Green Smoothies 101

I ❤ Green Smoothies and today’s post is dedicated to this favourite drink of mine!  A green smoothie is basically a smoothie blend of both fruits and green vegetables. It’s healthy, delicious and makes a great meal substitute! Just like how there are caffeine addicts out there, I’ve coined myself a Green smoothie addict because if I don’t have my fix for 2 straight days.. I feel really weird!

I’ve been bring my green smoothies to work daily and my new colleagues have been fascinated with the large green jar on my table. Just the other day, I was having a discussion with an interested co-worker about green smoothies and thought it would be a great idea to share what I know here too.

So before I start converting you, let’s start with the most basic question:

greensmoothie

Why do I love Green Smoothies so much?
It tastes GREAT!!
It’s high in nutrition value, has loads vitamins and full of live enzymes
It gives me a burst of energy to kick start my day.
It gives me my daily required intake of fruits and veggies EASILY
Aids digestion
Gives me clearer skin
Its fuss free
And probably the most palatable way to consume large amounts of vegetables.

If you’re sold, lets start!

I’ve racked my brains to remember all the questions I’ve ever got asked about Green Smoothies and I hope this FAQ I’ve come up with is comprehensive enough. If not, feel free to leave a question in the comments section and I’ll try my best to answer you!

1)Is Juicing the same as Blending?
Nope, they are different.

Juicing involved extracting the juice and water of the fruit/vegetable while discarding the fibrous pulp. Juices are easily digestible since your body doesn’t need to work process the fibre and are extremely high in nutrients. Try to opt for green juices or juices that mix fruits and vegetables because fruit juices are quite high in sugar and can spike your blood sugar level.
Unlike juicing, blending contains the whole fruit and vegetable including the fibre. The blending process breaks down the fibre making the drink more digestible and gives an even release of nutrients into the blood stream. Because of the fibre, blended drinks tend to make you full longer. They are also much faster to make!

2)What type of fruits can I use for blending?
You can use almost all types of fruits for blending! When necessary, remove the skin, seeds and core of fruits before blending them.

3)What type of liquid can I use for my smoothies?
You can use water, non-dairy milk (like almond, cashew, soy, hemp milk), coconut water and fresh fruit juice.

4)What type of vegetables can I use to blend?
I recommend using leafy vegetables that have very neutral tastes such as baby spinach, romaine and kale. Vegetables that have very strong flavours such as arugula and cabbage

5)What equipment do I need?
You’ll need a blender, a juicer (not necessary but a plus if you have), a chopping board and a sharp knife.

6)What type of blender do you use?
I use a Vitamix and I highly recommend it! Or you can use any high-powered blender as it can break down the fruits and fibre easily.

7)How much smoothie do you drink in a day?
I drink one large green smoothie in the morning …from 1L – 1.5L (or 50oz).

8)How are you able to drink so much liquid?!
Initially I couldn’t drink so much at one go and it took a bit of time to get used to drinking so such a large amount. Start with one large cup and increase and decrease the amount you drink each day as your body gets used to it.

9)Is having a green smoothie as a meal filling?
It totally is! A typical smoothie keeps me full for around 3hours. Even longer when I use heavier ingredients like bananas and dates. Plus it gives me a huge boost of energy to kick off the day.

10)Can you taste the vegetables?
Probably the most common question I get asked all the time. And no, I hardly taste the vegetables because the sweetness and flavours of the other ingredients balance it out! It is honestly the most palatable way to consume your vegetables! But do take note that the type of vegetables you use will affect how your smoothie tastes (see Q4 above).

20140119_153259

11) How much fruits and veggies do you buy a week and is it costly?
Here’s what goes into a week’s worth of green smoothies:

–       2 boxes of organic baby spinach,
–       1.5 pineapples
–       2 bunches of bananas
–       1 box strawberries
–       1 box of 4 kiwis
–       2 peaches
–       8 oranges
–       2 avocadoes

Total cost: $35.10 or around $5 per day for a 1.5 large green smoothie. That’s really affordable  as compared to the 400ml-500ml smoothies you buy in town that costs around $6.80. Plus I’m pretty sure those don’t contain as many fresh ingredients. So as much as possible, blend at home if you can. It’s easy and helps you save money!

12) How do I start building a smoothie
I always start off with a base and then add complimentary fruits and vegetables. Use fruits that give volume and are sweet- like banana and manago. Add 2 – 3 fruits that go well with your base fruit and end off with some vegetables.

green smoothie

13) How do you find time to blend your smoothies in the morning?
Another question I get asked all the time! People assume I’m really hardworking and get up really early to prepare my smoothie, but the truth is, it only takes me 10 min or less to prepare my smoothies every morning! The trick is to plan plan and plan.

I like to buy a whole ton of different fruits (not vegetables) and pre-pack them in advance. I portion them into servings for each day and pack them in zip lock bags. I then store them in the freezer. So each morning, I simply take out one packet of pre-pack smoothie and pop it in the blender together with my desired amount of vegetables and water and let the magic begin.
*if you’re not using a high-speed blender, it may be hard to blend frozen fruit. So I would suggest setting it out to thaw before you blend it.

14) What do you store your green smoothies in?
I try to drink my smoothies immediately after I blend (that’s the best!). But when I bring them to work or have them on the go, I store them in mason jars. For where to find Mason jars in Singapore, click here.

IMG_20140109_082916

15) Why aren’t my green smoothies green?
Surprise surprise, most green smoothies are, (ironically), not green! It all depends on the combination of fruits and vegetables you use in your smoothies. For eg, if you use blueberries in your smoothies, depending on the amount, it could turn the smoothie a beautiful rich purple or a very murky brown.
However don’t worry about the colour, non-green looking smoothies taste just as good! One trick to guarantee that your smoothies turn out green is to combine white to yellow tone fruits with the vegetables (eg, pineapples, mangoes, peaches etc).

