Thursday, September 6, 2012

What Are Green Smoothies?

For those that don’t know I have recently published a book called “The Green Smoothie Bible”. I have hence been asked to post some green smoothie recipes, but thought I would give some background as to what they are, and why they are so awesome! 

People who have introduced green smoothies in to their diets have reported many health benefits. Raw food eaters in particular have embraced this nutritional powerhouse to boost their already nutritious diet, and to find that missing element to achieving excellent health and vitality.

Green smoothies are non-dairy, fruit smoothies with greens blended through them. Greens are incredibly nutritious, however people struggle to eat enough of them with regard to quantity and many find them hard to digest. It has been suggested that this is due to not having enough stomach acid, and not having enough jaw strength to chew them till they are a creamy consistency. Blended greens have their structure ripped apart and are effectively pre-digested. Adding fruit makes them taste great and is also a clever way of getting more greens into your diet.

Given the variation of produce around the world, and the huge number of green smoothie recipes available, in my book I have arranged all of the recipes into categories. For those passionate about eating with the seasons, there are chapters for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. There are recipes for green smoothies for children, recipes for superfood fans, for those with specific concerns like weight loss or cardiovascular health, and many more.

Here are a few guidelines for my green smoothie recipes:
  • Recipes make enough for about 1 litre of green smoothie unless otherwise stated. This is enough for about 2 servings.
  • Specific types and amounts of greens are not given unless a particular flavor or nutritional benefit is desired.
  • If just “greens” is stated, use whatever raw, leafy greens you like, and as much or as little as you like.
  • If you’re new to green smoothies, start with a small handful of mild greens, like spinach, and with time you will naturally increase the amount and variety you use.
  • Use good quality ripe fruit. Unripe fruit will make your smoothie taste unpleasant.
  • Try to buy organic produce and, if possible, from farmer’s markets, where the produce will be fresher.
  • I also recommend using the best source of water possible and at a minimum, filtered tap water.
  • Slice or break fruit into appropriate sized pieces for your blender. The larger and more powerful the blender, the larger pieces it will handle, such as quartered apples. Less expensive or small blenders will require smaller pieces of fruit.
  •  It’s assumed that fruit such as bananas, mangoes, melons, and papaya are peeled, and that stone fruit and cherries have stones removed.
  • Apples don’t need to be cored; however, pears do.
  • Specific blending times are not given, as this will vary among blenders. You will get to know your own blender well and will learn to know when your smoothie is ready.
  • For more information on different blenders, see here. I use a Thermomix which is da bomb!
  • If your blender tends to make your smoothie warm, use ice cubes in place of some of the liquid in a recipe, or use some frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit. Ice blended through a smoothie can also aid the breakdown of particularly fibrous ingredients like whole lemons and celery, to help create a smoother smoothie.
  • Be careful not to regularly consume green smoothies that are very cold to avoid potential digestive strain.
  • Be sure to check the smoothie’s flavor and consistency before serving, since ingredients will vary in size, texture, and sweetness.
  • If it’s too thick, add more water or other liquid.
  • If it’s too thin, add more fruit or 1–2 Tbsp. of chia seeds.
  • If it’s too tart, add sweetener, like stevia, xylitol, agave, honey, dates, or maple syrup.
  • If it’s too bitter, add lemon juice, sweetener, and/or vanilla extract
As you experiment with making green smoothies, you will realize that some ingredients just don’t go well together in green smoothies, like pineapple and cacao, or coconut and tomatoes, but there are seemingly limitless green smoothie possibilities, so you’re certain to come upon winning combinations. All of my green smoothie recipes have been designed with flavor and texture pairing in mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Here is a beginner’s smoothie and I will post more over time:

3-4 bananas (ripe but not super ripe)
1.5 cups water, or almond/rice milk
Handful of raw spinach or silverbeet leaves
1 tsp vanilla
Blend for 1-2 mins till creamy

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