“When life give you limes, rearrange the letters until they say smile.”–unknown
Would you believe that eating limes or adding lime slices to water is actually quite beneficial to your health? Personally, I love the flavor of lime. I like to squirt the juice of a slice or two of lime on salad, in salsa, in refried beans, veggie pad thai, and many other dishes. Lime is so refreshingly tart and tangy. It gives instant zip to whatever it’s added, including water, and, of course, margaritas!
When purchasing a lime, according to several top chefs, it’s best to look for limes with a bit of give to them. While limes should not be mushy, they should not be hard as that is an indication that they are not juicy. Additionally, lime, like lemons, can be stored at room temperature for about one week if kept out of direct sunlight. However, most cooking sites recommend that for long term storage up to four weeks, place limes–and lemons for that matter–in a plastic bag and keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Limes, like nearly all citrus fruits, offer numerous health benefits including high levels of antioxidants which protect the body from free radicals or chemicals that can cause the body harm at a cellular level. Additionally, limes are a good source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as calcium and magnesium. Even with all of this obvious goodness, consuming limes has other health implications worth considering.
The peel, pithe, and juice of a lime may boost heart health by slowing down the build-up of plaque on the walls of your arteries. Limes are also a good source of potassium which has been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. The acid in lime juice is good for digestion by helping the saliva break down food as well as increase digestive secretions in the stomach. It is a natural weight loss supplement due to the fact that it slightly boosts metabolism–like all citrus fruits. Furthermore, it enhances immune function–an important factor in the age of the COVID virus and all of its nasty variants.
“Lime juice makes things taste fresher. I use it for drinks, salsas, relishes, soups, and sauces.”–Bobby Flay
If you have not tried adding lime to water, I strongly recommend this practice. I also find limes especially tasty when added to lemon flavored sparkling water for added zing. Slices of lime are also nice when added to a glass of iced green tea. The zest of a lime is an excellent addition to plain yogurt, vanilla ice cream, white cake mix, sour cream, rice, smoothies, and mixed with a coarse salt to line the rim of a drink glass or sprinkle over your favorite dish. Store a bowl of leftover peel in your refrigerator as an air freshener or grind it up in the garbage disposal to deodorize. Limes, as you can see, are extremely versatile, useful, and are certainly worth keeping on hand year round.
Now, add all of that lime goodness to a whole-food, plant based smoothie, and you’ve got one nutritional bomb for a meal. I absolutely believe drinking your calories is typically not advisable–especially with regards to sugar-laden drinks. However, it is hard to beat the convenience and portability of smoothies. That’s why, if you’re going to drink your breakfast, (or any other meal for that matter) why not make the drink yourself? This allows you to control the ingredients and the portions of each to fit your specific dietary needs. It won’t break your bank, and as an added bonus, smoothies can be made ahead and frozen for up to three months while still maintaining their freshness until ready to use.
Finally, if you need further evidence of the benefits of a whole food, plant-based smoothie, including this Key Lime Smoothie, look no further than the reigning queen of nutrition for which most Americans are missing in their diet: fiber! According to Harvard School of Public Health, “children and adults need 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health, but most Americans get only about 15 grams a day.” Fiber comes in two varieties, soluble and insoluble, and both are beneficial for staving off hunger, regulating blood sugar levels, and preventing health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, diverticulitis, and constipation–the bane of aging.
What is the best way to meet your fiber needs? Eat a wide variety of whole, plant based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains–which is exactly why this recipe is beneficial. Of course, you can take a fiber supplement, but these are void of other essential nutrients that are found in whole foods, and they certainly don’t taste as scrumptious as a cool, creamy smoothie.
Made as described below, you are consuming 18+ grams of fiber per serving and 9+ grams protein. Plus, these ingredients provide an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron, and other vitamins, including a full day’s supply of Vitamin C. Even if you decide to divide this recipe into two portions, you are still starting the day full of fiber, nutrition, and protein–enough to power through your busy schedule!
Take it from me, it is possible to give your body some extra nutritional love, no matter how busy your schedule, with make ahead, freeze until needed, whole-food, plant based smoothies! From my home to yours, I wish you healthy, whole food nutrition!
Steph’s Key Lime Smooth Smoothie
1 ¼ cup favorite no sugar added vanilla milk (almond, soy, oat, etc)
¼ cup aloe vera
1 ½ cup frozen riced cauliflower (or a mix of your favorite greens such as kale, spinach, swiss chard)
1 rounded tablespoon of protein powder (make it vanilla for extra sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1/2 inch fresh or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger root
Dash of salt
1-2 medjool date(s)
½ granny smith apple, destemmed and quartered
1 kiwi, peeled and quartered
1 lime, quartered (remove some skin, but leave most of pithe)
Optional: Add in 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp heart, chopped walnuts for added nutrition
Add milk, aloe vera, and riced cauliflower.
Blend those three ingredients until thoroughly blended.
Add in the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.
Blend until smooth.
Makes one extra large smoothie or two smaller smoothies.