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, so no matter how the rest of the day goes (birthday cupcakes at work, margaritas at happy hour, or “I am so tired to cook” take out), you know you’re covered. Green smoothies are also my go-to to get those who are a bit health-shy or stubborn to get on board. Plus, depending on what your present health condition is, you can always add therapeutic superfoods to address them naturally… I love that part.
Oh ya, one more thing… If you are trying to manage your weight, drinking a green smoothie daily is an excellent way to do it. When used as a meal replacement it can help shed the pounds, and when used as a snack or as a pre or post work-out drink it can help build muscle.
Step One: Smoothie Base
Many different liquids can be used as a base. Make a decision based 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 (almond, cashew, walnut) – A little higher in calories than water, but nut milk makes the smoothie creamier and more flavorful.
- Coconut Milk (carton, not can) – great option for making it rich and a bit sweeter. Will add a few more calories, making it great for those looking to gain weight.
Dose: 1.5 cups for an average size smoothie. 2 cups for an extra filling meal, or 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 is best because it makes it creamier.
- Strawberries, organic
- Pumpkin Pure or Baked sweet potato (best for a non-green smoothie)
- Coconut meat
- 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 for those who are looking for a low-sugar smoothie.
Dose: around 1 cup of fruit, 1 acai packet, 1 banana or 1/2 avocado
Step Three: The Green Factor
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. You can use frozen greens such as kale or spinach, or you can use a greens powder… or both!
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. You can also add fresh greens and greens powder for an extra nutrient dense smoothie.
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) and saturated fats. These fats do a myriad of things for your health ranging from building hormones, creating a healthy neurological system (happy mood, clear thinking and a sharp memory), lowering inflammation, reducing risk of degenerative diseases, and supporting thyroid health.
Choose one or more from the following:
- Chia Seeds – rich in 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)
Dose: Add 1 tablespoon.
Step Five: Protein
As a person who is plant-based, protein is very important for me. I make sure to get it everyday by using a protein powder in my smoothie. I suggest adding a protein powder into your smoothie, especially if you are using it as a meal replacement, or as a post-workout snack. It not only helps to build muscle, it keeps you satiated and your blood sugar balanced, both key factors for maintaining a healthy weight and stable mood.
*I personally do not recommend soy-based proteins. Most all non-organic soy is genetically modified. Soy also is a phytoestrogen, exposing you to estrogen-like compounds that may 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 are also a source protein, although not as much as a protein powder.
*To get an overview of the best protein powders (both vegan and whey), check out this post.
Step Six: Nutrient Specific Superfoods
If you are looking to really boost the nutrient-value of your smoothie, especially with therapeutic nutrients, check out the following. I personally choose my superfood powders based on how I am feeling, or what I am looking to accomplish.
- 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.
- 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!
Did you know that spices and natural sweeteners are rich in health-boosting nutrients too? Yep, they can add a lot to the nutrition of your smoothie with only a few pinches. Feel free to add any fun spices or flavorings here. Choose from the following based on what type of smoothie you are making:
- Pumpkin spice
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond Extract
- Raw Honey
- Maple Syrup
Step Eight: Superfood Topping
Now here is the fun part. In order to make your smoothie over the top delicious, top your smoothie with some superfoods. The more the better. This works really well if you pour your smoothie into a bowl and eat it like cereal.
So that is it! Just throw the ingredients into a high speed blender and get to smoothie making! I personally use and SWEAR by my Vitamix high-speed blender. It is worth every single penny. 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!