Monday, October 3, 2011

Help! Let's Create The Big List of Green Smoothies (aka Blended Salads)

I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it's icky right now in Cleveland. Rainy and cold. I need to do something interesting to lift my spirits.

Remember a few weeks ago when we created The Big List of No-oil Salad Dressings? That was the single most spirited thing that we have done here as a community on HGK. And it's been suggested to me that we create other plant-based nutrition resources, like a Big List of Green Smoothies.

So, here goes!

Green smoothies are somewhat controversial in the plant-based nutrition world. Some docs think they rock, and others think it's best to eat your food in solid form (ie chew it). Some argue that too much fruit is unhealthy and others disagree. Some say it's too easy to overconsume calories when they are in liquid form (I think I have to agree with that one).

Does blending your food destroy the nutrients before you get a chance to digest them?

Look, it might be better to eat a Hugh Jass Salad for breakfast everyday, but let's get real. Who wants to eat salad for breakfast? And who has the time?

The following are excerpts from a blog article that I thought covered many key points about drinking green smoothies:

"The biggest advantage to using green smoothies is that most people don't eat enough green veggies, so beginning a new routine with green smoothies is usually a great step in the right direction. Green veggies are some of the most health promoting foods around.

I would caution that it is still best to chew all food before swallowing. Chewing does much more than just break food into smaller parts. Chewing actually starts the digestive process using enzymes in the mouth. Chewing also triggers the stomach to recognize that food is coming and to start preparing the acids and enzymes it needs for digestion. Also chewing allows our taste buds to taste the food. Taste is also an important part of eating. It not only can tell us when something we put in our mouths is rotten, but can also help us to know when we have had enough food. Many nutrients actually enter the blood stream directly from the mouth as well. I would encourage you to at least minimally chew each mouth full of smoothie before swallowing. You will get more goodness from it.

Breaking the veggies down also allows for the release of many of the phytonutrients and antioxidants they contain without the digestive system having to work so hard. With these nutrients more easily available, the body can start its rebuilding and repair projects quicker and easier.

Another important thing made more useful and available is the soluble fiber from veggies. This fiber is a major aid to digestion and nutrient absorption. As well as helping with the clean up through bowel activity. 

Caution should be used in choosing green smoothie recipes. Some call for added sugars (believe it or not) which greatly reduces the health benefits of the veggies. Don't get caught in that trap. Veggies and fruit (which are often mixed in with the veggies in green drinks) have plenty of natural sweeteners in them without adding any.

Some green smoothies are veggies only, while many are combinations of fruits and vegetables. However an all veggie smoothie can be a bit too strong of a taste for some people to handle right off the bat. So adding in some fruit will sweeten it up and smooth it out. Bananas work well for giving a smooth texture as well as adding sweetness. Try some peaches, apples, and others to see what works well for you, and to add variety.

As for what kind of greens to use, that is up to you. Use a variety to spice up your life, as well as avoiding the overload that can come from eating only one type of vegetable for days at a time. I highly recommend spinach and kale as some of the healthiest basic veggies to include (one or the other) almost everyday. But go ahead and mix it up from one day to the next. Try different combinations to keep it fresh and interesting as well as healthy. Carrots are another great addition.

Another word of caution: Smoothies are a great way to get veggies into your diet, but be sure to eat some fresh and steamed veggies on a plate sometimes too. And don't overlook the importance of chewing.

Also remember that because the blender releases the nutrients from the food, it will lose nutritional value very rapidly. So just make enough for one meal, and drink it as if sitting down to a meal.
In fact, do sit down at the table and enjoy it as a meal. Thinking about what you are eating and enjoying it, actually helps food to digest better. Have a meal time, even though it can be convenient to slurp on the go. Slurping on the go is not nearly as healthy. A stomach in a body at rest can work much better than in a body on the go.

The important thing is that whatever you have to do to get your greens, do it!"

Please submit your favorite green smoothie (blended salad) recipe(s). It could be as simple as a list of ingredients or it could include measurements of ingredients if you know them. Please send your favorite(s) either in a comment to this post or e-mailed to me at

In a few days, I'll publish the recipes along with a printable file.


monami said...

my favourite one is:


I don't know the measurments, I always do it "more or less" ;)

Regards from Poland!

Elisa Rodriguez said...

Great idea HGK! This is one of the best smoothies I've concocted:


The Aiken Family said...

What are your thoughts on juicing? Aside from the loss of fiber, are the health benefits equal?

infinebalance said...

Thanks for asking.... here is my favourite.

Alexandria Lewis said...

