Monday, March 22, 2010

Green Smoothie Article for The Green Dove Magazine

As a passionate raw foodist, I often teach workhops on this lifestyle that I love so much. One of these workshops is titled “Demystifying the Green Smoothie.” I love this one for many reasons. It’s fun and easy for people to realize how simple it is to incorporate healthy foods into their lifestyle with simple tools and techniques and very fast results!

1. You need a blender to make green smoothies. You don’t have to go out and purchase a high dollar Vita-Mix or a Blendtec to get started. A basic blender will do. However, you can also use a personal blender, such as a Magic Bullet as well. These are really great if you travel a lot and want something small to take with you so that you can continue enjoying green smoothies wherever you are.

2. You need to have some type of liquid in your blend to start the blending process and keep your smoothie from being too thick. This can be anything from filtered/distilled water to juice to tea. Whatever you would like that you think would blend well. I typically used my own Roxtract filtered water, but will sometimes use juice depending on the kind of smoothie I want to make. I typically put about a cup of liquid in the blender first. Of course you can adapt this for a smaller or larger blender.

3. Assuming you will be making a sweet smoothie, you will need to have fruit of some sort for your smoothie. This can range anywhere from fresh organic apples to frozen organic fruits. I try to always make mine as organic as possible. I recommend using organic bananas for what I refer to as the “basic” green smoothie. Bananas just have the amazing ability to cancel out the taste of the greens if you are getting started so I strongly suggest using them for your first green smoothie. You want to use about two or three bananas. I always make the “basic” smoothie first in my classes just so individuals can experience a smoothie that is easy and tastes delicious. I am often told by my workshops participants that they would have never even tried the smoothie on their own once they knew they would be drinking kale or spinach. They can’t believe that it tastes so good!

4. The most important part of the green smoothie is the GREEN! This is a great time to explore various types of fresh organic leafy greens. There are a variety of lettuces as well as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley as well as collard greens and other hearty greens. Sticking with the basic smoothie recipe, I would recommend kale for its nutritional content as well as its ability to marry so well with banana. These two are just perfect together when starting out with green smoothies. Wash and place four or five kale leaves in your blender. Make sure that you de-stem them for a regular or personal blender as they are too fibrous for them to blend smoothly. If you are using a high power blender, such as a Vita-Mix you can just place the whole leaf in to blend.

5. For my workshops I often bring a sweetener to add to the smoothie. At this point I no longer use anything for my own smoothies, but I do use something when I teach. After drinking green smoothies for awhile, you will find your taste changing and you may need less and less sweetener and more and more greens. You can use raw organic honey, raw organic agave nectar which has a lower glycemic index or even Yacon syrup which has a glycemic index of zero. I usually use the raw agave for this particular smoothie. You may want to taste you smoothie at this point to see if you need much of a sweetener to be sure before you start loading it up.

6. Add extra goodies! I always like to use organic vanilla extract or vanilla beans in the basic smoothie. It really enhances the flavor of the smoothie and gives it more of a banana pudding like taste. Cinnamon is another great addition to the basic green smoothie. It gives an all around rich taste to the smoothie and many individuals find it to be quite comforting, mimicking the taste of a cooked food item.

7. Enjoy and play with your food! Green smoothies are fun. Feel free to experiment with the combinations. You can freeze the fruit prior to making the smoothies or add ice if you want a cold smoothie. Play with spices and come up with an easy smoothie that you can pull together quickly for those times that you need a quick fix. There are plenty of web resources for green smoothies as well as my personal blog for whenever you need an idea boost. Remember to use raw, unpasteurized ingredients and as organic as possible. Don’t forget, green smoothie mustaches are sexy!

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