I recently wrote an article on Self Help Daily about Green Smoothies. I reviewed the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies and gave you a few links. I hope you checked them out and hope, with all my heart, that The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies is either in the mail or, better yet, lying right in front of you.
I’d been planning to write this follow-up article a few months down the road. Several members of my family and I recently began drinking green smoothies daily and I thought that an article, say 6 months down the road, would be an effective way of letting you know how it’s going, and what you can expect.
Problem is, I’m so excited by what I’ve already seen (and felt) that I couldn’t put a lid on it. I’d much rather tell you NOW so you can buy everything you need to start enjoying the benefits of green smoothies right away.
So what do you need to make green smoothies?
If your budget wouldn’t feel the pinch too badly, I personally think you should invest in the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System. Why? Several reasons. For one thing, the system absolutely, positively mixes up and pulverizes greens, seeds, and vegetables better than a blender. I happen to have a very nice blender – when it comes to buying me things for the kitchen, my husband has never pinched pennies. Sometimes when shopping for a small appliance, I’ll pick one out that I think’s perfectly good, only to have him find one twice as much and hear him say, “But this one’s better.” It’s what happened when we picked out our current blender – so… know this… it’s a great blender.
However, when I made my first green smoothie, I noticed that it was a lot chunkier than I needed for it to be. My blender’s great for fruit smoothies, shakes, and things like that – but when it comes to green smoothies, it’s just not as good as the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System. Can you make green smoothies in a traditional blender? Yes. Will they be better with the Nutri Bullet? My experience doesn’t just say yes, it screams it!
Another benefit of buying the Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System is the literature that comes with it. Invaluable. You get a “Pocket Nutritionist” booklet as well as a User Guide & Recipe Book. The Pocket Nutritionist lists a ton of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds and tells you why you should add them to your green smoothies. For example, almonds can help reduce the risk of heart disease up to 30%. They’re also high in heart-healthy magnesium and blood pressure-regulating potassium. This same little booklet details the selection process for these healthy foods and… something I’ve really found beneficial… how to store the foods.
I’ll tell on myself, here. When I first read through the booklet, I just looked at the health benefits. I thought, “Gimme a break, I know how to store food and I certainly know how to pick them out.” Not so fast, blogger girl, not so fast. Turns out there were quite a few things I didn’t know.
Long Story Short: Yes a blender will do the job, but a Nutri Bullet NBR-12 12-Piece Hi-Speed Blender/Mixer System will perfect the job.
What foods go into a green smoothie?
It’s very important to switch up the greens you use. I try to keep at least three types of greens on hand all the time. You add about 2 handfuls of greens to each smoothie. The following are perfect to use in green smoothies:
- spinach (my personal favorite)
- collard greens
- romaine lettuce (a great one to start with – it’s very mild)
- spring greens
- Swiss chard (work up to this one!)
The following fruits and vegetables are all excellent in green smoothies, but you simply can’t beat a good old-fashioned banana. Bananas put the smooth green smoothies. They’re also excellent at concealing the flavors of the harsher greens (yes, Swiss Chard, I’m looking at you.). Experiment with the fruits and vegetables you use in your smoothies. That’s part of the fun! The best green smoothie recipes will be the ones you come up with yourself because they’ll be the ones that include your favorite flavors.
- celery (like bananas, they can dominate the flavor – so go easy, unless you’re WILD about celery)
- honeydew melons
Most people, in addition to the greens and fruits/veggies, add an extra nutritional “boost” called… are you ready for it… “boosts.” You can add about 1/4 cup of these flavor and health enhancers. Some of our favorites are:
- chia seeds (I’m addicted to these nutritious little guys – sometimes I just pop 1/4 tsp in my mouth for kicks.)
- flax seeds
- Goji berries (dried)
- hemp seed
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds (awesome in green smoothies)
How do you make a green smoothie?
It just takes a few minutes to throw together a green smoothie. I put a few handfuls of greens into my Nutri Bullet, followed by the fruit I’m in the mood for that day (usually a banana and pineapples, apple, grapes or berries). Then I add my “boosts” (some wicked cool combination of chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds…). If the greens are anything besides spinach or romaine lettuce, I’ll add about a teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for extra creaminess and goodness. Then I add some purified water, juice, or green tea and blend it all together. It isn’t necessary, but I finish my smoothies off by adding a little ice to the smoothie and blending it again – I prefer my green smoothies not just cold, but shivering.
After I make mine, I prepare my husbands and put it in the refrigerator for him. He likes to enjoy his coffee, check his e-mail and sports news THEN have his green smoothie. Your’s truly goes for the Green right off the bat.
