Green Smoothies? What the heck?

A while back, one of those times we set our sights on getting healthier, a friend recommended that we try drinking green smoothies as a start. Whoa, I thought. Put the brakes on. This sounds scary. We talked about it and she clarified. A green smoothie has sweet greens (my favorite is baby spinach), frozen fruit, a liquid like water, OJ, or milk (including milk substitutes – hazelnut milk is my recommendation, and it’s most likely to be found at a health food store or a very large grocery store). We like to add some protein powder to make them a little more filling.

So we tried it. Yes, it was scary. It was hard to bring that first glass to my lips. But it was good! I couldn’t believe it. I was very happy.

Benefits

We started drinking smoothies regularly – almost daily, in fact – and we saw several health benefits within a short period of time. First, the sugar (natural sugar, of course, since there’s no added sugar) is a great kick in the pants. I often have low blood pressure, so a nice kick of energy is necessary for me. Just ask my mother or husband how difficult I am to wake up in the morning. This definitely does the trick.

I have some digestive issues and having the smoothies definitely helps with that. It’s probably just the uptick in veggie and fruit intake since without the smoothies I’m pretty bad at getting all those in.

Since I have more energy when I’m drinking green smoothies, I am more likely to feel up to exercising, doing housework, or just plain moving my body more. That feels good.

Probably one of the most interesting and important of the benefits of drinking the green smoothies that I’ve experienced is the difference in my appetite. I usually crave and eat, crap. But when I drink these, I crave more healthy foods. Therefore, my diet improves. It makes a pretty big impact on me.

How

Let’s start with the equipment. Most of the smoothie sites will tell you to get a BlendTec or Vitamix blender. I’m sure these are amazing. But you don’t need to be wealthy with a fancy, expensive blender to make this work. We use a Ninja blender that we got for around $100 – on sale, with a coupon. I’m sure less expensive blenders will work, too. You may just have to blend a little extra time to get things nice and, well, smooth.

The best way we’ve found to get a nice smooth drink is to add the spinach (or leafy greens of your choice) and the liquid, then blend until the spinach is tiny. Then add the rest of your items and blend until smooth. If you’re using a protein powder, put it in after blending the spinach but before the rest of the fruit. If you put it at the top, it’ll never blend quite right, if you van get it to blend at all.

To make this a nice cold smoothie you’re going to want to use frozen fruit. I cannot stress that enough. At least one of your fruits should be frozen. Often, all of our fruits are frozen except the bananas. Also, buying frozen fruit is a great way to keep fruit in the house without it going bad in the fridge.

Some recipes will call for seeds, flax or chia or whatever. They may also call for nuts. I don’t necessarily recommend using these items since they don’t blend well and you may end up having to chew your smoothie. There’s nothing I like less than chewing something that’s supposed to be smooth. But, give it a try if you like. You may have better luck than me.

My New Fave Recipe

We just tried a new recipe this morning. It’s called Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and you can find the recipe here. It doesn’t taste like cake, obviously, but it’s damn good and I highly recommend it.

That site, Simple Green Smoothies, is the site that began our journey into smoothie land and it’s a good place to start. There’s plenty of information and free recipes. Take a look!

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