A green smoothie in a glass is shown with fresh spinach and a green- and white-striped straw.
The best part of waking up? A fresh smoothie packed full of nutritious goodness. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Good medicine is about getting back to the basics and leading a healthy lifestyle. And there’s no better way to do this than to start your day with a healthy meal.

I know this can be difficult some days, especially if you are in a hurry. If you are like me, you are lucky to get out the door on time to get to work, school, exercise class, or an early-morning meeting.

I want to help you be prepared for whatever may come your way throughout the day.


Green smoothie

Add approximately one handful of each item (in the order listed below) for a delicious and nutritious breakfast:

• Nuts: These provide protein and fiber, plus healthy fats (unsaturated fat and Omega 3 fatty acids) that provide heart protection and lower bad cholesterol. Nuts also provide B vitamins and minerals. For example, eating just 23 almonds provides your body with 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. I like to add the nuts first so they can be finely ground to keep the smoothie smooth.

• Green vegetables: These supply your body with good fiber, antioxidants and protein. In addition, they’re packed with iron, calcium, magnesium and plenty of vitamins. My favorites are kale and spinach with an occasional sprig of parsley. I usually wash and then freeze my veggies as soon as I get home from the store or farmer’s market. This helps to preserve the nutrients if I don’t eat them all immediately, and it also helps the veggies crumble and mix better.

• Berries: These are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and powerful antioxidants. I like to buy fresh berries and freeze them, and I also buy frozen berries in the winter months. I like a variety of berries, and they all add great flavor.

• Kefir: Always the last ingredient, I add about 1 cup to my smoothie. It helps blend all the ingredients together and it also provides protein, vitamin D, calcium and healthy bacteria.

Even if you make an unhealthy choice (or two) later in the day by eating or drinking something high in sugar and low in nutrition, at least you know you started your day the healthy way. Adding veggies, protein, hydration and nutrition to your breakfast can help you lean more toward a healthy lifestyle.

Smoothies are a good choice for breakfast because you can add so many different (and healthy) ingredients to help you stay full all morning.

It’s important to remember that not all smoothies are the same. Some are full of sugar and lacking in nutrition. My favorite green smoothie is full of nutrients because, remember, our bodies need vitamins (vitamin D, calcium, B vitamins), minerals (iron), protein, fat and carbohydrates every day.

The ingredients in my green smoothie help in several areas of wellness, including heart health, protection from cancer and maintaining strong bones. I have listed the ingredients separately, including an explanation of what each ingredient brings to the smoothie.

I make this smoothie for breakfast most days, not only because it tastes great but also because it can prevent colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the United States, and the second most common cancer in women.

This is just one more excellent reason to give this smoothie a try for breakfast tomorrow and every day thereafter.

Colorectal cancer is preventable in most cases by early detection, though you can also improve colorectal health by maintaining a healthy weight and eating a proper diet—rich in fiber and antioxidants (like the ingredients in my green smoothie), low in saturated fats and red meat, and high in vitamins.