If there’s a habit I love and never quit since I started to eat towards overall health, this is it.
Green smoothies for the win!
Plant Basics is a new section here on p/c that aims to teach you the essentials of homemade plant-based cooking.
Each recipe shared in this section is easily adaptable and it’s supposed to serve as an inspiration so you can create your own plant-full delicassies at home.
If you struggle with some theme in particular or simply would like my take on it, share your suggestions on the comments section at the end of this post!
Today we’re talking all about green smoothies.
Taking these nutritious bombs regularly has several benefits. From helping to clear up the skin, alcalizing the body, to improve your body’s hydration and balancing digestion through added greens & fiber
My close friends say that my green smoothies are like blended salads but when they try’em, they all love’em!
For me, a green smothie isn’t a mix of super ripe fruits and a bit of spinach to make it green. When I say green smoothie I mean it! I love adding a ton of veggies to my blend.
WHY? Alcalizing greens like spinach, lettuce, celery, kale, chard are great sources of fiber and make the smoothie fulfilling. Adding low GI (glycemic index) fruits will make your blend sweet enough without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Start with the ratio 1:3 – one fruit to three veggies.
If you’re starting, use ripe and sweet fruits like bananas, pineapples or mangos and then go to less sweet fruits for a higher alcalizing power and a more stable energy flow, like apples, pears, oranges, strawberries.
Some greens don’t actually add a lot of flavour to the smoothie so you can use them without fearing that your drink will taste like actual liquid salad. Some of them are: spinach, zuchinni, cucumber, pear squash, butternut squash, lettuce (all kinds), lamb’s lettuce.
Other veggies have a stronger flavour but can be used with moderation: rocket, watercress, purple cabbage, bell peppers,endives, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower.
The easiest thing is to add a bit of water or ice, it’s always available and makes the blend softer and more liquid.
For added minerals, add coconut water.
For added richness, add plant milks (see how to make them at home here).
Feel free to take your smoothies to the next level with some supplements! Just make sure they are REAL INGREDIENTS!
I don’t believe in out-of-the-lab type of food (like the miracle protein powders you can buy with discount codes all over the world) so my suggestion always goes to real ingredients that, slowly but surely, can improve your health and well-being. Follow the tips below, from this article on MBG.
- Fiber: chia seeds (soluble and insoluble), flax seeds, psyllium husks
- Protein: spirulina, chlorella, nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax, hemp) — or their respective butters, mesquite, lucuma, carob
- Vitamins and minerals: maca (B12, iron, calcium, libido boost), lucuma (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus), ashwagandha (antioxidant, adaptogen, great for men), shatavari (calcium, zinc, excellent for women), cacao (antioxidants, magnesium), carob (potassium, calcium), mesquite (calcium, magnesium, potassium), matcha green tea (antioxidant)
- Healthy fat: coconut (meat, oil, butter), avocado, nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax, hemp — the latter of which offers both omega-3 and -6).
- Low GI sweet tooth satisfiers: stevia leaf powder or extract, medjool dates, lucuma (naturally sweet), mesquite (sweet, caramely flavor), coconut nectar
- Miscellaneous healers: vanilla bean powder, cinnamon (blood sugar regulator), ginger (digestive), turmeric (anti-inflammatory), cayenne (gut cleaner)
Of course, the best option is to have a powerful blending machine like a vitamix, blendtec, thermomix… But others like kenwood, bosch, kitchen-aid will probably do the trick if blended for a few extra minutes. I am easy about this one. You can use a weak blender or even an immersion blender and pass it through a large-mesh sieve to make it smooth.
MAKE IT EVEN HEALTHIER
You know how? Chew your smoothie! My mom hates when she sees me doing it (“liquids are to be drank!”- she would say) but I do it anyways.
You know how digestion starts in your mouth and saliva is the first secretion that helps digesting the food we eat. Make sure you chew every sip a few times so the salivary glands can make their job.
MAKE IT IN ADVANCE!
There are a few ways to speed up all the prep. Let me give you my tips:
– Wash, peel and chop all the ingredients in advance, divide them in bags and freeze them. When you want the smoothie, thaw one smoothie-bag, add liquids and extra ingredients and blend! See here my video about it.
– Crazy stressful mornings? Make it the night before, store it in a jar (fill the jar to the top to minimize oxidation) and keep it in the fridge (up to 24 hours).
– It can be easier to have fresh fruit at home than to have fresh greens. You can freeze only the greens and add the other ingredients at prepping time.
TOP IT LIKE IT’S HOT
Add another dimension to your smoothie with delicious toppings for a new layer of texture. My favourites are hemp seeds, cacao nibs and raspberries.
You can also pour the smoothie in a bowl and make it a smoothie bowl with extra fruit and granola.
MY GO-TO GREEN SMOOTHIE
1 ripe banana
1 handfull of spinach
½ cucumber (peeled for easier digestion)
80-10 ml coconut water
2 stems of parsley
1/2 lemon – juice
1 cm ginger
1. Prep all the ingredients and add them to the blender. At this time, to make ahead, store the ingredients in zip-lock bags (this makes for 1 large dose, double or triple the ingredients for more days of smoothies).
2. Blend thouroughly until rceamy and smooth. If making ahead, fill a jar up to the brim, close tighly and store in the fridge for 24h.
3. Add toppings, if desired, and drink right away!
I hope this article put a light on smoothie basics and motivated you to try your own versions at home!
Feel free to comment below any doubts you may have, add-on’s to this post or suggestions for the next “Plant Basics” themes!