Green smoothie goodness

After making a passing reference to 'green smoothies' in a previous post (100 Push-ups (and 50 Pull-ups): Week 9) I thought that it would be fun to go deeper into the world of drinkable salads.

I first became aware of green smoothies through a friend.  She drank them during a yoga retreat and said that, after having a green smoothie for breakfast, she felt energized and satisfied for several hours.  Although no stranger to protein shakes, the idea of incorporating greens into a smoothie officially blew my mind.

I had been cooking up greens such as kale, collards, chard, and spinach on a regular basis, but my increasingly busy schedule made this impractical.  Mixing up greens in a blender would not only be easier, but they would be raw and nutritionally intact as well.

My first couple of attempts resulted in some pretty disgusting concoctions, but trial and error prevailed.  At this point, I have come up with some pretty reliable principles that you can follow to create your own healthy, tasty, and green smoothies.

Get a good blender!
A good blender is essential for successful green smoothie production.  A cheap unit won't have the power necessary to break the tough fiber (cellulose) into a palatable consistency.  The motor will probably burn out anyway, requiring the purchase of additional blenders.

My suggestion is to pick up a High-end Kitchen Aid, Hamilton Beach, or the Rolls-Royce of blenders, a  Vitamix.

Go shopping!
Head to your local farmers market, Whole Foods, or supermarket and raid the produce aisle.  Since you will be blending the peels as well as the fruit itself, buy organic to reduce exposure to the pesticides, herbicides, and waxes used on conventional produce.

As far as produce goes, my top picks include: bananas, kiwis, frozen berries (blue, straw, gogi, etc.), apples, pears, grapes, ginger root, lemon/lime, beets, carrots, greens (spinach, chard, kale, green-leaf lettuce, watercress, etc.), pomegranates, nuts/seeds (pecans, almonds, walnuts, flax, chia, etc.) and celery.

Get creative!
Ingredients that you may already have on hand, like spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla bean, etc.) and herbs (mint, basil, parsley, etc.) add flavor and nutrition.
"Rotate" your greens!
Some leafy greens such as spinach and chard contain a compound called oxalic acid.  While it isn't harmful in small quantities, it can build up in your system and impair the absorption of other nutrients like calcium.  Get around this by "rotating" between different greens every few days.

Basic Green Smoothie

1 banana sliced
1 kiwi cut into quarters
~15 almonds
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or protein powder (optional)
1 medium carrot, chopped into 4-5 pieces
1 medium stalk celery, chopped into 4-5 pieces
1/4 of a medium beet, sliced
3 medium sized leaves of kale (about two cups) washed and chopped into ~2in pieces.
Small chunk of ginger root (about the size of the tip of your finger)
Very thin slice of lemon
4-5 ice cubes

After all of the ingredients have been placed in the blender, add enough purified water to fill the blender about halfway.  Start mixing slow, and gradually increase the speed.  You want to make sure that all the pieces are completely broken down, so you may want to pulse the mix a few times to get all of the chunks.


Share on Google Plus

About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


  1. co-worker keeps talking about Green Smoothies. He bought a Vita-Mix about two months ago and loves it...maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy one, too.

  2. I definitely recommend checking out Kristen's e-book about raw cuisine as well!

  3. Gorgeous picture of greens in blender. Bet that would cure ADD:)