One of the things that makes winter so difficult for many of us is the lack of sunshine. It’s dark when you wake up, dark when you go to work, and dark when you go home from work. Some days it’s dark in between as well. Or, if you do see the sunshine, that means there’s no cloud cover and it’s so cold out that your face will freeze within minutes. Cheaper than botox, maybe, but not being able to see or feel the sun’s rays starts to get you after awhile. But if taking an extended vacation to a sunny locale is not an option for you, what can you do?
Well, one thing you can try is eating foods that just taste like sunshine – for me, that’s a grapefruit. It’s bright and citrusy, tart yet sweet. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the colour range of grapefruits matches that of the sun, going from almost white to deep red. Recently I’ve been taking a break from the dark greens and enjoying grapefruit in my breakfast smoothie with some equally vibrant companions – orange, persimmon, banana, and fresh turmeric.
Fresh turmeric is one of my favourite smoothie ingredients – it’s so different from the dried powdered version. It adds something really unique flavour-wise, and the colour is pretty intense too! Turmeric gets a lot of press for being a miracle cure for everything from cancer to depression to Alzheimer’s disease, and while that kind of hype must be taken with a whole heaping spoonful of salt, research has shown curcumin (the plant compound that gives turmeric it’s vibrant hue) to be as effective as NSAIDs (such aspirin and ibuprofen) for helping reduce the stiffness and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis, and it was found to be more effective than some standard drugs used to reduce the severity and flare-ups of ulcerative colitis. So maybe there is something to it. But health benefits aside, I’ve found turmeric is a delightful addition to any smoothie.
1 whole grapefruit, peeled
2 cm section of fresh turmeric
1/2 an orange, peeled
1/2 a persimmon
1/2 a banana
1 handful ice cubes
dash of ground black pepper
Toss all the ingredients into your blender and blend til smooth, adding water until your smoothie reaches your desired consistency. I like to add a handful of rolled oats or some chia seeds to up the fibre content and make it more filling. Of course, you could add some kale or spirulina if you need that blast of greens, but the beautiful sunny colour is a big part of the appeal for me.