When I set out to be more health-conscious in my eating, the first thing I incorporated into my life was green smoothies. I was never spooked out by the green. My mom used to make random fruit and veg smoothies that were never green but certainly had weird tastes, so perhaps I dissociated the relationship of colour and taste of a smoothie.
I started having green smoothies just looking into personal development, and it just seemed like a cool idea to add as a healthy new habit. Two and a half years later I still make green smoothies. While I’ve done a lot more juicing since then, green smoothies always make it into my life at least twice a week. They’re so easy to love, they are easy to make and less time consuming than juices, and they last for up to three days sealed in a mason jar or a glass jar so you don’t have to drink it all that day like it is with juice.
Green smoothies are important because they contain a lot of live chlorophyll. The thing about blending them is that it help make it easier for our bodies to assimilate the nutrients from the goodness, whether from fruit or greens. Especially with the greens, a lot of the nutrients are sealed within the strong cell walls of the plant cells, and thus by blending we can help our bodies and our digestive systems. Green smoothies are also like a good clean sweep for your digestive system. Yes it’s kind of weird that you can tell when your green smoothie made its way, but it also feels like a really good clean. I literally feel lighter after eliminating when it’s from clean eating! 🙂 Additionally, we haven’t been eating enough greens in our diet. Greens are not the same as vegetables – they have different nutritional properties! They are an integral food group that we’ve traditionally have not “counted” into our diet that are important for our thriving!
I’d like to share some of my green smoothie creation tips here – consider them my success formulae! As a former bartender (yes the alcohol variety!) and soon after mixologist, I pleasantly found the same thing happen to me with juices and green smoothies! I have stopped following recipes and have been able to mix things together and know what they will taste like, just like with the alcoholic drinks I used to do for work. Here are some of my principles I’d like to share, some recipes that are easy for beginners, and some easier-to-cite resources that I used along my green smoothie journey! Feel free to share these smoothies with your friends and credit me and my blog if you loved my recipe and would like to share them! Try them out, ask me if you have any questions!
Green Smoothie Creation Success Formulae
1. Only Fruits and Greens
The best green smoothies are those that incorporate greens and fruit. When I first started creating green smoothies I added fruits and sprouts and nuts and seeds and vegetables and greens and aloe and coconut water and agave and chia seeds and flax seeds. Now I only do greens, fruit, and filtered water. The reason is that when you add too many different things into one smoothie, it can become a conglomerate mess and more difficult to digest than it need be! Fruits, greens, and filtered water is my formula, always, even though I’ve tried loads of other combinations.
2. Incorporate fruits that help bind the smoothie together
Greens blended with water not only smell really eugkk (its not bad it’s just…euuuoufff), they also are really watery and impossible to consume. Thus if you use only watery fruit such as apples, oranges (also, take the seeds out of the orange – in my experience they’ve been bitter!), watermelon, etc it’s going to keep that weird watery un-delicious texture and taste. Use enough of a “stickier” fruit – examples are mango, pear (pear is in between), banana (the best, although taste-wise is a hit or miss in individual preferences), berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries – they are also in-between), grapes (also in-between), peaches (lovely), plums (in between), pineapple (in between) – so that the smoothie will bind.
3. Use the Greens that Work
I once blended a wonderful smoothie…using mustard greens. I ended up wasting 3 quarts of smoothie..I know..I felt SO bad but I nearly vomited trying to swallow the wasabi-fruit tasting smoothie. GROSS! It pays off to know the greens to use!
