Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raw Green Smoothies

Raw green smoothies have been the #1 subject that has been discussed between myself and my friends and on facebook over the past 4 months.  It's amazing when I post "I had an xyz smoothie today - what was in yours?", the number of responses that come back astounds me.  I had no idea so many of my friends were already doing what I have just learned!  On the flip side, I've had people tell me: "Green smoothies are nothing new.  They've been around since the 60's and were a total fad of the hippies."  Well, my response to that is 1) They were totally new to ME and 2) This mama ain't no hippie! (excuse the improper grammar)  Whether it's a fad or not is completely up to each individual and whether we make a choice for the short-term (because everyone's doing it) or we make a lifestyle change because it's what's right for our bodies and will take us one step farther on the road to optimal health.

Believe it or not, just because something is new doesn't mean it's healthy.  And oppositely, just because something was a fad in the 60's (whether 19 or 18 or even father back!) doesn't mean it wasn't a completely wonderful and viable health option, both then and now.  So for me, I've chosen to incorporate raw green smoothies into my lifestyle.  In fact, this was the first step I took when I decided to learn more about eating Raw.

I'm going to give 100% of the credit for what I've learned about Raw Smoothies to Living Raw by Grace's Haley Turney.  Everything I've learned has either been from one of her classes or from her website (click her name above to go directly to her site's info on green smoothies).  In fact, I'm providing the link so that I don't have to re-write everything she said!  Please, visit her site and learn directly from the master!  I have learned from her the health benefits to eating raw (I'll share later in a separate blog post) and how important one simple food addition and/or replacement of smoothies into your diet can significantly change your health for the better.  For me it has aided in my weight loss, in cutting sugars from my diet and has helped reduce the asthma-related issues I'd been having for about 6 months before starting to drink raw smoothies.

My Smoothie Steps:

Everyone wants to know my recipe and you will all be sorely disappointed to find out that I don't have a recipe!  What I do, though, is fill the blender about 1/3 full of ice and then cover that either with water or coconut water.  (I used to use juice until I discovered that's the same as drinking pure sugar.  No nutritional value at all!  So other than flavor, there really is no point in adding juice.)  Then I add whatever fruits and greens I'm going to use, my seeds of choice and protein powder...and blend!

In every smoothie I make there are the following ingredients:
  • ice
  • water or coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1 green
  • 3-4 other fruits
  • protein powder (I prefer vanilla or wild berry to add flavor)
  • a seed (usually chia, hemp or flax...I rotate which ones I use)

The greens I love the most are: spinach, collard, red chard, kale and cabbage.  I go for a more mild taste to my greens.  If you want some spice, try mustard greens.  I used that once and was literally breathing fire for the next 10 minutes!  (Definitely clears the sinuses.)  There is a full list of possible greens on Haley's site, in order from mild to WOW.

For fruits, go with seasonal for the cheapest.  I've never made one smoothie exactly the same twice in a row.  It's all dependant on what's in the fridge at the time.  Right now I'm using a lot of peaches since they're in season.  Last month it was strawberries and mangoes.  Before that raspberries and blackberries.   My base fruit for sweetness and texture is the banana.  My sister's is an apple.  Use what you will enjoy drinking.

I've learned that a nutrient in cabbage fights belly fat, so if you're trying to decrease the belly, use cabbage ~ red or white/green, doesn't matter.  It does have a strong taste so you might want to go light at first.  With the greens, you need to rotate them weekly at the very least.  Greens have natural toxins in them designed Naturally (i.e. by God) to keep pests away.  When blended at the high speeds, we are metabolizing them much more effectively than if we simply chew them.  Too much of the same green in a row could cause stomach aches or other issues (learned the hard way by me with spinach!).

To use chia seeds, I keep a container in the fridge at all times.  The ratio is 2 cups water to 1/3 cup chia seeds.  It'll last about 3 weeks in the fridge (but by that time it's usually all used up).  It takes on a jellyish/tapioca consistency.  Then I pour about 2 tbsp into my shakes pre-blending.  Chia seeds are great to have pre-workout to increase endurance.

I usually have 2 smoothies a day.  With Clean Eating, you eat 5-6 mini-meals a day.  So my smoothies account for 2 of those meals.  I tend to cheat on just about anything so I have one for breakfast but I'll usually split it in 1/2 and drink them an hour apart to trick my mind in to thinking I've had 2 meals instead of just one.  (It keeps me from snacking on other things.)  If I'm going out - which I am every morning - then I pack one of them in a cooler with a few ice cubes added and drink while out.  Then I'll have one either for lunch (if I'm home) or mid-afternoon snack.  Each smoothie I make is about 4 cups.  My last tip is to drink lots of water...because with all that fiber, you're going to want to flush it (if you know what I mean).

Enjoy your smoothies today!  The one pictured was my snack this afternoon and includes: water, 1 banana, 1 kale leaf, 1 peach, 1 pear and a handful of blueberries.  And let me tell was GOOD!!!!  I'm off to make some Kale Crisps (the recipe of the week for next week!)

Share: What is your favorite ingredient for your smoothies?  AND how regularly do you enjoy raw green smoothies?


  1. Thanks for explaining the chia seeds! I have them on my wish list for getting at the health food store but wasn't too sure how to use them!

  2. Oh you're welcome! Chia seeds are absolutely fascinating! They will absorb something like 8x their size so if you eat them not soaked (like I explained above) you'll want to drink a lot of water because they can cause you to dehydrate. I sprinkle them on the kids' icecream and we call them "sprinkles" - they have no clue! They're just so excited to have sprinkles! I add them to just about any recipe I can...especially snacky things...and I add them just dry. You can just eat them straight, which is what the ancients did before war or sports, but they'll get stuck in your teeth and end up slimy like tomato seeds. Have fun with them!

  3. Favorite green smoothie?? spinach, apple, banana, mango and peach or
    kale, apple, strawberry, blueberry, and pear
    or.... who can choose. They are so good. And I have one for lunch every day. I actually traveled to California with my VitaMix so I wouldn't have to miss out on my smoothie. Sure beats fast food.

  4. That totally made me laugh - talk about committment! Can travel...with VitaMix! I love it!