I’m a smoothie addict. Sure, I’ve tried the mixes (I liked the Chocolate Vegan Shakeology, for example), but there’s just nothing like making your own. People always ask me how I make mine…if you’ve never made a smoothie, it can actually be a bit intimidating. I mean, the fear of getting stuck with a huge green monster of a mess that tastes horrible is a very real fear. 😉 And it’s not exactly an irrational fear either – if you don’t have some pointers, that first smoothie could very well turn into your last. Bleah!!!! And believe me, making smoothies are a GREAT way to get in your nutrients and fiber, and help your skin get that healthy glow – my face has far fewer problems with adult acne when I regularly drink green smoothies. =) So don’t be afraid to jump right in. Just do a little research first! Oh, look, there are 12 helpful tips below! 😉
1) To get enough of the ALL of the vitamins and nutrients a healthy body needs, variety is super important. After all, God made tons of different fruits and vegetables…we shouldn’t get stuck with a strawberry smoothie day after day, week after week, no matter how delicious it is! Our bodies need the other Good Stuff, too – we need to rotate. Example: the carrot cake smoothie below!
2) Most of the time, I make green smoothies. I do try to eat salads and other dark leafy greens as much as possible, because they are SUPER good for you, but it just doesn’t happen every day like it should. That’s the perfect time to supplement with a green smoothie! If you’re one of the ones saying, “Ew!” – I’m telling you, the spinach may give your smoothie a pretty green color, but you honestly can’t taste it. Your tastebuds will be singing the praises of the pineapple or mango instead! Later on, you’ll want to rotate in other greens, like kale, swiss chard, etc., but in the beginning, I’d definitely start out with spinach. It’s the mildest-tasting green.
3) Leave out the dairy. Dairy messes with lots of people – I don’t have a huge problem with stomach issues after consuming dairy, but it definitely ups the mucus factor and gives me some breathing issues. Others get sinus infections from it. So many people feel better when avoiding it. Give it a try! And don’t worry about a lack of calcium…you can get it from a variety of other plant-based foods! Love this post from Wellness Mama – tons of great info.!
4) Only include 3 or 4 different flavors for the best-tasting smoothie. Sometimes it might be tempting to throw in a little of whatever you have in your freezer…that’s good for variety, not so good for taste. It muddies the flavors of everything. I love the site Simple Green Smoothies and I love their smoothie recipe book! I highly recommend that you start out with their Beginner’s Luck smoothie. It’s quick and easy – and it’ll get you addicted. 😉 Then you can start exploring allllll of their tips and tricks – like the best smoothie to drink when you’re coming down with a cold. Or what healthy additions to add to make a meal replacement smoothie. I don’t buy a whole lot of hard copies of recipe books nowadays, thanks to Pinterest, but this book is my smoothie bible and I highly recommend it.
Beginner’s Luck Smoothie
1 c. fresh spinach
1 c. water
1/2 c. pineapple
1/2 c. mango
1 banana, peeled
Blend spinach and water first. Then add the fruits (preferably one or more frozen – see #5) and blend again. Enjoy!
And here is a smoothie recipe I invented and really love – the addition of avocado is fantastic! You don’t taste it – it just makes the whole concoction super creamy!
5) Use at least ONE frozen fruit when you’re making a smoothie – it’s even better with more. The frozen fruit helps it to be cold without adding ice, which can water it down a bit. I like to buy the big bags of frozen fruit at Walmart or Kroger. I especially like Kroger’s huge bags of frozen cherries because I like to make the Cherry Chocolate No Milk Shake from this book. It’s one of the only non-green smoothies I regularly make…but it is SO DELICIOUS! My 10-year-old cousin is also obsessed with them, too, and asks for one whenever she comes to visit. I’ve probably made her 15 of them in the last several months! Every time she takes the first sip, she sighs with happiness. Ha! (By the way, I love many of the other recipes/info. in that Clean Cuisine book, but that’s another post altogether! It’s my other favorite cookbook right now.)
6) Frozen bananas make much creamier smoothies, so I like to stock up on a bunch of bananas, let them ripen, and then peel, cut them into fourths, and then put in freezer bags. They add a nice sweetness to your smoothies, too, so you won’t have to add any extra sweeteners to make it delicious.
7) During the summer, plant some mint (I recommend in a pot or it will quickly take over your yard!) to include in your tropical smoothies. It’s especially delicious with pineapple, mango, and banana concoctions, like the Beginner’s Luck smoothie above.
8) If you’re trying to watch your calories or sugar consumption, you’ll want to focus on including berries more than the other kinds of fruit – they’re lower on the glycemic index. Blueberries and strawberries are our favorites.
9) Experiment with new ingredients you might have never used before. I have two new recent favorite additions to my smoothies…the first is chia seeds. You can’t taste ’em, but they’re great for longer-lasting energy, they’re hydrating, and they’re super healthy with omega-3s, amino acids, and vitamins/mineral. Also they, ahem, help greatly with regularity. 😉 😉 My other new favorite is hemp seeds. They’re a clean, vegan source of protein, which you need some of in a fruit smoothie. I also use them in some salad dressings. Unlike chia seeds, they do have more of a taste, though, so I don’t throw them in concoctions all willy nilly. 😉
10) Invest in the right blender! This is Big Time important. A puny regular blender will NOT make super smooth and creamy smoothies. Most of the people in my family have a Vitamix, which they all love. I just didn’t have that much extra cash in the budget during the month that I decided to embark on my smoothie-making journey…so I was glad that one of my aunts told me about Wolfgang Puck’s commercial blender, which is way cheaper ($160ish compared to $400ish at the least – and many are $500-$600!) and is excellent, in my opinion. And it’s not as tall as the Vitamix, so it actually fits under my counter. 😉 I’ve used that thing almost every day for the last year! (Besides making smoothies, I also use it frequently for other recipes. (I loved an easy fresh peach sherbet recipe from the Magnolia Journal this summer! It was like perfect peach soft serve!) In fact, I was almost ready to get rid of my little Ninja, because I never used it anymore, but in the end I decided to keep it – our favorite salad dressing recipe is easier to make in the smallest Ninja container…but otherwise, my Wolfgang Puck is the boss blender around here! Seriously, I can’t believe it’s that much cheaper than the other fancy high speed blenders.)
11) I love using a cute mason jar to drink out of. They’re easy to clean – just don’t let the jar sit around after you’re done with your smoothie. Wash it out (I bought a baby bottle brush from Wal-mart for this very purpose – which I also use to quickly clean my blender) and you’re ready for next time!
Speaking of bottle brushes, the one I have has a little sponge on the end, too, which works great…but I recently realized that I hate using sponges otherwise (because I don’t feel like they get entirely clean). Where has my head been?? And then I went and read a recent article about sponges in general and how they tend to grow bad bacteria, even when (especially when) being sanitized in the dishwasher. So that grossed me out! Plus, my beloved chia seeds get stuck in there waaaay too easily. So….I’ll be getting a new bottle brush soon. Probably this one, because I love the OXO brand!
12) Get some fun straws. =) Nope, I don’t usually use paper straws and my cute daisy lids, but they’re fun every once in awhile! We’ve liked using these straws, but I’ve just ordered these BPA-free ones because I’m trying to be watchful of that stuff nowadays.
Alright! Now it’s time for YOU to get started on the track to better health and glowing skin! Cheers!
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