Three Years over the Open Ocean

When I am running on the trail near our house in Kauai I have to be careful not to get distracted by the Humpback Whales breaching off-shore so I don’t trip over one of the endangered species lounging on the beach – Green Sea Turtles, Monk Seals, and my personal favorites, Laysan Albatross.

Laysan Albatross have interesting lives. After hatching and fledging on remote islands in the Pacific they take flight and spend the next three years over the open ocean, never coming to land and sometimes soaring as far as 2,000 miles in a single day. They eventually return to land to begin an elaborate courtship ritual in search of a life-long partner, a process that can last for several years, until they are seven or eight years old and ready to mate for the first time. They lay a single egg, which the male and female take turns incubating.

The Laysan Albatross is a relatively small species of Albatross, but that is very relative. With their 7-foot wingspan, aerodynamic heads, and deep, dark eyes they make a striking impression as they swoop silently overhead.

Though the Laysan Albatross is vulnerable to extinction they don’t seem rare on this stretch of beach. My friend Jessica and I paid them a visit the other day and watched with fascination as two of them began a beak-clacking, neck-bobbing, awkward-prancing face-off that we could only hope was the elaborate mating ritual.

After spying on Albatross foreplay, my second favorite activity here in Hawaii is putting stuff in our blender and then drinking it. I’ve long been a fan of breakfast smoothies but I’ve recently added green smoothies to my blended repertoire and I highly recommend them.

Here’s what you need to do:

Go out to your coconut grove and pick a likely looking nut. I find the big, heavy, dark green ones have the most and tastiest juice. Hack away with your machete or bang in the coconut tap and drain that baby directly into your blender. (Though you’ll miss out on all the excellent coconut electrolytes, an unsweetened, natural juice or plain old water works well as a substitute if your palm grove is running short of nuts.)

Now, add some sweetness. Pineapple is perfect; apple works; whole oranges or seedless clementines are great. Or, like me, you could add all of the above. If you’ve got the energy, scrape out some of that coconut meat and toss it in.

So how does the smoothie turn green? I’ve been using a lot of bok choy and chard. Spinach is good for you, too. Dandelion greens, lettuce. You get the idea: pretty much anything leafy and green. Rinse it well.

You’ve started to blend the coconut juice and sweet fruit, so now you can begin to feed the blender his greens. Give it to him gently – one or two stalks at a time – while he’s blending. When the greens are all in, let the blender masticate for 2-3 minutes to release all that good green-ness. I like to add a banana at this point which seems to help things cohere and sometimes some plant-based protein powder or a little plain yogurt.

I think you will be amazed by how good this green smoothie tastes and even more pleased by the burst of pure, healthy energy you feel after you drink it.

I learned how to make green smoothies from my friends at Satori Worldwide, who organize retreats in Bali to promote health and balanced living for international aid workers.

In case you are reading too deeply into my promotion of the albatross way of life in relation to my own itinerant ways, I will point out some major differences: I, regrettably, do not have feathers and albatross prefer raw fish eggs and whole squid in their breakfast smoothies.

I will say farewell to the albatross today and reluctantly depart Hawaii this evening. My next stop is California and a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat from March 2-13.

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1 Response to Three Years over the Open Ocean

  1. jane lahr says:

    Glad you are back at the Blog — the smoothie looks great. Jessica very talented!

    Jane Lahr

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