Maybe you’ve heard of green smoothies before. You may have even tried them, and already be experiencing the amazing health benefits of a daily green smoothie habit.
But if not, and if you find the idea of a ‘Green Smoothie’ a little disturbing and unappealing, I promise you, you’re not alone. You definitely wouldn’t be the first to react in horror at the thought of drinking a glass full of green!
Despite being also affectionately known as a ‘Green Monster’, the green smoothie is really not that scary at all. With the right ingredients – and the right blender – they can actually be truly delicious. And they have some amazing health and weight loss benefits that you should know about.
What exactly is a Green Smoothie?
A green smoothie is made by blending your favourite fruits with a handful of green leafy vegetables, along with enough water or other liquid to give it just the right consistency.
As I write this, I’m drinking my ‘St Patrick’s Day’ smoothie, made with the following delicious (and oh so healthy) ingredients:
- 1/2 a large banana
- 3 pear halves
- a serious handful of baby spinach leaves!
- 100ml Charlie’s Honest Mango smoothie (because it was there in the fridge – normally I’d just use water)
- juice of 1/4 lemon
That’s it! Blended. It’s the perfect start to the day. SO much better than a piece of toast – or even a bowl of muesli or oatmeal. Truly!
How can green smoothies help with weight loss?
- Because of the high nutritional content of green leafy vegetables and fruits, a green smoothie will give your body a good share of it’s daily vitamin and mineral requirement. As your body begins to get the nutrients it needs, you’ll find you stop having the same cravings for sugar and junk and empty calorie foods.
- The alkalinity of the fruits and greens in your smoothie can help your body to cleanse and detox from the effects of the highly acidic foods that many of us eat far too much of.
- As green smoothies are so easily digestible, you should very quickly notice an increase in energy, and with it a desire to move and even exercise more than you have been!
- Green smoothies are so satisfying and can easily replace breakfast or any other meal without the need for additional calories.
My green smoothie weight loss experience
When I first discovered green smoothies at the beginning of 2009, I was already eating a mostly healthy diet, and had lost 12kg (26lbs) over the course of eight months. But I’d reached a plateau.
Within just six weeks of replacing my regular breakfast of weetbix and milk or buttered toast with a morning green smoothie, I easily lost a further 5kg (11lbs). Not only that, but I felt amazing, better than I’d felt in years.
A friend who added green smoothies to her morning routine experienced even more impressive weight loss results, losing 10kg over just a couple of months!
Replacing my green smoothies with buttered toast for breakfast? That unfortunately resulted in a weight gain of more kgs than I’d like to mention. And with it a fair amount of misery. Which is one of the many reasons I’ve now returned to my morning green smoothie habit – and intend to stick with it!
Other health benefits of a daily green smoothie habit
- Clearer, ‘glowing’ skin
- Clear, alert eyes
- Less tiredness & fatigue
- Enthusiasm for life (green smoothies are a great antidote for depression!)
Some ideas and recipes for creating your own delicious green smoothies
Some of my favourite ingredients for creating my morning green smoothies are:
- Banana (adds a smooth, creamy texture)
- Berries – Blueberries / Raspberries (high in antioxidants)
- Mango (use frozen if out of season)
- Baby Spinach leaves
- Bok Choy
- Celery Leaves (these can be quite strong, so use just a little to start)
- Ginger (just a small piece, also an acquired taste)
- Lemon Juice
- Spirulina – just 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (an awesome superfood, but don’t use too much!)
You might also like to try:
- Coconut Water
- Almond Milk
- Flax seed or Chia seed (if you have a very good blender)
A few tips that will help you to make the most of your green smoothie experience
- Don’t use a food processor! Or a hand-held stick blender. A green smoothie with ‘bits’ in it is not an experience I want to recommend. Use a decent blender. If you have one, or are thinking of investing in one, a Vitamix or Blendtec will give you the ultimate green smoothie experience. If you’re looking for a (much) cheaper alternative, a ‘rocket’ or ‘bullet’ blender works beautifully too. Whatever you use, make sure it’s a blender. Not a food processor. Speaking from experience, sadly!
- If you don’t love your first green smoothie, don’t let that put you off. Try another combination of ingredients next time, maybe using less greens until you’re used to the taste. And make sure you use fruits you love.
- Don’t forget to add water. But not too much! For half a blender-full of ingredients, start with half a cup of water, adding more if needed.
- For even more noticeable health, energy and weight loss benefits, try adding a second green smoothie mid-afternoon or a few hours after dinner.
- Follow food combining principles that recommend you eat fruit on an empty stomach (generally 2 to 3 hours after your last meal) and half an hour before eating anything else. This will help you with digestion of your green smoothie and leave you feeling super energised!
Hope this gives you some great ideas and inspiration to create your own green smoothie habit. I look forward to hearing your results!
Happy St Patrick’s Day!
My favourite green smoothie posts around the web:
- Classic Green Monster – Oh She Glows
- 6-tricks-for-making-sensational-green-smoothies – Simple Mom
- Show Us Your Green Mo! – The Wellness Warrior
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Image Credit: .imelda on flickr