I can't believe we're already in the middle of January! Where does the time go?
I've been sharing a lot of detox juice recipes lately. Now, it's time for a smoothie.
For those of you who haven't tried adding chard to a smoothie, don't be afraid. While chard can be bitter and assertive, there are ways to add it so that it doesn't make you gag. And, I really encourage you to include it in your rotation of smoothie greens, as it's utterly loaded with nutrients.
Chard is a great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detox agent. Polyphenol antioxidants boost heart health and regulate blood sugar. This leafy legend is also a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as protein, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, and alkalizing chlorophyll for bone and lung health. Nutrients in chard also help to build blood, regenerate cells, and boost immunity.
Chard comes in a variety of colors (red, orange, yellow, and white). “Rainbow chard” is just different kinds of leaves all bunched together. Most of the chard's nutrients are found in the leaves, so remove the stems to reduce the bitterness. Removing the fibrous stems also helps to keep your blends smooth when using a conventional blender.
I would classify chard as a medium-flavored leafy green. It has an earthy and slightly bitter flavor with a salty lemony note. In smoothies, chard pairs well with sweet fruits like banana, pineapple, mango, orange, pear, apple, grapes, and berries. Start with 1 to 2 leaves (about 1 cup) and add to taste. Chard gets assertive when used in larger proportions. Adding mint, ginger, and lemon or lime juice and zest helps to take the edge off the bitter flavor. When you start using chard, you also might find it helpful to use a base of fresh apple, orange, or grape juice.
Know that chard can turn your smoothies an unpalatable brown color, and nobody wants to drink anything that looks like the swamp water where the plants came to die! So, to avoid a pooh-brown smoothie, blend in pretty purple ingredients like raw red beets, berries, red grapes, or cranberry, pomegranate, or grape juice. Or embrace the brown, blend in some cacao, and go chocolate!
When selecting chard at the market or grocery store, choose firm, dark-green leaves with no wilting or yellowing. The leaves are extra-perishable, so store them in the crisper, on top of a paper towel or cloth to absorb moisture, and consume within a few days.
This chard black and blue smoothie from The Blender Girl Smoothies app has a light fresh flavor (don't miss the mint) with a warming note of ginger. The chard and berries offer astonishing antioxidants (boost with açaí and chia for even more) and protect the brain from oxidative stress, providing anti-inflammatory and detox support. Drink immediately for the most balanced flavor. The chard gets assertive the longer the smoothie sits.
Find more delicious smoothies in The Blender Girl Smoothies app.
*Probiotic Powder - I add 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder to all smoothies to replenish stores of healthy bacteria for immunity, digestion, detox, and to balance the acidic effects of high-sugar fruits and other sweeteners. The really potent probiotics require refrigeration. If you have capsules, break the shell and release the powder. Unsweetened probiotic-rich liquids like kefirs (water, coconut water, milk varieties) or kombucha make wonderful health-promoting additions to shakes, too.
*Celtic Sea Salt - I add a pinch (or more) of this alkalizing, mineral-rich salt to all smoothies to boost the natural flavor of fruits and veggies; temper the acidity of sweet fruits and sweeteners; stimulate the lymphatic system; replenish electrolytes; aid digestion; and help the body access energy. I do not recommend adding common table salt which is generally heated to extreme temperatures, iodized, bleached, processed, and refined. This salt does not have the same benefits. If you have a health condition that requires you to limit your sodium intake consult your doctor before adding salt to your smoothies.