Saturday, December 3, 2011

Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are one of the ways I get some super-healthy greens into our diet.
How else can a person eat a whole handful or two of super-tough kale or collard greens?  I know I can't easily do that!  I've tried making them into salads, but this is the best way to break the fibrous leaves down without destroying vitamins and minerals by heating them.

This might be the GREENEST smoothie I've ever made (Jan 2010).  And my kids liked it!  It helped that we called it the "Green Monster" or "Hulk" smoothie.

They don't always turn out green (you'll see what I mean below), but they're in there!

I started making these when I first heard about green smoothies a few years ago by adding a small handful of spinach to my regular smoothie recipe, which usually included yogurt and a bunch of fruit.
Now, they are mostly fruit, sometimes veggies like cucumber or celery, greens, and water.  I'm talking a LOT of fruit though.  Like 3/4 fruit, and probably closer to 90% fruit when just starting out.
Some of the fruit could be frozen to create a really good cold smoothie.
I have a book (on my Kindle, which I love, but I think cookbooks need to be in hard-copy) called Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko (recipes here).  She is well-known in the raw food world.  I have tried eating all-raw vegan a couple of times in the past few years, and I always found it very difficult to stick to everyday.  My longest stint eating all raw was about 2 weeks.  Not much, I know, but I did see some fast benefits.  The diet did get me thinking differently about food, and eating more things in their raw state.  Green smoothies are one of the most enduring changes to my diet.  I have one almost daily.  My kids also enjoy smoothies with a small amount of greens added.
Here is an example of a smoothie I make regularly without a recipe.
My smoothie ingredients-- I didn't measure, I eyeballed it:
plums (of course!)
frozen bananas
fresh-squeezed lime or lemon
ice and water
 Ready to Blend

 Not as attractive as other tastes much better than it looks!

 Family Smoothie Bar!

 Here was another day's smoothie:
Kale (this small amount in the bowl was in my kids' smoothie
Cilantro (just a couple sprigs)
one apple
one pear
one peeled orange
one banana
about 1 c. frozen mango
I often add some fresh-squeezed lime or lemon juice too
some water and ice

 Ready To Blend

While blending

 A more pleasant color!

 The kids' smoothie cups

DON'T forget the lids and straws or you might end up with this:

This happened in early 2010.  You'd think I would have learned my lesson, but this has happened again since.  NOW I've learned my lesson.
After freaking out a little bit, I got my Bissell carpet cleaner (best purchase EVER with little kids and tons of carpet in our house), and it came right up.  PHEW!

After the kids' smoothies were poured, I added another big handful of kale and spinach and more frozen mango and bananas to the remaining smoothie in the blender. 

The grown-up greener version!
This takes some getting used to, so start small!  Your taste buds will adjust and you will even start to crave these.  My digestive system is happier when I drink my greens.  I usually have something else like eggs or sausage or other protein a little while afterwards.  I read in a book to wait about 20 minutes after consuming veggies and fruits to allow for full digestion of the different types of foods.  Vegetables and proteins and starches need different kinds of enzymes to digest- veggies and proteins mix well, veggies and fruits mix well, but not fruits and proteins.  Starches should be on their own!  I don't always follow this but it's a good guideline if I'm wondering what the best combination of foods to eat would be.

Other good reference books on the benefits of raw foods and greens:
Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen
Beauty Detox Diet by Kimberly Snyder

A note about blenders:
We have a Vitamix, but you can use a regular blender if you chop everything up smaller and don't mind some small bits or chunks.  If you like making smoothies, the high-powered blender is worth it!  I've heard good things about a Blendtec too.  I found a good deal on an older model, yet still-new Vitamix online- a health food store was clearing out their old inventory to get the newer models.

Happy Green Smoothie Making!

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I've been doing fruit smoothies for some time now and want to try the green kind= veggies....