A New Look At Smoothies
So you think you’re hardcore, eh? You might drink raw eggs.You might eat pounds of boiled chicken breast without salt when you’re leaning out. Do you drink greens?
If not, you need to start right away! Greens contain minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
They have vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins.
They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They’re almost carb-free, so you can eat just about as many of them as you want. And don’t even get me started on their fiber content.
There are several ways to get this accomplished, and some of them taste pretty great. If you’re just getting started, here’s my smoothie recipe:
Heather’s Basic Green Smoothie
1 apple, peach, or pear, sliced
1 orange cut into quarters
2 ripe bananas
3-4 large handfuls baby spinach
1 cup strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries
1 c. water/ice
2 scoops protein powder of your choice
Blend the water and spinach on high for 1 minute. Add fruit and protein powder and blend until smooth. This recipe make 5-6 cups, which should fill your basic blender.
A quart per day is sufficient for most people, though I often drink 6 cups myself and make a pint for each of the kids (they like the smoothies more than I do).
If you want to use frozen fruit and you don’t have a superblender, I suggest you let it thaw for half an hour at room temperature, or move it from fridge to freezer the night before.
Lower Sugar Smoothie
You prefer a savory recipe? Need to keep your sugars down? No problem. This smoothie nourishes you like no other, triples most people’s daily intake of veggies, and tastes pretty darn good too. Think Bloody Mary.
2 leaves kale, stems removed
1 bunch basil or cilantro
2 large tomatoes
1 stalks celery
1 red bell pepper
1 medium avocado (1/2 if limiting fat, optional)
1 lime, juiced
1 cup water
dash hot sauce or cayenne pepper, optional
2 scoops plain protein powder (egg preferably)
Blend kale and water for 1 minute. Add veggies and lime juice, blend on high 2-3 minutes. Pour and enjoy.
Savory smoothies are nice for lunch. Often I have a fruit green smoothie for breakfast, then a savory one with a handful of raw almonds for lunch and am plenty full until dinner time.
Now, lest you think I’m some sort of raw vegan nut, I’m actually not. I just really prefer to consume my veggies in smoothie form. They say that we assimilate about 40% of the nutrients in food when we chew, but around 90% from blended food. Know why? Because we don’t chew very well.
Easiest Smoothie Ever
Still not convinced? Need something easy that takes literally one minute to make? OK, I’ve got you covered.
1 handful spinach
1 cup water/ice
1 scoop protein powder of your choice
Toss in blender, blend ’til smooth. Pour into a glass, and enjoy instant refreshment.
It’ll look green, but taste like banana. How’s that for cool? I defy you to find something simpler!
The Quick and Dirty
So if you know you need more greens in your diet but can’t find the time to make a smoothie, I’ve got one last suggestion for you. Vitamineral Green or another dehydrated greens powder.
Yes, it’s expensive, but you can’t get any faster than tossing a couple of teaspoons into your water or juice (or your regular protein smoothie).
Remember, greens are, calorie for calorie, one of the healthiest foods on the planet. We talk about exotic “superfoods”, but greens are cheap, accessible, and tasty when you use them this way.
I’d call them pretty super, especially once you get to know what you like in a smoothie.
So you’ve tried my basic smoothie, then you experimented with it. Now you’ve got your own everyday smoothie recipe. Fantastic!
Are you ready to move up a nutritional level or two? Start by varying your greens. Kale, Swiss chard, and lettuces are great additions. I like to rotate my greens for the most nutritional punch.
Feeling SUPER brave? Go out to an empty field and pick some morning glory. Or dandelion greens. Or lambsquarter. There are lots of edible weeds that just go to waste, but they’re amazing for your body, and free.
In the future we’ll talk about the benefits of different kinds of greens, but for now baby spinach is your best choice stateside. This time of year you should see an abundance of greens. One word of warning: collard, turnip and mustard greens are pretty bitter, so use them sparingly if at all!
1. Getting bored? Switch up your fruits. In season, I like to use cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi, 1/4 of a juiced lemon, pineapple, fresh figs, you name it.
Grapes are great if your smoothie tastes a little earthy one day. Half a pomegranate makes me swoon.
2. Start small, 10 to 20% greens. The ultimate goal will be to work up to 60% fruit and 40% greens. Some of the most hardcore people I know (like Green Smoothie Girl) suggest the opposite, but that isn’t palatable for everyone.
I’d rather have a higher ratio of fruit to greens than use agave nectar or Stevia to sweeten them. Do what tastes good, and gradually cut back until you’re where you want to be.
3. Low on greens? You can make green smoothie with cucumbers, celery, and herbs. Parsley and cilantro are the most popular.
4. Spinach getting wilty? Toss it in the freezer! Going out of town and have some left? Toss it in the freezer! Most of the nutrients will remain intact, and wasting money isn’t cool.
5. Short on time in the morning? Prepare bags with your fruit and greens in the evening and stick everything in the fridge overnight. The frozen fruit will have time to thaw, the fresh fruit and greens will stay cool, and all you have to do is toss it in the blender and go. Easy peasy!
6. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, work slowly and carefully. You might consider saving your pennies to get one, because they’re really worth it in my opinion.
Yes, they’re expensive. I got mine two years ago and paid about $400 for it, but I use it literally every day. We make smoothie, nut butters, salad dressing, blended soup, “ice cream”, and more in ours. You can actually grind grain in the BlendTec, too!
Leave me a comment and let me know how you like your smoothie creation!
Vitamineral Green photo by Sara Janssen