Monday, July 29, 2013

The Green Smoothie

Ever since we got our vitamix, husband and I have become slightly obsessed with our morning smoothies. So much so that  I’m actually starting to believe that husband is secretly a Vitamix salesman. (But truly, if you're on the fence about getting a good blender, do it. It's worth the investment.)

We’ve been experimenting with all sorts of recipes and combinations, and my go-to is the green smoothie. Green smoothies can be intimidating, but I promise, they don’t taste like greens. Or dirt. With the right proportions, they're sweet and delicious. If it weren't for the color, you wouldn't know you are drinking spinach.

So, here it is. The pretty-much-perfect green smoothie:

  • 8 oz. Coconut Water
  • 1 Scoop Protein Powder (my protein powder of choice)
  • 2 handfuls spinach or 1 handful kale
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • Small handful of almonds
  • 1 ripe or frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • A few ice cubes

Add the liquid first, then the powders, then the greens, then the banana & mango. The trick is to put the most solid items on top, to push down the other ingredients so it blends evenly. You certainly don't need a Vitamix to make this, but you do want a blender that can really pulverize those greens.

If its not quite right, here are some tips:

  • Add more fruit if its too watery. 
  • Add more coconut water if its too thick.
  • If you like it a little sweeter, add honey or an apple.
  • If you like it creamier, you can add some avocado or greek yogurt.

Once you’ve got it down, start experimenting with other ingredients - just maybe not papaya. Kale and papaya might taste a little bit like dirt.

If you get obsessed too, you can check out more smoothie inspiration on my Pinterest board. Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Walking With Giants

When we were planning our trip to Thailand, I couldn’t stop talking about elephants. Who isn’t fascinated by elephants? They are majestic and beautiful in a strange and prehistoric way. And you get to ride them in Thailand. My inner five year old was freaking out.

As I started doing research, I learned that the process of domesticating elephants for work and tourism is inhumane. The parks had mixed reviews, and some travelers were disturbed while riding the elephants, as the mahouts were brutally jabbing them with sharp hooks to get them to perform.

I just knew we just couldn’t support those places with our time and money. Luckily, I found the Elephant Nature Park and booked it immediately.

The center is beautiful and inspiring. Their founder, Lek, is a Thai woman on a mission to rescue abused elephants and to educate her country about humane training methods. She’s now has rescued 35 elephants and 400 dogs. (I’m not kidding. Four hundred. Animal Hoarders would have a field day.)

All of the elephants have disturbing stories and scars: some had broken legs from being forced to beg in the streets of Bangkok, others had mangled feet from stepping on mines while logging in Burma, and several were blinded from being forced to work.

At the center, they are rehabilitated in their natural habitat, and you can visit for a day or stay up to two weeks. We opted for the day, and learned how to be a mahout, which involved feeding them, hanging with them, and bathing them in the river. It’s hard to describe in words what it was like to interact with these guys up close. It was exhilarating, and a little terrifying, and nothing short of incredible.

No riding elephants, but I couldn’t have asked for anything more. If you're interested, you can support the park here.