Hey guys, in today’s post I’m going to switch things up a bit from all the business/success stuff I’ve been talking about lately and talk about green drinks.
No, I’m not talking about melonballs or any sort of alcoholic beverage, but rather green juices and smoothies made with kale, spinach, chard, parsley and all kinds of other healthy vegetables.
I’ve only really been drinking green juice and smoothies on a semi-regular basis for the past 2 years or so, but in that period of time I have had the chance to do a lot of experimenting. So at this point I guess you could say that I consider myself a bit of an expert on healthy green drinks. And, I love them, so I am excited to share this passion of mine with you!
In this post I’ll start of by talking about the health benefits of green drinks, talk about the tools I use for making greens drinks, share my opinion on protein powders, a give you my best green juice and green smoothie recipes.
The Many Health Benefits Of Green Juice And Smoothies
It should be pretty obvious that green juice is a healthy thing to drink. After all everybody knows that fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, phytochemicals, and all sorts of stuff that doctors and scientists don’t even fully understand yet, but they do know that it is good for us!
Obviously I’m not a Dr. but I am big into health food, and here are some of the top benefits or green drinks that I have learned about during the course of my research:
Helps Maximize Your Absorption of Nutrients – If you look into the research, you’ll find that multivitamins and supplement capsules are pretty much worthless. Yes, they may be better than not getting any vitamins at all, but the thing is that the human body has a very hard time absorbing nutrients that it takes in that form. Food is better obviously, but even then, a lot of the time the body struggle to properly absorb all the nutrients in your food Dr Mercola says this is due to “less-than-optimal food choices over many years“… But when you juice, you help your body “pre-digest” the food for you which lets you get the best absorption possible – score!
It’s An Easy Way To Get A Variety Of Daily Veggies – I don’t know about you, but without juicing I have hard time eating as many vegetables as I know I should on a daily basis. I normally don’t eat many veggies for breakfast, except for maybe one or two mixed into my scrambled eggs. For lunch, I might have a salad with some good raw veggies in it, but more often than not I’ll have a sandwich with only minimal veggies. So really, dinner is the only meal where I am consuming a lot of vegetables, and even then its only usually one or two veggies max, and only a cup or two each. But, when I drink green juice first thing in the morning I am getting an entire bunch of leafy greens straight away – plus whatever other veggies I throw in to the mix, so I’m already ahead of the game.
Boosts Your Immune System – Again, I got this from Mercola… He says that green juice supercharges your immune system by blasting it with a large dose of concentrated phytochemicals, and “biophotonic light energy” which he says can help revitalize your body. I have no idea exactly how that all work per se, but it definitely sounds like a healthy thing to do! And I definitely feel super energized after a pint of fresh green juice…
Green Juice Is Good For Weight Loss – There have been studies on this. But my explanation is really simple… When you eat like crap, your body stays hungry because it is still looking for the nutrients it is missing, so you keep eating more and more. But, when you drink green juice, get your Omega 3s, eat healthy fats like grass fed butter, coconut oil, raw olive oil, and get enough protein, then you really aren’t going to have those same cravings like a junk food addict has.
Tools I use…
When I first got started with green drinks I bought a Vitamix blender. I had friends who raved about them, so finally I decided to pony up the 400 bucks and get one. Yes, that is pretty expensive for a blender, but the way I see it, if you buy cheap blenders you are just going to need to keep replacing them every couple of years when they inevitably break down. I’ve been through like 7, they always break. With a Vitamix, then thing should last for a decade or two, or three, who knows, but definitely a long time and they have a comprehensive guarantee, so if anything goes wrong you can get it fixed for free for years after your purchase. Plus – a Vitamix can handle greens, nuts etc… way better than any cheap blender ever could. They are well built machines.
