Greening Your Smoothie

Photo: iStockphoto.com/Adventure_Photo

Take your smoothie to the next level by making a conscious effort to count the environmental footprint that your daily health drink carries. Because, let’s face it, part of being a healthy individual involves taking care of the environment around you too.

6 Tips for making your smoothie environmentally friendly

1. Go local and choose seasonal

Although this applies mostly to the summer months when you can visit your farmers’ market often, winter offers you the opportunity to get creative, use your imagination and experiment with the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are available. Since almost any fruit or vegetable can make a tasty smoothie, get to know what grows in your area and when.

DID YOU KNOW? Some frozen fruits and vegetables are laced with preservatives, sweeteners, and additives. Think ahead and freeze your own while they’re in season, so you can enjoy them in smoothies during the winter months!

To prepare fruit for freezing, wash it, cut it into bite-sized portions, spread a single layer on a cookie sheet, freeze it for one hour, and then transfer to a freezer-safe reusable container for long-term freezing. This will save money and reduce the environmental costs of shipping fruits and berries from afar.

Need sweetener for your smoothie? Look for local honey. Honey is a natural sweetener that is high in antioxidants and may help heal wounds. Urban beekeeping is on the rise—visit your local farmers’ market to get acquainted with a beekeeper in your neighbourhood.

2. Go organic

Learn the “Dirty Dozen”—according to the Environmental Working Group, they’re the fruits and vegetables most likely to have residue from pesticides, and they’re ranked in order from most to least toxic:

  1.   apples
  2.   celery
  3.   strawberries
  4.   peaches
  5.   spinach
  6.   nectarines (imported)
  7.   grapes (imported)
  8.   sweet bell peppers
  9.   potatoes
  10.   blueberries (domestic)
  11.   lettuce
  12.   kale and collard greens

3. Go waste-free

Close to one-third of all food produced is wasted, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Smoothies are a great way to use up extra-ripe fruits and veggies. Look for the “reduced” table at your local farmers’ market to save money and waste. Freeze what you don’t use.

4. Go vegetarian

Go vegetarian for one meal a day. Incorporate a vegan protein powder made from pea protein or brown rice protein into your breakfast smoothie.

DID YOU KNOW? Meat production is a major contributor to climate change. The FAO has estimated that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gases.

5. Go homemade

It’s more economical, extremely nutritious, and quick. By creating your own fruit smoothie, you control the overall nutrition including calories, sugar, and vitamins while creating a personalized flavour.

6. Go reusable

Disposable cups come with a huge environmental footprint. It’s estimated that the city of Toronto goes through 1 million single-use coffee cups every day. By making your smoothie at home, you save the landfill another cup.

Black Tie Carrot Cake Smoothie

  1 cup (250 mL) carrot juice
  1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk
  2 scoops vegan protein, such as pea protein or brown rice protein
  1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
  1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
  1/2 cup (125 mL) crushed ice (optional)

Add juice and milk to shaker cup. Add dry ingredients and ice. Place lid securely on shaker cup and shake until well blended.

Now sit back and enjoy your smoothie with a clean conscience.

This is the first of a series of articles supplied by Alive Magazine – Your complete source for natural health and wellness.