Anatomy of a Green Smoothie

I make a lot of smoothies. So many, in fact, that I have a backed up list of ones yet to post. After looking through them and comparing, I am reminded that I have a “system” when it comes to Green Smoothies. I’m posting 3 recipes in this article to help point out how I go about creating these concoctions. But before we get to those recipes, lets break it down into steps.

#1. LIQUID – The first thing to always go into the blender is the liquid. A good rule of thumb is 8-12 oz, depending on how thick you want your smoothie to be. If you’re making Nice Cream, you would use much less to get that super thick texture. If you want to be able to drink it faster (on the go), you can always add more liquid for easier drinkability. Sometimes I enjoy a cleaner smoothie, so I’ll go with just plain filtered water. But most of the time, I will use a nut milk such as Almond or Hemp Milk to get more protein, B-12 and Vitamin D.
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#2. GREENS – The second step is adding your greens to the liquid. I have found that “baby” varieties work better in the blender and I usually save the more hearty versions for juicing. Baby leaves are very soft and you can buy at the market already prepped in a bag or container which makes it very convenient as well. The 2 varieties I use most are Baby Kale and Baby Spinach. On occassion, I will also use Spring Mix, Arugula or Baby Romaine as well. Greens are the nutritional foundation of your smoothie. Most people complain about not being able to eat enough greens throughout the day, well this your chance to pack it in there and get it down easy. I usually take 2 huge handfuls of greens and throw it in the blender with the liquid. It should look as if the greens are almost reaching the top of the blender jar. Put the lid on and blend on the liquify (high) setting until all the greens are completely blended. You should end up with green liquid and hopefully a very minimal amount of tiny green bits.
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#3. FRUITS/VEGGIES – My smoothies are primarily fruit based, aside from the greens. I do this on purpose because I also drink extracted vegetable juice daily. Since fruit has a higher sugar content, it is better to digest it in a blended smoothie so the sugars don’t immediately absorb into your bloodstream (spiking your glucose levels) as extracted juice does. Conversely, I will also sometimes add extracted juices into my smoothies if I’m going for a certain flavor profile but don’t want the extra grit/pulp in my smoothie. I have done this with Ginger, Carrots, Celery…basically any vegetable that is very dense or fiberous; I will juice them first and just add the juice into the blender. That all said, I get my daily fruits through blended smoothies (and eating) and I get my veggies through juicing (and eating). So, for this step I almost always start with 1 frozen Banana; it’s the creamy “carrier” for the overall consistency of the smoothie (it helps make it smooth). Then I will usually throw in 1 handful of frozen berries and/or 1 piece of fresh fruit (Apples, Oranges, Pears, etc). For a real creamy protein packed smoothie, add in some fresh Avocado! The possibilities are endless. Once I’ve added these ingredients, I blend on the “crush ice” setting to break up the frozen fruits and then slowly switch over to liquify again. At this point, you should have a pretty good idea if its too thick (add more liquid) or if its too watery (add some ice cubes).
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#4. PROTEIN, SUPERFOODS & MIX-INS – Some folks go without protein powders in their smoothies. Since I am vegan, I definitely make sure I cover my bases and add it. I’ve also been working out quite a bit since my weight loss, so I’m trying to build some muscle as well (why not?). I use a very clean, delicious, plant-based protein made by Vega. Specifically, Vega One and Vega Protein Smoothie. These powders help give my smoothies the extra flavor and nutrition that I’m looking for; I’d be lost without them. In addition to the protein powder, I also find smoothies a great opportunity to mix in other superfoods from nature that can only increase the nutritional value of this meal in a glass. I don’t think I have ever made a smoothie that did not at least contain Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds. These seeds are so very important to everyday health…vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, Omegas; they are a powerhouse on their own. I usually measure 1 Tbsp of each or lately I’ve been getting a Chia/Flax blend that I like (which I’ll measure out 2 Tbsp). Other powders I like to use are Acai (fruity), Spiralina (green), Matcha (green), Hemp (green), Cacao (chocolate) and Maca (nutty). AS you can see, I gave each one of those a flavor description because depending on which direction my smoothie is going in, certain powders will work better in it. Nutrition, of course, always comes first but it doesn’t hurt to try and make it the best tasting smoothie as well! Other items to mix in are soaked nuts, oats, dates (pitted), dried berries (such as Goji) and good oils such as Coconut or Hemp.
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#5. FINAL BLEND & ADJUSTING – So once all the mix-ins are in there, I blend it on liquify one more time to make sure everything is nice and smooth. At this point I taste it and make adjustments if needed; maybe more liquid or some ice cubes to make it more thick. I never add any sweeteners because the Vega powder uses Stevia Leaf in it already; not to mention all of the other natural sugars coming from the fruits. Now pour your amazing smoothie into a tall glass and enjoy!
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Hopefully, this information helps turn you into a smoothie making machine. Get into the habit of recreating these steps and you really can’t mess anything up. Here are 3 recent Green Smoothie recipes to try out with your new skills!
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I RULE-GULA!
Almond Milk, Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, Arugula, Banana, Pineapple, Mango, Matcha, Spirulina, Vega One (French Vanilla), Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds

