Smoothies are all the rage lately, and with good reason – they are a tasty way to pack all kinds of good for you things into one glass. My favorite smoothie isn’t pumpkin pie flavored, or made to taste like a peanut butter cup though–it’s green. Now don’t get me wrong, I love an almond butter & banana smoothie and all of those other ones as well, but nothing gives me that healthy buzz feeling like a green smoothie. I got turned onto them when I read Victoria Boutenko’s book Green for Life
about 4 years ago. I’ve been drinking them and making them for family and friends ever since. I’ve bought the book at least FOUR times but I always end up “lending” it out in my evangelical fervor to get people to try it, and then never remember who I lent them to! Fortunately for you, the Boutenko’s have a great blog with tons of information on the healing properties of raw foods, LOTS of great info about green smoothies and why they are so good for you, as well as recipes. Here’s a quote from their blog
“Greens are the most nutritionally dense food available on the planet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, and phytonutrients. What better way to consume them than in a delicious green smoothie? The fresh ripe fruits dominate the flavor of the greens and the absence of any fats maximize the absorption of the nutrients. These two factors make the green smoothie the most epic nutritious concoction the world has seen to date. Adding even one cup of green smoothie a day to one’s existing diet can dramatically improve anyone’s health. And the best part is, nearly everyone already has what they need to make a green smoothie sitting around in their kitchen right now!”
It’s all true! Even my four year old son has been drinking green smoothies since he was weaned off of breast milk and he loves them. My husband who is not a huge fan of vegetables will also drink them. I just made a batch for my mother in law who is fighting a cold and I’m confident that while it’s not a miracle cure, she’s better off for drinking them. Whenever I feel under the weather I step up my green smoothie intake and inevitably I feel healthier and have more energy. And the best part is that they are DELICIOUS! I have been known to whip up a quick batch at dinner parties when we’re chatting and the subject comes up and people make “the face” at the idea of drinking anything with kale, collards, or spinach in it. I feel compelled to convince them that it really is delicious and I’ve never had anyone disagree when they tasted it. So if you’ve never tried it, jump on the bandwagon
now and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel! And if you have picky kids (or husbands) that don’t eat their veggies, (or even if they do) whip up a batch and you won’t believe how fast they’ll gulp them down and ask for more.
Ok, now that I’ve gone on and on about how great they are let’s get down to practical matters – do you need a special blender to make them? In a word, no. BUT, a high powered blender like a vita mix or something similar will open up a whole new world of ingredient options to you. For example, when we were in CT I really, really, REALLY missed my Vitamix and will never leave it behind again when we go on an extended trip like that. I had a typical blender at the house we were renting but it could only really handle organic baby spinach and soft fruits like bananas. Of course just those two things and water make an excellent smoothie but you’ll want some variety if you’re going to make it a habit. With my vitamix, I can use kale, pineapple, whole peeled clementines, grapes and other fibrous fruits and greens and get a smooth and creamy consistency. A normal blender would never be able to handle that stuff without an unpleasant pulpy consistency. I know because I’ve tried! But papaya which I love and is SO GOOD FOR YOU would blend just fine in a normal blender–as would any other soft, non fibrous fruits and greens (organic baby spinach, romaine, butter or other soft lettuce). You’re making “the face” aren’t you?!?! Stop it! Give it a chance, you’ll be amazed at how the fruits will neutralize and enhance the flavor of the greens. When you first start out, you’ll want to use a higher ratio of fruits vs greens, but once you get the taste for it, you’ll be able to use much less fruit and you’ll come to crave that green flavor–I promise! So give them a try with any normal blender using easily blendable stuff before you start worrying that you have to upgrade. Which if you love cooking I suggest you start saving up anyway because my vitamix is the single best purchase I’ve ever made for my kitchen and I use it almost daily.
Now, a recipe. Again I suggest you visit the Boutenko’s blog
for many more recipes but I’m giving you my favorite “go to” combo here.
Makes 2 quarts
1 cup chopped papaya
1 cup chopped pineapple (omit for basic blender)
1 peeled ripe banana
2 cups fresh collard leaves (org baby spinach for b.b.)
5 ice cubes
2-3 cups water (adjust for consistency as desired)
Blend. Drink. Be healthier.
As a side note, I do my prep (peeling, chopping, etc) in large batches and keep the fruit ingredients in the fridge or, if I have a lot of stuff, in the freezer. If you’re using frozen fruit, you can omit the ice cubes. Doing the prep ahead of time helps me stay on track because all I have to do is toss the stuff in and hit blend which takes less than two minutes total so there are no excuses not to make them. Also, when you are just starting out you may experience some detox symptoms like headaches which is normal. If you have “issues” with the increase in fiber, you can thin them out with more water which usually helps in the first couple of days! If you try them I’d love to hear your comments on what ingredients you used, how they tasted, and if you got the healthy “buzz” from them! Now go forth and be green!