Thursday, January 17, 2013
Why You Should Drink Green Smoothies
Okay, okay, stay with me, you've made it this far! I realize that to a lot of people, the thought of drinking a green(ish) drink is less than appealing. And you might look at the picture above and think, there is no way I want to stick a straw in that and guzzle it down. But here's the thing: green smoothies can and do taste really good!! And the benefits of drinking green smoothies are awesome. Drinking one nutrient dense smoothie every day can help drastically reduce sugar cravings and improve fiber intake, which helps promote weight loss/weight management. For more examples of green smoothie benefits, click here: http://greensmoothiesblog.com/health-benefits-green-smoothie/
I drink a green smoothie every day. Without fail. While I am not even close to certified in... well, anything, I can give you my own personal, albeit anecdotal, opinion: they work. Once I incorporated a green smoothie into my daily routine, I had tons more energy, felt fuller throughout the day, and had less sugar cravings. Now here are some reasons why, even if you're a busy lady like myself, you CAN make them part of your routine too:
1. They're easy to make and clean up. All you need is a blender, some fruits, green veggies, liquid (if you want a thinner smoothie) and ice (and that's optional, I don't use ice in winter). Blend everything up and rinse out the blender. Done.
2. There are about a gazillion smoothie recipes out there, so you won't get bored. Just google "green smoothie" or "green monster smoothie". Also, see below for links to some of my favorites.
3. You can make them ahead. So many people tell me, "I don't have time to make a smoothie every day" or "I wanted to make one, but the day just got away from me". And I tell them: make your smoothie at night, before you go to bed, and pour it into an airtight container (I use a canning jar). The next morning, pull it out, shake it up, and guzzle. Or, you can even take it with you to work and save it for a mid-morning snack like I often do.
4. Kids like them too. Because they taste good. Really, I swear! So you can double a recipe and share with your kids or hubby and maybe help them make better choices too. Win, win. If your kids are reluctant to try them at first, you can start by adding just one or two spinach leaves or pieces of kale to the first smoothie, and gradually increasing the amount each day or each week. Baby steps.
My go to Green Smoothie recipe can be found here: http://greenmonstermovement.com/ along with tons of reader recipes for green smoothies. When I make it, I use:
1 banana (frozen)
1 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 handfuls (about a cup each) spinach
1 tbsp raw almond butter (you don't have to use raw, it's easier to find the no stir kind, but it contains sugar)
Protein powder (optional, I add this to my smoothie if I am going to drink it before or after a workout, or if want to use my smoothie to replace a meal)
Here is a link to the protein powder I use: http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Foundational-Nutrition/RAW-Protein.aspx
Other links for green smoothie recipes I love:
You will notice when you start to look up green smoothie recipes that everyone has their own special blending instructions. I will be honest with you, I don't follow them. I just combine everything and blend until smooth. Done. But it does help to put the ingredients in the blender in a certain order, especially if your blender is not that powerful. The order I use is:
Yogurts and/or butters (such as almond butter or protein powder-if using)
Frozen fruit and/or ice
If I am adding protein powder, I blend everything else first and then add the protein powder at the end and blend a little more.
If your recipe calls for banana, go with a frozen banana. They make the smoothie taste creamier and more like a shake, which is nice on days when you might be craving that sort of thing. I take bananas, peel them, break them in half, and freeze in plastic bags every week so that I always have them on hand.
If a recipe calls for something you don't have, just omit it (unless it's greens), or replace it with something else. There's no exact science to this! Experiment with combinations. Add stuff you like to existing recipes. And if there is an ingredient you don't have, but have also never tried, like chia seeds for instance, maybe go buy some and try something new too.
If you end up drinking your green smoothie in a public place, like work or school, ignore those who may give you funny looks or make snarky comments. People are idiots. Don't let that deter you from doing something great for yourself! Even if it's your own friends or family members.
DISCLAIMER: Lastly, I want to be sure that anyone reading this knows: I don't advocate for any kind of juice cleanses, or all smoothie diets, or anything of the kind. What I recommend to people is to simply add one green smoothie per day to an existing diet. That's what works for me and I hope it will work for you too.