Friday, July 22, 2011

Loving my green power!

Late one recent night, I couldn't sleep and on a whim downloaded a Kobo e-book for my iPod Touch (I can't put into words how much I love this little device). I must say that e-books are frighteningly easy to buy. Just two or three taps and it's yours! Plus you save over the price of a regular (old-school) book - I saved between $2 and $5. I had about a moment's remorse for my impulse buy, but then dove into my new book. I read voraciously in the dark (love the night-reading feature) and after 3 chapters finally turned it off to get some sleep.

Green for Life - Kobo

What was this fascinating read? "Green for Life" by Victoria Boutenko. I've mentioned this book in another post as it was a major source of inspiration for my exploration of green smoothies. After my initial fascination with these verdant drinks, I fell off the wagon and didn't get back on. I found mixing them using my immersion blender too cumbersome and I didn't have the determination to press on. I recently bought a new blender, in the hopes of making the process a little easier* and decided it was time to read more on the subject.

What is so great about Green Smoothies? Through her research, in consultation with many experts in the fields of nutrition - both human and chimpanzee(!) - and her family's own evidence, Boutenko discovered:
  • Greens, above all other food groups, meet all nutritional needs.
  • A raw food diet featuring green smoothies can cure disease, prevent cancer, and even slow or reverse aging.
  • Consuming 1-2 litres of green smoothies per day can have profound health benefits, including: weight loss, improved digestion, improved allergies, healed eczema, fewer headaches, reduced stiffness after exercise, even improved sex life and peaceful birthing.
  • After one month of drinking a litre of green smoothies per day, study participants reported: less fatigue and more energy, increased motivation, "zingyness", fewer grey hairs (!) and cravings moving from processed or cooked foods to raw foods and greens.
Now that's green! My lettuce began to bolt,
so I rescued what I could and made some
green juice: 4 cups packed green & romaine
lettuce blended with 4 cups water
This book is packed with surprising and up-to-date information on nutrition and how it affects our health, as well as copious testimonials. My e-book is full of highlights for every time I exclaimed, "wow!" Needless to say, my enthusiasm for green smoothies has grown. If even a small portion of these claims are true, I should experience a big difference in my health. While I'm definitely the most dedicated smoothie drinker, my husband will drink them if I make them, and my 2.5yo will gladly consume them if they include mango. My discerning 5yo is still vary wary. I've started asking him to try a sip every day and most days he complies.

So what's in a Green Smoothie? It's actually surprisingly simple: water, greens, and fruit. That's it. The ratio depends on your tastebuds, which will adjust as you become familiar with the taste of greens. Novices (this includes children especially) should start easy so the smoothies are tasty and enjoyable. You can get a large number of recipes by registering for the Recipe App on the Raw Family site, or purchase the App for your mobile device. It also includes a FAQ and an excellent guide to green smoothies. There are combinations for all tastes and seasons.

How do green smoothies taste? Yummy! You can completely adjust your ingredients based on preference. If you like sweet, add (very slightly green) bananas or mangoes. If the green flavour is a little strong, add more fruit or lemon juice. I really enjoy drinking green smoothies and look forward to the every day. We recently went away for five days and I didn't get to drink my usual allotment - though I did manage a little - and noticed the difference. I started feeling a general yuckyness and my digestion slowed down.

I carried two of these buckets containing 3 heads of lettuce each
(in their soil) to Cornwall, ON to prevent losing them to flowering
or drought. I used half in smoothies and the other half returned home.

Want to get started now? Some tips from the guide mentioned above: wherever possible, ingredients should be fresh, local, ripe, and organic; and rotate your greens (change it up now and then to ensure nutritional diversity). A tip of my own: frozen fruits can be great for convenience - fresh is better, but frozen is a good compromise, adds a great texture, and is refreshing in summer, I usually combine fresh and frozen fruit.

Here's a basic recipe:
1.5-2 cups packed greens (start with green or romaine lettuce or spinach)
1-2 cups water
2-4 cups fruit (try mango, strawberry, apple, banana, peach, etc.)

Before - romaine lettuce, frozen mangoes,
frozen strawberries, and water


* I learned first hand last week how awful a green smoothie can be if made in a blender with dull blades. The greens and fruit skins remain in big chunks and the result is chewy - yech! Boutenko heartily recommends the Vita-mix blender, but at over $400, it's a little out of my price range at the moment. It could be a future family Christmas present. Instead I settled for a 16-speed Oster and have learned a few tricks to preserve the motor and blades: blend the water and greens first, then add the fruit which should be chopped or in small chunks, frozen fruit should be added gradually. If you get big chunks when mixing, blame your appliance, not the smoothie!

1 comment:

  1. DH is really into making smoothies, I think I"m going to encourage him to add some greens. We were REALLY into juicing everything about five or so years ago, but we got out of it because it was messy and the juicer was a pain to clean. But for awhile, we couldn't go a day without some garlic and carrot juice. Maybe we can get back into it with smoothies instead! :)