Then a few months later a friend kept talking about green juice and how great it made him feel. I had been drinking green smoothies and I liked them okay, but I was eager to see what this green juice stuff was all about. So I did my research and settled on an Omega juicer model number 8006. This is what is known as a “masticating juicer” and it’s basically known for being the best type of juicer for juicing leafy greens and extracting the juice in a way that gets all the enzymes and nutrients out of your veggies. It is pretty easy to clean, and I’ve been happy with it. It also can be used as a pasta maker and a nut butter maker, but I haven’t tried using it to make anything but juice, yet.
I will say however that making green juice takes a pretty good investment of time and money. If you are looking for an easy, affordable way to drink your greens check out my review of Patriot Power Greens.
My Thoughts On Protein Powder In Green Smoothies…
Back when I was in my 20s and looking to get big and jacked, I used to drink a lot of protein shakes. I drank the Jarrow whey protein and mixed it with organic chocolate milk and frozen berries or cherries. It actually tasted really good.
Nowadays though I have a different approach to protein.
I just don’t think that most people really need all that much protein in their diets. Sure if you are a bodybuilder then you will need a lot. But if you just want an athletic physique, then a few eggs and a chicken breast or two a day is gonna be more than enough. Heck, some days I don’t even eat any meat at all anymore. I’ll just have some eggs or some fermented soy beans (Natto) for breakfast, and some legumes, nuts and dairy later in the day, and that’s it. So, my point is, protein powder really is not necessary. If I have a smoothie these days I’ll just put some milk, almond milk, or cashew milk in, or perhaps a little yogurt, and that will give me all the protein I require. I’d just rather get my protein from real food, rather than some weird powdered substance in a plastic tub.
My Favorite Green Smoothie Recipe:
Nowadays I drink a lot more green juice than green smoothies. To be honest, if I have a smoothie these days its usually not even green! My current go to smoothie is homemade almond milk, plain low-fat Greek yogurt, a mix of fresh and/or frozen blueberries, strawberries and mango chunks.
But if I do make a green smoothie here’s what I put in it:
2 cups packed kale leaves
1 whole fresh mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen berries
As much almond milk as needed for desired consistency
Its a good idea to put the greens and fresh fruit in the blender first so that they can get pushed down by the frozen fruit.
My Favorite Green Juice Recipe:
Okay – here’s the good stuff! I bought a couple books of green juice recipes, but I was disappointed with them. I guess I was looking for some kind of “magic recipe” but the truth is that green juice is pretty straight forward stuff. Basically you just start with a green leafy vegetable, some celery, cucumbers, or carrots, an apple, and then stuff like ginger, herbs and turmeric to snazz it up. That’s the basic recipe, from there you can just play around with different variations.
Here’s my go to juice blend I’ve been drinking a lot lately:
1 medium bunch of greens (kale, chard, or dandelion)
1/3 bunch or parsley or cilantro
4 stalks of celery
1 inch long piece of ginger
1 inch long piece of turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
A few grinds of black pepper.
I’ve heard that it is a good idea to rotate your greens, and I also leave out ingredients on a regular basis to switch things up.
I know the oil and pepper seem a bit weird but they are important for maximizing the healthful effects of the turmeric (there are a ton of articles about this online.)
I am pretty strict about only using organic ingredients in my juice, except for the turmeric because I haven’t been able to find any organic fresh turmeric for sale, but I peel it, so I think its okay.
Other things you can try in your green juice are habanero peppers (go easy on these), cabbage, broccoli, and beets. I’ve also tried bell peppers but I hated the taste they gave to my juice. The other key thing is to limit the fruit to one or two apples max.
If you want to try some other non-green juices, a couple of my favorites are: orange-carrot juice, and apple, beet, carrot, parsley juice with or without ginger.
If you are already into green drinks then hopefully you’ve gotten some new ideas from this post, and if you haven’t started your juicing journey then hopefully this post will inspire you to get down to business… If you are looking for an easy shortcut also check out my favorite ready to mix greens drink Patriot Power Greens…