Why green smoothies?
In an effort to incorporate more greens into my diet, I began my green smoothie experiments and have made over 1,000 smoothies since then. My green smoothie adventure has taught me that bitter is an acquired taste, and with time and experimenting, I am growing continually more fond of greens. Here is a step-by-step for making green smoothies…
Greens-to-fruit ratio. Unless you are already a big fan of greens, my advice is to start slowly. When you first start making green smoothies, start with a small portion of greens. My first green smoothie contained a single leaf of kale. And when I looked at that kale leaf I remember thinking it was huge. My early goal was to hide the kale taste with the sweetness from the fruit. But now, half the blender is filled with greens, and I love the taste.
- Either fresh or frozen. Fresh, in-season fruit is just delicious, you almost feel like you are infusing yourself with sunshine. And frozen fruit gives the shake a really fun, dessert-like quality.
- Organic whenever possible
- Be aware of food combining. I am still in the process of my experiments with food combining, so I’ll share them in a later blog-post, but for now, just be aware that food combining matters. I have noticed one food combination worth noting: melon digests best when it stands alone.
- Any dark leafy green you want!
- For me Kale was a perfect “beginner” green. I could mask the bitter taste with fruit. I now surprise myself with how much I actually enjoy kale. There are a number of types of kale, all good.
- Spinach. Another tasty and familiar “beginner” green
- Dandelion greens. These greens are more bitter, but they have a hearty portion of vitamins and minerals. So, I always feel like I am benefiting my health with each sip.
- Arugula is another great choice
- Water or ice are always a straight forward choice
- Coconut water. The electrolytes and potassium are a plus. And certainly it adds a yummy flavor. It is pricey though, so I don’t usually add it to my green smoothies, instead every once in a while I drink it as a mid-afternoon snack. (also worth mentioning… coconut water goes into the carb category if you are tracking your macronutrient intake)
- Orange juice. Orange juice can sometimes be a nice add as you are easing yourself into acquiring a taste for the bitter greens, and it is mighty tasty. But eventually, aim to use just water or ice. Adding the orange juice for me causes a peak of energy followed by a small crash… which means a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash… and that’s not the goal for optimal wellness. Without orange juice, and especially when I add a fat like avocado, the smoothie provides a steady satiated feeling that lasts until the next meal.
In addition to the fruit and greens, here are some other ingredients I’ve experimented with:
Vanilla – 1 teaspoon
Adding vanilla to a smoothie is like adding a yum factor. But the yum-to-vanilla ratio is about 1 tsp. of vanilla for every 2-serving portion. Too much vanilla= not yum.
Flax seed—1-2 tablespoons
Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3 and a good source of fiber. According to Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, the health benefits of flaxseed are numerous.
Nuts – ¼ cup
Adding healthy fat and high-protein to the smoothie helps make it more filling. I have found that when I add nuts or avocado, I don’t even think about food again for 3-4 hours.
Avocado – ¼ of a medium avocado
Another terrific healthy fat, see my nuts comment above
As you branch out with your smoothies, try experimenting with cinnamon, nutmeg, or a dash of cayenne
May everything you eat become health and harmony within