Our friend and partner Gabrielle Pace has contributed this ode to green smoothies! If you want more nutritional and health advice from Gabrielle, keep an eye out for a new Pilates and Nutrition
Quick answer: a smoothie that is green.
Better answer: a blended drink consisting of leafy greens and other super nutritious super foods that can be had as a meal.
Most “smoothies” are mostly fruit and some kind of milk or juice with a few leaves of kale thrown in. Better than nothing, but not the best choice for optimal health or weight loss as they often contain 3-4 to even 10 servings of fruit. That’s a lot of sugar!
Typically the only fruit I put in my smoothies is an avocado and maybe a few berries. I only have maybe one or two servings of fruit a day…and I like to eat my fruit.
Leafy greens on the other hand, can be hard to get down. That’s why I pack a smoothie with a bunch of ingredients I know I should be eating everyday that I just don’t want to.
Is a Smoothie the same as Green JUICE?
No. Juice is juice, leaving behind the pulp and fiber of the fruits and vegetables. Smoothies contain the entire vegetable, blended with ice.
Sure you can have a green juice instead, but I find them flabby, less filling and not a real meal replacement.
Also, until I have a maid who is going to clean it, I am not using a juicer everyday.
I can’t speak for every blender, but a Vitamix is self-cleaning; a snap to clean and pulverizes everything to a smooth consistency.
12 Reasons To Have a Green Drink Everyday
1. Green Smoothies are a Great Way to Get Your Greens!
You probably aren’t getting enough greens.
Leafy greens are THE MOST nutrient dense food, by far. The average American gets a very small fraction of the nutrients from greens in their daily diet.
A primate in the wild (our closest relative in the animal kingdom) eats about 30x more greens for its weight than we do!
Good news: if you are reading this article you probably aren’t one of those Americans consisting solely on processed foods, protein powders, potatoes and tomato sauce….are you?
Regardless, chances are, even if you are eating bowls of kale salad 3x a day, you probably aren’t getting enough greens. AND if you are, you probably aren’t getting enough variety of greens.
2. Green Smoothies are a Great Way to Get Good-For-You Things Otherwise Hard to Get Down!
I put so many good-for-me things in my smoothie it makes me love to drink it! Because I know it’s full of so many good things otherwise challenging to incorporate in my diet.
Like apple cider vinegar, chia seeds, turmeric or algae.
Like greens you would be hard pressed to eat and usually throw away that are abundantly nutritious. i.e.:
- radish greens
- turnip greens
- beet greens
- carrot tops
- alfalfa greens
- swiss chard stems
- cauliflower leaves
I’m not going to lie and say it’s the most delicious thing ever, but my green smoothies are yummy and I crave them.
3. Green Smoothies Are a Great Breakfast For People Who Don’t Like Eating Breakfast!
More often than not, when I start working with a new client and we go over what they are eating, breakfast is rarely on the list.
“I don’t have time”, “I’m not hungry in the morning”, “I don’t know what to eat for breakfast”, “I don’t need breakfast”, “If I eat first thing, then I’m hungry all day.”
I get it. Breakfast can be a challenging meal for urban hippies and superstar overachievers. But, and I’m sure you have heard it before, you really should be eating breakfast.
I coach my clients under the belief that everybody’s body is different and one person’s medicine is another’s poison. However, somethings are universal that every human being needs for optimal health…or just health period. Adequate sleep, water, exercise, and love are on that list and so is breakfast.
Everyone should be eating breakfast within the first 2 hours of rising (unless exercising first thing) and that means YOU. Even you.
A green drink is a great way to have breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or a snack.
4. Green Smoothies are Quick!
Quick to make, quick to pack, quick to clean.
You can have one on the go. It’s a moveable feast.
I don’t really recommend having breakfast in your car, but sometimes we just really, really, for realsies don’t have time to sit down and have breakfast.
Confession: I often have a smoothie for a meal when I don’t have time to sit down and eat. Often I have one in my car. I only sip at stop lights though…
5. Green Smoothies are Filling!
They are thick, have girth and can take a while to finish. Especially if you chew them a little (and you should, to slow yourself down and to aid digestion)
Sometimes I can’t finish one. And you guys, I could out eat a football player. A big one.
