“Our food should be our medicine, and our medicine should be our food. “– Hippocrates.
As I’ve recently written about, I have been recovering from a surgical procedure of the spine, specifically my neck. Prior to this surgery, I spent time talking with the doctor’s nurse about not only what to expect, but how to appropriately prepare. One point of preparation was to plan for soft foods as part of the recovery process. This is because I would most likely experience dysphagia, difficult/painful swallowing.
Reflecting on this point later, I knew that most traditional soft foods that were suggested would not, from a nutritional standpoint, promote healing. Therefore, I began to research foods that would promote healing after surgery. Surprisingly, there was not only abundant information, but most articles agreed on the same basic food groups: healthy fats; foods high in vitamins A and C as well as fiber; dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables; berries; and healthy sources of protein.
As I read through various articles, one piece, written by a spinal health center, emphasized the importance of using smoothies as a way to consume soft foods that would nutritionally promote healing and help with recovery. However, I had already blown through two blenders–literally. Each one, a budget friendly investment with the promise of high speed, power blending, had already crossed over to the great appliance graveyard.
That’s when I recalled reading about the pocket-friendliness of higher-end, refurbished blenders. In passing, I mentioned this idea to my brother. Unbeknownst to me, he used, and still has, at least one refurbished kitchen appliance. He attested to their value and performance.
One week out from my surgery, after pouring through product reviews, I selected and ordered my American made, refurbished blender that came with a five-year warranty. Since then, I have powered through fruit and vegetable blends like a professional smoothie maker. No overheating, no smoking, no waiting for the blender to cool down.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed rotating through several smoothie recipes, but the one I am sharing with you today is one of my current favorites because the color is so stunning. However, don’t let the gorgeous, magenta color fool you; it is chock full of foods designed to promote, protect, and heal the body from the inside.
In fact, the first ingredient, riced cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that reduces inflammation. It is naturally high in fiber, B-vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Mango and dragon berries are high in vitamins, packed with fiber, polyphenols, and antioxidants that protect the body, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system. Whereas, elderberry syrup has long been touted for hundreds of years as part of traditional folk medicine remedies for boosting the immune system and shortening the duration of respiratory viruses, which may be due to its high in Vitamin C and antioxidant content.
Then, I added in a bit of ground ginger to aid in digestion and as a natural pain reliever. I also included a scoop of vanilla protein powder, high in amino acids to assist in the healing of my incision and the rebuilding of muscle tissue. Sometimes I used other berries, in lieu of dragon berries, and occasionally, I tossed in some ground seeds as a source of healthy fats and more protein. I have even added a stalk of celery and part of a cucumber on some days–just to add in a few more vegetables. Additionally, I used mostly frozen fruits and vegetables, which meant nothing went to waste due to an expiration date.
All told, my simple, tasty smoothies, along with my daily bowl of oatmeal, and a few other carefully selected and prepared foods, helped me through the time period in which swallowing was difficult. They provided my body with key nutrients to promote healing and reduced my risk for falling prey to a respiratory illness. As an added bonus, the fiber kept my guy happy and chugging right along. Plus, I now have a fantastic blender that is reliable and will be a source of inspiration for all sorts of nutritional and fun concoctions for future recipes.
From home to yours I hope this delightfully vibrant, refreshing, nutrition filled smoothie will boost you through allergy season or any other time your immune system needs a little extra umph.
Wishing you the best of health . . .
Heal and Recover Smoothie
1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
1 cup liquid
½ to 1 cup mango (dependent upon caloric and/or taste needs)
1 cup dragon berries (or other favorite berries)
2 teaspoons elderberry syrup
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
½ medium cucumber, peeled
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 scoops favorite protein powder
1-2 tablespoons favorite ground seed: chia, hemp hearts, flax
Add in all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth
Notes & Substitutions:
*Can eliminate all veggies, if you prefer only fruit
*Can eliminate lime, if not a fan.
*Can substitute kale, romaine lettuce, or spinach (However, your smoothie will look more brown than magenta.)
*Liquids can include: favorite type milk, water, coconut water
*Banana, or even pineapple, can be substituted for mango
* Up to 2 tablespoons pomegranate or tart cherry juice can be substituted for elderberry syrup
*Finely chopped, ¼ inch long, fresh ginger for ground ginger