Lean Green Machines.
These are all creative names for what I call my green smoothie. The beauty of this type of drink is that the sweetness of the fruit masks the bitterness of green leafy vegetables and allows for a convenient and delicious method for increasing the amount of nutrient-rich foods in your diet. Green smoothies are especially useful for kids or adults who don’t like the taste of vegetables.
Until I started making green smoothies, I was one of those picky eaters who never liked eating my greens, and my health suffered for it. I started making green smoothies about the time I switched to a 100 percent plant-based diet and I gained relief from migraines, allergies, anxiety and poor immunity that had plagued me for years. Now, people tell me that I radiate health and that I look younger than my real age (I'm almost 40).
If you’ve never tried making green smoothies, here are some tips to help get you started.
1. Get the Right Equipment
The first step in making a green smoothie is to have a reliable blender. Consider making the investment in a high-speed blender that actually breaks down the cell walls in the greens, ensuring that all of the nutrients are absorbable by your body. A high-speed blender creates a luscious, even texture that a regular blender may or may not be able to achieve.
2. Start with a Basic Formula
Although each smoothie I make is a bit different, I always start with non-dairy milk, frozen fruit and greens. I like to make fresh hemp milk as the base of my drink by blending ¼ cup of hemp seeds with 3 cups of water. I also try to use at least one serving of fruit that is high in soluble fiber to ensure a creamy texture to the smoothie. Mangos and bananas (either fresh or frozen) are great choices.
3. Choose Your Greens
I have tried every sort of leafy green in a smoothie, from baby spinach (great for green smoothie beginners because of its mild flavor) to collard greens, watercress, arugula, dandelion greens, romaine, Swiss chard, bok choy and mustard greens. Watch out, those mustard greens are spicy! Since some greens are high in oxalic acids that can block calcium absorption, it is best to rotate the type you use.
4. Add Smoothie “Goodies”
In addition to my basic formula of non-dairy milk, fruit and greens, some of my favorite add-ins to my smoothies include Ceylon cinnamon, raw cacao powder, carob powder, amla powder, lucuma powder, maca powder, protein powder, goji berries, flax meal and chia seeds. The possibilities are endless. It’s fun to make seasonal-flavored smoothies, too, with the incorporation of cranberries or canned pumpkin in the fall or seasonal fruits in the spring and summer.
Because green smoothies are so delicious as well as being incredibly nutritious, have fun with them. And please let me know if you come up with any unique concoctions. One of my favorite recipes is made using fresh mango and pomegranate arils (the coating around its seeds) along with kale and salad greens. The combination is refreshing, sweet and positively energizing! Enjoy!
Energizing Green Smoothie
Recipe by Carrie Forrest
¼ cup hemp seeds
2 Tbsp. unhulled sesame seeds
3 cups cold water
1 ripe mango, peeled
1 cup fresh pomegranate arils
1 bunch kale, rinsed with leaves torn off stems and stems discarded
2 large handfuls, mixed salad greens
1 Tbsp. flax meal
1 Tbsp. ground chia seeds
1 cup frozen pineapple
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. maca powder
¼ cup goji berries
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. lucuma powder (optional)
- Combine hemp seeds, sesame seeds and water in a high-speed blender and process until smooth (about 30 seconds).
- Add mango, pomegranate arils, kale, and salad greens and process for an additional minute or until blended.
- Add flax meal, chia seeds, frozen pineapple, frozen blueberries, cacao powder, maca powder, goji berries, cinnamon and lucuma powder and process on high until smooth.
- Serve cold and refrigerate leftovers for up to 24 hours, tightly covered.