I drank a green smoothie every day for 30 days and the results didn't surprise me at all
For the month of April, I decided to challenge myself and commit to drinking a greens juice or smoothie every single day, for 30 days. And most of what I discovered didn’t surprise me at all.
When I set out to do this, I had no specific goal in mind other than to feel good. While I was going through the motions of moving, settling in to our new home, renovating, and trying to stay on top of my work, I let the ball drop on some important healthy habits. I rarely slept for more than 5 or 6 hours, barely exercised, and made a bad habit of eating only when I got around to it, which on most days, meant no lunch and eating dinner at 10PM.
This combination of zero self-care and constant stress for was not cute. My energy levels were depleted, my skin was dull and congested, and I felt pretty awful/moody/hormonal most of the time.
To get myself back on track I thought about all of the healthy habits that I wanted to re-introduce into my daily routine, and some new ones as well. The idea to drink a tall glass of greens every day seemed like a quick and easy way to get the nutritional boost I was looking for, and committing to do this for 30 days was a cool way to observe the effects it would have on my physical and mental health, if any.
Here’s what I noticed:
Being flexible made it easier to commit to the challenge
I didn’t follow or stick to a specific recipe, just a simple formula of 1/4 cup of fruit (fresh or frozen), two handfuls of leafy greens (usually spinach, kale or romaine), one cup of filtered water, a bit of lemon juice and fresh ginger on most days, and a handful of whatever other green vegetables I had on hand (i.e. celery, cucumber, etc.).
Being flexible with the ingredients made it much easier for me to stick with it, day after day. I didn’t want to feel like I couldn’t make myself a smoothie because I didn’t have exactly what I needed in the fridge.
I had formed a habit within one week, and it felt easier to stay the course than to throw in the towel.
While the first handful of days felt a bit like a chore, it was no later than day 7 that I became totally committed to the habit. How did I know? It was close to 11PM one night when I realized that I had forgotten to make a smoothie, for the first time ever. I had already eaten dinner, washed my face and was ready to call it a night when I remembered that I didn’t have my greens yet. I considered the fact that it would probably be easier and all the same if I just let it go and pick up where I left off the next day, yet I felt compelled to make a green smoothie at 10pm, instead.
This happened a few times, and each time it felt better and easier to get up, wash and chop some produce, drink my greens and hand wash my blender, than to do nothing at all.
My bowels moved, daily.
One of the greatest benefits of a plant based diet is the abundance of fiber contained in fruits and vegetables, which improves digestion by promoting the movement and elimination of material waste from our bodies. And with the right diet our bowels should flow right through us, with ease, on a daily basis.
I’ve never been someone who poops immediately upon waking up, or every day for the matter. But by increasing the amount of leafy greens I consumed each day, along with the high water content of the vegetables I often included in my smoothies, I noticed an immediate difference (read more about how water works with fiber to help waste move through the colon here). I went to the bathroom within an hour of waking up, every single day except for two days the entire month. On those days, I was traveling and without a blender, so I opted for a green juice instead. The biggest difference between smoothies and juices is that a juice contains no fiber. I still enjoy green juices all of the time and find them to be incredibly hydrating, but they’re not an ideal replacement for whole or blended fruits and vegetables, which are full of fiber.
It didn’t prevent my once-a-month hormonal breakouts
I’ve heard a lot of skin gurus talk about how great drinking a green juice or smoothie a day is for the skin, so part of me wondered if this was going to be the answer I’ve been looking for to end my hormonal breakout woes.
While I can’t say it delivered on that front, I can say that around week two I noticed that my dull, tired looking skin had a healthy, youthful looking glow to it again. I have no doubt that my smoothies were responsible for this because fruits and vegetables contain a ton of vitamins and minerals, many of which are important to skin health. Both kale and spinach are great dietary sources of Vitamin A, which encourages the heathy skin cell production that can make the skin appear more firm, youthful and radiant. In addition to this, a lot of fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which can help neutralize and eliminate free radicals from the bloodstream to lessen the effects of environmental damage on the skin.
I may not have found the cure for hormonal breakouts in a green smoothie, but in the process of this challenge I was reminded that eating more fruits and vegetables can be really effective in aiding a ton of other skin concerns or issues.
When I decided to do to this green smoothie challenge, I didn’t have any wild expectations. My only objective was to do something, anything, every day for 30 days that would make me feel good. And it did, in more ways than I ever anticipated. I felt and looked healthier; I had more energy; and I had an incredible sense of pride that grew stronger each day simply because I stayed committed.
Needless to say, after the 30 days were over I continued to drink my greens daily and still do to this day. I see it as a tiny investment of my time and energy that pays incredible dividends. I dare you to give it a try.