I love you.
Thank you for these first few days of spring. Thank you for supplying my body with water and nutrients each day. Thank you for giving me fresh air to breathe without me having to think about it. I'm lucky to have you. Please stick around awhile?
I think about you often. I think about how you take care of me and how I try my best to take care of you too. I think about you when I take short showers, ride my bike, compost, reuse paper, shop at the farmer's market, and pick up trash on the ground. Hey, did you hear that I started my own worm bin this year? Yeah, I thought you'd be proud.
Thank you for all that you do. I am grateful for you.
Is it weird that I love Earth Day? One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2011 is to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. A few months ago I gave myself a goal to have half my garden planted and thriving by April 22. Of course that was before I knew too much about gardening and learned that there isn't much that you can plant in Seattle before late April. Luckily, I love greens and those were safe to start in mid-march. My indoor herb gardens are also coming along quite nicely. But, I can't wait until my greens are ready to eat.
Speaking of greens, let's talk about green smoothies. I've been drinking green smoothies since back in the day. Heck, I had my first green smoothie even before I went vegetarian. Green smoothies seem to be kicking up quite a stir lately as more people have grown to love their green goodness.
And what's not to love?
- They're super quick and easy to make!
- They're a great breakfast, pre- or post-workout meal, and make a great anytime snack!
- They help get more greens into your diet!
- They use raw greens so you're getting the full nutritional value of the greens as well as their digestive enzymes!
- And they're delicious!
Maybe you avoid all green things. Maybe you strictly avoid green things in glasses. Or maybe you've been burned by a really bad green smoothie before. I won't judge. But maybe I can help mend the wound?
Once you're ready to hop on the green smoothie wagon, you'll want to start with the basic recipe. These are my versions that I've adapted throughout the years, but there are hundreds of variations out there and you can even make it 100% raw by substituting fresh juice for the milk and leaving out any non-raw supplements. I covered some basics in my first green smoothie tutorial which is a great starting recipe for beginners.
Basic Green Smoothie
2 cups nondairy milk
1 frozen banana (remove the peel, cut into 1-inch slices, and freeze in a plastic bag overnight)
1 cup of frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries, etc)
1 scoop rice protein powder (soy or hemp work well)
Greens: spinach has the mildest flavor and for a beginner, I would recommend starting with 1/2 cup. As you become used to the taste, you can increase to 1 - 2 cups or try other greens like kale, chard, or collards.
Blend milk and greens for 15 seconds - 1 minute (depending on your blender) on high. Then add your fruits and blend for 15 - 30 seconds. Add the protein powder and blend another 15 - 30 seconds.
Once you master the basic recipe, it's time for an upgrade. The great thing about smoothies is that it's pretty hard to mess them up. If you put in too many greens, just increase your liquid ratio. If your smoothie isn't sweet enough, just add a little more fruit. Experimentation is your friend.
I like to add extra supplements to my smoothies and I have a variety of things that I use. You can pick and choose depending on your taste buds and nutritional needs.
(A quick note about blenders: I get a lot of questions from readers about what type of blender I use. I use a Vitamix 5200 and absolutely love it! I bought it in 2007 and have used it almost every day since. It was an investment, but I think it was worth it to have a high-powered blender that will last many years.)
Green Smoothie 2.0
Makes 2 Servings
2 cups chopped kale or greens of your choice (you can remove the thick stems if desired)
2.5 cups nondairy milk
1 cup water
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 cup frozen bananas (remove the peel, cut into 1-inch slices, and freeze in a plastic bag overnight)
1 cup unsweetened frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, your pick!)
1 scoop rice protein powder (soy or hemp work well)
Add 1 or all of the following:
1 Tablespoon wheatgrass powder (contains chlorophyll for healthy blood function)
1 teaspoon spirulina powder (contains chlorophyll for healthy blood function)
1/2 teaspoon maca powder (contains nutrients which help the body's endocrine system)
Add 1 of the following:
1 teaspoon flax seeds (high in fiber, Omega-3's, and B vitamins)
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds (high in trace minerals, Omega-3's and Omega 6 fatty acids)
1 Tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup of water for at least 10 minutes (Chia seeds are full of fiber and Omega-3's. Soaking them makes it easier to blend them into the smoothie.)
Pick at least 1 of the following for your fat source: (Fat is needed to absorb the nutrients in the greens. It also helps you feel full!)
1 Tablespoon nut butter
1/2 avocado, pitted and skinned
1 Tablespoon borage/flax oil (This borage/flax oil blend is a good source of Omega-3's and Omega 6 fatty acids.)
1 Tablespoon pumpkin seeds
Blend milk and greens for 15 seconds - 1 minute (depending on your blender) on high. Then add your fruit, dates, any supplements, and any other smoothie additions and blend for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Serve immediately. (It can also keep for a few hours in a fridge or by adding ice cubes. However, the longer it sits the more "green" it starts to taste.)