An Alkalinizing Smoothie for Performance & Recovery

In the mid-1990s, I did regular weekly speedwork with a local group of over-40 runners on the track at Nevada Union High School in Nevada City, California.

Our little group included plodders like me, but also Carl Ellsworth, then 64, who had won the northern California road race series two years in a row, and was still running sub-3:00 marathons. Another runner was a former collegiate 4:02 miler who was part of a relay team that would set an age-group (age 40 to 50? I can’t remember) world record for the 4×1 mile.

My training had heretofore been limited to long, slow runs on beautiful forest trails. I greatly enjoyed that stage of my running career. It was about the romance of running, trotting alone in nature, mile after mile on single-track trails and loving it. But now I was ready for a change.

After a few pain-filled early sessions of hard repeats, I soon was looking forward to our speedwork sessions.

A pal of mine was a professional nutritionist. He had told me about the value of alkaline-forming foods. He explained that the immune system thrives in a slightly alkaline metabolic environment, and that the “-itis” diseases, like bronchitis, sinusitis, etc., thrive when the body’s pH shifts toward acidity.

The immune system is deeply involved in athletic recovery. My nutritionist buddy advised me, after long runs and races, to take some buffered vitamin C, as a way to quickly neutralize the acidity caused by hard exercise. He speculated that it would speed recovery times. I can’t say for sure, but I suspect he was right.

I made a habit of going to a local health food store an hour before our speed sessions and ordering a green drink smoothie. Did it help me feel better while I ran all-out repeats? I think so. At times, I suspected I was feeling better than my companions, judging by their posture and demeanor.

This is all by way of leading up to my latest green smoothie recipe. It’s delicious. I hope you’ll enjoy it. Note that the quantities and ingredients are not precise. The secret of green smoothie making is about taste and texture. I find I can throw in just about any darn thing, as long as I flavor the mix appropriately.

So I’ll share the flavoring first. Briefly, regardless of the other ingredients, I always add a large spoonful of frozen pineapple juice (as a sweetener) and the juice of a lime (or half a lime, depending on the daily fluctuations of my taste buds).

For texture, I’ll throw in the fruit of a whole avocado.

The smoothie that I’m presently drinking was made with a bunch of stripped kale leaves (precision!), a handful of spinach, a large carrot cut into chunks, and 3-4 stalks of celery.

I add water and blend in a Vitamix (a regular blender works fine). I make enough to fill three large glasses to be covered and saved in the fridge.

Before drinking, I add Real Salt to taste. Not sure why Real Salt tastes better than regular sea salt – it’s stronger and more pungent, and I find I can use less to achieve the same taste.

I find it delicious and energizing.

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