The Shamrock: Introducing the Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

St. Patty’s day is upon us and I’m thinking green. So I figured I’d share one of my favorite Green Smoothie recipes. It’s not only one of my favorites, but was also the hit recipe at the Green Smoothie party my girlfriends and I had a few months back…  yep, I did say Green Smoothie party! A really fun way to  share recipes and inspiration with other health conscious friends. Why deny an excuse to get together?

What’s a Green Smoothie?

Whenever I heard the term “Smoothie” I would automatically think yogurt and dairy mixed with fruit as most people do. But I am here to tell you that those types of smoothies are SO yesterday! Now it’s all about the green. Some people give me the strangest looks when they find out I actually put greens such as Spinach or Kale in the blender and blend with fruit for a powerhouse of raw nutrition that tastes amazing! Don’t knock it ’til ya try it!

My girlfriend Jinny who is a raw food extraordinaire, introduced me to this health drink about a year ago. I threw my first Green Smoothie party in March 2009 and had her teach me and a few friends how easy it was to make them  (once you wrap your mind around the concept that is) there are tons of recipes and combinations. Never boring! Some days I do have better luck than others when creating smoothies (just being honest) but 99% of the time they usually turn out great. You can be sure I will post more recipes on this blog.

So March happens to be my one year Green Smoothie anniversary! I haven’t missed more than a day or two the whole year. I think I’m addicted! I truly swear by these green concoctions which have made the greatest impact on my health over anything I have tried! I’m mostly happy about the fact that my 2 1/2 yr old also loves and drinks one with me every day. It puts my mind at ease to know he’s drinking something healthy, because as a typical toddler he is getting much pickier about food. Ugh!

Green Smoothie Party

Why Greens

  • Greens are very important for us as they have cancer fighting properties
  • Greens have high protein and fiber which aid in eliminating toxins
  • Greens help bring down acidity in our pH and make us more alkaline. Cancer and disease thrive in acidic environments which the standard American diet helps promote.
  • Chlorophyll molecules (plant blood) closely resemble human blood and it helps to purify our blood

Why Raw

Green Smoothies are “Raw” which means, not cooked. Therefore we retain all the vitamins, nutrients, fiber and living enzymes.  When we eat cooked food, our body produces a large amount of white blood cells (Leukocytosis) indicating a foreign invader has entered our system. When we eat the same food raw, there is no increase in the white blood cell count. When you cook food, you cook away  important enzymes our bodies need to properly digest food. Our immune systems are also greatly compromised. Salads are a great way to get raw nutrients but they’re not always convenient.  Green Smoothies are fun and easy way to get more greens and raw foods into our diets.

Health Benefits after 1 month on the Green Smoothie

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Lifts depression
  • Less cravings and blood sugar fluctuations
  • Clearer skin
  • Regular bowel movements to eliminate toxins
  • Sleep better
  • Lessen or eliminates PMS
  • Helps to fend off Asthma attacks
  • Stronger nails and hair
  • Improves sex life… why isn’t this the best reason to drink Green Smoothies?

These are just some of the health benefits which continue to increase the longer you drink Green Smoothies!

What you’ll need

Green smoothies are fast to make and easy to clean up. All you need is a blender with a decent motor. Trust me, I have friends with fancy blenders which are amazing, but I use a hand-me-down almost made it to the good-will pile Oster blender from 1970 something because my fancy Cuisinart turned out to be a lemon! The Oster works great and gets abused everyday.  However, I am dreaming about trading it in soon for a shinier model.

Tips

Organic produce is important to use because conventional, unsustainable farming practices usually only have about an 1/8th  of the vitamins and minerals of organically grown produce.

Always use very ripe fruit which have the most enzymes and will sweeten your smoothies naturally. You can start with more fruit and work your way to adding more greens if you desire. Try 60% fruit to 40% greens and then work your way to 60% greens and 40% fruit.

I usually don’t use fruit with seeds like raspberries or strawberries because the seeds don’t blend and they aren’t as fun to drink, but that’s just me.