8 – 12 oz Almond Milk
1 medium handful Baby Kale
1 medium handful Baby Spinach
1 medium handful Arugula
1 Banana
1 handful Pineapple chunks
1 handful Mango chunks
1 scoop Vega One (French Vanilla)
2 tsp Matcha Green Tea Powder
1 tsp Spirulina
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Flax Meal

Pour Almond Milk into the blender along with the greens. Blend on liquify for about 40 secs. Add in Banana, Pineapple and Mango. Blend on crush ice setting until cracking stops…then blend again on liquify setting for about 30-40 secs. If too thick, you can always adjust by adding more Almond Milk. Add Vega, Matcha, Spiralina, Chia and Flax and blend one more time on liquify until very smooth. Pour into a large, tall glass. CLEAN UP BEFORE DRINKING (this reenforces good habits and a new regimen). Enjoy!

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POM-A-GREEN IT!
Almond Milk, Baby Spinach, Banana, Pomegranate, Cranberries, Medjool Dates, Vega Protein Smoothie (Viva Vanilla), Acai Powder, Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds

8 – 12 oz Almond Milk
2 large handfuls Baby Kale
1 Banana
1/2 Pomegranate (Seeds only)
1/2 Cup Cranberries
2 Medjool Dates (pitted)
1 scoop Vega Protein Smoothie (Viva Vanilla)
1 Tbsp Acai Powder
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Flax Meal

Pour Almond Milk into the blender along with the greens. Blend on liquify for about 40 secs. Add in Banana, Pomegranate Seeds, Cranberries and Dates. Blend on crush ice setting until cracking stops…then blend again on liquify setting for about 30-40 secs. If too thick, you can always adjust by adding more Almond Milk. Add Vega, Acai, Chia and Flax and blend one more time on liquify until very smooth. Pour into a large, tall glass. CLEAN UP BEFORE DRINKING (this reenforces good habits and a new regimen). Enjoy!

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NO GREENS, NO GAIN
Almond Milk, Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, Banana, Strawberry, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Vega One (French Vanilla) Spirulina, Hemp, Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds

8 – 12 oz Almond Milk
1 large handful Baby Kale
1 large handful Baby Spinach
1 Banana
1 handful frozen Strawberries
1 handful frozen Blueberries
1/2 Pomegranate (Seeds only)
1 scoop Vega One (French Vanilla)
2 Tbsp Hemp Powder
1 tsp Spirulina
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Flax Meal

Pour Almond Milk into the blender along with the greens. Blend on liquify for about 40 secs. Add in Banana, Strawberries, Blueberries and Pomegranate Seeds. Blend on crush ice setting until cracking stops…then blend again on liquify setting for about 30-40 secs. If too thick, you can always adjust by adding more Almond Milk. Add Vega, Hemp, Spiralina, Chia and Flax and blend one more time on liquify until very smooth. Pour into a large, tall glass. CLEAN UP BEFORE DRINKING (this reenforces good habits and a new regimen). Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to check out all of the great plant-based, whole food products from Vega. Their smoothie powders are delicious, nutritious, animal-free and are the foundation for all of my smoothie recipes. http://myvega.com/

Enjoy your smoothie w/ your favorite straw; although, for Earth’s sake, I recommend a glass one from Glass Dharma http://glassdharma.com.

4 Comments

  1. I have been drinking green smoothies almost 4 years now. I throw in some juicing 3 times a week too. My health is so much better because of it. My hubby stopped all his diabetes meds. Smoothies are his food meds these days. Cheers!

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  2. My husband does not eat any real vergies, he says he does, but it is only salads. I would love to give him a smoothies in the morning, he is takings meds for high blood pressure and meds for diabetes. What would be a great smoothie for him. If I could find a receipt with all that he needs for the day, and have it taste really go, I will trick him into thinking that there is no vegies in it… any thoughts are welcome. Thanks

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    1. Thanks Darlene. Most of my Smoothies contain fruit (natural sugars), so if you’re looking to REALLY bump up veggie intake and lower sugar intake, I’d suggest extracted juice instead. Most of my extracted juice recipes have very little fruits and sugars in them. Vegetable juices are kind of tough to hide the taste (thats the one hang up). If you really think he won’t go for veggie juices, you can try doing a smoothie with less sweet fruits such as Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Cranberries, Blueberries, Strawberries. You can even “extract” vegetable juices and blend them into a smoothie (to hide it). I find that the key to getting any smoothie to taste great is the Vega protein powder I use; it is sweetened with Stevia Leaf (which is low on the glycemic index).

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