It’s a beautiful Thursday in the province of Bukidnon today. The sun’s up, the wind is gently blowing outside and the temperature is comfortably warm. Perfect day to make green smoothies. So while the rest of the world is celebrating the Chinese New Year, I’m celebrating life and health in my kitchen.
The beautiful thing about successfully getting rid of unhealthy habits is you get plenty of time imagining and creating new healthy habits in their place. Since it’s a holiday and the kids are busy playing with the family pet outside, I got a chance to play around in the kitchen.
NATURE’S GIFT FROM BUKIDNON
Bukidnon is very blessed with a friendly climate and rich soil that allow both plants and animals to thrive all year round. Among the indigenous plants that naturally grow in Bukidnon soil is kulitis or Chinese Spinach (Amaranthus spinosus). Rich in iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, this leafy green vegetable has more health benefits than you can imagine. It is in fact one of the five wonder herbs found the country. Since Bukidnon is dappled with farmlands, people have no trouble finding kulitis in sugar cane fields, corn fields and even in their backyards. I get mine from the local market or weekend farmers’ market.
Another gift from nature to the people of Bukidnon is wild Bukidnon honey. But I don’t have time to go the wild to harvest some, so I go to the grocery store and buy Hyacinth 100% pure wild native honey from Nature’s Harmony Farm in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Malaybalay is the province’s capital and is about two hours away from where I live. It’s a beautiful place dotted with old pine trees and vast farmlands. I often go to the capital for seminars and meetings, but I haven’t been to Nature’s Harmony Farm. I hope one day I’ll get to personally see how they culture honey bees and harvest honey.
With these two local ingredients in hand, I grabbed a few lettuce leaves and some calamansi fruits from the fridge and whipped up a tall glass of what I call Bukidnon Green Smoothie. I thought you’d like to share this recipe.
BUKIDNON GREEN SMOOTHIE
1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
4 to 5 leaves kulitis
juice of 3 to 4 calamansi
1 TBSP honey
200ml clean, drinking water
Put honey and water into smoothie maker or blender. Add calamansi juice, honey, lettuce and kulitis leaves and blend until smooth. Serves 1.
Now you have a refreshing glass of healthy drink! You can use ice-cold water or throw in a few ice cubes, but I personally like my smoothie with just cold water from the fridge.
They say it’s best to eat your vegetables raw you so you don’t lose the nutrients and enzymes. Unfortunately we only get to eat this nutrient-packed kulitis leaves in soups and bas-uy (boiled together with other vegetables and seasoned with fish sauce). So with this smoothie, you get to enjoy not only a deliciously refreshing drink, you also get the full benefits of the raw ingredients. Just make sure you’ve properly washed and prepared them though.
I’m looking into growing my own lettuce, but I haven’t really tried that one before. I’m not even sure if I could grow them in my backyard. If you have tips on growing lettuce in a backyard garden, I’d be happy if you could share them with me. Enjoy!
VARIATION TO YOUR SMOOTHIE
If you can’t find kulitis or don’t like kulitis, you may replace it with 1 tsp of chopped parsley. It’s equally delicious and the herb adds aroma to your drink.