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I’ve mentioned a few times, mostly on Facebook, that I’m on a quest to get my tooshie in gear and make healthier choices. I eat reasonably well, but I do splurge and eat way to much…so I’m making some small changes every week to improve my health. That started this week! Will it work, I have no idea, but I do know that something has to change. Will I lose weight, who knows! I hope that you will join me on this journey and feel free to share yours with me too. That’s how we learn.
My first goal is to increase my fruit and veggie intake and lower my caffeine intake! It’s harder than it sounds. So, I’ve gone back to making more green smoothies. Did you know…they don’t have to be green in color to be a “green smoothie” only that you put greens in the smoothie. I’m not a nutritionist, these are just some things I’ve learned a long the way. Besides using a good blender like a Vita-Mix or BlendTec (you have to have a good blender or you might burn out your motor)….here are a few suggestions to help you get the most health benefits out of your smoothies.
1. Start with carrots and cabbage! If you’re not used to the idea of adding a couple cups of spinach, kale, or chard to your smoothie, start with veggies that the color and flavor with be complementary and covered up with the fruits. Carrots are sweet and a bright orange color and cabbage is light green (almost white) and has no flavor once mixed with fruit. Go wild…add both!
2. Already hittin’ the start greens? Try adding some flax seed. Buying it in seed form is best…it will last longer; however, our bodies digest it better if it’s ground. I use a coffee grinder to grind enough flax for the week and then store in the fridge. Add a couple tablespoons to your smoothie. Flax seed is a powerful food and is thought to disease from heart disease to diabetes to breast cancer. It has Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. In just 2 tbls of ground flax seed you can get 4g of fiber (about 25% of the daily recommended value).
3. Switch from sugar or artificial sweeteners to a more natural one. Honey or Agave Nectar are best, if you need your smoothie sweetened. Pick a raw, local honey to use or switch to agave nectar. Agave is more healthy and vegan! It’s milder in flavor and a great pick for subbing for sweeteners that are high on the glycemic scale. Agave is low glycemic and therefore won’t make your blood sugar spike.
4. Add in some protein powder. Whether you pick soy or whey or whatever, if you need a little extra protein….add it in.
5. Add only water. Steer clear of adding extra calories with juice, juice concentrates, or dairy. Trust me, it will be sweet enough. If you like it creamy…add in a banana or avocado.
6. Experiment with other additives, each has their own benefits. Don’t go crazy, try just one new item at a time to make sure your body doesn’t react to them. I buy them from amazon, but I know these are found at good health food stores too!
- Maca Powder: from the root of the maca plant. Known to help libido, the endocrine system, and fight stress.
- Chia Seeds: they can be used as a thickener or egg replacer in baked goods. They are a superfood that is packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
- Hemp Protein: is easily digested and a full spectrum amino acid. I’ve haven’t done this but I’ve heard some brands are so good that people eat it by the spoonful.
- Cacao Powder: Ladies…listen up! You listening? Good! Get that chocolate fix without all the sweetness of chocolate. Plus all the other benefits such as antioxidants and important minerals (magnesium and iron).
- Spirulina: Warning…this one will turn your food bright green. Rich in chlorophyll, B-12, beta-carotene and provides awesome levels of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, cell salts, amino acids, and enzymes.
My favorite morning drink:
2 cups packed spinach
1/2-1 cup water
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup frozen strawberries
handful of baby carrots
grapes or an orange if I have it
couple tbls of ground flax seed
Mix well in a blender and enjoy cold!
The smoothie in the photo above comes from my friend Denise over at Creative Kitchen Adventures and her Mango Pineapple Green Smoothie. YUM!
Or check out some of my other smoothie ideas.
I am interested in adding the Maca Powder to my smoothies, but my picky husband will notice any kind of off flavor. Does it have a strong flavor?
I don’t think the maca powder has a strong flavor. You can start with just a little bit and slowly add in more. 😉
Theresa Reed says
Hmm I like smoothies but never thought to use some of the veggies and fruits together. Might have to give it a try.
You have to try it! Start with carrots or cabbage…I promise you won’t notice!
My blender will not do smooth carrots
Wendy O'Neal says
Hi Bernie, try chopping your carrots smaller and blending with water, juice or milk first. If that doesn’t work, you can try shredded carrots. If you still can’t do carrots…just skip them. Although, having a really good blender is the most ideal if you can afford one. Find something else like red cabbage or spinach. w-
Katherine @ Green Thickies says
Wow I love this post. I really love your idea of adding veggies to your smoothies too.
If you like Green Smoothies, I have a website with loads of filling green smoothie recipes if you want to take a look: http://www.greenthickies.com (Green Thickies)
Hermit Forall says
These are good ideas. Thanks!
Rebekah Shaver says
I can’t bear the thought of cabbage in a smoothie!!!!!!! Maybe if someone else made it for me, and I didn’t know it was in there I could try it!! 😉
awesome! thx for the info!!!
Until reading this I had no idea what a smoothie really was. I thought it was a yogurt-based icy drink. I, too, am trying to eat a much healthier diet, and – as soon as I get a blender that is up to the challenge – I think I’ll give this a try. Thanks for sharing!
I love all smoothies! I’m trying to get my kids to eat more greens so I sneak them into their smoothies- they magically LOVE it!
Fern Lehmann says
Thanks for the tips!
Lanie K. says
Oh i love smoothies! I am always afraid to add the veggies and stuff to it because I am never sure if it will be gross. I love making fruit ones though, and I should try your tips! thanks
Those are some great tips – I need to dig out my blender and do smoothies more often!
Karen Glatt says
This blog post has so much great information on how to make a healthy smoothie! I love smoothies, but sometimes they are not healthy. I will take you up on this.
Terry (My Journey With Candida) says
I grow my own wheatgrass juice and put it into my smoothies. I even have the Hubs drinking the wheatgrass juice now and he has lowered his triglycerides doing it.
I use the Power to the Greens mix from Trader Joes. It contains spinach, kale and chard. It adds no flavor , only super antioxidants.
Debi@ The Spring Mount 6 Pack says
I use to make smoothies all the time until I broke the blender. I really need to get a new blender to make smoothies again.
I would really suggest investing in a really good blender. The cheaper models really can’t keep up. They start off strong, but the motors quickly burn out. Don’t ask me how I’ve figured this out…
Chelsea @ Someday I'll Learn says
I love adding flax seed to my smoothies. Great suggestions!
My husband loves cabbage. He eats it raw all the time, so I feel that he might actually want to try this! I will ask him. 🙂
If he loves cabbage then go for it!
Amber Edwards says
I never thought about adding carrots and cabbage. We always use spinach in our smoothies. Plus protein powder. Sometimes we add frozen chunks of Greek yogurt if we want a “creamy” smoothie.
A lot of times if you have ripe fruit you don’t even need a sweetener of any kind. IF you need the flavors to stand out more, you can also add a little lemon juice. not much as it will turn it sour, but a splash or two helps to make the natural flavors of the fruit more potent.
Can you tell we are big smoothie people in our house? lol. It’s really the only way I can get my kids to eat any veggies. 🙂
Love the lemon juice idea! And this is pretty much the only way my kids eat veggies too! LOL!
I like to add a couple of dates to sweeten if needed. Raw Recipe a Day is also good fb page. I need to do my cactus smoothie again. 1/2 cup nopalitos 1/2 cucumber and juice of 1lime.
Ohhh….dates! That’s brilliant!