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Dr. Neustadt’s Morning Smoothie

Article at-a-glance:

  • Start your day out right with Dr. Neustadt’s quick and easy morning smoothie.
  • Packed with healthy protein, vitamins, minerals, fats and fiber to give you all-morning energy and keep you full until lunch.
  • Give this a try. Experiment. Play with the recipe and make it your own. Have fun with it.

by Dr. John Neustadt

Nutrients give the body the raw materials to fuel your biochemistry and help you feel and look your best. Start your day out right with Dr. Neustadt’s quick and easy morning smoothie. Packed with healthy protein, vitamins, minerals, fats and fiber to give you all-morning energy and keep you full until lunch.

Fiber in the smoothie from the vegetables, dulse, spirulina and fruit slows down how fast the nutrients gets absorbed into your body. This keeps you feeling full longer. When I make this smoothie for my breakfast, I’m full until lunch.

It might take a couple of times to get the ingredients together. To have them in the house and ready. But once you have everything, the smoothie only takes about five minutes to make.

So give it a try. Experiment. Play with the recipe and make it your own. Have fun with it. More than anything, have fun with it.

You’ll need a good blender that will pulverize whole foods, such as a Nutribullet or Ninja. A standard kitchen blender won’t work.

And if you want a live demo of how to make the smoothie, watch my FB Live.

Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients

  1. Organic, unsweetened, vanilla almond milk, 2 cups.
  2. Protein powder (whey, hemp or pea), 1 serving (15-20 grams).
  3. Avocado, 1/2 of an avocado
  4. Organic baby spinach leaves, one handful.
  5. Organic ginger root, to taste
  6. Organic turmeric root, a piece about the size of your pinky finger
  7. Spirulina, 1 serving as indicated on the package
  8. Organic barley grass powder, 1 serving as indicated on the package
  9. Organic dulse flakes, 1 serving as indicated on the package
  10. Fruit of your choice, which can be frozen or fresh berries. I typically add a whole, peeled lemon to mine. If you use frozen berries, it will thicken the smoothie, so you might need to add more almond milk to thin it out.

Instructions

Because there are so many healthy ingredients in the smoothie, you can adjust some of them to get the taste you like. If you don’t like turmeric root, leave it out. Don’t want barley grass powder? Leave it out. But don’t leave too many out or you’ll start to lose some of the nutritional benefits.

The important thing is to make sure you get the foundation of the recipe in there. Get the liquid in there, use some greens such as some spinach add the avocado and the protein powder.

  1. Add the almond milk to the blender container.
  2. Add the protein powder.
  3. Add the avocado.
  4. Add the spinach.
  5. Add the ginger root.
  6. Add the turmeric root.
  7. Add the spirulina.
  8. Add the barley grass powder.
  9. Add the dulse flakes.
  10. Add the fruit.
  11. Blend until well pulverized, smooth and mixed.
  12. If the smoothie is too thick for your liking, add more almond milk and blend it again. Keep adding some almond milk until the smoothie is the consistency you like.

Important Info About the Ingredients

Almond milk

I use the vanilla, but whether you want it flavored it up to you. Read the ingredients and make sure there’s no sugar added. Increase or decrease the amount of almond milk to get the consistency you like.

Protein Powder

I’ll switch between different types of protein powder, typically a whey protein powder and hemp protein. The most important thing with the whey protein powder, since it’s derived from dairy, is to make sure the source of the dairy is organic and free of hormones. If someone is allergic to dairy, they may want to avoid whey protein. The most common symptoms of a dairy allergy are post-nasal drip, gas and bloating.

Compared to hemp protein, whey protein powder tends to have more protein in it per serving and is higher in specific amino acids such as the branched chain amino acids. 

But hemp protein tends to also have fiber in it and whey does not. The fiber is an added benefit. 

I don’t think it really matters which protein powder someone uses, unless there’s an allergy to one of them. The biggest thing is that someone sees the protein powder for what it is—a dietary supplement that exists to supplement a good diet and not replace it. 

Since people should be eating healthy sources of protein and whole foods (which contain fiber) throughout the day, using one protein powder versus another shouldn’t make a difference on someone’s overall health. 

I think it comes more down to preference and taste. Regardless which protein powder you choose, make sure it’s free of sugar and all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. Stevia, a natural plant extract, is OK as a sweetener.

