If you got my recent email about green smoothies then you already know my stance.
Yes, green smoothies (when done correctly) are an incredible, easy-to-digest source of nutrition. However, when done improperly they can be counter intuitive, hard to digest and upsetting on the stomach, thyroid and metabolism.
To keep my #betterthanyou campaign going, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to bestow my holier than thou nutritional wisdom on your peasant minds. What better way than telling you that your smoothies aren’t as healthy as mine?
Okay lol, I’m done. Thanks JP Spears for inspiring my inner Kanye for the sake of funny content and the ability to make fun of myself. The funny thing is, I used to actually feel this way — to a lesser degree — but just keep it secret. I thought I was the wisest seer in all of the wellness industry.
These days, I honestly don’t take this game seriously whatsoever. Wellness is simply to me, it’s wholeness. To stay whole, I advocate the simple things in life that remind us we are all connected, that laughter, dance, and play are all universal languages.
While my perception of wellness has shifted over the past 15 years I’ve been researching and experimenting, I still to this day advocate the importance of digestion. Why? Because the digestive system is a ruling system in our physical body. Its strong connection to the mind, emotions and spirit are demonstrated very well.
What Makes a Superior Green Smoothie?
In a word, digestibility. When I talk about a green smoothie being properly prepared and more helpful or health than another I am referring to it’s digestibility. Because, we are not what we eat, we are what we digest, assimilate and absorb.
Just like we can read the most enlightening material and not absorb it, we can throw the beard of Jesus into a Blendtec with leaves from the Bodhi tree and unless we digest it, it doesn’t matter.
Here are a few things to consider when making a green smoothie:
- Do not use raw cruciferous vegetables. These are veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens. These foods contain oxalates that can damage the kidneys and impair calcium absorption. If the body cannot dispel oxalates it can cause metabolic issues and inflammation. These raw cruciferous vegetables also slow down the metabolism and down-regulate thyroid function. It’s much better to stick to using leafy greens such as; romaine, green/red leaf lettuce, boston lettuce, endive, escarole, and baby spring mixes. You might also want to add (but in less quantity) herbs such as dandelion, plantain, basil, mint, cilantro and parsley. These are powerful detoxifiers as well.
- Do not use sugary fruit. Fruit such as banana, mango, and red apples are all high in fructose. This fruit sugar must be metabolized by the liver and can place a heavy burden on this organ, especially when consumed in high amounts. Not to mention, a lot of these fruits are hybridized today and far removed from their original species. If you look to fruit in the wild you won’t find much of it to be very sweet. Man is responsible for making fruit what it is today, which is about 60% bigger and sweeter than it was intended to be. This comes with a burden on the liver, pancreas and even blood sugar. Too much of it can result in unstable blood sugar, which can make the blood pH. acidic. A better option would be berries or green apples. Green apples are a sour fruit — closer to their original species — that adds a touch of sweetness to an alkaline, vegetable-base smoothie. Ideally fruit should be eaten alone and on an empty stomach for optimum digestion, but work just fine for most people when combined with non-starchy veggies, particularly what you would find in salads. I find even apples too sweet for me and stick to berries when it comes to fruit, preferably wild. They are the richest in antioxidant. However, apples contain pectin and are very cleansing for the liver, gallbladder and colon consumed in the right amounts. If you find it too sweet like I do, then stick to using a few drops of Stevia. Body Ecology makes the cleanest stevia I know of and it’s not bitter with a weird after taste. If you’re doing a breakfast smoothie, perhaps skip the fruit all together as it might cause fluctuations in blood sugar making you hungry sooner than later. I like a veggie and mineral rich smoothie with added protein and fat for breakfast. I’ll post it below.
- Add a fat/oil. A lot of people try to avoid fat because of misleading information. Fat is necessary and not all of it is created equally.A smoothie without healthy fats is almost guaranteed to leave you feeling unsatisfied, hungry and failing to reap full nutritional benefits. It’s essential to add fat to a smoothie to absorb the most of the nutrition in the vegetables. Many of the nutrients in vegetables need fat to properly absorb. Not to mention, healthy fats balance hungry hormones, blood sugar, helping you to be more satisfied and less hangry. My go-to fat add in is going to be avocado because it adds such a delicious creaminess to the smoothie texture. I also am a fan of adding my homemade coconut yogurt. This not only adds incredible sources of pre-digestd amino acids, fatty acids but it provides beneficial bacteria and enzymes that aid digestion.
Green Smoothie Recipes Done Right
There are a few options here, really there are many! The thing we want to keep in mind is that we are using mostly lettuces and herbs as our greens (not raw cruciferous leafy greens like kale or spinach).
Additionally, these recipes are using low fructose fruits or none at all with the addition of healthy fat/oil added in for optimal absorption of the minerals and vitamins.
There are a few ways to upgrade your properly prepared green smoothie from there as you will see in a few of these recipes. Let’s start out with a few basic ones:
Breakfast Green Smoothie
- 1-2 cups spring water
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 4 or 5 stalks celery
- 3 – 4 large romaine lettuce leaves (tear instead of using a knife, this is less oxidizing)
- 1 medium avocado
- ½ bunch cilantro or parsley (depending on your preference), stems removed
- Stevia to sweeten
Anti-Aging Green Smoothie
- 1-2 cups of spring water
- 1 heaping handful baby spring mix
- 1 organic cucumbers
- 1 cup celery root, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup of organic frozen berries
- 1 lemon, peeled with pith left on
- 1 lime, peeled with pith left on
- 1 inch ginger, peeled with spoon
- Stevia to sweeten
Probiotic Beauty Smoothie
- 1 cup spring water
- 1 cup coconut kefir
- 1 scoop collagen
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 tbsp sprouted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp coconut yogurt
- 1 small handful of watercress
- 1/2 head of green leaf lettuce
- 4-6 leaves of dandelion
- 1 tbsp of dulse
- 1 lemon, peeled with pith
- Stevia to sweeten
For all smoothies, they are best when blended in a high-speed blender. This will ensure that the tough cellulose of the greens is completely liquified, leaving you with a super creamy and predigested smoothie.