smoothie is ideal. Herbs such as agnus castus (vitex), dong quai (angelica), black cohosh, and St. John’s wort are often used for hormone imbalance issues, and cooled tea made from these herbs can be used as a base for a green smoothie. Such herbs are ideally used on the professional advice of a naturopath or herbalist.

You included 11 recipes in your “Happy Hormone” chapter. Which is your favorite?

Here it is! It includes two super-foods, maca and bee pollen; and Spirulina, a micro-algae, that is a complete protein source. In fact spirulina has the highest percentage of protein of any food on the planet at around 70 percent! These ingredients make regular appearances in my green smoothies, making them even greener!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 bananas, 1 Tbs maca, 1 Tbs bee pollen, 1.5 cups water or nut/seed milk, greens
  • Flesh and water 1 Thai coconut, juice and peel from a lime, 1 cup raspberries, greens
  • 3 pears, 1.5 cups water, ¼ cup hemp seeds, 2 tsp chai spice powder 

Prioritise the use of the following greens: cruciferous greens such as kale, collards and bok choy, spinach, romaine, turnip greens, beet greens, borage leaves/flowers, celery tops, anise and fennel tops, cilantro and parsley. Start with a small handful of greens and increase as tolerated. Too much at first will be too strong and after a while you will want to increase the amount. Aim for 40 percent greens per person eventually.

Add to any or all recipes: micro algae, particularly spirulina

Consider cooled teas as a liquid base including: passion flower, chamomile, fennel, anise

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Kristine has provided me with a copy of her book to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on one of these two blogposts published this week.  Ask a question, offer a recipe or tell us about the best smoothie you ever had.  All comments must be posted by midnight PST on Monday, April 30th.  A winner will be chosen via Random.org and I’ll announce it on May 1st. 

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