Monday, May 20, 2013

The skinny on GREEN smoothies!

Green smoothies.
It seems everywhere you look, these amazing drinks are popping up all over the place from the gym, pinterest and your local health food store.

So many recipes that I come across online for green smoothies almost always say something like this....    "1 cup berries, 1 cup liquid, handful of spinach..."



A handful?


The whole point of a green SMOOTHIE is to physically ingest as much greens as possible. We're blending them down to drink it up! If I wanted a handful I would throw it on my salad and be done with it.

So, let's go over some basics, shall we?

Step one. Stock up on your veggies! The above picture is a grocery haul from last week.
Every week I load up on organic (always!) spinach, kale, romaine, chard, dandelion greens and avocado. Once home, I rinse all my greens, dry them & then freeze them in
labeled, Ziploc bags. Freezing does absolutely nothing to the nutrients and it prevents them from browning in your fridge. There is nothing worse than throwing away precious produce! This also makes it super easy to throw right into your blender when you're ready for a smoothie. No excuses! They are already rinse, dried & chopped!

Now, step 2. THE CRUCIAL STEP! This will help you avoid that whole "handful of spinach" bit!
Stuff your cup/blender. Did you hear me?
2 cups! 3 cups! However much you can jam in it :)
Next, add your liquid. For this step, I usually just use 1/2 cup of filtered water. Others use almond milk, coconut water, juice. Whatever suits you!

VoilĂ !

Beautiful, condensed, green, nutrient-packed GREEN JUICE!

Feel free to add more at this point. It's really up to you and what your taste buds are accustomed to. I normally do 2-3 cups every day in my morning smoothie.

My go-to essentials for a green smoothie are almond milk & peanut butter.
Always organic, peeps.
I see so many people use non-organic almond milk.
Have you compared labels? There's a difference.
This peanut butter!  You can find both of these at Whole Foods. I am sure Trader Joe's and smaller organic shops carry different brands that you can find!

Some fun facts on greens:
Kale - The "Queen of Greens"- One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Spinach - Very low in calories and fats (100 g of raw leaves provide just 23 calories). It contains a good amount of soluble dietary fiber; Fresh 100 g of spinach contains about 25% of daily intake of iron; one of the richest among green leafy vegetables. This green leafy vegetable also contains good amounts of many B-complex vitamins such as vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Folates help prevent neural tube defects in the offspring.

Dandelion greens - The DETOXIFIER! - Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption. If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.  Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).

Amazing... right??? So, let's start jam packin' our smoothies with these wonderful greens that come right from the earth and supply our bodies with the nutrients we so desperately need to live a healthy, vibrant life.

My favorite monster green smoothie recipes is as follows:

Blend down 2-3 cups of greens in the above method.
Add 1 cup vanilla almond milk.
1 banana.
1 heaping scoop of peanut butter.
1 scoop of protein powder. (I currently am using Perfect Fit Protein from Tone It Up, my favorite workout gurus. Organic, Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Non-GMO, Kosher, Non-Fat, Low in Sodium, and Free of Sugar, Dairy, Lactose, Cholesterol, Soy, Corn, Wheat and Allergens.)
3 ice cubes.
Enjoy...   and drink up!