16) What else can I add in my smoothies to increase the nutritional content?
Besides fruits and vegetables, you can increase the nutritional content of your smoothie by adding ingredients such as

  • Super food powders (eg, spirulina powder, maca powder)
  • Vegan protein powders
  • Cacao powder
  • Oils (eg, coconut oil)
  • Seeds (eg, hemp seeds, flax seeds )
  • Spices (eg, cinnamon powder)
  • Liquid sweeteners (eg, agave nectar)
  • Others like goji berries, nut butters, dates etc

Mango+Kiwi+Orange

Recipes please?
Based on the fruits and vegetables I’ve listed in Q11, here are a basic recipes you can try:
The following recipes make 1 – 1.5 L of green smoothies, reduce the amount of fruit and water if you don’t want such a large amount.
Add 1 – 2 cups of spinach and 1- 2 cups of water depending on your desired consistency.

a)       2 wedges x Pineapple, 1  x ripe Kiwi, 5 – 6 Strawberries , 1 x ripe Banana
b)       1 wedge x Pineapple, 1 x ripe Kiwi, 1 x Orange, 1 x ripe Banana
c)       1 wedge x Pineapple, 2 x ripe Kiw, 1.5 x ripe Banana
d)       2  wedges  x Pineapple, 2 x ripe Peach, 1 cup orange juice
e)       2 wedges x Pineapple, 2 x Orange, 1 x ripe Banana
f)        2 x ripe Banana, 10 Strawberries, 1 cup Orange juice ,
g)      2 x ripe Banana, 6 – 8  Strawberries , 1 x Orange, 1 x ripe Peach
h)      2 x ripe Banana,  1 x ripe avocado ,  1 cup orange juice  (with some orange rind)

Tip –
* Always make sure your fruits are cold/frozen. Warm smoothies are really gross
* Add ice cubes to get the beautiful frosty texture
* Start with a small amount of liquid and add more till you find the consistency you desire.
* Similarly, if you’re ensure of the taste, start off with 1 cup of vegetables first, and add more if you find it palatable enough.

Once you’ve mastered the basic smoothie, get creative and use different types of liquid, fruits and vegetables! My last piece of advice to you would be to HAVE FUN and don’t be afraid to try!

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9 thoughts on “Green Smoothies 101

  1. Great post! Learnt so much more about green smoothies here I do get rather upset if my smoothies turn out to be murky, it affects my appetite somehow lol 😀 I really like the idea of packing fruit in ziplock bags for more convenient juicing 🙂 Many thanks!

  2. Hi Sheryl! So glad i found your blog! I am also into healthy and clean eating but i do it 80% of the time. Still find it hard to quit healthy baked goods and snacks. May i know if you are experiencing insufficient intake of protein? I have stopped eating meat 3 months ago, and i have experienced increased hair loss. I reckon that i am not taking in enough protein. I do eat 2 eggs every morning for breakfast after my smoothie but i still think its not enough. Would you recommend taking protein powder? And what brands would you recommend?

    Here’s a breakdown of what i eat almost everyday (80% of the time)

    Morning:
    Warm lemon water
    Green smoothie, consisting of almond milk, baby spinach, bananas, mangoes and chia seeds
    Breakfast: 2 eggs, avocado, bread with homemade nut butters or roasted sweet potatoes
    Coffee for mid morning (if i don’t drink coffee i tend to over snack:X)

    Afternoon:
    Lunch: Usually a salad/wrap from salad stop or yong tau foo with veggies and yam (no noodles)

    Evening:
    Dinner: Oatmeal porridge with a splash of organic milk, maple syrup topped with raisins and pecans

    P.S i work out quite a bit, 6 days a week so i’m not sure if the amount of protein intake is sufficient.

    Hope you can give me some tips!

    • Hi Jasmine! Glad you found this post useful=)
      Your meals are quite healthy and it looks like you’re taking enough protein. My guess (though I’m no expert) is the hair loss could be caused be either a vitamin deficiency (like zinc or iron) or insufficient calories or carbs (judging from your 6 day a week workout).

      You should definately consider taking a multi vitamin and VItb12 (esp since you’re not eating meat anymore), hydrate sufficiently since you work out so much and consume more proteins and vitamins through beands & vegetables. I’m a big fan of tempeh which is super high in protein too! You can also consider healthy grains like quinoa!. If you’re keen on protein powder, I highly recommend the Sun Warrior brand of raw vegan protein powder. Best powder I’ve tried so far.

      Hope this helps =))
      By the way – love your habit of taking lemon water in the morning!

      • Hi Sheryl!

        Thank for the advice! 🙂

        I have been reading up on tempeh and the so many ways to cook them too! I remember eating them from Malay food stalls, i loved them so much but they tend to always deep fry the tempeh (which i try to avoid). May i know where you get your tempeh from? I found some in Fairprice but they used yeast to ferment instead of the usual fungus Rhizopus oligosporus so i am not sure if that is still healthy. I do have quinoa at home and i think its time to dig them out to cook haha.

        I am going to give the Sun Warrior protein powder a try! I have ordered some hemp seeds and maca powder through iHerb, hopefully that will up my protein intake. Oh, and i have also seen your recipe for cashew nut milk. I am going to make a trip down to Mustafa to get some dates and start preparing my own cashew nut milk:D

        Love your blog, definitely provided a lot of tips and help for vegans and clean eaters in Singapore! I look forward to more updates and recipes from you!

        Have a great Friday and wonderful weekend!

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