Ahhhh, the green smoothie. If you’ve been hanging around the Vegan Blogosphere for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard of it. It is an elusive creature that lurks in the blenders of those health conscious souls who become trapped in its hypnotic green colouring. As I mentioned in my last post, I have always had a thing about the texture of food, so the thought of throwing a handful of spinach into my morning smoothie was a bit…freaky. So if I can do it, trust me, ANYONE can do it. For the newbies out there, or those who have just been too petrified to even consider it, this post is for you.
What is it? How does it work? And most importantly, what does it taste like?! I have a green smoothie method. Yes, I refer to it as a method, not a recipe, and I’d like to share it with you. You need to trust me, it works. In order to wrap your mind around the green smoothie, you need to start with the western world’s biggest question: how on earth do I fit 5-10 servings of fruits and veg into my crazy modern life? The answer of course, is the green smoothie. Question number two is what else can I sneak in there? So here’s my method.
You will need some sort of blending apparatus. I use the submersible blender wand, because I’m only making one serving, and it’s the easiest to clean (I find if I clean it directly after using it, the smoothie just slides off, then I don’t need to soak it or scrub it later. It’s ready for the next day. Just a tip for the procrastinators out there).
I break apart a ripe banana and throw it in the bottom of the blender cup. I then add about 2 handfuls of baby spinach (or whatever greens you have on hand. Baby spinach is the mildest tasting I find. I used kale in the picture above). Organic and pre-washed will save you time, if it’s not organic, please wash your spinach. The rest of the ingredients are more or less ad hoc. Right now I’m adding a cup of almond milk (I have recently switched from soy to almond to keep my soy consumption to one serving a day, I’ll write about soy at some point too!).
I like to use a milk substitute that is fortified with B12. I add about 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds and a table-spoon of almond butter for protein, two table spoons of chia seeds for omega 3, calcium and all the other wonderful things chia does; and I add two tablespoons of apple sauce for a bit of sweetness and because I had some in my fridge. I usually top it off with some water so that it’s more smoothie and less pudding. I then blend until it’s a beautiful green colour. I transfer it to a wide-mouthed mason jar, and I pack it in my trusty lunch bag.
The reason I call this a method and not a recipe, is because my smoothies are different every day! Sometimes I use kale if I don’t have any spinach. Sometimes I’ll use a chopped up apple if I don’t have any bananas. I’ll throw in blueberries if they’re in season (purple smoothie!). I was using a powder that had flax, maca and E3live for a while. If I have ground flax seeds, I’ll throw that in (make sure you grind your flax so that it can be absorbed properly by your body). Use whatever floats your boat!
The best part is…you can’t taste the greens. Like, not at all. Not a bit. The fruit completely takes over. It’s almost magical!
It took me awhile to really get into the habit of making them every morning, and to be honest I fall in and out of the habit all the time, but once I’m on a roll I really start to notice the benefits. With the new addition of chia seeds, I find a green smoothie will sustain me until lunch. If I end up eating at the pub for dinner, or out somewhere where my choices are limited, at least I know that I’ve already had my greens today, and that most of my daily requirements of vitamins has been met. I feel less guilty, and that makes me a happier person!
*Note: You may quickly notice that your *ahem* elimination comes out green. That is normal, and means it’s working! Remember, you are what you eat.
Finally, have fun with your green smoothie. I love drinking mine out of a mason jar at work first thing, while I read The Globe & Mail. If I’m feeling adventurous I add some coconut oil for a more desserty taste, or frozen strawberries in the summer for a cold pick-me-up. Make them pretty! Sprinkle in black sesame seeds, or a sprig of mint. If you’re drinking yours at home, buy yourself a fancy designated glass that makes you feel good. Waking up early and sloughing off to work on a gloomy Tuesday is not fun. But bringing a fun drink that looks good, tastes good and makes you feel good? Sign me up!
What about you? Any tried-and-true smoothie recipes you want to share?