Thursday, September 8, 2011

Green Smoothies

Allow me to introduce you to what has become unquestionably the greatest health and diet invention to ever enter my life (drumroll, please): The Green Smoothie. Here it is, in all its glory.

“What makes a green smoothie so much cooler than other smoothies?” you might ask. And what makes it so green?

Before I answer these and other questions, let me backtrack a little and make it clear that I am not the inventor of the green smoothie, though I wish I could take credit for something so wondrous and life changing. A few years ago I started following a few Vegan and Raw Vegan blogs, and these smoothies were popping up everywhere. They were as popular among the raw food community as Pogs were in Mrs. Brown’s  second grade class. Or Nano Babies in fourth grade. Or Jncos in sixth grade…  anyways, you get the point. To see what all the fuss was about, I decided to make one of my own. I’ll be honest, it took me a few tries to get it right. My first couple batches looked like straight up swamp sludge, and tasted about the same. Once I started to learn which fruits went best with which greens, things really improved. The thing that most amazed me was that I could make something so yummy without having to include yogurt or other dairy products. Why add the needless sugar and fat? If you're wondering what does actually go into a green smoothie without yogurt and milk, here’s a very basic outline:

  • 1 banana. Two if you’re feeling crazy or if you know you're about to put some funky greens in.
  • About a cup and a half of fruit. I like to use a mixture of fresh and frozen; for instance, a pear and a handful of frozen blueberries, or an apple and a few frozen cherries.
  • About two cups of some variety of greens. The greens usually take up half of my blender. If I’m using something mild like spinach, I’ll add more as I blend- I swear, you can’t taste it at all!
  • About a cup and a half of ice water, or a water/juice mixture.

That’s it! Blend for about a minute, or more depending on the quality of your blender. One big problem when I first started making these was that I wasn’t blending them long enough. Having to chew your smoothies can be a huge turn-off, so don’t be afraid to add more ice and wake up your neighbor’s napping infant and just blend, blend, blend.
*Adding ice is really important, because as the smoothie heats up from your blender’s motor the nutrients (aka enzymes) are compromised. Keeping it cool prevents this and makes your smoothie way healthier.

I try to have at least one green smoothie a day. I’ll typically make them in the morning, or store them in mason jars the night before if I know I have to get up really early. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, so to me this replaces the energy burst that most people hope to find in their morning cup of joe. Also, even if I eat unhealthy the rest of the day, I can at least feel good about consuming more greens in a single sitting than a lot of people eat over the course of a couple days.
So here’s today’s smoothie, before I blended it.

1 Fuji apple
A few frozen pineapple chunks
A mixture of collard greens and romaine
A small handful of sprouts
About a teaspoon each of Hempseeds and Flaxseeds
A stalk of celery
One frozen banana
Ice water

Delightful! I overslept this morning, so I actually ended up making this as an after-work snack. Carl and I shared it before taking the dogs on a walk. It has been absolutely gorgeous here the past couple of days, so the dogs are loving the fact that we can take longer walks without pouring out a gallon of sweat and suffering heat stroke.

More recipes and pictures to come! I might end up doing something along the lines of a "Smoothie Thursday" blog post weekly. Or maybe just "Recipe Thursday," in case I get slack on my smoothie-making and want to recap other kitchen adventures. I wish it rhymed, but I guess you can't win them all.

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