No, but it may as well be. This is one green smoothie that goes down my husband gullet without protest. In fact, my maca “milkshake” has become a midday elixir that he enjoys drinking after lunch. (Lucky dude…his office is within easy walking distance of our apartment!).
In his own words, he describes this smoothie as:
“Creamy, clean and bright.”
“A good flavor balance between sweet, nutty and malty.”
High praise coming from my husband, a wine writer with an excellent—albeit finicky—palate. What I like is that this particular combination—spinach, apple, sunflower seed butter, almond milk, with the optional addition of maca—can help bolster immunity and promote healthy digestion…perfect whole food ammunition during a “triple flu” season.
Raw spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. Flavonoid-rich apples are high in antioxidants, important for heart health. Apples also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that promotes a feeling of fullness, helpful in controlling blood sugar and, ultimately, weight. Almonds and sunflower seeds are both high in magnesium, as well as Vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant that plays a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Sunflower seeds (and spinach) contain high levels of zinc, which can boost immunity, especially in the prostate region.
If you make this smoothie, remember: conventionally grown apples and spinach retain high levels of pesticide residue—be sure to buy organic.
It’s not for everyone, but maca is a superfood that agrees well with my husband. Grown and cultivated in the Peruvian Andes, maca is a member of the cruciferous family of plants. Packed with vitamins, plant sterols, minerals, trace minerals, including zinc and selenium, fatty and amino acids, maca root has been used as a stress-fighting adaptogen to increase stamina, energy and libido. But don’t expect a heart-pounding adrenaline “rush”. My husband reports no such “buzz”; he is able, however, to sail through his workday without the classic afternoon slump.
If you’d like to get more leafy greens into the man in your life…try this smoothie on for size:
5 cups organic baby spinach (or other greens)
1 organic Gala apple, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons organic sunflower seed butter
1-1/2 cups almond milk or organic full-fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons maca (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Using a Vitamix or Nutribullet, blend until smooth and creamy in consistency.
Bondonno CP, Yang X, Considine MJ, Ward NC, Rich L, Puddey IB, Swinny E, Mubarek A, Hodgson JM. Flavonoid-rich apples and nitrate-rich spinach augment nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function in healthy men an dowmen: a randomized controlled trial. Free Radic Biol Med 2012;52(1):95-102
NIH, Office of Dietary Supplements, Vitamin E
Fortin, F (Editorial Director). The Visual Food Encyclopedia. Macmillan;1996.