Two years ago, the book Green For Life completely changed my life and lifestyle. No joke. Before I read the book, I had a typical western diet and unfortunately, my health followed suit. I was constantly tired and constantly sick with colds, head aches and other illnesses. It was no fun and from my experience, this is a normal lifestyle for most Americans. After the second reading of the book in under a week, I was prepared to take the leap into my first green smoothie.
What Makes It Healthy?
In one word: Assimilation.
Our teeth and digestive system are not designed to harness the extraordinary benefits of greens, fruits and seeds to the fullest. For instance, if you watch our evolutionary siblings (primates) eat, they chew and grind their food for a very long time. This crushes the greens before swallowing. Since we usually fail to thoroughly chew our food, our digestive system cannot properly assimilate the nutrients. Therefore, most greens pass right through us. By blending greens, we simulate the thorough grinding action of primate-like chewing.
Don’t believe me? Head to the nearest zoo, check out a gorilla’s diet, then challenge the gorilla to a weight lifting contest… Good Luck!
My First Green Smoothie
I perused the aisles of Whole Foods and decided to buy some romaine, frozen strawberries, mangoes and fresh bananas. Against the recommendation in the book to have a good blender, I dusted off my $20 blender and added the ingredients. About 2.3 seconds into the blending, a loud clunk followed by smoke told me I should have bought a new blender. Undaunted I ordered a Vita-Mix – now extremely determined to make a green smoothie. While waiting for my new baby to be delivered I searched the web, reading more about blending greens and the benefits of green smoothies. A week before trying my first smoothie, I felt I was an expert in the field. And I had no problem preaching this to my co-workers, promising to bring in servings for everyone.
My Second Green Smoothie
Success! Vitamix blenders are amazing! In the same time it took my old blender to break, I had blended 40 oz of frozen & fresh ingredients. And it was surprisingly tasty. Who would think a bunch of spinach and frozen peaches would taste so good!?!
Your First Green Smoothie
When I began to do research for this article I came across this video from Tim VanOrden I had originally watched about a year back. This video is excellent for introducing the concepts behind a green smoothie. (He uses a Blend-Tec blender which is basically the same as a Vita-Mix.) Tim has been a huge advisor in the raw foodist community and with out further ado:
My Additions To This Video
I have made complex smoothies like Tim’s in the past, however, greens and other fresh ingredients only last so long. I tend to keep my smoothies more simplistic and use frozen fruits as much as possible. Also, I usually use more greens. For instance, a head of romaine is virtually flavorless when mixed with berries. However, greens such as kale, parsley, carrot tops and watercress have a much stronger flavor, so be cautious when experimenting with ingredients. The author of the Green For Life book, Victoria Boutenko, offers a bunch of green smoothie recipes on her site.
My Two Favorite Recipes
My personal favorite, very flavorful which makes it perfect for beginners and anyone not yet fully sold on the taste of a green smoothie:
• 1 Cup Strawberries
• 1 Cup Mangoes
• 2 Bananas
• 1 Romaine Heart
• 2 Cups Cold Water
Blend the water, romaine, and bananas with a high-speed blender for 20 seconds add the strawberries and mangoes for another 20 seconds of blending. Enjoy!
Produces 40 oz of delicious smoothie!
A wonderful green smoothie perfect for a warm summer’s day:
• 16 oz Peaches
• 1/2 Bunch of Spinach
• 2 Cups Cold Water
Blend the water, peaches, and spinach with a high-speed blender for 30 seconds. Enjoy!
Produces 40 oz of delicious green smoothie!