Monday, 25 January 2016

How to Make the Healthiest Green Smoothies from Your Kitchen

I make my own green smoothie with core ingredients that never fail to result in the best drink ever. Fizzy drinks and beverages do not compare. The great thing about green smoothies made from fresh, raw vegetables is that it is just about the healthiest food you can have. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, flavenoids, enzymes and much more that traditional vitamin pills (or cooked dinners) cannot compare. Above raw veg provides the best prebiotic - feeding ground for your good gut flora.

The Healthiest Drink in the World

Chlorella in your Kitchen: Avocados, Greens and More
Cooking kills a lot of the goodness in the food. Juicing also strips the plant of fibre and extra goodness of the whole plant. This is why I drink the whole food raw. It has a better texture and is more satisfying. It is great for you gut and guards against cravings indicative of candida - one of the reasons I now incorporate a green drink into my day.

But not all green foods make tasty smoothies. Here is what I use to create the healthiest smoothie you are ever going to make in the average kitchen.

Ingredients for Green Smoothies

Include a few shavings of avocado in your smoothie. Don’t be fazed by the fat content. Avocados are packed full of essential fats that actually help you lose weight. If you can’t get your hands on avocados, substitute with a few slices of green (unripe) pear flesh, apple or kiwi. You can also add a little natural Greek yogurt to your smoothie to promote a smooth blend. This will help guard against the sensation of drinking sludge or a weedy part of the garden.

Texture is everything when it comes to a great smoothie. Having said that, I like my smoothie to have a little texture so long as it is soft and mealy.

Shave off a little avocado flesh (or your chosen green fruit) and store the rest of the fruit in clingfilm in the fridge for future smoothies. Make sure the fruit you use is low in sugar and underripe – green and bitter is the aim. This will complement the green, freshness of your smoothie and keep it low in sugar.

Secret to a Perfect Smoothie

Wheatgrass Powder is Like Drinking Green Chocolate
You have to add fluid to make a smooth blend. Add three-quarters of a mugful any of the following: water, almond milk, rice milk or oat milk. I don’t use cow’s milk or sweetened milk. Coconut milk tends to be oversweet and I have yet to find hazelnut milk that hasn’t been sweetened.

Other core ingredients I use are endless.

Any leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, celery, cabbage (which might be red cabbage, Savoy or Cavolo Nero a black cabbage is particularly good), lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cucumber, watercress, most herbs, such as parsley, basil, coriander, oregano, mint, fennel, dandelion leaves, etc., root vegetable tops such as turnip tops, beetroot tops, carrot tops. The darker the green, the better.

Once chopped up, aim for roughly two hands of the green stuff to create an average mug of goodness.

Place the fluid and the chopped greens into the receptacle of your blender. I don't use anything special, just your average hand blender.

Nuts and Seeds for Smoothie Making

You can add a sprinkling of raw seeds and/or nut butters such as: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, Tahini, pumpkin seed butter or almond butter. Nuts and seeds are packed with essential fats, calcium and minerals.

You can also add a splash or two of lemon or lime juice.

Experiment with a sprinkling of spices to give it punch, such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, ginger, cinnamon or cloves. Most spices have health benefits.

To turn your smoothie into a superfood, add half a teaspoon or so of green powder you can get from any health shop. Green powders keep for weeks in sealed packs in a cool, dark place such as the back of the larder.

I use spirulina, a lovely, velvety dark blue-green algae powder that is packed with goodness. I also used wheatgrass powder, a yummy green-yellow powder that smells like cocoa, and adds a fantastic, chocolately velvety feel to your smoothie. Other powders include chlorella powder, barley grass powder, raw cacao powder and others. Aloe vera juice, a plant beneficial for the gut, is also great to use.

But Don’t Add These to Your Green Smoothie

Don’t spoil your beautiful green smoothie with the addition of fruit juices or fruits that are high in sugar. In fact, don’t include any fruit except a few slices of green bitter fruit such as apples, pears, kiwi or avocado. Avoid any sweet fruits such as mangoes and bananas and those that are overripe.

Ensure your ingredients are not out of date or wilted. Get good quality ingredients from your supermarket and always wash well under the tap before using.

Don’t use sweetened milks or sweetened yogurts in your smoothie. Fruit yogurts, even low in fat contain sugar and will ruin the taste and health benefits of your green smoothie.

Avoid using cashew nuts, peanuts and especially nuts that have been roasted, salted or old. I also found cashew nut butter sickly which could ruin the flavor of your smoothie.

Above all, don’t add salt, sugar, sweeteners or artificial flavors to your smoothie.

Healthiest Ingredients for your Smoothie

The choice is endless in the variety of green smoothie you can make. Ensure the green stuff makes up the biggest part of your smoothie recipe. Chlorophyll is the idea. Chop small for a smoother blend. Add something fleshy or creamy to get the texture right. This might be a few slices of bitter fruit flesh, avocado or a few dollops of plain natural yogurt. Nuts and seeds and their derivatives will also contribute to a smooth, mealy and satisfying texture. Green powders will raise your green smoothie to a superfood and add a velvety texture that compares to drinking green chocolate. And lastly, experiment with a few spices to add punch.

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