Jan 232013
 

green smoothies

3 Ways Green Smoothies Help Us Get Healthier, Fight Fat, and Feel Amazing

1. Green Smoothies are one of the most efficient and tasty ways to ensure you’re getting all the vital nutrients, anti-inflammatory compounds, phytochemicals and vitamins your body needs to function at its best into your body on a daily basis.

2. Getting in your greens supports your liver, your body’s primary fat-burning organ.

One of your liver’s important jobs is to filter out toxins and wastes, and if you’re eating too many processed foods it can get clogged up and not be able to do its OTHER important job…

…metabolizing fat!

Drinking green smoothies supports your liver by filling you up with antioxidant rich foods that fight free radicals from processed foods and helps DETOXIFY your cells. 

3. Greens are also full of fiber which supports your healthy digestive tract, moving food and anything that could be stuck along the pathway through you and out of you to keep your immune system healthy and your stomach from bloating..

Commercials for vitamins always crack me up – they are almost always packaged with pictures of fruits and vegetables, and people are talking about how you’ll get all these benefits “just like eating fruits and vegetables!” from taking them. Guess what, EAT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES to get the maximum benefit from these important foods!

I know that making a green smoothie that tastes good on the fly can seem a little daunting, so my solution for you (and exactly what I do at home) is to prep bags of greens and bags of fruit ahead of time to set myself up for success on a daily basis. This is actually super easy, and you can do any variety of greens and tasty ingredients you like.

1. Bag the greens.

I like to wash and shred a couple varieties of kale into my ziplock bags. You can also try some swiss chard, romaine, baby spinach, or other dark leafy green. Rotate through different kinds of greens throughout the month to keep your body infused with a spectrum of phytonutrients.
Other optional greens to include:

1 stalk celery
1/4 cucumber
1/4 cup (approximate) fresh parsley
Fresh mint leaves

Set up Spices and Add-ins

2. Spice it up.
I love making a spice blend and putting a teaspoonful in each bag along with the greens. One of my favorites is:
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cacao
1 tsp nutmeg or cardomom
1 tsp ginger (or use fresh ginger root)
Mix those together and add 1 tsp of the mix to each bag.

3. Add a protein source.
I like to add 3 T hemp seeds to each bag, or a packet of protein powder. My favorite P.P.Taster to add to green smoothies is made by Garden of Life, and it’s the Raw stuff. It’s gluten, dairy and soy free and I find it very easy to digest. You can get the Vanilla Chai flavored one, which is especially nice if you’re short on spices in the house to add (they usually have these in individual packets at Whole Foods). If you’ve got your spices dialed in, try adding the plain one. Sun Warrior vanilla is also great, and I’m a big fan of Vega protein powder.

4. Bag your Fruit.
I like to make separate bags of fruit and freeze them. Then I can just dump the two bags together and I’m ready to go. I usually buy apples, pears and bags of frozen berries to save money. I also include my citrus in the bag of fruit, which helps keep it from oxidizing (turning brown), and boosts my immune system at the same time :) Bonus!

1 apple OR pear, cut up into pieces (remove the core)
2/3 cup frozen or fresh berries: assorted or blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
1/4-1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed into the bag

 

5. Blend!
What I personally use to make my Green Smoothies is this amazing high speed blender called a Blendtec. It will be an initial investment between $380-450 (I purchased mine at Costco), and at the time I couldn’t believe I was spending that much money on a BLENDER but I use it every single day, and the consistency of my smoothies is amazing.

You can also SAVE a lot of money getting a Refurbished Blender from Blendtec. Great option if you’re on a budget but really want a quality blender.

I get a lot of reader questions about their green smoothies, and how chunky they come out in a regular blender. I will say, having a good blender is key. If you don’t have one though, you can get good results in a food processor. Try that for starters if you’re not ready to get a new blender.


<———-BlendTec Power Blender (what I have)

Hot Tip: Minimize Stomach Aches
Keep in mind that if your green smoothies aren’t blended to tiny particles, you will want to eat/drink them a little more slowly in order to allow some pre-digestive enzymes to work. Gulping them down may lead to a little bit of stomach ache.
You also want to be sure to wash your greens. You’re eating food raw – cleanliness is paramount.

My formula for washing fruits and vegetables is to add some Apple Cider Vinegar to your (very clean) sink of water and rinse them off in there. Use about 1/3-1/2 cup ACV to a basin/sink of water. If your produce isn’t organic, you’ll also want to scrub it gently with a soft bristle brush.

Putting it all together:

My formula for Fitness Green Smoothies:

  • Maximum of 2 fruits (and if fat-loss is your goal, stick to low glycemic index fruits like berries, apples and pears)
  • Assorted dark leafy greens (kale, chard, spinach etc)
  • Assorted water-dense vegetables like celery and cucumber
  • Fresh herbs: like mint or parsley
  • Spices if desired – if you review some of my green smoothie recipes you’ll see I’ve been on this chai spice blend kick for a bit – I love throwing in a little cinnamon, nutmeg and or cardomom.
  • Seeds like chia, flaxseed or hemp, and for a little more healthy fat consider adding coconut oil or avocado
  • Protein powder – and if I’m using hemp seeds I don’t really include the p.p as hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids
  • Liquid of choice: hemp, almond or rice milk – or water.