6. Green Smoothies are Low in Calories!
Leafy greens are very low in calories!
My smoothies range somewhere between 200-300 calories. An avocado and some seeds being the most caloric things in there.
7 . Green Smoothies are a Complete Meal!
Protein, Fat, Carb. Just pureed with ice and water.
8. Gives You a Reason to Freeze Veggies You’ve Had in the Fridge a Few Days (Instead of Throwing Them Away)
If your farmer’s market is like mine they give you that 3 leafy greens for $5 deal. Then you have a fridge full of greens and you feel like you can’t make plans because you have to go home and cook greens before they go bad.
Or, you could just freeze them and use them for smoothies! Now anytime you see that bag of kale, or broccoli, or spring mix, or anything really, that you know you aren’t going to eat before it wilts, throw it in the freezer for a future smoothie.
Now you’re free to go dancing.
9. Green Smoothies are Cheap!
If you make your own at home that is.
I’d say a smoothie costs something around $2.
If you don’t have that luxury and you have to buy one out and about they can cost around $10+. But hey, so does a cocktail.
AND if you start freezing vegetables you would otherwise throw away, green smoothies are even more cost-effective!
10. Your Skin Will Glow!
When you are healthy inside your skin will glow with good health. Drinking green smoothies regularly will literally make your face better 🙂
Because leafy greens are concentrated with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help prevent inflammation and protect cells from free radical damage, your skin is protected from inflammation related skin issues like eczema and acne.
All those antioxidants and vitamins repair and renew skin, keeping it healthy as you age, giving you a youthful glow!
11. You Will Think More Betterer!
A 2006 study at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago found:
“participants that ate more than two servings of vegetables a week experienced 40 percent less mental decline than those who ate less or no vegetables. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach and collards offered the most benefits.”
Imagine if you ate them everyday!
Not only that, but studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have higher scores on cognitive tests.
12. Green Smoothies Are a Great Way to Combat Sickness…Like the Flu, or Cancer.
Same way all those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants protect your skin cells, they protect your cells against cancer and viruses.
To boot, green vegetables & cruciferous vegetables have thousands of phytochemicals you can’t get from taking supplements. It’s these phytochemical that keep your immune system fighting at peak performance (if you don’t know what the immune system does, that’s the thing that makes you not sick).
Not only that, greens are detoxifying. They help detoxify the liver and bind to heavy metals, removing them from the body.
Thinking about getting a flu shot? Having a green smoothie everyday seems less painful.
Seems much less painful than chemotherapy too.
Gabrielle’s Green Smoothie Recipe Template
If you aren’t used to eating/drinking green things, or have a major sweet tooth, ease into it.
Start with spinach and ease into more bitter greens.
I don’t use fruit other than avocado in my smoothies, but if you need to put fruit in to get it down, then do it. Just don’t overdo it. You’ll find your taste buds will change.
Just make sure you aren’t putting a lot or mostly fruit in. You can also use things like Emergen-C packets or stevia to sweeten the pot.
For me, avocado and maybe some frozen peas or cucumber make a mildly sweat green smoothie. Apple cider vinegar gives it acidity and cayenne pepper, a kick.
Experiment until you find the combination and portions you like.
Here’s the basic ingredients I use in my smoothies most days:
- 1 -2 cups filtered water
- 1/3 large avocado
- 1 – 3 cups frozen leafy greens
- 1 capful apple cider vinegar
- 1 thumbnail-size piece ginger root (skinned)
- dash or two of cayenne pepper
- chia seeds or flax seeds
- for protein: hemp seeds or Spirulina or bee pollen or good quality protein powder
- wheat grass
- good quality greens powder
- frozen green herbs (parsley, cilantro etc)
- coconut water
- frozen peas
- beets, string beans, carrots, celery etc
- cold green tea, dandelion tea, tulsi tea
- vitamin powders
- dried papaya seeds
Add ingredients of choice to Vitamix or high power blender and blend until smooth. Drink. Smile.