By Johanna Voss
With the arrival of spring (it is arriving, right?) it seems people are ready to start to eat more vegetables. Be it the CSA memberships that abound, plants that are poking their way up after a winter hibernation or the feeling of renewal from seeing more greenery, eating vegetables are on people's minds.
A lot of times, as a health coach
, I get asked by my clients about green smoothies. Most of the questions tend to be something like,
What do I put in them? Is it just spinach?
Why should I eat them? My girlfriend told me they are good for me, but how?
You want me to drink THAT?
I completely get the apprehension around drinking green smoothies. They don't exactly always have the most appealing smells or look to them. But I'm a total convert to the green smoothie and wanted to share how I have embraced green smoothies in my quest to be my healthiest self.
First let me start with the questions, in case they are on your mind as well. One of the things that I love most about green smoothies, and smoothies in general, is that there are no hard and fast rules about how to make one. So many times, it's truly up to you, what you want in it or what sorts of tastes you like best. Which is awesome for the beginner green smoothie maker.
And no, green smoothies are not just spinach. Although, I'm sure that somewhere, someone is drinking just spinach (with a bit of coconut juice to blend!)
You should find a way to incorporate green smoothies into your life because they are a great and easy way to boost your intake of green veggies.
So what you wonder?
Green vegetables are super undervalued in my book and they pack a mean nutritional punch! Everything from purifying your blood, increasing circulation, reducing inflammation, strengthening your immune system, improving digestion and improving organ function, that's just a few benefits that you reap when you eat more veggies.
Still not sold on veggies?
Vegetables have also proven to protect bones from osteoporosis. They may help prevent and possibly even reduce atherosclerosis by reducing calcium in arterial plaques. They are packed in layers of fiber making them slow to digest, thus keeping your blood sugar low. Vegetables are also a source of calcium, iron and essential vitamins and minerals for your body's day to day functionality.
Ready to hop to your blender and whip one up?
Here's my step by step, proven method to for first time green smoothie makers.
1. Choose one or maybe two of the more mild greens (think cucumber, celery or parsley.)
2. Choose a fruit or two that you like. Berries, bananas, pineapples and apples are a great choice for this step.
3. Choose your liquid. You have options a plenty here - water, coconut water, unsweetened almond milk, hemp or rice milk.
4. Add ingredients to blender and blend away. A number of my clients enjoy adding a couple cubes of ice at this step.
And if at first you don't like it, try to figure out exactly what you don't like about the green smoothie. Too bitter? Add a drizzle of agave nectar. Too thick? Add more milk or coconut water. Too chunky? Try less greens.
Once you are feeling a bit more adventurous with your smoothie making, I encourage you to branch out and try more greens. Think kale, swiss chard, spinach, bok choy, dandelion greens or cilantro. I do recommend just adding one new or different ingredient at a time as some of these greens have a very distinct and bitter flavor.
If you are looking for some of my favorite green smoothie recipes, look no further than HERE.
Johanna Voss is a health and lifestyle coach, helping you be your healthiest self by eating to fuel your active lifestyle, working out to keep ya sane and living a life you love.
And when she's not helping you become your healthiest self, she's a half marathoner, chai tea drinker, bookstore and cafe dweller, adventure seeking New Englander. She hangs out at http://www.johannavoss.com