Following my recent post about smoothies vs juice, I thought I would give a quick crash course in green smoothie making. One of the things I love about smoothies is that they are FAST – there is no slow juicing involved.
You will need:
1. A blender. Preferably a fast and powerful one (600 watts or more) with a large capacity jug, 1.5 litres is a good size. However, don’t feel you have to rush out and buy a vitamix juicer or blender…I still successfully use an ancient 400w waring blender that takes a little longer but works just fine.
2. A selection of green foods. Spinach, lettuce, celery (leaves and stalks both), beet leaves, avocado, carrot tops (yes really!). How much is up to you, but you can easily puree several BIG bunches of greens in a 1.5 litre jug.
3. Something sweet – this is not compulsory, but greens alone can be quite bitter and something sweet really helps it go down. One or two bananas are ideal in a large jug of smoothie, but you can also use stuff like berries.
4. some water – about 1 ½ cups per litre of smoothie
Blending needs no real instructions. Wash your greens, and rip or cut them into manageable bits. Drop in the blender, add about 1.5 cups of water, and blend on high for about a minute. You may have to give it a stir or a poke if you have large pieces of lettuce that do not want to get blended, but keep going till you have a smooth drinkable consistency. If it is too thick, just blend in a bit more water. Easy!
Like juice, smoothies should be consumed as soon as possible after making, but I have found that they taste absolutely fine after 12 hours of refrigeration. I have even kept them for 24 hours and they are still quite drinkable – but fresher is better.
My personal favourite Smoothie recipe, to give you an idea of quantities:
2-3 stalks celery with leaves
½ a banana
½ a head of lettuce
handful of flat leaf parsley from the garden
1 small bok choy
1 ½ glasses water
This makes about 4 glasses (1 litre) of mild, very drinkable smoothie.
I have mentioned “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko before, which is a great intro to green smoothies, and well worth a read. Here are a couple of important rules she sets down for smoothie recipes:
1. Avoid carbohydrates in your smoothies. Don’t put any significant amount of carrots (the green tops are fine), apples, root vegetables, anything that is starchy in with your greens. The result trends to be flatulence and even stomach upset in some people. Just eat these things.
2. Vary your greens as much as possible. Many plants have chemical defence mechanisms against pests, and by continually eating the same raw greens you may suffer from an accumulation of natural toxins. A good example is spinach, which contains a lot of oxalic acid. Although eating spinach everyday probably won’t kill you, it can lead to headaches and stomach irritation. Maintain a good variety of foods.
3. Use the best quality produce you can find, ideally home grown of organic. Since you are consuming the whole fruit/vegetable/green, you ideally want to know it is not full of artificial chemicals.
How many green smoothies should you drink? There really is no upper limit, since many raw-foodists actually live off these. I personally have found a significant improvement in digestion with even one glass a day, and two glasses is an adequate breakfast or light lunch.