A Case For Green Smoothies

This is my favorite Halloween remedy. In fact, anytime I’m feeling too addicted to sugar, or sick from eating too much pizza or anything else like that, a green smoothie always gets me back on track. I make a green smoothie for my family almost every morning. Then I know that whatever else they eat all day, at least they’ve gotten some really good greens to start their day. It also helps us eat better all day. When we start with a green smoothie, we don’t crave as much junk, and we feel more like exercising. This time of year I think green smoothies are especially important. I personally believe that flu season is more a result of all of the holiday treats that become too prevalent in our diets in these coming months than weather or any other cause. I know that on a snowy day like today, something cold might not sound so fun, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few tips on green smoothies:

1-A high speed blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec will get the smoothest consistency and will break down the greens to help you to maximize the amount of nutrients you absorb. These blenders cost around $400 and really can’t be compared to regular blenders. They can grind wheat and do so much more than a regular blender. If you can figure out a way to afford one you won’t regret it. I use mine twice a day, and sometimes more. Otherwise, do your best with what you have. You may not be able to add as much frozen ingredients, but be sure to add some ice to help with breaking down the green’s fibers.

2-If you’re the type that likes to read and learn everything you can find about anything, these are my favorite books for some insipiration: Green Smoothie Revolution or Green For Life both by Victoria Boutenko. You can also get some ideas here: http://www.rawfamily.com/recipes. And if you search, you’ll find lots of other ideas online.

3-Begin with recipes that include either frozen bananas or frozen orange juice concentrate for the highest chance of it being well received. Experiment occasionally to add new recipes to your routine.

4-Experiment with different greens, and it is good not to use the same one day after day, but for sweet smoothies avoid greens that tend to be spicy such as mustard greens. I’ve found that most lettuces have a very strong flavor in smoothies, so I save them for salads and use kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, and dandelion greens most often for the smoothies.

5-To get the most out of your smoothie resist the urge to add yogurt, protein powder, or any other type of fat or protein to the smoothie. While these are great ways to get some good, lasting energy for the day, they defeat the main purpose of the smoothie which is to absorb as much of the wonderful “green nutrients” as possible before any other foods interfere with that absorption. This same principle is why you don’t want to add any starchy veggies to your smoothies, (even broccoli may have too much); stick to greens. On that same note, don’t eat anything other than fruit or greens for about 40 minutes before or after your smoothie. (Refer to the books mentioned in #1 for more details on this).

6-Think about freezing ingredients that you use in your smoothies. I now wash and then freeze in Ziploc bags almost all of the greens I buy for my smoothies. That way I can rotate the greens I use without feeling like I need to use whatever in my fridge is likely to go bad first. I try to always have a big container of baby spinach from Costco in the freezer for whenever I haven’t had a chance to buy kale or other greens. I also stock up on lemons and limes when I find them for a good price, then I juice them and freeze them in ice cube trays and store them in Ziplock bags for use in smoothies and other recipes. The same could be done with any citrus. In fact, any fruit I get a great price on, or have more than I can use before it will go bad, I wash, cut up, and freeze in Ziplock bags to use in smoothies.

7-Consider adding fresh herbs to your smoothies. Lately my family’s favorite smoothies have fresh peppermint and/or basil. If your weather is turning cold, like mine, and you’re lucky enough to have fresh herbs growing outside your house, cut and wash as many as you can and freeze them in a Ziplock bag for use throughout the winter.

Daily green smoothies with the basic recipe of 1:1:1 of water/ice:greens:fruit are my number one recommendation to anyone wanting to make the biggest impact in their diet in the simplest way. Whatever else you eat all day, you can make a huge difference in your health just by adopting this one habit every morning. Here is my family’s latest favorite recipe to get you started…

Go to Recipe →
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  1. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the post! My husband once warmed up a spinach and strawberry smoothie, and it actually had a really nice flavor that was very different from the cold smoothie.

    1. Liz says:

      Interesting, warm smoothie, I’ve never tried that. That may make the savory smoothies taste more like soup, and maybe my kids wouldn’t mind them as much.

  2. Susan says:

    We both loved this recipe! It was so fresh tasting and refreshing, we both wanted more!

    1. Liz says:

      Awesome! You can make it every morning and just swap out the greens every couple of days with lots of choices like: kale, collard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens, spinach, wheatgrass, etc. All greens contain alkaloids which, when they build up in your body, can become toxic. This can make you nauseated when you drink smoothies with the same greens daily for too long. As long as you rotate the greens occasionally it shouldn’t cause a problem.

      It’s funny, we had a 9-year-old friend sleepover a couple of weeks ago. He wouldn’t eat any fruit or vegetables. I made stir fry and he picked out every last vegetable, including the tiny onions, and ate the rice and meat. But he drank all of his green smoothie both mornings and actually asked for more. When I told his mom about it and he overheard that there was raw spinach in them he was appalled. He thought I’d been fooling my kids too and made sure they knew what I was “sneaking” into their breakfast smoothies. 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    Freezing the greens?!!! What a genius idea! That’s the #1 thing that makes it hard for me to make green smoothies: not having fresh greens on hand. I can’t wait to go to the store to get some! Thanks for the idea.