Raise your hand if the idea of drinking spinach and broccoli sounds revolting to you. I am still scarred from the time I was a child and tried a carrot juice smoothie. It was in the mall, Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Ontario and I was in Grade 4. And yet somehow, someway my cynical skeptic self has been sucked into the veggie smoothie vortex with a vengeance.
I blame my husband who bought me a Jugo Juice one day at the mall because he loves their smoothies so much. I chose their Mighty Kale smoothie because like many winter-ized people trapped in snow, you get into hibernation mode and with that comes the incessant craving for comfort food vs good healthy food. And at that moment in time I was like I need something good and not baguettes and cheese (I swear I keep my Costco membership strictly for access to their baguettes and Kirkland toilet paper). The whole time I was standing there thinking “This is not going to go well and I’m going to wish I got their Mango Magic”.
Yet one taste and I was proven wrong.
I could not believe how good kale and spinach tasted mixed up. Because the best part was you couldn’t taste the kale or the spinach. After that I was on a mission to sort out this mystery to rid myself of the stereotype that veggie smoothies are undrinkable. So I started experimenting in my kitchen with various concoctions and ingredients to see what worked. You’re talking about a woman who can’t even try to eat a salad without finding the Thousand Island salad dressing.
Now crave them. Crave.
No really. The differences drinking just ONE smoothie a day have made in my health are staggering.
1) Better skin – seriously you cannot fake this glow no matter what you try. My skin is ridiculously better and plumper looking. I thought it was windburn from the cold. It’s not.
2) Better digestion – I take probiotics daily but this also truly helps with food digestion.
3) Elevated mood – maybe it’s my imagination or maybe I just need to keep drinking these because this winter funk has been awful and anything that helps me feel happier is fine with me.
4) Feel satiated – even without the addition of protein powder (when I want to have it as a meal I add some) it keeps me feeling full and not bloated. Bonus!
So I tweeted out this past week how much I love them and several people asked if I could share what recipe I use. The truth is, most days I just take a random sampling of a handful of some of my favourites fruits and veggies and then change up the ingredients depending on my mood.
For those interested the ingredients in the one I am currently making they are as follows:
- handful of kale
- handful of spinach
- two pieces of broccoli
- several pieces of mango, pineapple, strawberries & half an apple peeled
- several carrots
- a teaspoon of chia seeds
- 1 cup of low sugar orange juice
Using 1 cup of orange juice helps with the masking the kale/spinach taste. Basically the more fruit to leaf ratio, the less you taste the veggies. You can use apple or pineapple juice too. My goal is to slowly wean myself off of using juice in it, but for now it’s staying.
All of this in the photo below + 1 cup of OJ, will make about 2 cups worth of a smoothie (16 oz). I buy most of my frozen fruits in bulk at Costco as well as the chia seeds.
I then take all that and turn them into pre-made freezer packs so I am not taking out my ingredients every single day from scratch.
Finally, I also make the smoothies in a bit of a different way, in that I use my food processor to make them vs my blender.
James got me a Hamilton Beach Food Processor for Christmas and I found that it did a much better job of pulverizing and shredding the fruits and vegetables than my blender did. It’s also much more affordable than oh, say the Vitamix.
All I do is either thaw for maybe 10 minutes or if I need it done faster, run the ingredients under warm water for less than a minute (i.e. soak them in a bowl with water) and then toss them into the food processor and you’re good to go. The food processor is very fast too. 10-30 seconds to get it done depending on how shredded you want everything.
It looks so awful. I mean really. There is nothing about that shade of green that is appetizing unless you’re an avocado in guacamole, preferably in a burrito covered in cheese and chipotle mayo.
My kids saw that and went I am not drinking that. Then they tried it and now they ask me to make them extra when I make myself one. If my picky 7 year old loves this, you will love it too.
So try a veggie smoothie. Find your favourite fruits and veggies and experiment. I don’t personally for example like bananas or cucumbers so I don’t tend to use them in my smoothies, but you may find you do. It takes a bit of trial and error and eventually you will find a combination that suits your taste pallet.
And once you do, you will no longer be skeptical of why should be drinking them. You will ask yourself what took you so long to get started.