Eat your vegetables! I think most of us remember hearing that over and over again growing up. Just about every diet recommends a lot of vegetables, especially leafy greens. I recommend at least 3 hand size portions a day and that is a lot of vegetables. The question is… how do you eat that many vegetables? Easy… try green smoothies.
Green smoothies are my absolute favorite way to consume large quantities of dark leafy greens. Our family has them almost every day. If you are wondering, there is a big difference between a smoothie and juicing. I’m a big advocate of smoothies and am definitely not an advocate of juicing. My thoughts on why are here:Juicing vs Smoothies
Before what about fruit smoothies? I need to say I’m not a fan of most fruit smoothies. Most of the incredibly yummy ones are LOADED with sugar. For example, most are based with fruit juice. A cup of orange juice has 183 calories and 21 grams of sugar and a cup of apple juice has 113 calories and 24 grams of sugar. Add a banana with 134 calories and 14 grams of sugar and we haven’t even touched the carb count. A tall yummy smoothie can rival the calories and sugar in a milkshake. I do have some recipes with low glycemic fruit that are good for you that I like so don’t panic and think you have to give them up all together.
I’ll admit that green smoothies can be less than yummy. After all no one wants to eat something that tastes like grass and dirt. Fortunately we have some tricks up our sleeves to make them taste good while still being good for you. To start, I add a dropperful of liquid stevia. Most grocery store stevia is bitter or has a nasty aftertaste so I recommend NuNaturals Stevia. Adding a couple drops of cinnamon or fennel essential oil adds great flavor and cuts through some of the tastes that some find hard to drink. I also add a scoop full of vanilla protein shake. I prefer one that is sweetened with stevia and has Ashwagandha in it.
Before we get started I need to point out that these don’t taste like what you get at most of the popular commercially prepared stores that sell them. Most of them are loaded with sugar so they taste better (big surprise). So, yes they are strange at first but soon you discover their yumminess. These are the real deal. No junk, no added sugar, no water no caffeine. You will soon be addicted and feel empty when you miss them.
Our family uses a Vitamix. If you use something different, take a look at the manufacturers directions and adjust accordingly. Some have you layer differently and take more than the 90 seconds the Vitamix does. I do recommend the Vitamix 5200 should you fall in love with these too. Skip the pro version, it has the same motor and it really doesn’t work any better.
My husband is the smoothie guru in our house and he is the one who makes them every night right before I start cooking dinner.
Here is his recipe:
Jeff’s Basic Green Smoothie Recipe:
(In this order, hard stuff on the bottom, soft things & leafs at the top, ice added last)
Keep in mind that not all of this will be in season so just put in what you have.
Handful of blueberries (can be frozen)
Handful of red grapes (can be frozen) or 1/2 apple
2 strawberries (can be frozen)
1/2 orange or mango or 1″ slice of pineapple (I leave the core for fiber)
-cut off skins leave as much albedo (applies for other fruits like canteloupe)
(albedo is the white layer between fruit and skin contains most nutrients)
– orange skin is not good. It is a natural pesticide!
-whatever is in season
2″ chunk of cucumber (leave some skin, striped)
1 small carrot (chunk of a big one)
Half wedge of cantaloupe or 1/2 half mango, or a whole apricot, peach, plum, or nectarine
– whatever is in season
1-2 leaves with stalk of kale
Handful of spinach (8-10 leaves)
1 leaf with stalk of swiss chard
1 squirt of agave nectar (if you haven’t added a lot of juicy sweet fruit) or Stevia
2 heaping tablespoons of plain regular greek yogurt (not the non-fat)
1/2 scoop vanilla protein shake
2-4 drops of cinnamon or fennel essential oil
Top off with 10-12 ice cubes
Yell “Fire in the hole” (to warn your family and the dogs that it is going to sound like a speed boat just crashed into your house) and switch on the vitamix at ludicrous speed on off switch, plunge down forcefully, after you break down the solid pieces continue for about 90 seconds till smooth. You don’t want to overmix because it will lose the creamy blended chilled texture and become luke cold and watery which isn’t as appetizing. Drink immediately!
Drink these before a meal. An abundance of research shows that an empty digestive system can digest and convert this liquid nutrient in less than 1/2 hour. Mix it with carbs and proteins and that sludge all gets processed together inefficiently over 4-7 hours.
Another benefit of drinking before a meal is that it curbs appetite and gives a temporary full stomach feeling.
Check out the ANDI chart (see below) for the best juicing vegetables.
1. Mustard/Turnip/Collard Greens 1000
2. Kale 1000
3. Watercress 1000
4. Bok Choy/Baby Bok Choy 824
5. Spinach 739
6. Broccoli Rabe 715
7. Chinese/Napa Cabbage 704
9. Swiss Chard 670
10. Arugula 559
1. Radish 554
2. Bean Sprouts 444
3. Red Pepper 366
4. Radicchio 359
6. Carrot 336
1. Strawberries 212
2. Blackberries 178
3. Plum 157
4. Raspberries 145
5. Blueberries 130
6. Papaya 118
7. Orange 109
8. Cantaloupe 100
9. Kiwi 97
10. Watermelon 91
11. Peach 73
12. Apple 72
13. Cherries 68
14. Pineapple 64
15. Apricot 60
One of the tricks to success is to buy all the veggies, clean and process them in Ziploc bags and remove as much air as you can. It takes about 20 minutes and then you are ready to go all week! I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! If you can, try and have one a day for at least 5 days. More if you can!
Note: All essential oils aren’t created equally. Especially for internal use check the label to see if it is safe. Why?…Essential Oil Grades
If you’d like to know more about what products I use please send me a message below.
PS: I’m not trying to keep it a secret… the brand doesn’t allow their products named or pictured on non-company websites. I’d tell you if I could!
For next week you get a break. I’ll be traveling and so just keep doing the program as you have been without adding anything too it and I’ll have the next step the second week in February.
Follow the other weeks for the Make It Your Year Program