This week there is no nutritionally balanced salad or delicious frozen treat. This week, I'm going to attempt to change your life with a simple smoothie.
I've lost count of the number of people I've attempted to sway over to the green side. I've won some and lost some but overall the scales have tipped in my favour and here's why: smoothies have to be the easiest way to get more green into your day. More green means more energy, more vitality and more nutrition go into your day, and then YOU get more OUT of your day.
I've noticed that people make a couple of mistakes upon entering into the world of the green smoothie which tends to end the journey before it has really begun. Alas, I made the same mistakes too - once upon a time. So I'm going to spend a few minutes to save you the scrunched faces and the wasted veggies.
1. Ease into it
Don't go too hard, too fast. The number one reason why I've found that people give up on green smoothies is because they 'taste awful'. But it doesn't have to be this way!
Start with milder greens like baby spinach and silver beet before you go jumping in with kale or endive (if you're unfamiliar with endive, all the more reason to start with spinach). Bitter greens are wonderful for your digestive system and are where you should be aiming down the track to get the most out of your smoothie, but it'll likely take your palette a little while to adjust.
2. Take it easy with the fruit
My number one rule with smoothies, green or otherwise, is to have a good ratio of fruits to vegetables, 1:2 is where you should be aiming. This ensures a good balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, without tipping the balance in the favour of extra sugars and delaying the adjustment of your palette toward the bitterness that is so good for you.
3. Lemon, lemon, lemon!
This is my not-so-secret ingredient. Half a lemon (peeled or not, depending on your preference), adds the lift that a green smoothie so desperately needs. Even now, whilst I might not add any fruit to my own smoothie, but if there's no lemon, it's not happening.
Green smoothies are a worthwhile addition to the daily diet for everyone, but here are a few key points to help get you over the line:
Because you're blending the ingredients rather than juicing them, the smoothie is high in fibre, giving you a head start on the 30g you should be aiming for every day.
Adding in the handful of almonds adds protein and quality fat to the smoothie. This means that you'll stay fuller for longer, you'll reduce sugar cravings, and - most important of all, you'll improve the absorption of some of the key vitamins found in the smoothie.
A green smoothie is a great way to kick in the liver into gear and support the other organs of detoxification for the day.
The recipe below is a great starting point for a green smoothie, try it - I promise it'll be better than you expect!
Your starter smoothie (two serves)
half a lemon
a nub of peeled ginger
small handful mint
2 large handfuls baby spinach
half a lebanese cucumber
1 stalk celery
1 green apple
1 kiwi fruit
1 small handful almonds
Depending on your blender, you might be able to throw everything at once, or you might have to do it in two batches (i.e. blend the water, lemon, ginger and spinach first; then add everything else).
Finally, be aware that your standard issue kitchen blender was not really designed to blend harder things, like apples. If you feel like your blender is struggling, stick to ingredients that are easier to blend, like kiwi fruit, lemon, fresh herbs and cucumber, and maybe steer clear of the apple and celery. When you fall in love with smoothies and decide you can't live without them daily, investing in a stronger blender will be the best decision you ever make.