Lean Mean and Green

It’s tasty and GREEN

Last week I was all excited about baby spinach. This week, I want to share the word about green smoothies. Its Spring, and if you are like most people, you may have been eating some heavy food, or moving around less. I am the poster child for this phenomenon, since I have been working on a dessert book that involves baking about 15 tasty, healthy desserts a week, and trying to keep up with the added calories by missing workouts to travel and teach. I am doing pretty well, but I feel a spring cleaning coming on. Even if you haven not gained an ounce, you still feel a little slow. Now is time for the spring energizer that is the green smoothie.

The green smoothie has many forms. What it is at its most basic is a puree of greens and fruit. The idea is to drink a big glass of raw, concentrated plants at the start of the day. With the help of a good blender, you can make a big pile of veggies and fruits into an easy to digest liquid. Since most of our foods are high in acid and promote acidity in the body, a greens packed smoothie balances us out by being alkaline. You can also get a few servings of veggies in without even chewing.

It’s like juicing, but with all the fiber left in, and it doesn’t require a special juicer.

Most people take their green smoothie a step further, adding some kind of protein. You may want some yogurt, or protein powder, or tofu pureed in there. That is where we diverge, as everyone has strong feelings about which of those is best. It’s up to you.

The great thing about it is that you can improvise. Keep some good fruit and greens around, and you can pretty much puree them together. Bananas are a classic creamy base for the smoothie, and high antioxidant berries are always good. Frozen berries are easy and give the smoothie a slushy texture you might like.  Try not to add a bunch of sweetener, but if you just can’t get into it without a spoonful of maple, agave, or all-fruit jam, go ahead and sweeten a little. You can go savory with tomatoes and greens and cucumber, kind of a gazpacho sort of thing.

Of course, you can make these things into real workout meals, with avocado, coconut milk or oil, nut butters, and grains. Throw in some rolled oats and you have smoothie oatmeal. If you take it a step further, add-ins like spirulina or other greens powders, dulse seaweed, bee pollen, or even espresso or cocoa can amp up your smoothie with extra energizers.

Buy your greens and veggies, pull out that blender, and make a plan to have one of these for breakfast every day this week. See how it makes you feel.

Energize with spring greens, and you will be ready to take on the season of renewal.

Basic Green Smoothie

3 packed cups baby spinach, kale, collards, or a combination with watercress or parsley, sprouts, herbs, you name it

1 banana

1 cup berries, frozen or fresh

a splash of liquid-juice, non-dairy milk, kefir or yogurt

Load it all in the blender and puree. In the VitaMix I used the plunger stick and it was all done in a minute or so. Drink right away.

Breakfast Fruit Smoothie