A green smoothie/ green juice is possibly the best gift nature has to offer in a glass. I know a green smoothie doesn’t exactly sound appetizing. But mostly it’s about getting used to drinking something green. To a certain degree it’s also an acquired taste. But so is alcohol. And you didn’t let it’s bad taste stop you, did you now? What’s more, unlike alcohol, this green cocktail has some seriously awesome health benefits.
Green smoothies taste a heck of a lot better than they look. With the right recipe, which means you get the ratios of vegetables to fruit just right, you’ll barely taste the vegetables in your juice at all. Generally the fruit taste dominates the flavor of the drink, while the greens balance out the fruit’s sweetness, adding nice bit of zest. For example, if you’ve added apples and lemons, that’ll be the overriding taste of your green drink. And for those of you who’ve tried a shot of wheatgrass juice – don’t use it as an indicator! Green smoothies and green juices taste absolutely nothing like it.
For those of you who need a little validation, Iron Man, Monk (the detective) and Popeye are fans of the green stuff. Who knows, maybe the Green Lantern likes it too. Other than superheroes, a few mortals have also cottoned on to the benefits of green drinks. Gisele Bunchen, Miranda Kerr, Nicole Richie, Olivia Wilde, Fergie, Amanda Seyfried, Eva Longoria, Drew Barrymore, Hillary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens are just some of Hollywood’s green smoothie devotees. And there are some pretty all-right-looking and well-known guys who enjoy a green juice: Vince Vaughn, Channing Tatum, Owen Wilson, Josh Duhamel and Ryan Seacrest to name a few. So why do a boat load of famous face seem to love a green drink?
HOLLYWOOD’S SECRET LOVE AFFAIR
GREEN SMOOTHIES ARE HEALTHY
- Green smoothies are a jam packed with vitamins and minerals. A green smoothie is low in calories, while providing your body with living enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
- Vegetables better and more easily digested. Because the greens have been blended or juiced, the cells in the greens and fruits are broken open, making the valuable nutrients easy for the body to absorb. The greens are to all intents and purposes “pre-digested”, which means that the vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other goodies are easily assimilated and utilized by the body, such that you’ll get maximum benefit and faster absorption. With absorption literally starting in your mouth.
- Green smoothies and green juices mean your body doesn’t have to work hard to break down greens (which can be difficult to digest), as they are already pre-digested, allowing your body to focus on repair, healing and detoxification.
- Green smoothies allow you to get a greater dose of vegetable nutrition than you could ever manage to eat in a day. Unlike green smoothies, green juice gets rid of fiber (but keeps all the vegetables nutrients). Because it’s just the good stuff, this means you can eat several pounds of greens in one sitting, plus it rests your stomach.
- Get enzymes and nutrients. We eat much of our vegetable cooked. Unfortunately the delicate micronutrients in the cooking process are negatively altered by the cooking process or lost. However, green smoothies are made of raw vegetables and lose none of their nutritional value. For similar reasons, vegetables juices in a jar or canned are inferior to a freshly made green juice that’s replete with nutrients and enzymes.
- Green smoothies/ green juice helps your body restore itself to a state of healthy alkalinity. Since the typical Western diet is made up of far too many acidic foods, e.g. coffee, meat and cheese, the neutralizing effects of green smoothies are particularly pertinent.
- A molecule of human blood closely resembles a molecule of chlorophyll. Dr. Ann Wigmore, believes that consuming chlorophyll is akin to a blood transfusion.
- Green smoothies/ green juices make a great pre- or post-workout drink.
- Green drinks are thought to help curb cravings for junk food, sugary foods, and processed foods as they are packed with nutrients, which means your body stops searching for something else to fill it and is no longer hungry.
- Reduced cravings will help weight loss efforts, as you’re not constantly battling against your better judgement. Basically, green drinks will help make sticking to your diet considerably easier. Green smoothies are low calorie, but full of fiber, which means they’re filling and can easily replace a meal such a breakfast. Also, fiber is important for our elimination system.
- Green smoothies are very nutritious. The ratio in them is optimal for human consumption; about 60% ripe organic fruit mixed with about 40% organic greens.
GREEN SMOOTHIES ARE CONVENIENT
- Green smoothies make a highly nutritious and convenient meal. You can drink it on your way to work, at work, while on the run or your post-workout drink. A green smoothie is essentially an incredibly healthy meal in a cup.
- Green smoothies also make for a great breakfast for busy families. Since smoothies are full of fiber, it means that they are filling, helping you to cut down on snacking between meals.
