Over the past five years I have introduced thousands of people to green smoothies, demonstrating their simplicity and deliciousness. It always comes as a surprise to attendees of my classes and workshops how good they actually taste; even children are fans of blended green drinks.
While there is no medical evidence to prove that juicing and green smoothies improve one's health over eating whole foods and vegetables, according to Dr. Glenn Braunstein, juicing or blending can be an effective way to consume the recommended nine servings (4.5 cups) per day. He references a 2009 survey by the Centers for Disease Control, where it is revealed that less than a third of adults are getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables in their daily diets. A great way to think about starting your day with these tasty blended drinks is that you are getting some of your required servings in a painless, brainless way!
A common question I get is to explain the difference between juicing and blending.
Most people don't have the equipment, time or patience to juice every morning. Blended green drinks take only moments to prepare and leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to three days. Fresh juices are better consumed immediately lest the nutrients become diminished through oxidation. The fiber in the blended drinks keeps them from oxidizing as quickly. I have made green smoothies effectively in a variety of blenders while on the road, from the least inexpensive to the most sophisticated, and while the texture varies a bit, they still taste great.
Another benefit to blending over juicing is having less waste. When I juice I always have to figure out what creative thing I can do with the pulp (short of putting it on the compost pile) which feels like a lot of extra expense and bother.
Less is More
My formula is very simple for a blended green drink:
40 percent leafy greens (any green, lettuce or herb, although I tend to avoid iceberg)
60 percent fruits and/or vegetables (can be fresh or frozen or combination)
Filtered water or coconut water (several inches to break down the ingredients)
Ice (this is optional but most people feel that it makes them very pleasant and easy to drink)
I tend to be a purist with my green smoothies -- along the lines of Victoria Boutenko, author of Green Smoothie Revolution -- and stay away from adding things like milk (dairy or nut-based) or protein powders, as I prefer them to be simple and unprocessed. For variety I may sometimes add hemp, chia or flax seeds, bee pollen or coconut oil, as those are mainly unrefined. Think of your green smoothie essentially as a juice but with more fiber and less waste. You wouldn't be adding almond milk or protein powder to your juice, so no need to with a smoothie. Simple is a good thing.
Many people express concern that they have limited time in the morning but these take only moments to throw together and you can sip them on-the-go or while you are getting ready. Since the fiber is intact you can even make the green smoothie the night before and keep it covered and refrigerated.
You can also prep for the week ahead by dividing up the ingredients into plastic zip lock bags or containers and freeze them, so in the morning you just throw them in your blender with some added liquid.
Smoothies can be sweet or savory; below is a formula for my favorite salad smoothie, and for a variety of excellent recipes check out this link.
Watch me make a sensational green smoothie in this video. Hope you are inspired and looking forward to your feedback. I'm happy to answer any questions or comments below.