30 day green smoothie challenge!

Ok, so here’s the thing. Green Smoothie’s have got me curious…

I hadn’t really given them much thought in the past although this debate caught my attention a while back, and I guess that is when I first became much more aware of their seemingly huge following.

Randomly I had bought my dad this book for Christmas last year (although he hasn’t used it!) and the other day whilst at his house, I plucked it from the book shelf, and for the first time read it properly.  It gave some interesting counter arguments to the issues raised in the debate I referred to earlier and the evidence was also persuading.

In addition to this I had been putting together my thoughts for Mantra for Monday no. 17 and then it occurred to me…..why not take a '30 day Green Smoothie Challenge'! My contribution to trying something new for 30 days.

I am apprehensive I’ll admit. I’ve only lightly dabbled with any form of green smoothie in the past, and to be honest I haven’t quite got my taste buds around it. But what better chance to experiment than a smoothie for 30 days- I’m hoping by the end of the experiment I will have refined and tweaked my recipes to concocted some delicious new flavours, I’m also curious to see how my taste buds adapt. (Scroll down to gets hints and tips for green smoothie making). I will report back with a update post in 30 days time!

Who’s with me in this experiment? Always been curious…now is the perfect time to try!

So, here goes!  

Today’s green smoothie no. 1 was:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 medium banana
  • ½ cup frozen mango pieces
  • 1/3 cup cucumber
  • 1 cup water

This made two large servings.

(I’ll be having the second serving tomorrow to save preparations every day)

The result? It was palatable but will take a little gettting used to before I come to love it!

The smoothie looks so much prettier in its constituent parts than when blended together- I might invest in a covered cup/flask so that I’m not distracted by the luminous green colour as a reminder!

P.S If I’ve bored you already then you don’t need to read on…. However you really should, because I have summarised what I consider to be the most interesting and useful extracts from the book to help you understand and prepare green smoothies.

The following notes are taken more or less directly word for word (page references given).

Pg.7 greens contain all the essential minerals, vitamins, and even amino acids that humans need for optimum health. The only nutrient not found in greens is vitamin B12.

Pg. 19 It’s important to rotate the greens used in your smoothies. Plants carry a trace of alkaloids in their leaves to ensure the animals will move on to eat other green plants and will not exterminate any one species. In small quantities these alkaloids strengthen the immune system, however if you continue to consume one plant type for many weeks without rotation, eventually the alkaloids can accumulate and cause minor symptoms of ‘poisoning’. We do not have to rotate fruits in the same way since they do not (or rarely) contain alkaloids as ripe fruit is intended by nature to be eaten in order to spread the seeds. The author recommends rotating at least 7 varieties of greens.

Pg. 22-23 List of common edible greens:

Amaranth, arugula (rocket), beet greens, bok choi (pak choi), celery, chard (all types), collard greens, endive, frisee lettuce, kale (all types), mitsuna, lettuce (all types), radicchio, romain lettuce, spinach, watercress, wheatgrass. Also the leafy tops of vegetable such as pumpkin or squash leaves, carrot tops, cucumber leaves, grape leaves, radish tops.

Many herbs, wild edibles and weeds can also be used such as clover, dandelion, stinging nettles, sorrel, lovage….etc.  (I have to admit I am a little hesitant when it comes to wild plants so I plan to utilise predominantly cultivated greens).

Pg. 27 Blending vs juicing. Juiced ingredients oxidize faster than their blended counterparts. The main advantage of juices is that they require little digesting and can be assimilated immediately into the blood stream, allowing the digestive system to rest. However juices are also seen as a ‘fracture food’ missing the essential component of fibre along with its antioxidants. Humans could not live off juices alone whereas smoothies are a complete food.

Pg. 33 You can use sweet fruit, dates, raisins, figs and prunes to sweeten smoothies for a beginner. You can freeze greens if they cannot be used within a couple of days. Green smoothies can be kept up to three days in the fridge if necessary although best consumed fresh.

Pg. 45 Green smoothies are not combination of fruit and vegetables since greens are just the leaves and do not contain starch whereas vegetables do. It is also best to use ripe fruits as unripe fruits contain enzyme inhibitors which slow down the action of our digestive enzymes. Unripe fruit also has a higher starch content and less fruit sugar which makes it harder to digest. The author notes that the fibre in the greens slows down the absorption of sugar from fruit, making green smoothies suitable for people with a high sensitivity to sugar.

Pg. 47 The author does not recommend adding nuts, seeds, oils, supplements or other ingredients to the green smoothie because most the these items slow down the assimilation of smoothies into your digestive tract and may cause irritation and gas.

Pg.107 ‘Green puddings’ are thicker smoothies that can be eaten with a spoon. Green puddings don’t usually contain any water and are often thickened with chia sees, dates, coconut or fruit high in pectin.

Guidelines for preparing green smoothies:

  • Prepare first thing in the morning for the amount to be consumed within one day (ideally).
  • Sip slowly
  • Don’t add anything except greens, fruit and water.
  • Drink on its own and not as part of a meal.
  • Do not add starchy vegetables
  • Don’t add too many ingredients to one smoothie. Keep it simple.
  • Rotate greens to maximise nutritional input and rotate fruits to maintain taste variety.
  • Eat organic ingredients and ripe fruits wherever possible.
  • Use a powerful blender for the smoothest result and speediest turnaround.
  • If using a powerful high speed blender it is not necessary to peel organic fruits such as mangoes, apples, kiwis and pears.
  • Fruits rich in soluble fibre and pectin will make the smoothie creamier and prevent any separation- try banana, strawberry, mango.
  • Remove the large stalks from greens such as kale to reduce bitterness.