One of my friends in the office here recently introduced me to green smoothies. Yes, you read that correctly. Green smoothies. I know, I know. Sounds gross. I was extremely skeptical the first time I heard about them. What exactly is a green smoothie, and why on earth would anyone drink one?
Well, this story really starts 2.5 years ago, in between my first and second years in Germany. I came home for a few months to raise support, and during that time my parents and I looked at the way we were eating and living, saw that we were dissatisfied and not honoring the Lord with our bodies or habits, and decided to change. So, thus began the process of re-aligning our thoughts about food, eating habits and overall attitudes about health and nutrition. Protein over carbs (not the removal of all carbs, just toning it waaaay down), nutrient dense foods over refined sugar/empty calories, more vitamins, good fats, and whole foods over processed.
As we began to combine our newly-healthier-eating-plan with regular exercise, an amazing thing began to happen. Pounds began to fall off of each of us that we had been ‘trying’ to lose for years. My energy levels rose. I began to feel healthier, more fit, and actually started treating my body like the temple of the Lord that it is! Another interesting thing we began to notice is that we shopped mostly on the outside edges of the grocery stores…only rarely did we go up and down each aisle, because the center aisles hold mostly processed foods, whereas the outer aisles are mainly whole grown foods – meats, veggies, fruits, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, fruit juice, etc. I have more thoughts on this for another blog post, so I’ll move on for now.
On to nutrient dense foods, and the basis of the Green Smoothie. Yep, we are back to that. Although I was skeptical, I decided to try it. The basic idea is this….you load up your blender with a mixture of nutrient dense green veggies, like Kale, Brussels Sprouts (Don’t stop reading yet!!!!), Broccoli, Spinach, Rapini, etc. Then, put in some vitamin filled fresh or frozen fruit (all natural – no added juices), like bananas, blueberries, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, mango, apples, etc. Then, add some milk, plain yogurt (you can use vanilla if you prefer, but you can’t really taste it anyway), and a touch of honey. You can also throw in some flaxseed, soy powder or protein powder for a little extra kick if you like. I like the chocolate soy powder.
Ok. Still grossed out? The most amazing thing, is that with the fruit and honey, the vegetables are virtually tasteless!!! It’s crazy – almost like magic. Except that magic doesn’t exist. So you get ALL the vitamins, minerals and healthy-goodness in the green veggies, without having to eat them straight up!! I mean honestly, kale may be one of the most nutrient dense foods on this planet, but that still doesn’t make it taste any better. Definitely not my favorite leafy green on its own. Strong flavor, not particularly tasty cooked, steamed, fresh, frozen or fried, but you put it in the smoothie and voila! All the nutrients with none of the grossness. Same applies to the brussels, broccoli, spinach and everything else (although those I am also ok eating on their own).
Sometimes now my favorite breakfast is a good green smoothie. I also like them for lunch, and tonight I had one for dinner. I do still like chewing though, so I make sure some of my meals still involve food I have to chew. 🙂 The outcome of the last two years is basically this: my personal diet and general attitude about food and my body has benefited SO much from an increase in whole, nutritious, vitamn-y, healthy foods, and a drastic decrease of breads, sugar and processed food. I’ve noticed a difference in my life, and just like with Jesus, I love telling people about it! Who knows, maybe you can try it and see what happens!
Are you feeling adventurous? Here are a couple recipes to get you started on your very first green smoothie experience. Or, if you are a veteran green smoothie drinker, I would love to get your favorites to expand my palate!
- 6 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
- 2-3 clumps of broccoli
- 1/4 cup spinach (or however much you want, really)
- 1 small handful of kale or rapini, shredded
- 1 – 1 1/2 ripe banana
- 1/4 cup blueberries (I use frozen)
- 1/3 cup Plain Yogurt (or more if it is too thin)
- 1/4 cup Milk….I always start with a small amount and then add more if needed so that it isn’t too thin
- 1 T honey
- 2 T flaxseed meal
Blend and enjoy!
- 6-8 Brussels Sprouts, quartered
- 1 large handful of Kale or rapini, shredded
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/2 – 2/3 cup peaches (I have been using frozen since they are out of season)
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup milk…same as above
- 1 T honey
- 2 T Flaxseed meal
- 3 scoops chocolate soy powder
Blend and enjoy!