My favorie green smoothie ingredients to throw together are:
3 cups of spinach
5 frozen whole strawberries
1 small kiwi or half a large kiwi
1/2 of mango
handful of fresh mint
1/2 a frozen banana
1/2 cup of water
squeeze of half a lemom
**Usually when I have this particular smoothie I no longer eat any more fruit for the day and just concentrate on raw and cooked vegetables.

Sharon L said...

My favorite smoothie has 1/2 to 1 banana frozen, organic spinach with or without swiss chard stuffing the blender full and then 1 cup of Silk light vanilla soymilk. Tastes like a green banana milkshake!!

Elysa B. said...

I posted my go-to smoothie recipe on an email list earlier and got lots of "ick" comments. It's really yummy!

handful of ginger mint from my garden
handful of rose geranium leaves from my garden
2 carrots
1/2 lemon with skin
1/2 cup frozen black grapes
1/2 frozen banana
frozen mixed berries, about 1 cup
frozen mango, about 1 cup
1 Tbsp green tea powder (matcha) or 2 Tbsp green tea
1 Tbsp whole flax
1 scoop protein powder or a cup of cooked beans
1 tsp bee pollen
approx 1 cup water
frozen spinach to reach top of Blendtec regular container (about 1.5 cups?)

blend until thick smoothie texture (2 rounds of "whole juice" in Blendtec)

keeps me happy from 9 am to 4 pm!

hannahmarie said...

This is such a great idea! I love green smoothies but sometimes get in a rut. I have yet to find a good, easy to navigate website that I can go to for ideas. My favorite is definitely banana with spinach or kale and mango. I cram as much of the greens as my tastebuds can handle into each serving!

Alyssa (Everyday Maven) said...


8 oz non-dairy milk (usually unsweetened almond, soy, or hemp)

a dash green stevia powder

a dash vanilla extract

1 T flax oil

huge handful kale or spinach

4 to 5 frozen strawberries or blueberries

1/2 frozen or fresh banana
4 to 5 ice cubes

Anonymous said...

I have a green smoothie for breakfast every morning and it leaves me completely energized. If I have to eat solid food in the morning it alway leaves me feeling really 'blah'.
My smoothies are mostly a variation on:
almond milk (pure, not sweetened) or soy milk
frozen spinach
frozen fruit (blueberries are great)
hemp protein powder
flax seeds

Who needs sweetener when you have banana and fruit?!!!

Cindy Marsch said...

My favorite standard:

1/2 - 1 banana (frozen)
1/2 pink grapefruit
2 big leaves of kale, or a huge handful
1-2 cups of water
handful of ice cubes

I also really enjoy this one:

1/2 cup fresh pineapple with a little of the juice
handful of baby carrots
an apple or pear or portion thereof
handful of kale (2 leaves)
ice and water to blend

Anonymous said...

Here's a good one I use for dinner sometimes because it does not contain fruit, but still tastes great:
half a stalk of celery
vanilla almond milk
3-4 dates
dash of cinnamon
2 Tbs. hemp seeds
1 Tbs. flax
chunk of cucumber

Christie Markert

Chris said...

kale or swiss chard
1/2 apple (sweet, not tart)
almond milk

so bright, fresh and delicious!
love it!!!!

Chris said...

Oh ya, and ice cubes

Desiree said...

I like to keep it simple.

Huge handful of spinach
Almond Milk


ViviDu said...

1 orange (skin & pith removed)
1/2 lemon (skin pith removed)
Handful spinach/kale/other leafy
Sprig parsley &/ mint
Handful frozen mixed berries
1 tbsp ground seeds (linseed, sunflower, almond, pumpkin)
Icecubes 4-6
Optional: 1 or 2 pieces of crystalized or naked ginger, or a shake of dried ginger or fav spice.


Motivated Mama said...

Love your blog! We recently jumped on the green smoothie wagon after watching "Forks Over Knives" and reading "The China Study"...favorite ingredients in a typical breakfast smoothie:
Wheat germ
Flax seeds
Pineapple tidbits
Frozen mango chunks
Splash of calcium and vit-D fortified O.J.

Anonymous said...

This one is delicious- just ask my 3 year old!

1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 bartlett pear
1 orange
1 banana
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup water
2 cups ice

place all ingredients in blender and process on low for 1 minute- increase to medium/high and process until well- blended.

Jessica said...

1 banana
1 C almond milk
1 T ground flax seed
large handful spinach or kale
and then the variables - depends what's in the kitchen!Just one additional fruit -
maybe a peach
maybe some frozen mango chunks
maybe fresh or frozen berries

Green energy drinks said...

After a couple days of green juice , I could feel my waist return to normal pressure - hence the daily bloat was starting to reduce. I could actually feel my belly start to flatten after only a week.

Alexandra McGoldrick said...

1 whole fig
Chia seeds
Ground flax
1 packet manuka honey
Unsweetened almond milk

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