When then universe gives you a sign, you listen, right?
Over the past few weeks I have had both friends and family asking me to help them create the perfect Green Smoothie. They wanted me to share with them not only the basics of getting started, but also those fun extra nutrients that I add to make it extra nutrient dense and healing. So here I am extending the love and sharing it all with you too.
The thing that I LOVE about green smoothies is that it can act as your daily vitamin. With one smoothie you can get all the nutrition you need for the day, and therefore no matter how the rest of the day goes (birthday cupcakes at work, margaritas at happy hour, or I am so tired take out dinner), you know you are covered. It is also my go-to technique to get those who are a bit health-shy or stubborn to get on board… I am thinking macho men, children, and unruly I hate life just because teenagers. Plus, depending on what your present health condition is, you can always add therapeutic superfoods to address them… I love that part.
Oh ya, one more thing… If you are trying to manage your weight this is an excellent way to do it. If you are trying to shed the pounds, use these as a meal replacement, and if you are trying to put on the pounds or build muscle, use this as a snack and/or pre or post work out drink.
Step One: Smoothie Base
We can use a lot of different liquids as bases, and your choice depends on the flavor you are looking for, and/or how calorie dense you want it to be.
Choose one from the following:
- Purified Water – most neutral and creates a lower calorie smoothie
- Nut Milk – I love making my own. A little higher in calories but makes the smoothie creamier
- Coconut Milk (carton, not can) – great option for making it rich and a bit sweeter. Will add a few more calories, comparable to nut milk.
Dose: about 1 1/2 cups for a meal replacement, 1 cup for a snack
Step Two: Food Base
Now I personally only use a banana, and then use powders for the rest of the smoothie, but if you cannot afford the powders, then you can use more produce here. Your choices will be based on the flavor profile of the smoothie, but I ALWAYS recommend using a banana… makes for the best smoothie in my opinion. You can also use frozen produce if fresh is not available.
* Remember always go Organic when possible. We do not want to be drinking nasty chemicals that cause hormone imbalance and cancer.
Choose one or more of the following:
- Banana – the riper the better. Frozen also can make an interesting taste too.
- Strawberries (have to be organic, one of the most pesticided foods)
- Avocado – now this is an interesting one… it makes your smoothie extra rich and creamy. Great for those who are using this as a meal replacement or to help put on healthy weight.
Dose: around 1 cup of fruit, or 1 avocado/banana
Step Three: The Green Factor
Now I personally use a Greens Powder (Greens Mix by Premier Research Labs) to get the most nutrients, but if you cannot afford a greens powder, you can use nutrient-dense green produce instead. Yes, don’t worry, you can do both too!
The greens are all about getting your vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, cleansing properties and chlorophyll. This is the BASE of awesome nutrition, and everything else we are adding is just an added benefit to the greens. So if you can only afford one extra superfood, then get a greens powder.
Choose one or more of the following:
- Mixed Greens Powder (look for organic ones that contain wheatgrass, oatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, blue green algae etc.)
- Wheatgrass Powder
- Blue Green Algae Powder
- Spirulina Powder
Dose: If you are using produce, anywhere between 1 to 2 cups. If you are using a greens powder, anywhere between 1 tsp to 1-2 tbs.
Step Four: Healthy Happy Fats
I cannot emphasize enough how vital healthy fats are to your health. Healthy fats are composed of Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3,6,9) – heavier on the omega 3 – monounsaturated fats and certain saturated fats. These fats do a myriad of things for your health ranging from being the building blocks of hormones, creating a healthy neurological system (happy mood, clear thinking and a sharp memory) to being the very nutrient that our cell membranes are made of. Without enough healthy fats, you face high levels of inflammation, depression, dry alligator skin etc.
Choose one or more from the following:
- Chia Seeds or Salba Seeds – Omega 3 (EPA/DHA)
- Hemp Seeds – Omega 3/6
- Coconut Butter or Oil – Saturated Fat (increases thyroid function, body utilizes this fat as fuel – doesn’t store as fat)
- Avocado – Omega 3 (ALA), Oleic Acid
- Flax Seeds – Omega 3 (ALA)
In order to get the full spectrum of healthy fats, I personally use the Hemp and Salba Seeds as well as the Coconut Butter.
Dose: 1 tbs is best.
Step Five: Protein
As a vegan, protein is very important for me and so I make sure to include this everyday. In addition, if you are using this Greens Smoothie as a meal replacement as I do, you want to make sure that it is rich in protein as well. This keeps the smoothie balanced.
I personally do not recommend Soy because its Genetically Modified and it contains phytoestrogens that interrupt hormone balance.
Choose one or more of the following:
- Pure Vegan Protein (hemp powder, brown rice, cranberry, pea protein)
- Hemp seeds and Chia seeds also have protein, so they add to the total protein content of the smoothie.
Step Six: Nutrient Specific Superfoods
Now the following are a great blend of various nutrients that you can add to your smoothie. I personally do a blend of the following depending on how I am feeling.
- Tocotrienols – High in Vitamin E and Glutathione (increases liver detoxification)
- MSM – Perfect for building collagen, maintaining healthy joints, increases flexibility (good for yoga), hastens recovery time from sore muscles, and is excellent for recovery from athletic injuries. Also important for hair and nail growth.
- Guarana – Natural adaptogen that provides great energy to the body without the normal caffeine jitters and racing heart.
- Barley – Slow burning carbohydrate perfect for athletes and to stabilize blood sugars and lower cholesterol
- Camu Camu – The highest Vitamin C content – perfect for boosting the immune system, fighting free radicals and supporting the adrenal glands
- Colostrum Powder by Surthrival – Amazing for the immune system, contains healing sugars that support digestive function and contains MSM.
- Maca Powder – A natural adaptogen helping the body to adapt to stress. Also is a natural hormone balancer. Increases energy and promotes a healthy sex drive.
- Cacao – One of the foods richest in Magnesium (supports mood, muscles, sleep and bowel movements) and in Antioxidants. This is the real form of chocolate, no added sugars or milk.
Dose: 1 tsp to 1 tbs
Step Seven: Spicing it Up!
Feel free to add any fun spices or flavorings here. Choose from the following based on what type of smoothie you are making:
Step Eight: Superfood Topping
Now here is the fun part. In order to make your smoothie just that much better, add some fun superfood toppings to your smoothie.
So that is it! Just throw the ingredients into a high speed blender and get smoothie making! I personally use and SWEAR by my Vitamix. It is worth every single penny, and no matter what other blenders I try it just does not seem to live up to what the Vitamix can do. Plus you can make soups, purees, nut butters, puddings and tons of other raw treats with it. So versatile!
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