From "Ew!" to "Oh la la!": My Changing Relationship with Green Smoothies
By Ashley Hopkins
A few years ago, I hopped on the green smoothie train. I did little research and thought I could just throw some stuff in a blender and call it a day. I recall there being spinach, celery, parsley and maybe a banana and apple. I took the “green” part of the smoothie a little too seriously. Needless to say, it was a nightmarish experience and my green smoothie train derailed. I had vowed to never let another vile green smoothie pass my lips!
Until recently when I stumbled upon new research that suggests instead of 5 servings a day of fruits and veggies, we should be getting 7 to prolong our lives.
With my schedule as a homeschooling and part time class co-op teaching mom being so packed, I’ll sometimes dart out the door on
our way to a learning activity and not realize until I’m halfway to where I need to go that I kinda sorta forgot to have something other than coffee and a waffle for breakfast. Of course the kiddo gets an amazing array of fresh cut fruit, but I always seem to forget I need them too. And 7 servings of them?! I’m struggling to get my 5 on most days. Health nut vegan FAIL!
The allure of the green smoothie roped me in one more time. I figured I’d start out with mostly fruit (for the sweetness) and see if I could hide some kale in there. With a figurative grain of salt, I embarked on a second culinary adventure in green smoothie making. After thoroughly blending some frozen organic peaches and blueberries along with almond milk, hulled hemp seeds and a cup of raw kale, I stood tall, squared my shoulders, and took a swig.
And it was so good!! Nothing like the swill I chugged with my nose plugged years before. Smooth and sweet, just like a fruit smoothie, with a teensy hint of leafy greens. I am now officially hooked and have been having one every day since. This has been a fantastic way to squeeze in most of the fruits and veggie servings I need by breakfast so all I have to worry about the rest of the day is snacking here and there to get in the rest.
Curious as to how many nutrients I can cram into one smoothie? For example, a favorite of mine is 1 /2 C. blueberries, 1/ 2 c frozen peaches, 1 banana and 1 C kale blended with 1.5 C. original Almond Breeze almond milk and 1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds (for the protein and omegas). That smoothie contains 4 servings of fruits and veggies (over half of what research recommends we get in a day!). Along with that you have 35% Daily Recommended Value for potassium, 226% for vitamin A, 276% for vitamin C, 78% for calcium (with not a drop of animal dairy! Yay, almond milk!) and 25% for iron. It is also high in dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. For those who are calorie conscious (myself included) it contains 292 calories and 27.3 g sugar (18% DV), but take note that it is no added sugar, just natural fruit sugar.
I’ve pretty much been winging it with the recipes since I started making them and I usually stick with the 2-3 fruits, 1.5 C. almond milk and 1 C. of kale. I love raw kale so the slight kale taste doesn’t phase me a bit. I have read since that others do use spinach, celery and parsley, like I did during my first attempt, but lingering taste bud trauma from that experiment has kept me from straying from my beloved kale. The internet is bursting at the seams with green smoothie recipes but it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Heck, you don't even need the fancy blender. My vintage thrift store
Have a favorite green smoothie or nutrient packed smoothie of your own you’d like to share? Post away in the comments and bottoms up, friends!