If you use berries, be ready for a brown looking smoothie. Tastes great, looks pretty gross… just sayin’

Try to alternate your greens. Your body can develop a toxicity by being exposed over and over to the same greens day after day.

The Acidity of the fruit can work on your tooth enamel, therefore it is wise to wait an hour before brushing your teeth after you drink a green smoothie. I drink mine through a straw which I feel helps.

You can use frozen fruit, or add ice cubes if you like it nice and cold. Try freezing bananas to use in your smoothies.

If your greens are too strong try adding a little vanilla. You can add a little organic agave sweetener as well.

You can always add more liquid if the blender is not catching and blending. I found that is what mine usually needs because it’s old. But….

Words of Caution: Try not to use a wooden spoon to push things down in the blender while the motor is running! Bad, bad habit of mine. I have cleaned many green smoothies off of the ceiling due to this dangerous and risky action not to mention I found unwanted fiber from my wooden spoon in the smoothie! Don’t do it, as tempting as it is!

So here is a great Green Smoothie recipe that’s perfect for this green holiday and any other day! Spinach makes really smooth smoothies. You will be surprised!

The Shamrock

2 Cups or large handfuls of Baby Spinach leaves

1-2 or even 3 Ripe Bananas  (I usually just use 1)

10 Mint leaves (give or take)

1-2 Tbs Cocoa powder (start with 1, add as desired)

1 Cup filtered water (adding more liquid as needed)

Squirt of Agave nectar ~ Optional

*Agave nectar has a desirably low glycemic index and when consumed won’t cause a sharp rise and fall in blood sugar as compared to other sweeteners.

*Variation~ Try Coconut milk, Coconut water or other Nut milk in place of water for an extra creamy treat  and more added health benefits.

I would love to hear your reviews or variations, please post a comment.

Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~

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Shop the Karmatarian e-store for Green Smoothie Ingredients

For further reading on the nutrition benefits of this smoothie:

Spinach~ www.Whfoods.com

Banana~ www.healthynewage.com/fine-gifts.htm

Cocoa~ www.Astrologyzine.com/healthy-chocolate.shtml

Mint~ www.helpwithcooking.com/herb-guide/mint.html

Coconut milk~ www.coconutresearchcenter.org

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9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lisa said,

    Christa, thanks for this blog post. Your green smoothie recipe is similar to the one that I make most mornings, but I never thought of adding mint. Tried it this morning and loved it! I also put carrots, ground flax seed, and oatmeal in mine. What do you think of protien powders, flax, etc. as additions to smoothies? PS – I don’t mind that berries make the smoothie brown. :-)

  2. 2

    karmatarian said,

    Lisa, I love the idea of flax, protein powders, etc… in the green smoothie! The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating! I must confess that I have stayed pretty basic, but I’m ready to kick it up a notch! My girlfriend puts things I have never even heard of in her smoothies and I would love to learn more about those exotic ingredients! I haven’t tried carrots as I am not sure my old blender can handle it. I will have to give it a try! I do juice carrots in the juicer though. So funny about the brown smoothie, I am with you there. I am sure some beginner green smoothie makers might get a little freaked, so I had to give a warning LOL! Thanks for writing! Ps. If you feel like sharing any favorite recipes, I would love it!
    XOXO~Christa

  3. 3

    Jinny said,

    Hi Lisa,

    I would like to suggest Chia Seeds! They are very high in protein and are a complete food. They actually help time release the carbohydrates in the smoothie to not digest quickly into the blood stream, making them an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Unlike Flax they will digest whole and do not go rancid! They are also very high in omega 3 oils. The do absorb 10x their weight in water making them an excellent source for people wanting to loose weight or stay hydrated. You may want to research there complete goodness online….

    Yes Christa, I agree you need to get a little exotic!! (maybe try a little maca or mesquite powder or lacuma)
    I have recently been addicted to coconut water and coconut meat, spinach, maca, agave nectar (cause the fruit sucks right now!), ice and spirulina manna (from HealthForce Nutritionals – the only spirulina I like, it’s amazingly creamy and no funny after taste, although I do all my major blending and add it last on the lowest setting for maybe 30 secs) Also spirulina (blue-green algae) is high in protein and lots of other goodies.

