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).

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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.

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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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Homemade Cashew Milk

I love making my own nut milk because its fresh, more affordable and just tastes different from the store bought ones. If its your first time making nut milk, Cashew milk is probably the easiest and most fuss-free milk you can start off with.

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Before I start, you should know that the “raw cashews” you purchase in the stores aren’t really completely raw. The raw cashew nut is protected with a shell which contains the urushiol, which is the same chemical that you’d find in poison ivy and can be toxic when ingested. When cashew nuts are sold as a “raw” product, the cashew has actually been steamed to release the urushiol prior to packaging.

Even though I make Almond milk more regularly, I still love my Cashew milk from time to time.

3 reasons why I love Cashew milk
– EXTREMELY EASY to make! No need for a nut milk bag or cheese cloth.
– Thick and creamy
– Great for smoothies!

HOMEMADE CASHEW MILK
Raw, Vegan, Gluten free

What you’ll need
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for around 4 hours )
2 1/2 cups water
2 large medjool dates (pits removed)
Pinch of salt
2 drops pure vanilla essence

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Here’s how
1) Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth (you should not feel any nut bits). This will probably take 1  – 2 min. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you may need to blend it longer….or get some nut bits in your milk.
2) Pour and store in glass jar for 3 – 5 days.

Easy right?

Here are 2 simple smoothie recipes you can try with your freshly made cashew nut milk

CHOCOLATE “MILKSHAKE”

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What you’ll need
1 cup cashew milk (cold)
1 heaping tbs of cacao powder
1 1/2 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
2 drops vanilla essence
4 cubes of ice
Cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with cacao nibs!

GREEN CREAMY SMOOTHIE

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What you’ll need
1/2 cup cashew milk
1/2 cup water
3 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
1 large bunch spinach
3 – 4 cubes of ice

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with your favourite toppings. In the pic above, I topped it with pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, blueberries, hemp seeds and goji berries.

Raw foods – Day 15 & Green smoothies challenge

Wow I can’t believe that I’ve been on the raw food detox for 2 weeks! I’ve been enjoying it so much that it doesn’t seem like detox at all.

I think what really helped was that I’ve been adding alot of variety in my meals and trying out new recipes and different produce.

I also think that my daily green smoothies has helped me reduce cravings – when you start of your day eating well, you are much less to overdo it with unhealthy snacks throughout the day.

Just wanted to share some changes I’ve noticed after 2 Rawsome weeks

  • Improved complexion (my pores look SMALLER!!)
  • Weight lost (around 1Kg or so?)
  • High energy levels

1 more week to go…but I’m already seriously cotemplating going 70 – 80% raw after this detox ends.

Anyway, wanted to share something really inspiring (for me at least). My colleagues have been curious about my smoothies and also wanting to get healthier…so they’ve decided to join me on my green smoothies challenge. So for this whole week, we’re all have green smoothies for breakfast! So happy that more people are proactively getting thier health back on track and that they love the smoothies!

Some pics of us prepping for our daily brekkie : Kiwi + Mango + Spinach + Pineapple in ziplock bags for 8 of us=)

green smoothie

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YUM!!

Raw foods – Day 9 – 11

Yikes really behind on my blog posts! Been extremely busy last couple of days and was on a 80 – 90% raw diet most of the time. Here’s a quick recap for the last 3 days – Hopefully my memory serves me well.

Day 9

  • BREAKFAST: Green smoothie (1 banana + pineapple + peach + almond milk + Cai Xin)
  • BREAK : 1 banana
  • LUNCH : Raw Mariana sauce (yes, just like that haha…)
  • TEA BREAK : 1 banana + handful of grapes
  • DINNER : 2 Raw Cranberry and Cacao bars ( recipe below)

Day 10

  • BREAKFAST: Green smoothie (2 bananas +papaya + almond milk + Cai Xin)
  • LUNCH : 2 raw bars
  • TEA BREAK : 1 Banana + handful of grapes
  • DINNER : Raw veggie salad + Miso soup. Longans for dessert.

Day 11

  • LATE BREAKFAST  : Green smoothie ( red spinach + papaya + apple + strawberries)
  • LUNCH + BREAK : Handful of almonds + pistachios + cashew nuts
  • DINNER : Cold tofu + Raw sashimi salad + Miso soup.
  • SUPPER : Raw chocolate bar

I’ve been making raw bars almost every other day now and I’m ADDICTED! They are so easy to make, portable, delicious and way cheaper than the ones in stores. One bar outside is around S$5! Did my math and my homemade bars cost around $2.50 – $3.

