Our MoFo guest post for today is brought to us by Marlie C. from Barefoot and Frolicking – Thanks so much Marlie!
Hi everyone! I am so excited to be contributing a guest post here on xgfx.org – the gals
behind this informative and fun website, as well as contributors to the site, are
such wonderful company. Hope you are all enjoying the amazingly inspiring gluten-free
and vegan posts shared here for Vegan Mofo 2011!
Today, I’d like to talk about green smoothies; now, some of you may be familiar with
this staple of a raw vegan diet, and others of you might be wondering “what? That does
not sound appetizing!). Well folks, I am here to assure you that green smoothies are both
nutritious and delicious.
In fact, green smoothies were my first introduction to the raw and vegan lifestyle;
I stumbled upon a recipe one day a few years ago when researching the benefits of
including more raw fruits and vegetables into ones diet, and said quietly to myself, “I’ll
try a green smoothie for breakfast, each day, for one week and see if I like it.” (I even
took a picture of my first smoothie to document this momentous occasion). Well, that
week came and went, and now I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) dream of starting my day without
one of these powerhouses.
Whether you are a health food fanatic or nutritional novice, green smoothies are an
excellent way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Green smoothies
offer a serious dose of chlorophyll from combining dark leafy greens (spinach, kale,
collard greens, sprouts) with some sweetness and light from fruits (bananas, mangos,
pears, berries). Why this quizzical combination you ask? Well, leafy greens rich in
chlorophyll help to make our bodies more alkaline rather than acidic, and the fruit makes
larger amounts of green more palatable.
In the raw food world, the pioneer of the green smoothie is Victoria Boutenko; her book,
Green for Life demonstrates how humans benefit from the chlorophyll present in leafy
greens such as spinach, kale (part of the cabbage family), lettuce and so forth. She found
that it was difficult to eat large amounts of these leafy greens on their own, but when
blended with other foods (like fruit), one was able to incorporate a large
amount of greens with little to no overpowering taste. Her book is very interesting, and I
recommend checking it out if you are interested in her study.
Now, you can make a quick and easy (and don’t forget tasty) green smoothie right at
home using a few key ingredients. Firstly, the supreme trick to green smoothies is to
have a ratio of 40% greens of your choice (I find a few handfuls of spinach or 1 large
leaf of kale works best) and 60% fruit (perhaps a banana and 1/2 cup of berries). You can
usually eye this ratio when preparing your ingredients. Next, you’ll want to add in some
water (I usually add one cup to my smoothies) and blend in your blender (the higher
quality the blender, the smoother your smoothie will be) until the mixture is smooooth.
Finally, pour your creation into a glass, and enjoy!
I find green smoothies are most tasty right after they are prepared, although they can be
made in the morning and transferred to the fridge for a few hours to one day shelf life if
you can’t get to them right away.
Once you get used to this fruit and greens combination (remember, it is a-ok to start out
slow, adding in a leaf of kale here, or just smidgen of spinach there), there are other ways
you can jazz up a green smoothie:
Add in some superfood powders such as spirulina, maca, and lucuma. Superfoods
provide us with additional vitamins and minerals to help boost our rocking
Spirulina is a water grown, 100% vegetable plankton powdered blue-green algae that
is incredibly high in protein (a whopping 65% protein – the world’s highest known
source of protein). It is incredibly alkalizing for our precious cells.
Maca comes in powdered and pill form, and is made from a root vegetable that grows
in the High Andes of Bolivia. Known as the “Superfood of the Andes,” maca is rich
in minerals. It is also an adaptogen, which means it will help to temper any areas of
stress in the body.
Lucuma powder comes from a Peruvian fruit and has a slightly sweet (but low
glycemic) caramel taste. Abundant in iron, beta-carotene, calcium, and vitamins B1
and B2, lucuma can be added to also alter the taste of your smoothies.
Protein powder: this is a great way to incorporate more plant-based protein into
your diet. There is a range of different protein powders on the market.
Remember to check labels to make sure they are gluten-free and vegan (oh, and
the less processed the powder i.e. more raw and not heated, the better).
Nut mylk: try substituting the water with your favourite nut mylk (like almond or
hemp). This goes a long way to making the smoothie taste extra creamy.
Toppings: once you really get into this green smoothie goodness, you can add a
variety of fun toppings to make it the ultimate drink experience. I like to top my
smoothies with raw cacao nibs (from raw cacao beans), dried goji berries and/or
mulberries, cinnamon, chopped nuts like walnuts or leftover almond pulp from
making homemade almond mylk. Heck, if I’m making a smoothie with berries as
part of the base fruit, I’ll top the blended smoothie with even more berries – the
possibilities are endless.
Here is a quick and simple green smoothie recipe that you can try on for size:
1/2 cup or 1 handful of blueberries
1-2 handfuls of spinach (3 if you really like your greens)
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 tsp spirulina
1 tsp maca
1 cup water
Blend ingredients together in a personal blender until smooth and creamy.
And there you have it, a few tips and tricks for some green smoothie goodness. Try one
today – it’s a healthy new experience that everyone can enjoy, right down to the last drop!