This is one “fad” I want everyone to hop on! It’s hard to get enough greens into our diets and smoothies are the perfect solution. To those of you who don’t know what a green smoothie is and just the thought of it makes you turn the colour of a green smoothie: I assure you, they can be made to taste delicious! Trust me. But first, here’s why green smoothies are such a super food:
1) An Energizing Zap Of Nutrients: When food is blended, digestive processes are eased allowing the food to pass through your system much quicker and for the nutrients to be absorbed more readily.
2) Skip The Metamucil: By blending (as opposed to juicing), the integrity of the whole food is maintained, thus making these drinks a fantastic source of fiber. Fiber not only helps to keep you feeling full longer, it also helps to push toxins out of your system, a beautiful thing indeed.
3) Green Machine: That is what you will become when having these, as so many more servings of greens can be incorporated into your diet when you compact them into a smoothie. That means more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for you!
That sounds good and all but this still means you’re drinking greens right? Yes, yes, and as promised, this can taste delicious! Take a moment to notice McGreggor (the bee) in the photo above. He’s wanting in on the action too 😉 Here are my best tips:
- Spinach, cucumber, and celery are great starting points as they have a very mild taste. You can add copious amounts of spinach without hardly even tasting it.
- Start with a half and half ratio of fruit to vegetables. As you ease your way into them, you’ll start to enjoy a more “green taste,” and can incorporate more greens into your smoothies.
- Use coconut water instead of regular water. I have found this to make a world of difference. I’m not even sure why this is so big. If you don’t have coconut water, plain water is fine but I would give it a shot. Plus with coconut water being so packed with potassium and electrolytes, how could you go wrong?
- Don’t monkey around with the banana, this is critical. A smoothie without a banana is no smoothie at all in my books! Perhaps it’s the inner year of the monkey in me talking..
- Liquid stevia and vanilla are two additions I’ve found to make my smoothie just that much more delicious. The stevia is a plant-based sweetener that you can now find in most supermarkets (but supporting local health food stores is always best).
- Adding a few tablespoons of fat to your smoothie in the way of avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil, flax seeds or flax-seed oil, will help you absorb the carotenoids in the greens. (learned this one from the book “Nourishing meals”, a fantastic read which I highly recommend)
- Lemon! Trust me, it goes a long way giving a little bit of tart to your smoothie and helping preserve the colour.
- A good blender. I love my Vitamix dearly but you don’t need to invest in one just yet. You do, however, want a decent one that makes your smoothies, well, smooth and breaks down the fibres of the greens.
Now before your run out of your seat to dust off your blender, here’s a few cautionary words of advice:
- Switch up your greens. This is important as a build up of alkaloids can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as belly bloating etc. Doing a switch up every couple of days or so should do the trick.
- Not all good things should find their way into your blender at once. I see a lot of instagrams with complex drinks. Keep it simple. Don’t add oats and chia seeds and too many heavy foods all at once because it will take longer for your body to digest it. At least for your morning green smoothies, keep it to fruits, greens and water based veggies like crisp celery or cucumber.
- Remember that green smoothies are not food. You cannot just live off of green smoothies all day, once or twice a day is plenty. As well, chewing signals your body to begin the digestive process and this is lost when drinking a green smoothie. To counteract this, I usually eat a little something prior to drinking it. Sneak a few bites of that juicy apple! Or I “chew” the smoothie to signal my body that I’m eating. Simple way to get those juices flowing!
So there you have it. The 101 of green smoothies. Now for actually creating them, here’s a few recipes/guidelines:
The starter smoothie:
- 1 banana
- 1 1/2- 2+ cups greens of your choice
- ½ cup berries (organic, frozen berries work as well) (more if needed)
- 1/2 organic Cucumber
- 1 crisp stalk of celery
- 1 apple
- 1 whole lemon (seeds and all if you have a powerful blender) (minus the rind)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3+ drops liquid Stevia
- 1/4 coconut water or until you have your desired consistency
The “I aint here to mess around” smoothie guideline (I add all this goodness in at once, go big or go home right? But you can do what appeals to you and experiment with proportions):
- 1 banana
- 2+ Cups greens/water based vegetables
- 1 tbsp spirulina
- 1 tbsp chorella
- coconut water
- freshly grated ginger
- fresh mint leaves
- parsley or nearly any other herb
- cayenne pepper
- 1 whole lemon (peeled and coarsely chopped)
- 1 tbsp oil
- vanilla extract
The starburst smoothie guideline:
Green smoothie on bottom. It should be thick so that the top smoothie won’t fall, this means using less liquid.
The top is a blend of frozen banana, fruit and some coconut milk.
Top With some cinnamon, raw cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes and you’ve got yourself a beautiful smoothie!
NOTE: I have made my fair share of nasty smoothies here and there, but there is nothing that can’t be fixed with a little fruit (another banana if you have it or lemon). Be playful and get drinking!