When I first heard about green smoothies, I thought, “I don’t really need these green guys because I eat lots of salads and snack on fruit.” I figured there HAD to be something special about putting everything together in a smoothie, so I did a little research. Turns out, by processing the food in the blender or Nutri Bullet, more nutrients and health benefits are extracted than would be if we just ate the foods raw.
I’ll let Kim Caldwell, author of How Green Smoothies Saved My Life: A Guide for Using Green Smoothies, Uplifted Thinking, and Live Food to Enhance Your Life explain it. The following is from page 22 of her wonderful book (which I’ll review on Self Help Daily tomorrow!):
Why can’t I just eat my green leafy vegetables in a salad? This is a commonly asked question. Some people explain that they eat several salads a day and therefore do not need to drink Green Smoothies.
There is a big difference in the consistency of a salad and a green smoothie. Green smoothies are blended into a liquid which breaks down the plant and releases the chlorophyll much more efficiently than normal chewing. Blending makes the liquid super easy for our bodies to digest and assimilate the nutrients.
Also, when we eat salads, we top them off with dressings and sometimes even croutons or bacon bits, whereas in green smoothies, they’ll be topped off with fruit and healthy boosts. Green smoothies for the win!
In the author’s quote above, you noticed the word “chlorophyll.” I thought you might like a little explanation of why this is important for our health as well as weight management. Chlorophyll – something green smoothies excel at like none other – is, quite simply, a blood and body cleanser. It gives your body what you need in order to operate at the highest level! When you drink green smoothies regularly, you’ll find that you visit the bathroom more regularly. When this happens, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the cleansing power of chlorophyll.
Green smoothies give your body what it needs for optimum health and fitness and eliminates the rest – toxins that’d like to stick around and lead to a dramatic sickness are sent packing.
My own experience with green smoothies.
Several members of my family are enjoying green smoothies and have fallen in love with the way they make them feel. I’ll briefly give you the highlights of their experiences and then I’ll share my own.
Emily – My beautiful oldest daughter works in the school system, in the school nurse’s office. She has to get up each morning around 6:00. NOT something she enjoys! A few weeks into the school year, she told me that she loved her job but HATED getting up so early. She said by the time she got off work, she just wanted to go to bed. She also said that she’d put on about 5 unwanted pounds. My husband and I gave her our Green Smoothies sermon and she went immediately to the store to load up. A few weeks later? The 5 pounds she gained have gone, and took a few extra pounds with them!
The biggest difference is the fact that she doesn’t get up at 6:00 am anymore… she gets up at 5:30! She tells me that she has more energy than ever before and doesn’t even experience that mid-day lull that most people trudge through.
She has also noticed something else I have noticed – the cravings for junk food and fast food have disappeared. Instead of wanting a burger and fries, she finds herself craving a smoothie, grilled shrimp, steamed broccoli, or a salad.
I can’t put my finger on it, but drinking at least one green smoothie a day all but eliminates the cravings for unhealthy food. It’s as though your body suddenly becomes a certified nutritionist and automatically knows what’s good for it. It begins craving healthy foods. Believe me, I was as shocked as anyone.
My Husband has lost over 10 pounds since we began having green smoothies each morning. He has more energy than before, just like Em. He recently had a back injury that almost always requires surgery, but his body was able to begin healing itself. It continues to do so and I’m certain the doctors are as amazed as we are delighted.
He has also noticed an improvement with his sinuses and seasonal allergies. Generally, around this time he’d be in agony, but so far not so much as one sneeze.
My youngest son-in-law, Rusty. Now this one’s a shocker. I’ve always called Rusty “Hamburglar” because he eats a wild amount of hamburgers. As for vegetables, green beans and potatoes are it. Fruit? Forget about it… unless you count Strawberry Kool-Aid. I made Rusty a green smoothie one night, kind of as a dare. Not only did he take a drink – he drank it all! This… from a guy who HATES green vegetables with all his heart and soul. He has had one each day since (I think it’s been like 5 days) and he has lost 4 pounds. Here’s something even more shocking – he hasn’t made any other changes at all and the green smoothie he drinks isn’t even as a meal. It’s in addition to his normal meals.
That’s the magic of green smoothies!
Rusty has also found that he doesn’t need Red Bulls or other energy drinks for energy. He gets his energy naturally now.
