One way to get the remarkable benefits of whole, natural, raw foods is to combine a bunch of them together in a blender, add some healthful liquid, and whirl away until you obtain a delicious, refreshing drink commonly known as the green smoothie. Food snobs may view these health-promoting elixirs as less than appealing (jokes about grass clippings are not uncommon), but health-conscious fans know they can be a quick, convenient—and yes, delicious—way to get the goodness of healthful greens into one’s diet.
Enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—whenever you feel the need for a refreshing, energy-boosting pick-me-up. Smoothies capitalize on two beneficial approaches to better health through diet: they’re a convenient (and especially palatable) way to get plenty of phytonutrient-packed fresh greens into your diet, and they’re a great way to ensure good nutrition even when you’re on the run. Just blend up a batch, and take some along to drink at your convenience. Depending on the ingredients you choose to include, your green smoothie can focus on specific health goals—such as reducing inflammation, or getting plenty of protein—while providing a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.
The green in most green smoothies comes from healthful fresh leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, parsley, etc. To avoid the grass clippings effect, be sure to include some sweet, wholesome fresh fruit, too. You can also add flavor and balance through your choice of liquid. Some people use everything from coconut water to almond milk. We recommend experimenting to discover your personalized blend. Whatever tastes best to you is probably what you’ll be most likely to drink and drink again, so that’s going to work best for you.
In a blender, combine two cups of greens and two cups of liquid. Blend thoroughly, then add three cups ripe fruit (and optional items, if desired) and blend again until smooth. Serves two. Use frozen fruit if you desire a chilled smoothie. Store any unused portion in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Begin by choosing your greens. Stick to one or two, or try a wide assortment. Part of the fun of smoothie making is in the experimentation.
Suggested greens (2 cups):
• Thoroughly washed fresh baby spinach.
• Kale leaves—choose from among several varieties commonly available in grocery stores.
• Arugulaby the handful. This peppery, potent green, which resembles dandelion leaves, is a member of the superfood Brassica vegetable family. Other members include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. All are packed with unique phytonutrients that have been linked to cancer prevention and other potential health benefits.
• Swiss chard. This leafy green comes in a variety of colors, including “rainbow” varieties, featuring red, yellow and purple stems. As with spinach, be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any trapped sand.
• Romaine lettuce leaves. Far more nutritious than boring old iceberg lettuce, Romaine has been growing in popularity in the U.S. for decades.
• Parsley. Choose Italian flat leaf variety for the best flavor/nutrient profile. Adds a bright, almost citrusy note to foods, including smoothies. This herb/spice/vegetable is nothing if not versatile. Once considered suitable for little more than garnishing bland foods, parsley deserves far more respect. It’s worth noting that it’s a key, central ingredient in many cuisines from the Middle East and Mediterranean basin. And the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the most healthful diets on the planet. Coincidence? Almost certainly not. Parsley provides vitamins and antioxidants.
• Collard greens.
• Dandelion leaves. Not just for purging from American lawns any longer, dandelion greens are cropping up in better-stocked groceries. They add an exotic note to salads, and contribute various nutrients to your smoothie. In general, smaller leaves, harvested before the familiar yellow flowers emerge, are considered more tender, less bitter, and more delicately flavored. Dandelion greens are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C.
Suggested Liquids (2 cups):
• Coconut water
• Coconut milk
• Almond milk
• Cashew or any other nut “milk”
• Brewed green tea
Suggested Fruits (3 cups):
• Apples (peeled, cored, roughly chopped)
• Berries (all varieties—these colorful fruits are packed with potent antioxidant pigment compounds; the more colorful the better)
• Oranges (peeled, seeds removed)
• Ripe avocado (peeled, pit removed)
• Grapes (choose organic, if possible)
• Stone fruits (peach, apricot in season, etc.—pits removed, of course)
• Fresh cherries in season (stems and pits removed)
• Kiwi (peeled; more green!)
• Dates (pits removed—use sparingly; these add a lot of natural sugar)
• Ripe persimmon (peeled, in season; note that unripe persimmon can be highly astringent)
Optional Flavor/Benefit Boosters:
• Berkeley Life Beetroot Powder; one scoop to 4-6 fluid ounces of water
• Cinnamon; 1-2 tsp. (linked to better blood sugar control)
• Cocoa; 1-2 Tbsp (pure cocoa is loaded with beneficial phytonutrients)
• Coconut oil (supplies medium chain fatty acids)
• Chia seeds
• Almond butter
• Peanut butter (adds protein)
• Flax seed (a source of an essential omega-3 fatty acid)
• Fresh, peeled, grated ginger root (contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds; adds flavor)
Learn more about our 100% drug free Berkeley Life Heart Health Supplements.