2012-07-19 17.14.13Store bought raw bar….small and expensive!

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Home made raw bar – good for the wallet and easy on the hips=)

Before I post my recipe, wanna give credit to this blog here. If you wanna make your own raw bars you have to read the entry. Basically beginner homemade bars have a simple mathematical formula : 1 cup nuts + 1 cup stick fruit (for binding) + 1 cup filling + 2 – 4 tbs flavouring. Then you’re off to creating all sorts of delicious bars!

Raw Cranberry Cacao Bar (makes 4) No bake/ GF

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal (leftover pulp from almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 cup medjool dates
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • Sprinkle of cacao nibs

Here’s how:

  • Process all ingredients until the mixture turns clumpy and dough-like
  • Line a tray with parchment paper and knead the dough onto it to form a rectangle
  • Cut the rectangle into 4 bars. Wrap each bar with parchment paper and refrigerate.

Question : I’m just curious how come I haven’t gotten any detox symptoms yet. Is it because I’ve been on an 80 – 90% raw food detox the past few days? If anyone has been on on the same detox, would love to hear how long it took for the symptoms to show in your body!

Raw foods – Day 8

Made a Raw spaghetti dish today…so pleased with how it turned out! (recipe below)

Raw mariana sauce

BREAKFAST : Green smoothie (1 banana + 4 wedges of papaya + 1/2 cup pineapple + lettuce) This is SO filling

LUNCH : 2 Raw coconut and cranberry bars (recipe here)

TEA BREAK : 1 banana + 1 warm soy milk w/o sugar ( not raw) + handful of almonds

DINNER : Raw spaghetti  (Spiralized zucchini with raw mariana sauce)

raw mariana suace

Recipe : Raw mariana sauce (makes one LARGE bowl. Half the serving if needed)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup mixed cashew and walnuts (added very little nuts, feel free to add more)
  • 1 1/2 clove garlic
  • Basil and Thyme herbs (I have them in a bottle and sprinkled generously)
  • 4 tbs olive oil

Here’s how:

  • Process all ingredients

This was so good i was eating it straight from the food processor!! Hopefully you have more self control than me haha.

Till tomorrow=)

Raw foods – Day 4 and a trip to The Living Cafe

Was feeling slightly more energetic today but still a little under the weather and feverish from the food poisoning. But that didn’t stop me from making a trip to The Living Cafe! So excited to share about my experience, scroll down to read more.

Pineapple+banana+kailanRecap of Day 4
 Breakfast – Green smoothie (Pineapple + Banana + Kailan)

Lunch – 3 course Raw meal ( Raw mushroom soup + Raw mushroom burger + Raw blackforest cake) Scroll below for details

Dinner – Salad (lettuce, shredded carrots + cucumber, seaweed) + Miso soup

Vegan options are limited in Singapore (growing, but slowly) and raw vegan options are almost non existent. So I was really excited when I found out about The Living Cafe, the only cafe in Singapore which serves up a full western raw menu – from appetizers to main courses to desserts.

I finally made my way down to The Living Cafe for lunch yesterday.Have been looking forward to visiting the place ever since my colleague bought me 2 slices of their raw cakes. It was SO GOOD!

The Living Cafe is housed in Blanced Living Asia . Besides the cafe, they also conduct health food classes, holistic workshops, yoga lessons and nutrition consultation.

The Living Cafe

The Living Cafe

Love the bright and spacious ambience of the cafe

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The LIving Cafe

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Literally skipped to the cake section…all these delightful cakes are RAW=)!

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The menu  is quite extensive and is not limited to only raw food. It ranges from appetizers, salads, soups, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps and desserts and under each section, there are vegetarian, vegan and raw options. You can check out the menu here.

1st dish: Raw mushroom soup with raw sour cream

The soup tasted really creamy and gourmet and PZ loved it. Was impressed by the consistency of the soup but thought the winning factor was the raw sour cream .It gave the soup a tangy taste and complimented it very well

Raw mushroom soup

2nd dish: Raw TLC burger. Pattie made from mushrooms, walnuts,sunflower seeds,oats,tomatoes,sprouts served in a lettuce wrapped ‘bun’ with raw cheesy sauce. Thought the patty was a tad dry – i guess that’s what you get from dehydrating food. But the cheesy sauce gave it the right amount of moisture. Wouldn’t have minded if there was more =) Doesnt look like it, but its extremely filling!