    Jinny (raw food extraordinaire ;O)

  4. 4

    Lisa said,

    Hi Jinny, thanks for the tip. I have never heard of Chia Seeds but will check them out. Omega 3 supplements are great for people who have dry eyes, and I recommend them for my patients all the time (I’m an optometrist) because they have so many other health benefits, but a lot of people are turned off by the smell. Do Chia Seeds have an odor?

    This is the smoothie that I make almost every day:
    – frozen mixed berries
    – frozen pineapple
    – 1/2 banana
    – baby spinach
    – carrots
    – mint (new addition, thanks Christa!)
    – 2 heaping spoonfuls of Mountain High vanilla yogurt
    – ground flax seed (my scoop is roughly 1/8-1/4 cup)
    – 1/4 cup oatmeal
    – milk to loosen everything up in the blender

    The amounts are inexact, I just kind of eyeball it, but typically end up with around 14 oz of smoothie. With my work, it’s usually impossible for me to have a mid-morning snack, and I find that this gets me through to lunch without feeling hungry.

  5. 5

    karmatarian said,

    Hey Lisa, I love your smoothie combo it is so interesting! You had me until the dairy additions though :( Have you ever considered almond milk or coconut water instead to help to loosen things up and make it extra creamy? I love that green smoothies are a great way to replace animal products (at least for one meal of the day) for a true raw/vegan experience! Many days I have a piece of Ezekiel toast with sunflower butter to go along with my smoothie! What about organic soy yogurt or coconut milk yogurt? Milk is so easy to replace and nut milks have tons of health benefits and vitamins including calcium and it’s also in the greens! I am sure you know all this! Today I put Chia seeds in my smoothie and they actually made it creamier! I usually use Chia seeds to make puddings because they gel up so awesome rather than using animal gelatins! No odor at all to these seeds! My recipe was: 1 C frozen mango, 1/2 banana (Kyler ate the other half) handful of baby spinach, handful of dark green romaine, 1 C vanilla almond milk and 1-2 Tbs Chia seeds! Yum…creamy and cold. Kyler sucked this one down! It’ll be a great summer recipe too! The cool thing is, creativity is endless! Happy smoothie making :)
    ~XOXO~ Christa

  6. 6

    Lisa said,

    Hi Christa, where do you purchase Chia seeds? I looked today in our local Nugget (kind of like Whole Foods), but didn’t find any there. It seems like there are a lot of online sources but imagine they must be available somewhere locally here in Davis. I’m sure they would be easy to find if I were still down in Berkeley. Anyway, I’m really excited to try them.

    I actually use the vanilla-flavored Almond Breeze for my “milk” addition to the smoothie. I like that it’s sweet and creamy, and always disliked regular milk. (My mom made us have a glass of whole milk with dinner EVERY day no matter what…gross.) I’ve never tried soy yogurt but suppose it might make up for some of the protein lost by not using regular milk?? It seems like that needn’t be a concern after adding the chia seeds though…

    Yes, the possibilities are endless, and I love that you can just dig through the fridge and throw in the stuff that you have. I found some frozen peaches today at the store and will add them to the mix tomorrow.

  7. 7

    karmatarian said,

    Hey Lisa! Ya know, I found Chia seeds at my Whole Foods out in Raleigh but never found them again… bummer. Now that I am out, I have to order on line too. I will ask Jinny her source because I know she orders hers on line! You will love them! You can put them in your vanilla almond milk and turn it into a delicious tapioca like pudding too! l will get back to you soon with more info!
    XOXO~Christa

  8. 8

    Jennifer Krauklis said,

    I love the Green Smoothie. I am going to try that recipe for sure. I love making smoothies for my son for breakfast. He has ADHD and I throw some protein powder in it. I like the idea of the seeds having the Omega 3 & 6 because that is what they are lacking that helps with focus. Your doing a great job with the blog. Love all the great information.

  9. 9

    karmatarian said,

    Thank you so much Jennifer! It’s because of the support of wonderful friends like you that keep me going with it. It’s still such a new blog, in time it I hope it will be more resourceful! Thanks again!!!!


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