Given today’s industrial food system, the green smoothie is a survival skill. With it you can add raw leafy greens to your diet painlessly. It has the power to transform someone who never eats vegetables into someone who eats veggies with breakfast. Here are two recipes:
Coconut Strawberry Green Smoothie
1 cup of water
2+ cups of leafy greens
1 can of coconut milk
Creamy Cocoa Green Smoothie
1.5 cups water
2+ cups of leafy greens
2 tbsp of cocoa and/or several dashes of cinnamon
Recipes: I hesitate to offer any recipes because all I’m really trying to make clear is this: If you blend up some fruit, you can sneak a copious amount of veggies in too. That’s it. That’s all. The ratios and recipes are infinite.
Greens: I use mint, collards, kale, spinach, lettuce, chard, broccoli leaves, parsley, arugula, basil, dandelion… Remember: there is no one superfood. Go for variety. Try any edible leaf you come across. Some will be very mild and hardly noticeable (spinach) others will be quite distinct (avoid mustard greens unless you know what they are). Greens can be frozen too, meaning you should never have greens that go bad in your fridge. If you’re having trouble making it through that big bag of salad mix, freeze it.
Fruit: If you’re trying to minimize the amount of sugar in your smoothie go for berries. A dozen strawberries, for example, have half the sugar of one apple and yet more fruit flavor.
Blending Technique: You don’t need a $200 blender. If you learn good blending technique then a $10 Oster blender off Craig’s List will be fine. I like blending the greens (with water) first since they are what most need blending.
Yogurt/Milk: These can make a smoothie especially delicious. But yogurt also tends to double the cost.
Raw Smoothie Theory: Compared to us, our hunter gatherer ancestors ate a lot of leafy greens. They had to just to stay alive. And our bodies having spent a million years in that mode still expect those greens. Of course today rather than hunters we are the prey of the marketing machine, which tries to snare us with the most tantalizing, rich-tasting, high profit margin, but nutrient-poor foods. But despite our vacuous diets our DNA is still waiting for those nutrients. Which is why we need a way to boost our intake of raw leafy greens without the motivation once lent by frequent impending starvation.
Blending vs. Juicing: I prefer smoothies to juicing because all the stuff that is thrown away when juicing is better off inside you. With a smoothie you get it all and that makes a meal. Also, the body doesn’t need the sugar from ten carrots and five apples in three quick gulps of juice. Better to eat two whole carrots and one whole apple with the sugars and nutrients intertwined with fiber.
Green Powders: I keep green powder on hand in case I run out of greens or am traveling. Trader Joe’s makes one called Very Green that’s inexpensive.
Satiety: If you just want a snack or some micronutrients between meals go for fruit and greens. If you want the smoothie to be the meal and satisfy your hunger for a while, up the fat and protein such as with coconut milk and sunflower seeds.