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green smoothie

I have been drinking green smoothies daily for about six months now and truly cannot imagine my life without them. I was first inspired by my friend Lynn, who was telling me about her improved health and how easy it was to incorporate green smoothies into her routine. Even while talking about it at my dining room table my body was saying “YES, PLEASE!” so I knew that the time was right to incorporate a healthy new habit into my life. I had been drinking various fruit smoothies occasionally as a treat but this felt a little more hard core for me, having to overcome the thought of leafy greens belonging in a salad bowl and not in my smoothie!

fruit
There has been some hype around green smoothies over the past few years. When I first heard about them in the past it was mainly from people in the media who had been diagnosed with a fatal illness and made sudden and radical changes in their diets, dramatically cutting back on animals fats and proteins and increasing the amounts of raw fruits and vegetables in their diets. Green smoothies are one of many delicious ways of getting these vital nutrients into one’s diet, even on the go. I make a large batch fresh each morning and drink one large smoothie slowly as I drive the hour in to work. In the evenings, when I arrive home tired and hungry, I reach for the second smaller glass (leftover from the morning) and almost immediately feel revived and energized.

peppermint

Today, many people drink green smoothies in order to maintain their health, boost their immune systems, get that boost of energy in the mornings, or simply because they taste great! There are so many different combinations of fruits and vegetables that work well together and there are countless videos and articles online with recipes and tutorials if you need some extra help getting started. Once you do get going, you’ll see how simple it is, how little time it actually takes to blend one, and how amazing you feel with this one to two extra servings of fresh raw fruit and vegetables everyday.

spinach

The only equipment you will need is that blender in your cupboard that you’re currently hardly using! (Note: you can buy fancier, more powerful blenders specifically for raw food blending, but start with what you have.)

Start by adding your fruit- if you’re putting any in. Some days it’s nice to have a pure vegetable juice but on most days I like to add a banana and a ripe apple or pear. Then I add fresh water to the blender and whatever green I am using that day. I blend all of this up and add more water if it’s too thick. There you have it- a basic green smoothie! Easy.

green smoothie

Of course, now you’ll have to play a little, and try different ingredients each day. This will give your body a fantastic variety of good foods and you’ll never, ever get bored of the same old combination. Note that depending on what ingredients you choose, your green smoothie might actually look purple or an unappetizing brown color (like when I add frozen Saskatoon berries or blackberries). Don’t let this put you off- the smoothies still taste great.
Tips:
FRUITS: For higher flavor, look for organic fruits that are in season, including melons, berries, pineapple, mangos, papaya, grapes, fresh coconut, apples, peaches, pears, avocados, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, etc. You can also chop and freeze fruits, such as berries, while at the peak of ripeness and add them to your green smoothies all winter long. Try soaking dried fruits, such as dates, apricots, raisons, prunes, mango, etc.  overnight and adding them to the smoothie in the morning.
GREENS: I alternate between spinach, arugula, dandelion greens, chickweed greens, kale and Swiss chard. In the fall, I like to juice dandelion greens and freeze the juice in ice cube trays, then store the ice cubes in large ziplock bags. I also blend chickweed with water and freeze cubes of the blended green for smoothies. Fresh sprouts also add a nice flavor are are packed with nutrients. Try adding parsley, cilantro, basil or mint in small amounts for added flavor.
OTHER VEG
Try tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber and celery. You can also add carrot juice. Anything goes and the best rule of thumb is to start with those fruits and veggies that you really like.
OTHER OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
1-2 tablespoons hemp or soy protein powder
1/4 teaspoon spirulina (potent!)
1/2 teaspoon maca
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds or flax seed oil
1 tablespoon psyllium husks
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Nut milk along with/instead of water
coconut water along with/instead of water
any fresh fruit or vegetable juice (i.e. pomegranate juice)
a few drops of pure vanilla extract
In the six months that I’ve been drinking green smoothies daily, there has only been a few occasions where I’ve had to go without. I really missed my morning boost and after that, travelled (locally) with my blender and small cooler full of fruits and veggies! There are also smoothie and juice bars in many locations where you can stop by and have someone make you the smoothie of your choice. This is a nice and healthy alternative to the tempting coffee and pastry habit! Enjoy!