The least I can do is try...

The Miracle Known as the Green Smoothie

In Nutrition Bliss on April 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Maybe you have had a bad food week…or month. Maybe you were in Rochester and tried the garbage plate (the name says it all). Maybe you just did not exercise the self-control you typically do…or exercise at all. How do you recover? Some people drink spicy lemonade for a week or more– just the lemonade— no food. I admire those people- if I did that I would end up storming a supermarket and ripping boxes of Twinkies open to suck out the cream filling. The whole thing would be ugly and wrong! So what is a girl to do to recover from some imperfect food occurrences? Two words– green smoothie!

Most people around me lately know how nuts I am for green smoothies. I ran into them after a too-long dalliance with a mix of food criminals and they helped nudge me away from the nutrition dark side. If this stuff weaned me off of Oreos, you have to give it some credit!!

So what is a green smoothie? To some hardcore fans, a green smoothie is a mix of (mostly green) vegetables thrown into a blender, pulverized until drinkable, and then chugged. I belong to the moderate camp- my green smoothies typically consist of fruit, leafy greens and sometimes some celery or cucumber if I am feeling crazy. I usually add a touch of stevia for sweetness as well (NuNaturals liquid stevia has been my trusty go-to). More recently, I have also been incorporating some unsweetened almond milk into some smoothie recipes for added protein and a creamier texture.

OK– so for some of you that might be gagging uncontrollably, bear with me. Believe me when I say that these things actually taste good. Sometimes, they taste downright awesome!

Some may ask why green smoothies? Why don’t you just eat your vegetables like a normal person? I personally like vegetables and consider salads my friend. I have read that blending greens in a smoothie allows for better nutritional absorption than chewing (i.e. – I could never chew my kale as well as a blender does). However, while I cannot confirm the veracity of this statement, I do believe that veggies are good for me, and if I have a tasty way to get a few more into my day, I will take it! I personally feel better after my morning green smoothie– it puts me on the right track for the day, is all clean, nutritious ingredients, and gives my tummy the fiber it needs to be a happy camper (yeah yeah snicker all you want– everybody has the same digestive functions).

Also, has anyone heard of the raw food movement? There are people who believe that a vegan, raw diet is the most optimal way to eat. The underlying principle is that cooking kills the enzymes that makes food beneficial in the first place. People who follow an exclusively raw diet do not eat any food that has been cooked above a certain temperature. While I do find some very convincing arguments for this diet, and personally feel great after eating raw, vegan meals, I know that it is just not realistic for me to adopt entirely. However, I am willing to incorporate MORE raw, unprocessed foods into my diet– and green smoothies are a great way to do this!

There are numerous reasons to incorporate green smoothies into your repertoire– personally, I just know they are healthy and make me feel good. I encourage anyone to give them a try because they are pretty frickin’ awesome. I have put some tips I picked up below!

For more info on green smoothies, check out Victoria Boutenko’s site– she provides good info on the benefits, recipes, and even a how-to video.

Geetha’s Personal Green Smoothie Rules

1) Only two serving of fruit in a smoothie

Having parents from India, I have cause to believe that I will succumb to “the sugar” (diabetes). Having been slapped on the wrist by my doc, I have been laying off the processed sweet stuff to the greatest extent possible. While I do not belong to the “fruit is evil” camp, I do try to limit my smoothie content to 2 servings and get the rest of my produce in the form of veggies.  I usually count a serving as one whole fruit (like apples, pears, bananas or oranges) or a cup of berries or cut up fruit (i.e. strawberries, frozen peach slices).

2) No dairy in my smoothie

I try to keep my smoothies clean (easy to digest)– I do believe that non-vegan dairy is hard for the body to break down, so I keep it out of my green smoothies. However, I do use almond milk once in a while. Given all the hub-bub around processed soy lately, I have been shying away from soy-milk.

3) No juice or refined sugar in my smoothies

I like to keep my smoothies a junk-free zone–absolutely no refined sugar or juices go into a smoothie ‘o’ mine. I let the whole fruit I add do the talking and if I need any additional sweetness, I add some stevia.

4) At least two big handfuls of leafy greens go into a smoothie ( 3-4 cups)

This is what makes the smoothies green! If you are a beginner, start with baby spinach. The leaves are tender and blend easily– when you get braver try kale, chard, or romaine. If you are too scared to go straight to two handfuls, start with one and slowly up it as you get used to this crazy concept!

5) Try to keep the produce organic

I know organic produce can get wicked expensive– if I have to choose, my rule of thumb is that if I am going to eat the skin or leaves of the produce, I try my best to go organic (apples, berries, greens etc).

6) Consider some boosters

Not those boosters that those crazy smoothie shop peeps push. Sometimes I add some flax or chia seeds for a natural hit of those heart-healthy omegas!

When I follow the rules above, I typically end up with something healthy and totally palatable.

Here are some of my mood-based combos (toss ingredients into a blender and turn the sucker on):

* Note- most of these recipes make enough to split with a buddy or save a serving as a snack

I Feel Like a Classic

  • One whole green apple cored and sliced (with skin on)
  • Two big handfuls of chopped kale (a lot of people take out the center ribs on the leaves– I am lazy so I leave them in– has not affected the taste thus far)
  • One banana (cut into chunks and frozen)
  • One cup of water to start- add more if too thick
  • Stevia to taste

I Would Rather be Eating Pancakes

  • One cup frozen cherries (pitted– they usually are)
  • Two big handfuls of baby spinach
  • One cup unsweetened organic almond milk
  • One teaspoon unsweetened organic almond butter (for really tough mornings)
  • Water as needed to thin smoothie
  • Stevia to taste

I Ate Some Really Bad Things Last Night and my Tummy Needs Some Gentle Refreshing Help

  • One cup frozen pineapple
  • One cup frozen blueberries
  • One handful of chopped romaine
  • One handful of arugula or baby spinach
  • Few leaves of mint
  • Few skinned Cucumber slices
  • One rib of celery chopped
  • One cup coconut water
  • Water as needed to thin smoothie
  • Stevia to taste

I Feel Exotic and NOT Green (Inspired by Alejandro Junger’s book  “Clean”)

  • One cup frozen peaches
  • One banana (sliced and frozen)
  • One cup unsweetened organic almond milk
  • One teaspoon unsweetened organic almond butter
  • Inner content of one cardamom pod
  • Water as needed to thin smoothie
  • Stevia to taste
  1. Hey Geetha!

    I just followed the link on your comment from Blisstree – these are great recipes! Thanks for sharing on our site. I’m glad you’re checking out Blisstree and hope you’ll come back and check us out every once in awhile.

    Thanks, and happy smoothie-making!
    Briana (Blisstree’s Deputy Editor)

    • Thanks Briana! I love Blisstree– I learn tons of things that inspire me to live a healthier life–thanks for doing what you do 🙂

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