I have a confession to make. I kind of hate salads.
Can you blame me really? If you get a salad in a restaurant, it's likely a pile of poorly chopped iceberg lettuce, which pretty much just tastes like crunchy water. If you're lucky there is a wedge of tomato AND a slice of cucumber. I don't even like tomatoes so I'm really out of luck. Fancy salads I like, especially if there is the trifecta of nuts, fruit and cheese. I never fix salads at home. It seems like a lot of trouble with the gathering of tasty things and the chopping. It's too much trouble. My mom says that everyone feels this away about salads, but then again, my mom gave up on "cooking" sometime when I was a teenager.
Anyway, I actually love all kinds of greens but I was having a hard time incorporating them into my diet consistently, until we got a fancy Vitamix blender and now I am completely obsessed with green smoothies. They are delicious and now and I am sharing what I've learned and loved with you!
I have to credit Raw Family for a lot of what I've learned about green smoothies. They have an app you can download for your iPhone that has a ton of recipes that are great inspiration. From there I have figured out, in general, what works for me.
It's my understanding that blending your fruits and greens break down the cell walls and make the nutrients more easily absorbed by your body. Smoothies (and juices) for this reason are easily digestible, and so I tend to stick to this formula and don't add dairy, almond, or soy milk, or any other veggies except leafy greens. So far this has made my tummy happy. If I'm still hungry after my green smoothie breakfast, then I'll make some toast or have some yogurt or something. It's also my understanding that you should rotate your greens because all greens have alkaloids in them, and if one type builds up in your body, it can make you sick. That being said, the many of sources where I've seen this point back to Raw Family, and as far as I can tell, alkaloids have other benefits for your system. If anyone smart about nutrition can clarify, that would be awesome. I'd like to know the scoop. Variety is good, and so I like to change it up anyway.
OmChantress's (nearly) Fool-Proof Green Smoothie formula
- 1. Greens
- Obvious, yes? Start small if you're nervous. I'll pack my blender about 1/3-1/2 full. This is about 1/2 bunch of spinach. Spinach, and especially baby spinach is very mild tasting, a little grassy and fresh. Romaine is also mild. I like swiss chard, which is a little earthy tasting. I found Kale to be a little too strong, but I'm OK with that because I love kale chips and this lemon-miso kale recipe.
- 2. A banana
- The banana is essential to creating a good texture and it also adds a little sweetness. If you can't deal with bananas, pears, peaches, blackberries, and citrus fruits are also packed with the soluble fiber that will help hold your smoothie together.
- 3. About 2 cups of fruit
- Go crazy! I like to just stick with just one or two kinds of fruit. I'll use stronger tasting fruit with swiss chard or other stronger tasting greens. A couple dates will add sweetness. I'll also sometimes put in a little bit of fresh grated ginger.
- 4. About 1 1/2 cups of water
- I like my smoothies to be pretty thin. You might need to adjust depending on what kind of water content your goodies have. Coconut water or juice is nice, too.
- 5. 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed (optional)
- The Omega-3s in flax seed reduce inflammation and are good for your joints! Hard to get otherwise, so I toss it in my smoothie.
When I make a smoothie I'll tweet about it (@omchantress). If you're on Twitter and making smoothies use #greensmoothie so I can see your favorite recipes too!