Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green Smoothies

Recently, a friend who has a kitchen that consists of a mini-fridge & microwave (I'm not sure she has a stove!) asked me how she could get more vegetables, especially leafy greens, into her diet without all that pesky cooking & eating of solid food.  Since I am a huge fan of green smoothies, I put together my notes on green smoothies for her and after a few weeks she reports that she wakes up craving her green smoothie and her day is not the same without it!

There's a TON of information on the internet about green smoothies - lots of "recipes" and recommendations for the "correct" proportions of leafy greens and fruit and lots of information on the correct "order" to put things into the blender.

Here's my take on the Green Smoothie:
  1. Put 1 cup of cold water into the blender.
  2. Depending on size, add 3-6 leaves of kale, chard, collards and/or a handful of spinach, parsley or cilantro.  
  3. Process until all the green stuff is pulverized.
  4. Add fresh or frozen raw fruit/avocado/zucchini.
  5. Process til pulverized, adding enough water to bring up to 4 or 5 cups.
  6. (optional) Add some freshly squeezed lemon or other citrus juice (I usually keep a jar of lemon juice in the fridge)
  7. (optional) raw cacao powder, raw protein powder, psyllium husk powder
You might say "I hate kale, I can barely eat it!" but the truth is - once you make a smoothie - you won't notice the taste of the greens because they blend right in with whatever fruit or other veggies you make.  If you want it creamier, use some frozen fruit or a small zucchini/courgette.  Zucchini adds some good protein and makes anything creamy when blended.   

My favorite fruits are fresh mangos and strawberries (which I froze last fall on cookie sheets).  Here in California, mangos are cheap - you can get them 5 for $5 at Whole Foods, even.  Avocados are pretty cheap out here too - sometimes you can find the little small avocados for under $1 each, just the right size for a smoothie.  Avocados are a healthy source of fat (and you do not have to buy organic because the skins are very thick - just try to get California avos, or Mexico but stay away from stuff imported from other continents generally). Personally - I stay away from most tropical fruit.  Fresh pineapples hurt my mouth, bananas just don't taste as good here as they do in the places where they are grown. 

I try to put mostly greens into my smoothies - and I have a ton of parsley growing in the yard, so this morning is probably going to be:  chard, parsley, 1/4 avo, 3-4 frozen persimmon cubes (about 1/2 c persimmon puree) and 1 scoop raw vegan protein powder (brown rice based).

Most smoothie recipes don't include protein powder because you are getting all the natural enzymes from the raw greens to make protein - but I do this personally about every other smoothie or when I am going to make the smoothie all I eat for most of the day (and then I make more than 1 qt and drink it while I am working).

Take advantage of your raw dessert recipe leftovers for smoothies!  Recently,  I made a key lime green smoothie the other day after making up the filling for a raw key lime pie (which I was making with a recipe from the Cafe Gratitude dessert book "Sweet Gratitude") - with young coconut milk & water, avocado, lime and collard greens, plus a handful of locally harvested pineapple guava that someone gifted me at an East Bay Raw Foods MeetUp.  It was incredibly delicious!

Green smoothie keeps well in the fridge - so you could drink half and bring the other half to work to have for a mid-morning snack.  Unlike fresh green juice, it doesn't oxidize and become some awful unappetizing color.

Here are a couple of my favorite green smoothie websites -- get some ideas but don't get hung up on details, just throw some good greens into your blender, add water, whiz & enjoy!

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