My friends often ask me this question after I post my newest concoction on Facebook, which is often the one FB post I allow myself in the morning (FB is SO addictive!!) I wish I were creative enough to just show up in front of a blender with all kinds of neat ideas, but that’s not a priority for me. What is a priority is being healthy and whole as I travel through this second season of life, so to speak. You see, after growing up in a household where seconds (and sometimes thirds) were signs of love, and even marrying into a similar mentality, it took me a couple of years into my marriage to realize that there were other ways of saying “thank you” to the cook. Also, NO ONE was talking about healthy eating in the 70’s the way they do now; I have fond memories of Crisco, salt water cornbread, and green veggies not being “fully cooked” without meat and the associated fat floating around in them. I spent the next 15 years somewhere between rigid efforts to lose/maintain weight (low-fat, low-carb, grapefruit, Fit for Life, you-name-it), at least one significant health challenge, and a resignation that not everyone is meant to be small–a fact which I still hold to be true, by the way. I must say that the ladies in my homeschooling community had much to do with this early introduction to whole foods, and items like flax seeds and rice milk.
Somewhere in my 40’s, and largely due to my transition to my natural hair, I began to think more and research more what various foods do and why certain foods should be a part of your diet. I learned about the “good hair” value of kale, almond milk, and spinach. Some articles that make the connection between what you eat and what you comb and brush are here and here. And in changing my diet to grow a new head of natural hair, I found my skin glowing, my energy level rising, on top of having a head of healthy, thicker, shinier hair!
One of the biggest hesitations I had, and I imagine, others have about drinking a green smoothie is a perception of an awful taste. I’ve heard people who juice talk about the horrid taste of some vegetables, and how they “tough it out” in order to reap the benefits. Not so with most veggies in a smoothie! What you taste, or at least, what I taste, is the fruit, assuming there is a “strong” fruit to flavor my mixture. By my definition, “weaker” fruits, i.e., those that don’t overpower the veggies enough for a sweeter taste, would include kiwis or pears left alone. Kale is my favorite of the greens because I cannot taste it at all, and spinach is a close second. Broccoli and beet roots (not green, but they are full of nutrients and make a gorgeous smoothie) have a stronger taste that is easily overcome by a hint of lime juice, as a commenter was nice enough to inform me.
Have I lost a pound or two with green smoothies? I would if I were as diligent with the rest of my diet as I am with these tasty treats. I am making some changes, though. In the meantime, what I notice outside of the physical changes is that I feel much more energized, and am better prepared to greet the day without being too tired, even as the evening winds down. I’ve not thought about multi-vitamins in a pill form for a long time; I already get those same vitamins in their original form!
Google or Bing ‘green smoothie recipes’ and you will find a wealth of ideas. As one who tends to use a handful of this and a handful of that, I wouldn’t presume to list exact measures to create the right taste sensation. Besides, you would know what fruits and veggies are your favorites, and which ones you might need a bit more encouragement to drink (can you say “beets?”) However, here are some great sources for starter recipes:
Danae Johnson’s free e-book (more elaborate book for purchase is also available)
Vitamix’s smoothie recipes (and no, you don’t need their expensive blender)
More recipes from Victoria Boutenko’s blog
There is a popular commercial out there in which the main character sits at the kitchen table with all of the day’s challenges in human form. One-by-one they inform the main character about what he’ll face during the day. The main character then smiles as he lifts a glass to his head, saying “Glad I drank my orange juice!” I sometimes think, wait until he takes a sip of what’s in MY cup.