DSCF7713Raw TLC burger

Because I was soo full, i only had space for one slice of cake. Took forever to make up mind which cake to order and finally decided on the raw blackforest cake…because its one of my favs! ( personal option is the best bfc is from Pine Garden’s)

Raw blackforest cake

Was trying to identify all the ingredients in the cake which each bite. Figured there was beetroot, medjool dates and dried cherries. Was chatting with one of the waitresses and she mentioned that the 2 special ingredients they use in their cakes are physllium husks and irish moss. The cake was very “fibre filled” but luckily the chocolate cream and icing gave it a nice balance.

Raw blackforest cake

After lunch, we took a walk around the cafe. They sell a range of products from health supplements to superfoods (like lucuma powder, cacao powder, bee pollen, irish mosh) to equipment like the Excalibur and Vitamix.

DSCF7723DSCF7724The Living Cafe

There’s also a second storey which sells raw food and health books, yoga mats, accessories, cleaning products, body products and supplements.

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Am so glad the raw food movement is growing in Singapore. If you’re keen to taste some raw vegan good, I would highly recommend a trip down to The Living Cafe=))

I’ll be there soon too……so see you there!

The Living Cafe

Food: 4.5/5 , Ambience : 4.5/5 , Service : 5/5 , Cost : $$

779 Bukit Timah Rd Singapore 269758
+65 6468 4482

http://www.balancedlivingasia.com

Raw foods – Day 3

kiwi+blueberry+kailan+apple

I was still feeling queasy when i woke up today and didn’t have much appetite. But I really wanted to complete my green smoothie challenge so I bucked up and started blending.

Breakfast : Green smoothie (2 Kiwis + 1 apple + 1 punnet blueberries + bunch of kailan)

Morning break : Mixed nuts and seeds (Mixture of raw cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries)

Lunch : A few strips of carrot sticks and guacamole (1 avocado mashed with a few tomatoes)  and 2 pieces of watermelon.

Tea break : The same mixed nuts and seeds mix as earlier

Dinner : 1 apple + 1 large chinese pear

Am I’m drinking a cuppa warm raw honey now=)

Looking at what I ate today, it seems like I just went on a crash diet. But no, its simply because I still don’t have much appetite from the medication. However, I’m starting to feel much better already and am looking forward to whipping up some RAWSOME goodies this weekend!

Packed lunch

TIP  for a raw detox – Plan your meals in advance. When you plan for the day, it helps you stick to your detox more easily becuase you can visualize what you’ll be having . Have fun with planning it and make it as appetizing as possible. You will definately look forward to having your meals!

Raw foods – Day 2

Kiwi blueberry green smoothie

Today I had a cleanse, literally.

Was hit by a major bout of food poisoning from the New Year’s Eve trip I took to KuKup, a small fishing village east of Johor, Malaysia. Out of a group of 12 friends, around half of us went down 😦

Was feeling okay in the morning and could still make myself a giant smoothie.

Breakfast : Giant green smoothie (2 kiwis + 2 oranges + 1 punnet of blueberries + bunch of spinach)

Lunch, Tea, Dinner : Small banana + 5 grapes + handful of nuts and seeds ( that was all i could consume without throwing up)

Anyway, wanted to share about the Green Smoothie challenge that Simple Green Smoothies has started.  Its a 30 day detox challenge starting from 2 – 31 Jan that aims to help you get more greens back into your diet by replace one meal a day with a green smoothie.

Simple Green Smoothies

I simply LOVE green smoothies. Its the best way to hit your daily greens intake it a delicious way. I swear you won’t even taste the veggies! Its easy to make (all you need is a blender and a fridge) and you can get creative with all your favourite fruits (think peach, mangoes, strawberries etc).

Some benefits of drinking Green smoothies include

– Improved complexion

– Weight loss (you feel more satisfied with your meal and crave healthy food more)

– High energy level

– Easily digestable, improves intestinal health

– Strengtens immunity system

..and more! Just google it and you’ll see what I mean

Find out more about the 30 day challenge here: www.simplegreensmoothies.com / http://www.facebook.com/simplegreensmoothies / or follow them on instagram @simplegreensmoothies

I’m such a sucker for challenges like this, but hey if you wanna try something different this year, why not do something for yourself and give this challenge a go.

Good luck!