My own experiences with green smoothies are just as wonderful. I happen to have a couple of health issues – very mild compared to what some people live with – but they’re things that can make it almost impossible to lose weight or keep it off. I have asthma, seasonal allergies, low blood sugar, and a thyroid problem. My thyroid had to be destroyed years ago and I’ve been on Synthroid since. I don’t say all of these to brag (even though that’s pretty boast-worthy material right there), I simply want anyone with similar issues to know they have a kindred spirit.
Below are a few of the lovelies I’ve noticed with Green Smoothies:
- Normally, this time of year would have my asthma in a tail-spin – it’s much, much better this year. I’m actually going to begin having 2 green smoothies each day instead of 1. I figure if my health is already this much better with 1, I can’t wait to see how it is with 2!
- Like the others, I’ve noticed that I have more energy. In fact, I”ll let you in on a little secret – sometimes my “get up and go” gets up and I have to catch up. I simply find that I want to move more than ever before. My daily 30 minute walk is now more like a 45 minute walk and some days it’s 2 30 minute walks.
- Emily and I both have low blood sugar which rears its ugly head when we’re even the slightest bit hungry. We’ll get kind of nauseous, light-headed, and have to dive for the nearest cracker or granola bar we can find. This is why I was kind of skeptical about either one of us replacing our breakfast with a green smoothie. I just knew I”d be dying of hunger an hour later. HOWEVER… green smoothies keep me full longer than my normal breakfasts did. Emily has noticed the same exact thing. Green Smoothies are extremely filling and satisfying. I’ve noticed that they eliminate the need for a mid-morning snack and they even allow you to eat a lighter lunch than normal.
- Anyone who has thyroid disease knows that it’s almost impossible to lose weight. Your metabolism is so screwed up when you have thyroid disease – and Heaven help you if you happen to be in or near menopause (the killer of metabolisms everywhere). I’m thrilled to report that I am losing weight. Yay! I FEEL better than I have felt in a very long time and the funny thing is I never realized I didn’t feel fantastic. I thought I was fine and dandy… then I began drinking green smoothies and I was reminded of how great it feels to feel great.
- Again, I can’t explain the “whys” but my hair is thicker and in better condition. The extra nutrients and vitamins are simply showing up in the most unexpected places. And I couldn’t be happier.
I realize this article has become almost a book – my word count right this minute is well over 2,000! I apologize for the length, but there’s just so much to say. Don’t worry, though, I’m almost through and you can go make yourself a green smoothie to celebrate. I’m certainly going to!
I’ve created a new category on Self Help Daily called Green Smoothies (found under the Health category). I’ll post updates about our experiences, recipes, tips, book reviews, and so forth. I’ll be reviewing Kim Caldwell’s How Green Smoothies Saved My Life: A Guide for Using Green Smoothies, Uplifted Thinking, and Live Food to Enhance Your Life tomorrow. It’s a great book and I’m in love with her writing style. In fact, I have another one of her books to review later this week!
A few last tips:
- For optimum health, I (and I noticed Kim does as well) recommend you drink more tea. I drink green tea and black tea all day long and simply swear by them. They work beautifully along with green smoothies – riding your body of what it doesn’t need while loading you up with life-giving antioxidants.
- Frozen fruit is great in smoothies.
- Pineapples make any green smoothie even better.
- Experiment with using juice in your smoothies. When cold and flu season get here, a little extra orange juice can keep you healthier.
- Speaking of cold and flu season, why not start your green smoothie regime today – it’s just in time to give your body the extra strength it needs to fight off colds, bugs, and other miseries.
- Think green smoothies are too expensive? Here’s what I’ve found – there is almost always some fruit, vegetable, and variety of greens on sale at all times. Check several stores and grab what each one has on sale. I ducked into a store in town that I never go in – a Save-A-Lot. They had cheaper frozen fruit than a few other stores and they’re produce section was pretty reasonable as well. Wal-Mart is another store with very inexpensive produce, seeds, and nuts.
- If you try one green smoothie and don’t care for it, try another! I fell in love with green smoothies right off the bat (as did Emily and my husband), but some people have to try a few combinations before they find the one they like. With another beautiful daughter, Brittany, I hit pay dirt when I added pineapples and an apple to spinach along with a little pineapple juice. In her words, “That’s really, really good!” Another day, another convert. Her boyfriend has also jumped on the bandwagon. He had some of one I made for Rusty a few nights ago and said, “I love it.” I’m the green smoothie piper. Might as well, I gotta do something with all this energy.
Thank you for sticking with me through these thousands of words – you are a champ. I hope you’re able to pick up on my excitement and I hope (with all my heart) that you’ll give green smoothies a chance. They could be the catalyst to take you to better health, weight loss, increased energy, better skin, and (man I love this part) thicker hair.