|My daily greens, with a sprinkling of bee pollen on top|
Today's post was prompted by questions about my green smoothies, so I'm happy to write about something I drink every single day.
I drink green smoothies (instead of green juice made in a juicer) because I want more greens in my daily lifestyle. This way, I know I'm getting them even if I don't get a chance to eat other greens or a salad in my day.
I also want the fiber that's left when you blend the ingredients; juicers remove this fiber. This is not to say that there are no benefits to green juice; you get more concentrated nutrients in juice. I just prefer smoothies to juice.
I first learned about green smoothies in 2009 when I attended Jill Ovnik's vegan retreat in South Haven, Michigan. She invited many speakers and one of them, Susan Milliron, spoke about the benefits of raw foods and green smoothies. She demonstrated how to make them and gave out taste samples. I was intrigued and curious to try them. So, since then, I drink them every day; when I don't have them or miss a day (which is rare), I feel like something's missing in my body.
When I make them, I use about 2 large handfuls (perhaps about 2 cups? I've never measured) of greens. My favorites are parsley, baby spinach, and collard greens. I have used kale but usually I mix it up with one of my three favorites which are not as strong. Sometimes, I will also toss in about a 1/4 C of herbs such as dill, cilantro, or basil, usually to use them up when I've had leftovers from a recipe--and you know you always do because they sell herbs in big bunches in the grocery store when all you sometimes need is 2 tablespoons or so! I have read that you should change up the greens every day but that it's okay to use the same fruit if you have a favorite.
They are delicious and I'm not just saying that. The secret is the fruit. You might need to add a little sweetener (such as dates, honey, or stevia) if your tongue is used to sweetness and you eat a lot of sweets. I've been vegan for over five years and no longer eat sweets so my taste buds have drastically changed.
Here is a typical green smoothie recipe:
2 handfuls organic baby spinach (usually I buy the bags from Trader Joe's then rinse them well)
1/4 C coconut water & slice of coconut meat (from a young coconut; when the water is fermented, this is a great probiotic)*
1 tsp bee pollen (protein superfood)*
2-3 tablets spirulina (a complete plant protein)*
1 1/2 C cold water
1 banana (for creaminess and sweetness)
1 C frozen fruit (my favorites for flavor are peaches, mango, strawberries, pineapple, or mixed berries; sometimes I'll use one fruit or several)
1 small spoon of avocado (about a 1 tbsp? avocado prevents the smoothie from foaming)
Sometimes I will also add part of a cucumber, some celery, or even an apple.
Blend all in a high speed blender until smooth. Makes between 3-4 cups. I take it to work every day in my thermos and drink it between 9:30 and 11am, between my 6:30am breakfast and my noon lunch.
*I add these as supplements; I didn't use them when I first started making green smoothies so you don't have to either. I just add them in for extra nutritional value.