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Green Smoothies 101: The Green Elvis

08 January

smoothies 101 green elvis textGreen Smoothies might be the most popular health trend of the 2010s!  Take a sweet and creamy treat and add some nutrient-packed green vegetables to make it good for me?  Yes, please!  With two handfuls of greens, two cups of water, and any fruits you like, you can have a bright burst of nutrients that will make your body zing with health.

Smoothies vs. Juicing

When you make a green smoothie you use the entire green, as opposed to juicing which extracts the naturally-occurring liquids from the fruit or vegetable, leaving a dry pulp of fiber behind.  With smoothies, you get access to every nutrient in the plant matter. It’s like composting instead of recycling, both are good, but one is completely beneficial with nothing wasted.

The Magic of Blending

Because of the high levels of cellulose in greens, they can be difficult for the human body to digest unless they’re very well chewed. But how many of us have chewed even one mouthful of food 20-30 times, much less a mouthful of spinach? By blending leafy greens with water, we make it easier for our bodies to break down the greens and absorb their wealth of nutrients because the blender blades “chew” through the cellulose for us. Adding fruit makes it tastier, but also, according to Victoria Boutenko, the fiber in green leaves helps slow the absorption of the fruit sugars, which makes the leafy green + fruit combination beneficial.

Don’t Bomb Yourself!

Even though the fruit sugars are absorbed more slowly combined with the leafy greens, you still need to be careful that a Green Smoothie doesn’t turn into a Sugar Bomb, giving you more fruit in one serving than you’d normally eat in two days!  A cup of frozen mango, a banana, plus honey is way too much fructose at once, so go easy.  Think about how much fruit you’d eat for a snack, and keep it to that.

Macronutrient Balance

To make your smoothie even more sustainable to your body, make it balanced by adding Protein and Fat to your Carbs {all fruit & veggies fall in the carbohydrate category}.  Such as: nut or seed butters, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut oil, coconut milk, full-fat yogurt, flax meal, grassfed gelatin, or nutritional yeast.

Greens for Smoothies

So what kinds of greens, you ask? Any. All. Romaine lettuce, spinach, lambs quarters, all manner of kale, parsley, beet and turnip greens, red leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, stinging nettles, Swiss chard, collards, wild purslane, young grape
leaves, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, chicory, wheatgrass, young borage; if it’s a green leaf that’s edible for humans, it’s a candidate for smoothie-hood.

Fruit Fun

Add frozen fruit to your smoothie to make it cold, thick and creamy without adding ice {which waters the smoothie down as it melts}.  Of course the obvious ones are mango, banana, and berries, which are sweet and easy to find frozen. But don’t forget melons and grapes, apples, pears, grapefruit, clementines, oranges, kiwi, apricots, pineapple, plums, you get the picture.

Savory Nourishment

Green smoothies don’t have to be sweet, either. Add avocado, celery, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, dill, bell peppers, spicy peppers, cucumbers, carrots and beets {ok, those’ll make it sweet, and you need a seriously strong blender}, green onions or garlic. And for savory smoothies, arugula, mesclun and mustard greens add extra kick {though once I found out the hard way that using only mustard greens is a very painful way to clear your sinuses, and my belly didn’t like it either}.

Add it in!

And then there are the add-ins: chia seeds or powder, flax meal, raw cacao, goji berries, nut butter, aloe leaves, hemp seeds, ginger, Water Kefir or Kombucha, to name just a few. I like to use my smoothies as mules for any and all beneficial herbs, vitamins, and substances that are otherwise difficult to get my kid {or myself!} to ingest. If you’re using a strong-tasting green or add-in, or just need to make it sweeter to get yourself acclimated to drinking your greens, you can blend with juice instead of water.

Make it Awesome!

A high-powered blender can break any ingredient down and give you a silky, smooth smoothie – there’s not much worse than chewing the kale chunks as you try to drink your smoothie.  So don’t be afraid to run your blender for a minute or more to get it nice and smooth, especially if you have a regular, kitchen blender.  I have a Vitamix {a professional-grade, super-strong blender}, and I still have to let it go for a minute or longer sometimes, depending on what I’m using.

Slow it Down, Awesome Sauce

The thing about smoothies is that they’re delicious.  The other thing about smoothies is that when slurped down really fast they can overwhelm our digestion.  Remember, you’re giving your body minerals, vitamins, fat, protein, vegetables and fruits so pace yourself in order to absorb all that awesomeness!

And, of course, enjoy!

Grub-Smoothie-Matrix <—— YOUR FREE GREEN SMOOTHIE COLOR ILLUSTRATED PDF!

Green Elvis Smoothie

Ingredients
2 cups of water
2 handfuls spinach, washed
1 frozen banana
1 Tbs powdered raw cacao, optional
2 Tbs of nut butter {any kind}

Directions
Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.

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Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach

Ryanna is a coach, accomplished speaker, and recipe developer with extensive experience helping women cultivate a mindset of self-love so they may heal and thrive while developing new habits in the kitchen.

4 Responses to “Green Smoothies 101: The Green Elvis”

  1. Donna Chi July 25, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I’ve developed a real problem with digesting bananas. I know you have substitutes on the Grub-Smoothie-Matrix, but doesn’t omitting the banana reduce the creaminess? How can I get that consistency (without dairy)?

    • Ryanna Battiste, Integrative Health Coach August 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      Hi Donna! Bananas definitely help with creaminess, but I think you will find that mango and avocado can lend some of that very same consistency. Give it a shot! I can’t eat a ton of bananas, and I have some delicious banana free smoothies in my life. 🙂

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