- The great thing about green smoothies is that no special equipment is necessary. A regular blender will do. If you’re making green juice, you’ll need a juicer. Both green smoothies and green juices are easy to make and only take a few minutes to make.
MAKING A GREEN SMOOTHIE/ GREEN JUICE
- If you’re new to green smoothies/ juices, start with more fruit than usual, until you get used to the taste. Choose a sweet fruit that you enjoy. For example, if you’re juicing add a few more apples, if you’re making a smoothie add more pineapple. Once you have acquired the taste – though there really isn’t that much to acquire – you can start to add more vegetables and less fruit.
- Experiment and fine-tune the mix and ratio of ingredients in the smoothie/ juice to your own liking until you’ve found your own particular green smoothie/ recipe that matches your unique tastes. Maybe you like apples or cucumbers or celery. Only you know what you like, so adjust where needed.
- Another tip before you start blending or juicing, is not to mix fruit with protein because it can lead to bloating. Protein takes a couple of hours to digest, fruit is digested much more quickly, such that the fruit will start to ferment and cause bloating. It’s uncomfortable and a waste of digestive energy.
- If you’re making a smoothie, you should chew your smoothie a little to aid digestion.
- The albedo or pith (white part of citrus fruits) is part of the peel and high in Vitamin C and bioflavonoids (an antioxidant). Therefore, try to leave on as a much as possible when peeling citrus fruit.
- Remove hard seeds or pits from fruit such as cherries, peaches and plums. Smaller seeds from fruit such as watermelon can be left, and they do provide valuable nutrients.
- Green smoothies and green juices are best consumed immediately upon making. However, if you must blend or juice some time ahead of when you’ll be drinking it, store your smoothie or juice in a narrow, airtight glass container and fill it to the rim to minimize oxidation.
Important Tip! Add a teaspoon of oil, such as extra virgin coconut oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, coconut oil and evening primrose oil (I like Udo’s Choice Oil Blend a mix of Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils). Many of the nutrients are fat soluble, such as Vitamin K, which means some fat is needed by the body for proper assimilation.
COMMON INGREDIENTS IN GREEN DRINKS
There are lots of different greens out there, allowing you to experiment with different green to find a combination that best suits your tastes and needs:
- Collard greens
- Spring greens
- Swiss chard
- Green cabbage
- Barley grass
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Mint (use in smaller quantities)
- Parsley (use in smaller quantities)
- Cilantro (coriander)
Those of you new to green smoothies/ juices should start off with greens with a mild taste, such as collard greens and spring greens. Mustard greens and dandelion greens have stronger taste, as do herbs such as mint and parsley. You can add these to your green drink once you are accustomed to the taste.
- Lemons/ limes
- Strawberry (and other berries)
- Garlic (don’t try this before work or a date!)
- Salt to taste
GREEN SMOOTHIE RECIPES
My go-to Green Juice Recipe is:
- Approx. 2 cups of spring greens/ collard greens with or without kale
- ½ cucumber
- 3-4 stalks organic celery
- 1 lemon/ lime
- 2 apples – cored (I like them sweet and tart e.g. Braeburn)
Alternate soft and sturdy vegetables and fruit to push pulp through juicer.
The taste of the greens is almost completely masked by the cucumber in this green juice, which give a lot of juice, the lime and the apples. This green juice is very refreshing. Once you made it a few times, why not add ginger for some kick or some herbs. As you grow more confident and get used to making green juice, you can also increase the amount of greens you add.
Basic Green Smoothie 1:
- 1 cup green grapes
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 ripe banana, peeled
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup ice cubes
Dr. Oz’s Green Smoothie
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups cucumber
- 1 head of celery
- 1/2 inch or teaspoon ginger root
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 apples
- Juice of 1 lime
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Glowing Green Smoothie by nutritionist Kimberly Snyder
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3-4 stalks organic celery
- 1/2 head of a large bunch, or 3/4 of a small bunch of spinach
- 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
- 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
- 1 organic banana
- Juice of 1/2 fresh organic lemon
- 1/3 bunch organic cilantro (stems are fine)
- 1/3 bunch organic parsley (stems are fine)
Add the water and chopped head of romaine to the blender. Start with the blender at low speed and mix until smooth. Gradually increase speed, add the celery, apple and pear. If you are using cilantro and parsley, add them last. Add banana and lemon juice last.
The fruit and lemon cut will right though the taste of the greens. Mix and match different greens and fruits, as these two specific food groups combine well.