Depending on when you are making your green smoothie you can choose to add more or less sweet fruit (for example morning and post-workout are great times to boost your sugar intake)

For a meal replacement be sure you think of protein, fat and carbs – just like you would in a meal.

Click HERE for more of my Green Smoothie recipes.

  • Danielle

    Could you make green smoothies the night before so I don’t have the blender going so early in the morning?

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      Definitely. They are always the best when they’re fresh but they do keep well for 8-10 hours. Good to know too if you’re wanting to make one in the morning and take it with you to work. Here’s another plug for the Blendtec, they’re definitely going to store best when they’ve been blended as much as possible.

  • Kristen

    What ratio of greens to fruit do you use typically?

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      I don’t really think of it as a ratio, I pack up a big bag of greens and go for 1 apple or pear and 1/2-2/3 cup berries total.

  • http://simplegreensmoothies.com Jadah {Simple Green Smoothies}

    This is awesome! I love smoothie preps. You’re a green smoothie rockstar!!!

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      WE are green smoothie rockstars! Love your recipes so much!

  • Yvette

    Just found your site and love it!!! My question is about Sun Warrior (or non-whey based protein powders). I use Sun Warrior and also have Rainbow Light for my shakes (I have dairy and egg allergies). Do you feel they actually help you build muscle? Or just good nutrients? I’m training for my first fitness competition…

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      Hi Yvette,
      Protein is a sequence of amino acids. Animal (whey) protein contain the complete sequence in one place, and plants contain different aminos that when eaten together form complete proteins. The aminos in the Sun Warrior and other plant-based protein powder are complete proteins and work the same as the whey. Protein is a nutrient that helps support muscle growth, so no matter how you get it it’s going to do the same thing. I have never tried to put on the amount of muscle required for a fitness competition so I can’t speak from experience there – but I do know that as long as you are fueling your body with the amount of protein (and carbs, fats, etc) your coach recommends you should be right on target.
      Best,
      -BR

  • Lexi

    Hi ! I have the Fuel System and I love your green smoothies recipes! It totally opened up my eyes to a whole new world of smoothies to me! But I was just wondering about the portion sizes. How many servings does one recipe make?

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      Hi Lexi,
      I personally drink the entire serving one recipe makes. You can split it up into two if you’d like, but the fresher the better once you blend it.
      All the best!
      BR

  • Renee

    Hi! I was just wondering how many days do you normally prep for in advance? Is a week too long to keep everything fresh? Which leads me to my next question, do you refrigerate your greens for prep or freeze them like the fruit?

    Many thanks!

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      Hi Renee,
      I do it a couple different ways. I usually prep about 4 or 5 green smoothies at a time, and keep the remainder of my greens and fruit washed and prepped and ready. Sometimes I just wash and prep all the greens and keep them in separate bags and the fruit the same – and make green smoothies on the fly without a specific recipe. Freezing the fruit is really helpful – and you can also freeze your greens but I prefer to keep them just fresh in the refrigerator.
      So it really just depends on what I have on hand. A simple way to do it would be to wash and prep your greens and put them in separate bags, ready to go and keep your fruit on hand in the freezer.
      How long your produce will keep for depends a lot more on where you got it and how fresh it was from that source than anything else – so just try out different things :) Sometimes you’ll be able to prep for 7 days in advance and other times it won’t work out so well.
      -BR

  • Megan

    Hi Brie!

    I’m just about to begin the Fuel System and I’m so excited! In your video on smoothie prep you show cleaning your fruits and vegetables in the sink with vinegar–could you provide some details on that? How do you clean your sink before this to make sure you don’t contaminate the produce? What ratio of vinegar to water do you use and how long do you soak them?

    Thanks so much!

    • http://thebettyrocker.com BettyRocker

      Hi Megan!
      Great questions.
      I use all non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products in my kitchen for starters. Before I wash my veggies and fruits, I mix about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar in water and rinse my sink walls with it to clear it of any trace residues from the cleaning product. After my sink is clean and rinsed, I fill it about halfway with water (depending on how many veggies/fruits you have to wash) and add about a half a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). I let them sit in there for 5 minutes or so, then I gently scrub them with a brush (a good practice especially with non-organic produce). Because I buy only organic greens, I rinse them in the ACV water and then under a little fresh water before chopping them up to bag.
      Hope this helps!
      -BR

  • Sarah

    Oooh, I actually made myself a green smoothie this morning even before I opened up my e-mail! I used to drink them frequently but somehow got out of the habit. I am excited my 21 month old also enjoyed the smoothie today. I will certainly consider adding some of your suggestions to future smoothies.

    • http://thebettyrocker.com/ Betty Rocker

      Cool!! Way to go!!

  • Carrie Howard

    Hi there! I love these tips and tools about green smoothies. I have been on a wheat grass kick lately. Is that ok to substitute for the green smoothies?

    • http://thebettyrocker.com/ Betty Rocker

      I wouldn’t call it a “substitute” because greens all contain different phytonutrients. But it is an excellent addition to your eating program!