‘Plant' Power Your Way Through Winter!

The darkness is now upon us, and as we settle into the beginning of what is promising to be a loooooong-a$$ winter, we’re all undoubtedly starting to feel our hard won energy reserves dwindling. While it is completely natural for our bodies to slow down for the winter months — like bears in hibernation — we still need to be able to get through the day-to-day without slipping into a micro-coma every other hour. In other words, feeling tired, drained and cranky all the time simply will not do!

Therefore, instead of chugging down 15 cups of coffee a day, why not try and boost your energy levels with natures most natural energy source: fruit! We all know the “5-a-day” rule — regardless of whether or not we comply with it — and this rule is especially important during winter. For optimal health and immune system maintenance, 2–5 cups a day of fruits and veggies are recommended. 

But let’s be real, this can be hard to achieve. Especially when you have an open bag of nachos in your cupboard, with your name all up on it...

Luckily though, there's an easy solution to this problem: smoothies. A glass of blended fruit n’ veg is an efficient way to pack a ton of nutrition into a neat little package. There are tons of recipes out there and you can also let your creativity run wild by creating your own. And before you ask, no, cookie dough is not one of your five-a-day. Instead, go ahead an experiment mixing different fruit, berries, nuts, seeds and greens in order to get a variety of nutrients into your body, whilst also experiencing some truly interesting flavours. 

Here are 5 of my personal favourite energy boosting juices and smoothies that are bound to kick start your brain and get you out of that late autumn funk.

Apples, Spices & Oats

  • ​Although a hot bowl of oats is definitely a great breakfast, sometimes you just don’t have the willpower for it. Know what I mean? Therefore, making an oat smoothie can be a great substitute, and a way to get in some protein, iron and healthy sugars! I suggest soaking your oats overnight in the milk of your choice (I prefer almond or oat milk), then blend with an apple, some cinnamon, honey or agave syrup, and voila! Porridge in a glass!

Super Juice

  • ​Vitamin C is especially important during winter in order to stave of the several varieties of seasonal flu that begin to circulate the second the outside temperature starts to linger in and around 0C. Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, etc.) are always a good base for any super smoothie or juice, and my own personal favourite juice recipe contains a mix of orange, lemon, ginger and carrot juice. Optional: add goji berries, chia seeds or flaxseeds if you’re feeling fancy. So good! So healthy! And just a great way to start the day.

The Basic Green Smoothie

  • C’mon, you knew this was coming. Now, I get that green smoothies might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find that the key is to not “overly pack” a smoothie with green veg. Before becoming a smoothie and juicing pro, I once made a green smoothie out of spinach, kale, cucumber, zucchini, avocado celery, ginger and lemon. It was like green dough. I could hardly get it out of the blender. If I remember correctly, I might have been hungover and just wanted to feel good about myself again. To say I overcorrected with this one would be an understatement…

Therefore, don’t do what I did. Use 1 green item (max 2) — I find spinach and/or avocado works the best — and add a banana (for sweetness and creaminess, especially if you're not a fan of avocado), your milk of choice, a squeeze of lemon and some cashews (nuts add healthy fats). Add some honey or agave if you need it sweeter. Optional: add some fresh mint leaves. Yum!

Hormone Balancing Super Juice

  • This one is for the sisterhood – although fellas can surely enjoy this juice too. Ladies, we all know how important it is to maintain stable hormone levels in order to stave off the pre-menstrual crazies. During the darker months, PMS symptoms can increase in severity and therefore some of us might need a little extra help coping. Feel me? Now, this juice might seem a bit “out there” and definitely requires more work than the rest, but trust me, it works! 

Blend fresh beet, orange, apple & carrot juice with a scoop of blueberries and ½ tsp fresh ginger. Then add ½ tsp cinnamon powder & ½ tsp tumeric powder. Optional: add a squeeze of lemon for added vitamin C and cleansing properties. (Full disclosure: this juice might taste a bit "odd" at first, but give it time. You kind of gotta get used to it...)

The “Cheat Day” Smoothie

  • This one is for when you just need some comfort. Blend a banana, a few dates, some cacao or carob powder, some vanilla extract and the milk of your choice. Maybe throw in a couple of cashews for some added goodness. And there you have it! A slightly healthier, extremely yummy — and only a tad naughty — 'chocolate' milkshake smoothie!

 

....Okay fine. Go ahead, add the cookie dough. You deserve it.