In our family, most days include a green smoothie. We have been drinking them for about 5 years now and I can tell you honestly, if you do one thing to make your children’s life healthier, drink a green smoothie. I guarantee, you will have a 50% reduction in illness.
A green smoothie is a fruit smoothie that is blended with leafy green vegetables. They are excellent for breakfast or an after school snack because they contain a combination of minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll and phytochemicals. All of these are essential for providing energy to the body. They also contain important antioxidants that naturally help to prevent disease, and are high in proteins and amino acids.
Green smoothies offer the following benefits:
– They are easy for the body to digest, making it easier for the body to absorb all of the nutrients.
– Green smoothies contain high levels of fiber.
– Since they are made up of 60% fruits and 40% green leafy vegetables, they have a distinctively fruity flavor which makes them taste great. This is how you start but as you get used to them, you can make it 40% fruits and 60% greens.
– Only 3 cups of green smoothie will give your body almost all of the fruit and vegetable servings it needs for one day.
– As noted by Green Smoothie Girl on her site, “Drinking a quart a day addresses what I believe is the #1 deficit in the American diet: lack of leafy greens.”
– Green smoothies are a great source of protein and amino acids which help the body use protein, In Victora Boutenko’s book “Green For Life,” she states that greens provide protein in the form of individual amino acids which is easy for our bodies to utilize.
– By providing nutrients, vitamins, proteins and antioxidants, green smoothies can boost the immune system and prevent sickness.
– Green smoothies have high levels of chlorophyll ( Similar to hemoglobin-the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) which is like getting a healthy blood transfusion according to Dr. Ann Wigmore.
– It takes only about 5 minutes including cleaning up to make a green smoothie. We use a Vita-mix blender, which I feel is probably the best blender out there. I have had mine for 13 years, and I have had no problems. It is so powerful, I even dropped it on the floor on my toe and nothing happened. I’ve even taken it in my suitcase when we travel to have healthy food on the go.
– If placed in a cool temperature, green smoothies will remain fresh for up to 2 days after being prepared. We drink them right away for maximum freshness. They are best assimilated on an empty stomach for better digestion. Never have them with your food. Leave 1 hour before or 1 hour after consuming food to drink a green smoothie. If you are not going to drink it in the morning, then have the children drink them right after school as a snack.
– Many people have noted an improvement in their digestion and skin health when regularly consuming green smoothies.
Children benefit greatly from green smoothies. Every parent knows that kids are generally averse to eating green vegetables. In fact, the best way to start is when they are babies. Or better yet, in the womb. Babies as young as 8 months can enjoy green soothies! Just be sure to introduce 1 vegetable or fruit a week and keep them very simple to avoid food allergies. With its sweet, fruity taste, a green smoothie gets them the vegetable nutrition they need in a more flavorful form. In the summer, I make green smoothie popsicles with lots of berries, which turns the green smoothie purplish in color. My kids love them and can’t even see the greens in them.
How To Make A Green Smoothie
Any fruit or vegetables can be used to make a green smoothie. Start with 60% organic fruit and 40% organic greens. It is strongly advised that you use only fresh organic ingredients. Non-organic fruit and vegetables contain chemicals from pesticides. Over time, produce loses its nutrients and minerals, so ingredients that are not fresh may not offer the same health benefits.
Any combination of fruits and vegetables is acceptable. Simply mix it in a blender until it reaches the desired consistency. An example would be kale with mango or spinach with pineapple. Make sure that you use a variety of fruits and greens in your smoothies in order to ensure the most well-balanced diet possible. Baby Spinach is a great green to start with as it is very mild tasting. Be careful not to use spinach too much though, as spinach contains oxalic acid which, in excessive amounts, causes kidney stones. We rotate our greens on a daily basis. Some of them include collard greens, bok choy, kale, chard, dandelion greens, spinach, beet tops and carrot tops. In Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko, the calcium in beet tops is 7 times higher in the tops than in the roots. (117mg vs. 16mg) Vitamin A is 192 times higher in the beet tops than the roots. (6326mg vs. 33mg). This is just one example as she has really done the research and has compared many greens in her book.
I highly recommend Green for life by Victoria Boutenko and The Green Smoothie Diet by Robin Openshaw. This is a great place to get started and you will find tons of great recipes!
Here are a few of my favorite great tasting green smoothies:
Pineapple Chard Smoothie
2 cups pineapple
handful of chard- 4-5 leaves
1 small apple
water –depending how thick or thin you want it 2-4 cups
Pear Parsley Smoothie
1 bunch parsley
Peach Spinach Smoothie
2-3 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Orange Mango Smoothie
handful of dandelion greens
Strawberry kale Smoothie
1 cup strawberries
1/2 romaine lettuce or 5 kale leaves
Pear Rasberry kale
1 handful rasberries
5-6 leaves of kale
Watermelon Spinach Smoothie
4-5 cups watermelon
5-7 leaves baby spinach or romaine lettuce
Camu Camu powder (Vit C)
Aloe Vera juice
• Abundance of Proteins in Greens, greensmoothiesblog.com, http://greensmoothiesblog.com/abundance-of-proteins-in-greens/
• Why Are You So In Love With GREEN SMOOTHIES?, www.greensmoothiegirl.com, http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/articles/why-are-you-so-in-love-with-green-smoothies/
• Victoria Boutenko & The Raw Family, Ten Health Benefits of Green Smoothies, greensmoothiesblog.com, http://greensmoothiesblog.com/health-benefits-green-smoothie/