Avocado

Avocado is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. One-half avocado 4.6 g fiber, 345 mg potassium, 5.5 mg sodium, 19.5 mg magnesium, 43 micrograms (mcg) vitamin A, 6 mg vitamin C, 1.3 mg vitamin E, 14 mcg vitamin K1, 60 mg folate (folic acid), 200 mcg vitamin B6, 1.3 mg niacin (vitamin B3), 1 mg pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), 100 mcg riboflavin (vitamin B2), 10 mg choline, 185 mcg lutein/zeaxanthin, 57 mg phytosterols, and high-monounsaturated fatty acids (6.7 g). The avocado oil consists of 71% monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), 13% polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and 16% saturated fatty acids (SFA).

Healthy fats are crucial for the body. They’re important for the nervous system, for creating cellular energy, can promote healthy lipid profiles and enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. You just have to have the right kinds of fats. Plus, fats will help you feel fuller longer. Eight preliminary clinical studies show that eating avocados supports cardiovascular health. And additional studies suggest that avocados may support weight management and healthy aging.

So I take half of an avocado, and I just scoop it in the container.

Ginger Root

Ginger root has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger has been known and valued for centuries. During the past 40 years, many laboratories have provided scientific support for the long-held belief that ginger contains constituents with anti-inflammatory properties. 

Ginger has a little spiciness to it. I typically use a chunk of root about the size of my pinky finger but adjust the amount you use to what tastes good.

Turmeric Root

Turmeric is another powerful natural anti-inflammatory with lots of great antioxidants too. The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4,000 years. Turmeric promotes cardiovascular and joint health. For more information on the health benefits of turmeric, read Dr. Neustadt’s article, Turmeric for Cardiovascular Disease.

You can turmeric root in health food stores. You can probably order it on the Internet. I like to put some of that in, so feel free to put some of that in, or not. Because I’m going to be using so many healthy ingredients, the combination of all of them, whether you leave one or two out or you add a couple of different ones to your taste and liking, is still going to be packed full of nutrients and do the trick for your body.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a blue-green alga. It’s rich in nutrients, protein, B vitamins, copper and minerals like magnesium. It became famous after it was successfully used by NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. It has the ability to modulate immune functions and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of histamine by mast cells. Multiple studies investigating the efficacy and the potential clinical applications of Spirulina in treating several diseases have been performed and a few randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews suggest that this alga may improve several symptoms and may even have an anticancer, antiviral and antiallergic effects. 

You can buy spirulina on the Internet or in health food stores.

Barley Grass

Barley grass is another amazing source of magnesium and a great source of iron. Anything that’s green is going to have a lot of magnesium in it. The way that plants create their energy, they turn sunlight into energy, is through photosynthesis. The molecule that’s instrumental in that, that actually captures the sunlight initially, is chlorophyll.

Every molecule of chlorophyll has an atom of magnesium in the middle of it, and therefore anything that’s green—barley green, spirulina, spinach—is going to be a great source of magnesium.

Over half of the U.S. population doesn’t get the minimum recommended daily amount of magnesium through their diet, so getting some additional magnesium through an excellent smoothie, improving your diet, or with dietary supplements is really important.

Dulse

Dulse is a type of seaweed. It’s rich in iodine, which is important for thyroid function. Also rich in minerals and other vitamins.

Fruit

And lastly, I had some fruit. This is for flavor and also because getting different colors in your smoothie is important The different colors indicate the presence of different vitamins and minerals and different nutritional profile.

To get a well-rounded shot of nutrients in the morning, you want some different colors. I typically use fresh fruit, such as strawberries or a whole, peeled lemon. You can also use frozen or fresh blueberries, or any other fruit you like.

Frozen berries contain ice, which will thicken the smoothie. So of you use frozen berries you may need to adjust the other ingredients, or maybe use some more liquid, to get the smoothie to the consistency you like.

References

Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Chapter 13. Turmeric, the Golden Spice. In Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. [Book]

Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-750. [Article]

Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions. J Med Food. 2005;8(2):125-132. [Article]

Iodine: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. 2018; Accessed August 31, 2018. [Web page]

Karkos PD, Leong SC, Karkos CD, Sivaji N, Assimakopoulos DA. Spirulina in clinical practice: evidence-based human applications. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:531053. [Article]

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