SMOOTHIES

Smoothie-Blog Title

There are so many smoothie recipes out there and I suggest you just try what looks good to you.  We have a Vitamix which works great.  Before that we had a Nutra-Bullet but that just made one smoothie at a time.  So we switched to the Vitamix where I can make two to three serving size smoothies at a time.  Vitamix also makes hot soup and cold ice cream.  It’s worth the investment.  We use it every day.

For picky eaters and your kids, this is a good way to disguise your vegetables.  I don’t get enough vegetables in my diet so by having a green smoothie once a day or three times a week I fulfill this requirement.  I have to admit that I find myself making the same vegetables over and over again using the same method.  I struggle trying to find recipes or something that looks good in the vegetable department so by drinking smoothies this helps a lot and to me, it requires less thinking and time which for me, is a huge timesaver.

Smoothie Ingredients

LIQUIDS:  So you need to have a liquid base.  You can use water (filtered preferred).  I typically use coconut water or almond milk dependent upon what kind of smoothie I am making.  You can also use juice (vegetable or fruit) but be careful of the sugar content.  Right now I am trying to reduce my sugar intake so I am using unsweetened almond milk and coconut water.  Coconut water is surprisingly sweet.  Be sure you get the kind that is 100% coconut water.  Many brands on the market have added ingredients.  Read the labels.  I use Mojo Naturals or Goya Organics for coconut water.  I use Silk for almond milk as it does not have the additive Carrageenan.  Again, check the labels as even these brands might sneak something in dependent upon the variety.

LEAFY GREENS:  The most common, in my opinion, and what I use a lot of is spinach.  The taste is mild in a smoothie so that may be a good place to start.  In combination with spinach I typically will use kale.  Kale has a bit of a stronger taste but I typically will use 2/3 spinach to 1/3 kale.  Sometimes I will throw in some swiss chard or beet greens and if I have mixed lettuce that needs to be used up, I will throw that in there too.

FRUITS:  All kinds of choices here.  I will buy a pineapple and then cut it up into chunks and freeze in a freezer bag and pull chucks as I need them.  It is cheaper this way instead of buying the frozen cut up chucks in the freezer section of the grocery store.  Just keep in mind the sugar content in some fruits are high.  So if you are using high sugar fruits, there typically would be no need to add a sweetener.  This is a good way to mask a stronger tasting leafy green.

SWEETNERS:  Bananas that are brown and overripe will add much sweetness to your smoothies.  My second go to is dates.  Oranges work, especially those little ones like a mandarin.  I have mixed feelings about agave nectar.  I don’t use it anymore.  Sometimes I will add Xylitol which is actually from a birch tree.  I learned about Xylitol years ago from a conference I attended.  Did you know Trident gum uses Xylitol?  There are more out there but these are the ones that I would consider.

EXTRAS:  Superfoods are great for you and have many health benefits in themselves.  I could write pages and pages on them.  I typically use green tea powder, spirulina or cacao nibs for my go-tos.  I also use flax seed (ground up) and chia seeds on occasion.  There are so many different superfoods out there.  Coconut in my opinion is a superfood so I try to incorporate any type of coconut in my smoothies for the added benefit as it does so much for your body.  I will typically add turmeric and cayenne pepper to my green smoothies.  This does a good job of covering up avocado taste or a bitter taste and gets the blood circulating too.  Good a cold winter’s day.

Sidenotes

To get a creamy texture to your smoothie – freeze your bananas.  I peel them and break them up and put them in chunks into a freezer bag and leave in the freezer.  Use them as needed and just keep replacing them.  Avocado also makes for a really smooth smoothie.  To me, avocado has a taste that needs to be disguised so I am always mindful about how I use them in my smoothies.

HOW TO LAYER YOUR SMOOTHIE:  Put your greens and liquid in the bottom of the blender.  I typically will ground this up first before I add anything else – sometimes it gets a little tight in the blender and this will give you more space.  Next add your fresh fruits and/or veggies, dry ingredients such as spices, powders, seeds or nut butters and finally frozen fruits and ice.

HEALTH BENEFITS:  Once you start drinking smoothies, your body will begin to crave them.  I know when I get a hankering for something sweet, instead of reaching for candy or some other sugar ridden product, I make my go to carrot smoothie (recipe below).  By beginning this healthy routine, you will notice some changes, some immediate, some in time.  Your energy will increase.  By blending your “food” the process breakdowns plan cell walls, which makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients.  This means that your body does less work in the digestion process.  You will probably notice your skin will change and your mind may be a bit more sharp (don’t we all need that!).  Other benefits include strengthening your immune system, regular bowel movements and weight loss, because the high fiber content in your green smoothies.

Recipes

PLEASE NOTE:  The following recipes are enough to make two smoothies. I like thicker smoothies – so you would add more ice.  If you like thinner smoothies, decrease your ice.  Please take into consideration that if you are using frozen fruit you need less and if you are using lots of greens or fresh fruit, you may need more.

**CARROT SMOOTHIE**

½ to ¾ cup of carrot juice (I make my own by juicing my carrots)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Dates – pitted; depending upon the size use 5 to 8

¼ cup of cacao nibs

2 tsps. Macha green tea (powder)

8 pieces of bananas (frozen) (about 1 ½ inches each)

Ice

**GREEN SMOOTHIE-simple-first timers**

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1 cup chopped mango*

1 cup chopped pineapple*

2 bananas*

(*one of these should be frozen)

(ice if you want it colder)

**GREEN SMOOTHIE**

2 cups leafy greens (mentioned above)

2 cups liquid (I use coconut water)

1 inch piece of ginger

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

2 tsp matcha green tea powder

¾ tsp spirulina

2 Tbsp flax seed (ground) and/or chia seeds

1 orange peeled (make sure no seeds)

½ cup pineapple (I use frozen chunks) or mango

8 banana chunks (frozen)

Ice

**PEPPERMINT PATTY**

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 cups spinach

2 Tbsp almond butter

½ tsp peppermint oil (get food grade from a food coop)

¼ cup cocoa powder or cacao powder

8 banana chunks (frozen)

Sweetener of choice

Ice

 

ENJOY!

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