A few months ago I gave up my Kashi Crunch, yogurt and fruit morning regimen to board the green smoothie bandwagon. If you’re a regular reader of fashion or celebrity magazines or blogs, you’ve likely come across this health cocktail. There are numerous variations, but most contain at least one type of green (often lettuce, spinach or kale) and at least two different fruits to help make the drinking of veggies palatable.
Green smoothie revolution
If you Google “green smoothie,” you’ll get about four million hits and even see some blogs devoted to the topic. My inspiration for going green came from The Beauty Detox Solution (Harlequin, 2011), a book by Kimberly Snyder. In addition to looking pretty glowing herself, Snyder is a clinical nutritionist and a health guru to celebs like Fergie, Drew Barrymore and Olivia Wilde.
I picked up Snyder’s book because I loved the title: who doesn’t need a little beauty detox? But while I enjoyed her encouraging writing style, I found some of the guidelines daunting: cutting out caffeine, soda, dairy, allowing only very limited amounts of alcohol and meat, and regulations on food combining. Most days I’m a pretty healthy eater, but this seemed a lot to bite into.
The message that did impact me was Snyder’s insistence that starting the day with a green smoothie (with no other foods until lunch) was the mainstay of the program, so I decided to start with it, and in truth haven’t really followed much of the rest.
Benefits of blending
Snyder is so passionate about green smoothies because she claims that when you blend foods, you’re in effect “predigesting” them so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break the nutrients down. Further, she says that most minerals and other nutrients are encased in cell walls, which need to be broken to extract the full nutritional bounty.
Glowing & flowing
So what have I found? These days my skin is looking very clear and, yes, even has a bit of a glow (however, some of that may be attributed to the skin care I’ve blogged about). I haven’t lost any weight, but since that wasn’t a main goal and I’m not following the rest of her program, that’s not a surprise. One big change is that things are “flowing” quite well, which is an issue I struggle with.
But I have to admit I think the biggest benefit to the smoothie, which I’ve taken to calling the Shrek Shake, is getting four to five servings of fruit and vegetables by the time most people are having their first cup of coffee. Speaking of which, I still indulge in a daily cup of joe, partially because of recent studies indicating how caffeine helps our brains as we age, but mostly because I’m not much fun to be around without it.
On the breakfast menu
I try to do the smoothie routine three times a week, and then indulge on the other days in bagels and cream cheese and other a.m. goodies strictly verboten by Snyder. When I began the smoothie plan, I would start fantasizing about fries and pizza (not together) by the time noon rolled around, but that has since tapered off. And I have to admit on the days I drink my breakfast, I generally feel better than when I’m off the wagon. As for the smoothie’s taste, once you get over the green shade, it’s pretty good.
If you’re curious, I’ve listed my concoction below (I used Snyder’s as a jumping off point, but have tailored it slightly to my tastes). Snyder also recommends the pricey Vitamix blender for a truly smooth product, but I find my Osterizer from the ’90s does the job. To save time, I use prewashed baby greens, which cuts down on the chopping. A nutritionist I recently met suggested adding a little spirulina to it, which I do occasionally.
Green smoothie recipe
2 cups (500 mL) organic baby romaine
1 cup (250 mL) organic baby spinach
1 ripe organic green apple
1 ripe organic pear
1 – 2 very ripe large organic bananas
½ organic lemon
Blend ingredients in order, and squeeze in the lemon juice at the end.