You know what I need more of in my life?
I have been a green smoothie devotee since coming across the lovely Victoria Boutenko in 2011. Blending large amounts of greens, from sweet butter lettuce to bitter kale and collards, with bananas and other fruits became a staple of my diet. When I prioritized drinking at least one green smoothie per day, I felt and slept great. It was the most painless way for a wimp like me to get in all those greens that, let’s face it, I wouldn’t have eaten otherwise. Living in coastal Southern California, I had the luxury of an organic backyard garden, and, squired by my Vitamix, I couldn’t be stopped. I was like a green smoothie mad
woman scientist! They helped me create a personal definition of what it could look and feel like to eat raw, or, more realistically for me in the longterm, high-raw. You see, I had been introduced to Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ Live Green Rainbow Cuisine in the mid-2000′s, and while his message (alkalinize your body and regulate your blood sugar by eating raw, mostly low-glycemic veggies and fats, prevent illness, feel and look healthier) resonated with me, his meal suggestions and recipes were beyond what I had access to at the time. Some of the equipment required (dehydrators, blenders, juicers) was too expensive, and some of the produce, products, and supplements, weren’t locally available. I shelved the idea of raw until 2011, when I began this blog and learned to love simple blended meals.
Last year, I moved to the damp rainforest of coastal Northern California. High-raw felt refreshing down south, but in my new climate, it felt heavy and downright cold. As fall moved into winter and the grey skies wept for days on end, I ate a lot of bean soups. I wanted warming, drying foods. Now that we are transitioning back into summer, I am finding myself again craving the nutritious, creamy deliciousness that is the green smoothie.
Here’s how I make my green smoothies now. I’m flexible, with a method to my madness:
- Choose your base. I usually use a cup or so of water, but if I’m feeling it, I’ll first juice some apples, ginger, carrots, and/or cucumber for some extra concentrated nutrients. Coconut water is an electrolyte-charged alternative. Non-dairy milks, like almond, rice, coconut, or hemp, provide a yummy foundation for your breakfast smoothies. I like mine thick, but play with your ratios until you find the texture that suits you best :]
- Choose your greens. If you’re afraid of strong flavor, start with baby spinach. Then go change your diaper. Just kidding, but really. Don’t be a baby. You can use any edible greens, and bonus points for the weedier and herbier varieties ;]. Try and alternate types regularly, though; there is a theory that the oxalates might build up and hurt you if you continually eat, say, spinach. Rotate every time you purchase or harvest and you’ll be fine.
- More veggies? Might I suggest a few stalks of celery? I don’t like beets, but you might. When in doubt, add more greens.
- Choose your fruit(s). I start with one or two bananas. They mask the intense flavor of the greens, while lending a creamy consistency. I don’t like it when my smoothies are grainy or thin. Gross. So always use a banana, or an avocado! As for what comes next, add what you will, but be careful of certain combos: Sweet fruits (bananas, dates), acidic fruits (pineapples, strawberries, grapes), and melons- try and choose one category per smoothie. Yeah right, but seriously, watch out for mixing melons. That’s about as far as I follow those rules :p
- BOOST IT: Maca, cinnamon, hemp protein, (soaked) flaxseed, coconut oil, oats, almonds or any other nuts… these are a few of my favorite things. Get creative :]
Although I am no longer 100% raw, I still use the principles of nutrition and holistic living I learned while I was, and I continue to build on them. I will be revisiting and revising them in future entries.