Introduction to green smoothies

by Bart on October 5, 2009

I believe that one of the reasons we tend to overeat is because we continue to crave food until our bodies are satisfied with the nutrition we provide them. Not just calories, or protein, but also vitamins, minerals, and other things that are required to keep the body working and in good shape.

One great way to get a lot of nutrients is to add leafy greens to the diet. But unfortunately, it is not easy to eat a lot of them. For most people a large salad may consist of few leaves of lettuce, or an ounce or two of spinach. At the same time, very few people eat dark leafy greens like kale, which have even more nutrition, since they are not very palatable. Their tough texture can be a turn off as well.

This is where green smoothies come in.

A green smoothie is a drink made from leafy greens, sweet fruit, and as much, or little, water and/or ice as needed for desired consistency. All the ingredients are put in a blender and in 20 -45 seconds, a super healthy and often very refreshing drink can be served.

The simplest green smoothies are the best to start with. I have already mentioned a banana spinach smoothie in another post, but I’ll repeat the ingredients here:

  • 2 bananas
  • 2.5 oz of baby spinach – supermarkets around where I live usually carry 5 oz containers, so it’s easy to grab just about half on one
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 ice cubes

I suggest this one as your first green smoothie. If you like it, try changing the ratio of fruit to greens over time, by increasing the amount of spinach or decreasing the amount of bananas. You may need to adjust the amount of water used when you do that too.

After a while, start adding some darker greens to the above, perhaps one leaf at the time. I suggest going with kale next, then chard, then collard greens. If you feel more adventurous, try adding a bit of mixed herb salad – something I’ve also gotten in a container at the supermarket.

Some of the leafy greens, kale for example, have stems that are quite tough. Unless you have a VitaMix or other high powered blender, it might be better to leave those off.

It’s fun to experiment to see what combinations work best for you. This morning, for example, I tried:

  • 2 bananas
  • 2.5 oz of baby spinach
  • 6 small kale leaves
  • small handful of parsley
  • water and ice

I found it very good, but parsley added to a smoothie, even in small amounts, might take some getting used to.

A more advanced smoothie might be as follows:

  • 1 apple
  • 2.5 oz of baby spinach
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 stalk of celery – even though not a leafy green, celery stalks are not rare in green smoothies
  • water and ice

Finally, if you want to… let’s use the phrase “find out what you are made of”, try:

  • half a bunch of kale – about 12 small leaves
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • water and ice
Strawberry ginger kale smoothie ingredients

Strawberry ginger kale smoothie ingredients

This was my experimental smoothie for this evening. The ginger provided a lot of kick and strawberries weren’t sweet enough to offset the heavy taste of kale. It’s definitely a drink for green smoothie pros.

Strawberry ginger kale smoothie

Strawberry ginger kale smoothie

I did enjoy it though.

I would also like to share with you some tips for successful green smoothie experimentation:

  • for best results do not combine sweet fruit and starchy vegetables
  • drink your smoothies at least an hour or two after you last ate – they get digested very quickly
  • do not eat for 30 minutes after having a smoothie
  • drink your smoothie slowly and “chew” it – saliva helps digestion, increasing nutrient intake
  • if you make too much, simply store the excess in the fridge, in a closed glass container and have more later in the day

Finally a warning… drinking green smoothies may increase cravings for green smoothies.

Enjoy :-)

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