Green smoothies are amazing.
I have at least one a day. Some benefits of drinking a green smoothie everyday are: clear skin, blood purification, improved circulation, cancer prevention, sustainable energy, supported weight loss, strengthened immune system, improved liver, gallbladder and kidney function. All of these benefits are because of the amazing nutritional properties of leafy greens. Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, iron, chlorophyll and antioxidants!
Blending makes leafy greens’ full spectrum of nutrients readily available to the body. All of the nutrients are encased inside plant cells and in order to receive their benefits, the plant's cell walls must be ruptured. People simply don't chew that much, so this is where blending comes in! Green smoothies allow you to get the maximum nutrition from your leafy greens!
However, not all green smoothies are healthy and balanced.
As a health coach, a lot of people tell me "oh I make green smoothies everyday, but I'm not seeing all the amazing benefits you talk about." This is because their smoothies usually consist of a lot of fruit, a small handful of spinach and maybe some yogurt. It's not balanced, it's mostly sugar... and they aren't getting a variety of greens.
In order to receive all the benefits, you need to have the greens be the star of the show!
Green smoothies can be loaded with greens and still taste amazing!
Here are the simple steps to creating a healthy, balanced green smoothie!
Step 1. Pick a base.
Water is my go to. Coconut milk will make the smoothie creamy and sweet, without added sugar. Coconut water is "natures gatorade", full of electrolytes, it's great for post-HIIT! Nut milks will also make the smoothie creamy and give you a little extra protein boost.
Step 2. Add in 2-3 different leafy greens.
I like to stuff my blender with as many greens as possible, add in my base then blend before moving on to step 3. Make sure you rotate the greens you use each day, so you get a variety of nutrients!
As far as serving sizes go: I like to keep at at 4-5 large kale leaves, 1-2 chard or collard green leaves, 2-3 handfuls of spinach/dandelion greens or 1/2 head of romaine.
*Tip- each time you go to the grocery store or farmers market, pick out one green you've never had before!
Step 3. Add in 1-2 servings of fruit.
Keeping the serving size to 1-2 is a good way to keep the sugar content low, but still have the smoothie taste great! Use low glycemic fruits like green apples, pears, berries or lemon. Banana and avocado will make the smoothie creamy. Pineapple really hides the taste of the greens, and contains Bromelain, a natural digestive enzyme.
Step 4. Optional superfood add ins.
Step 5. Blend and enjoy!!
If you don't have a high powered blender (I love my vitamix) you might have to blend a little longer. It's helpful to blend the greens first then add in everything else! If you're new to green smoothies, try having 16oz per day.. then work your way up to 32oz! I like to have mine first thing in the morning. It's a great way to start your day off on a healthy note!
Here's a recipe for my basic green smoothie:
1 cup coconut milk
4-5 large kale leaves
1 chard leaf
2-3 big handfuls of baby spinach
1 cup frozen pineapple
(yummy add ins- 2 tbsp hemp seeds or 1 tbsp Spirulina!)
*Always choose organic when you can!