A few months ago I watched a documentary called Food Matters. Its main point was to show how food can play such an important role in the various illnesses/diseases of your body. Watching it made me realize that some natural ways to help the pain you feel in your body can help more than just simply taking pills, which can cause side effects and never really prevents the pain. It’s really frustrating to go to the doctor and all they have as a solution to your pain is drugs….and if those drugs don’t work….more drugs…and if those don’t work..you’re screwed. There’s never one solution to every illness, but sometimes eating the right foods can knock out many different illnesses. But not a lot of doctors tell you that, because then pharmaceutical companies would be in major trouble, right? This movie made me think about the diet of the Prophet (s) versus our American diet today. Huge difference. Today there are so many more problems with our skin, our bodies, our mental health and that’s mostly due to what we eat. This movie didn’t make me want to eat better all in one day, but it did open a door to healthy living.
After watching this movie I felt inspired to do more research. So my sister and I watched another documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It follows a guy named Joe Cross who not only was 100 lbs overweight, but also suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease and had to take a huge amount of steroids to treat it. He decides to go on a 30 day juice fast where he juices veggies and fruits and drinks nothing but that for 30 days. After a month, he would then incorporate solid foods but still keep juicing along the way. He also goes all over America to interview people and look at their diets and their many many problems in life. One woman suffered from migraines and decided to partake in the juicing to see if it helped. One man was a truck driver and was obese and decided to juice as well. The results were amazing. This was one of the best documentaries I’ve seen. (Spoiler alert, don’t read this if you want to watch it) Not only did Joe no longer have to take ANY of his meds, he also lost an incredible amount of weight. His skin was so much better and you could literally just see the difference vegetables and fruits made on every aspect of his life.
I wanted to add that before Food Matters, my sister and I also watched a lecture on sugar. It’s called Sugar: The Bitter Truth and talks about high fructose corn syrup and also the effect of too much sugar on your body. After watching this we decided to not have any more high fructose corn syrup in the house and also to cut down on sugar in our foods, period. It helped us also to read more articles on preservatives in our foods and food dyes that we should be avoiding. After reading these articles we no longer pick up a bag of chips, instead, we look at the ingredients and see if it has any bad oils/fats, unnecessary preservatives/corn syrup, etc. Some healthy options are more expensive, but it’s your body and you only have one…so treat it right! And besides, fruit and vegetables are really easy to attain and really affordable to have as a snack. You simply cannot go wrong with that.
After watching these documentaries we decided to get a juicer. I think I just wanted to drink one glass a day and see if it made a difference. The only issue we had was that it was time consuming to juice and to wash all the parts in the end. It also tasted horrible. So we returned the juicer and moved on to green smoothies..the real topic of my article. 😀 I tried green smoothies (a blend of greens, fruits, and water) before in an effort to incorporate more vegetables in my diet but it really flopped because it tasted horrible. After some time I found a recipe that looked a bit more reasonable and saw an article that said that you have to take steps in drinking a green smoothie. You have to let your taste buds get used to it because all those years of eating and drinking high amounts of sugar makes you get accustomed to one taste. For example, some organic foods taste really different when you first try them but that’s only because you’ve been eating the other foods that are filled with sugar and fats to mask the real taste. McDonald’s chocolate milkshake tastes much more different then the kind you make at home. Don’t ask me why because I don’t even want to research it and tell you what they put in there. Let’s just say you’re better off making some things at home and eating them versus getting them from outside. So the article said to put just one or two leaves of spinach (some people do other greens but the taste of spinach is easier to mask then other greens) and mix in some organic juice (not concentrate juice), water and fruits. Then every day just add a bit more until you have at least a handful of spinach in your cup of smoothie everyday. I did it everyday for two weeks and at the end of two weeks it really made a big difference. At first I only focused on getting used to the taste, I didn’t even realize what changed for my body while doing it. I felt more energized and my skin was much better than it was before. I didn’t have a lot of headaches and it kept me feeling full. I wasn’t doing it to lose or gain weight so I wouldn’t know what difference it made in that regard but it made enough of a difference in skin and mind to have it as a staple.
I encourage you guys to watch these documentaries and also try out a green smoothie. The documentaries are free to watch and the smoothie is easy to make. Allah swt didn’t give us our bodies to put junk into. We will all get old one day but what we put into our bodies today will be the ultimate factor of how well our body deals with getting old. The aches and pains, the high sugar and cholesterol can all be prevented by eating right and exercising. Drinking lots of water, eating fruits and veggies, and staying away from preservatives is definitely a good start. The green smoothie is only one aspect of it all really, it just helped me to get on the right track but Alhamdulillah my mother doesn’t put loads of oil or sugar in her cooking and we also don’t eat that much meat regularly so it was easier to change some things. The green smoothie is relatively tasty and my 1 year old niece and 2 year old nephew love it as well. (You know you can handle it if a baby can handle it, come on!). Also as a disclaimer, I love baked goods and candy. When drinking this smoothie regularly, if I eat sweet things I can only handle a little bit versus before I would eat an entire box. So this drink will help in the end to recognize what foods are too sweet for you as well.
Here is my recipe below:
- 1 handful of spinach (baby spinach or regular, doesn’t matter. We get a big pack and leave it in the freezer and get out a handful whenever we make it)
- Frozen fruits – As for amount, you can experiment with it, I usually pour 1/4 cup of two different kinds in or enough to make one tall glass of a smoothie. I usually get frozen berry mix and frozen mangoes. Some berries might add a tangy taste.
- Half of a banana – this helps with making the spinach taste more bland
- 1 or 2 SPLASHES of organic pineapple juice (I get mine from Trader Joe’s). I’ve tried tangerine/orange and while it is good, pineapple was better because it was sweeter. I would add a bit more at first and then later on when my taste buds can handle it, just do 1 or 2 splashes.
- Some water.
Blend together in a blender and you’re ready to go! Some people add in a tablespoon of coconut oil, others add in turmeric powder, and some add in mixed nuts. But I think this recipe is a good foundation for anyone trying to eat healthy.
Benefits of spinach (taken from here):
- Very nutrient-dense food. It’s low in calories yet very high in vitamins, minerals.
- Eaten raw is better because nutrients are not killed in heat or masked with oil
- Researchers have discovered 13 different flavonoid compounds (which act as antioxidants) that also act as anti-cancer substances.
- High in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. (Good news for your skin and acne)
- Good for gastrointestinal health. The beta-carotene and vitamin C work to protect the cells of the body’s colon from the harmful effects of free radicals.
- Some conditions that are identified as inflammatory, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, and asthma, may be helped because of the anti-inflammatory properties of some of the nutrients found in spinach.
- Consumption of green leafy vegetables such as spinach may slow the age-related decline in brain function.
- Excellent source of iron which is definitely needed for women and small children.
Cheers to healthy living!