Well know raw foodist and one of my personal inspirations, Victoria Boutenko, wrote an excellent book all about the importance of green smoothies called Greens for Life. The book delves into the scientific nature of raw food, inparticular greens, and is backed up by several studies and an interesting experiment using green smoothies. I would seriously suggest reading this book if you want to find out more ways to incorporate greens into your life or learning how to seriously improve your health through greens. The Boutenko's as a family have over come some pretty devastating illnesses using raw foods which you can read about in 12 Steps to Raw Foods. This was one of the first books I read when I first went raw over two years ago and after reading how this family transformed themselves with simple, fresh, organic foods I was hooked. Check out their website as even Victoria's children have some pretty awesome cookbooks. Victoria Boutenko's Raw Family
As a raw foodie, I learned early on that green smoothies were essential to succeeding on a raw food diet. They helped me beat any cravings I had for vegan junk food and coffee, were a simple breakfast that kept me full for hours, and most importantly, helped me finally beat my horrible anxiety. Greens for me have a very calming effect and no matter how I eat them I always feel balanced when I am done. Perhaps it is because I know I am consuming something that requires barely any effort to make and is amazing for my body.
The green smoothie is an evolution in and of itself. I began by using a regular old Oster blender so that should tell you that you don't need a Blendtec or Vita Mix to make a green smoothie! Seriously, it should be a fun experiment. My first smoothies were not wonderful and were more of a liquid then a smoothie, but after some tweaking I have finally found what I would consider the best green smoothie ever. I like to use spinach or baby romaine because they are mild and I can throw a pound of spinach in there without it tasting like spinach. If you can handle it you can upgrade to more intense greens like kale and swiss chard, but you might need to add some more fruit to mask the taste.
Some good combos:
figs, spinach, blueberry, banana
pineapple, swiss chard, banana, strawberry
mango, pear, banana, spinach, strawberry
raw cacao, mint leaves, spinach, banana (frozen)
spinach, cherries, banana, spirulina
If you like them thicker, which I do, you can add less water and then they turn out more like a pudding and depending on how much frozen fruit you use it can be like soft serve ice cream. I typically always use frozen mango and like to alternate between frozen strawberry and regular. Adding a frozen fruit is important to having a great green smoothie because a warm smoothie is pretty, well, gross. Pineapple is a great addition because of the bromelain(helps with digestion) and it adds a tangy/sweet flavor. Frozen cherries are mean in green smoothies because they make it super creamy. I usually don't need to add any extra sweetener, perhaps some green stevia powder or a date but the fruit generally takes care of the sweetness. You could also add agave or raw honey. And feel free to add any other ingredients you may like such has Vitamineral Green, Spirulina (love this!!!) Greener Grasses, E3Live, Hemp Seeds (excellent sprinkled on top) etc. Sooo delish! Ok, so here is what you have been waiting for (drum roll!) the best green smoothie to date!
The California Green:
1 ripe banana
2 organic oranges
4 cups of organic spinach
1 cup frozen organic strawberries
2 cups frozen mango
MSM powder (A sulfur compond that does naturally occur in the body, but I like to add it in as a supplement because MSM keeps your joints nice and lubricated which helps with any soreness after working out. And for me, this is essential as I do Bikram yoga everyday and stretching and flexibility are key.)
Green stevia powder ( I only like the green powder because it means that it hasn't been processed like the white variety. It has a strong flavor so you only need a pinch.)
Vitamineral Green ( A full range of probiotics, superfoods, and powerful greens such as dandelion, wheatgrass, etc. This too is really strong so for me one scoop is enough.)
P.S. Adding more bananas makes this into a serious meal. If I am going to have this for dinner after a second workout on the elliptical I might add two or three bananas for extra calories and of course, potassium which will prevent any charlie horses and muscle cramping!
Blend banana and oranges first until they are fully combined. Then slowly add in the spinach one cup at a time until each cup is fully incorporated into the smoothie (if you have a high-powered blender you can just throw it all in together.) Add in strawberries and mango and your non-essential extras. You should have a thick, green, frozen wonder. Pour into a bowl and top with more fruit or drink it like a think green mylk shake and enjoy!!!
(Picture to follow!)