Here are the greens I use in the US (I also live in Italy and Taiwan, where I use different greens) that I buy at any grocery stores:
– Spinach (the best – it has the most neutral taste..in fact you won’t even be able to tell the difference)
– Kale (can be bitter, especially lacinato/dinosaur kale and red kale, so a bit more advanced)
– Chard (fantastic)
– Collard greens (in between kale and chard kind of taste)
– Romaine (one of my favourites as well, romaine and kale together are fantastic)
– Parsley, Basil, Mint, Wheatgrass (use with other greens as an accent)
(PS – I always remove large stems! They tend to be bitter. Sometimes I keep them for juicing LOL)
4. Rotate Greens
Greens can build up some toxins if you constantly consume the same greens over and over again. I won’t take more than the bundle at the supermarket or the farmer’s market in one round, and if I have other greens I alternate them. This is important, don’t miss this! I heard you get weird side effects I haven’t experienced if you don’t rotate greens!
5. Build up the Green Colour
I used to use mostly kale and romaine to start with. Spinach I discovered later. The point is, take what you’re comfortable with. I mean, make sure it’s green you know gotta wear that pride since you’re going to do it anyways. Spinach is the one to start with if you’re a sceptic. Romaine is also very fresh and easy to handle. The thing is the more you have them, the more you will want them to be darker green 😀 I love it!!!
6. Drink them alone
Like with the fruit and greens only guideline, they’re easier to digest on their own. I usually give at least 20 minutes before and after to a consumption of a delicious green smoothie. Also, don’t think of them as a meal replacement – they ARE a meal, and way more nutrition than coffee and pastry! I drink them as breakfast, though I do have breakfast pretty late.
7. Bonus tip: freezing some fruit!
I don’t like using store-bought frozen fruit except mango, but I often freeze my berries and bananas (peel and put them into chunks and into a plastic baggie and freeze, don’t put the whole thing in – I never tried but come on just peel it and put it into a baggie!). They make the smoothie creamier and cooler!
Some Fun Beginner Recipes
All Recipes by Catt! Amounts may vary due to sizes, and sometimes you can use less water. Please reference me and my blog if you share!
1. The Tangy Tropical, Serves 2
– 1 in. slice pineapple, cut into chunks
– 2 cups frozen mango chunks (they’re spacey in a cup, so as much as you like really)
– 1 apple (your favourite kind!)
– 1/2 handful of blueberries
– 1/2 handful of raspberries
– 3-4 handfuls of spinach, depending on the size of your hands
– 2 cups filtered water
2. Fruity Greening, Serves 2
– 3 cups of frozen mango chunks
– 1/2 a medium sized banana
– 5 strawberries (can keep the stems, my fiance’ takes them off always)
– 1 small to medium apple (Fuji to be sweet, Pink Lady to be Catt)
– 1 handful of seedless red grapes (for the record seedless is technically not GMO, but Catt is not anti-GMO! 🙂 )
– 1/2 medium pear (I like Bosc, they’re refreshing!)
– 1 large leave of kale, or 1 large handful of kale
– 3 handfuls of spinach
– 2 cups filtered water
3. My Festive Summer, Serves 2
– 2 cups frozen mango chunks
– 3/4 cup blueberries
– 1 medium pitted peach or nectarine
– 1 large pitted plum or pluot (I don’t even know what a pluot is, but that’s what’s at the supermarket these days)
– 2-3 large leaves of chard, whichever colour you fancy..I stick to green to avoid making a mushy brown colour
– 2-3 handfuls of spinach
– 2 cups filtered water
Easily Citable References from my journey:
Boutenko, Victoria. Green for Life: The Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2010. Print.
Boutenko, Victoria. Green Smoothie Revolution: The Radical Leap towards Natural Health. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2009. Print.
Carr, Kris. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live like You Mean It! Guilford, Ct: Skirt!, 2011. Print.
Alright that’s all I’ve got! It’s a lot of topic and experience I have to cover in one ground. Message me or comment me with any questions you have!
Final point worth mentioning: I am not a vegan, fruitarian, raw foodist, or even vegetarian..I eat whatever I want! Which may happen to be leaving out certain foods that may classify me, but I eat what I want and I never restrict myself! Green smoothies are just a fun habit I have!
Happy Green Smoothie-ing!