Ah, the smoothie. So many ways to make it, so many choices.
I’ll start with equipment.
I like my smoothies to be smooth. Like, really smooth, nothing to chew on. I used to use a regular blender, but that didn’t chew up the bits, even if I first used my grinder for flax and chia seeds. A few years ago, on Black Friday, I got a Vitamix. I highly recommend it! Of course, it does a lot more than make smoothies, and you can read all about that (nut butters, non-dairy milks, etc) on its website. Other good ones are Blendtec, Magic Bullet, and Ninja.
On to what goes into my smoothie:
First, I make a quart jar full of green smoothie powder and keep it in the ‘fridge. When I make a smoothie, I use a couple of heaping tablespoonsful. In my powder:
- A good quality supergreen powder
- Most health food stores (or order online at amazon or vitacost) will carry some type of supergreen powder that contains ingredients like wheatgrass, beets, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, rosehips, carrots, cherries, spinach, etc.
- Stinging nettle leaf, dried: stinging nettle, or nettle, has so many benefits, I take it every day, and often use it to make tea. In her book, Alchemy of Herbs, Rosalee de la Foret calls nettle an unsung champion for improving health in many powerful ways. It can stabilize blood sugar, reset metabolic circuits to normalize weight, reduce fatigue and exhaustion, restore adrenal potency to lessen allergic and menopausal problems and eliminate chronic headaches. Nettle is nutrient-dense (one nutrient is magnesium). It is used for arthritis, eczema, hypothyroid, weak hair/teeth/bones, building blood, seasonal allergies, urinary tract infections, asthma, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. She steeps a quarter cup of nettle in a covered half-gallon jar overnight; in the morning she strains it and drinks it throughout the day.
- Adaptogenic herbs
- Adaptogenic herbs, or adaptogens, are agents that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stresses. These herbs are used to support one’s energy and better handle stress. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. Well-known adaptogens are turmeric and ginger.
- My adaptogens: ashwagandha, slippery elm, maca, matcha
- Psyllium husk
- Flax and chia seeds: to read more about the health benefits of these powerful nutrients, see my post here: https://maggietiggles.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/recipe-friday-flax-and-chia-seeds/
I don’t put every single one of these ingredients in every single smoothie, but these are what I use the most.
Kathy’s Smoothie Recipe:
- ½ cup fruit juice (natural, organic, no sugar added)
- 2 – 3 heaping tablespoons of my smoothie powder
- 1 banana (very green is good, as it has prebiotics)
- ¼ cup plain kefir (for probiotics)
- A few leaves of Swiss chard or kale or whatever greens I keep in the freezer for smoothies
- 1 or 2 types of frozen fruit to the fill line: raspberries are my current fav, blueberries, mango, peaches, pineapple, dark sweet cherries; or fresh fruit (apple, pear, whatever is on hand)
- Lemon essential oil (3-6 drops)
- If I don’t include flax seeds, then I pour in some olive oil. We need these healthy fats in our bodies, and it helps keep us feeling full / not hungry.
- Water to the fill line
I whiz this all up in my Vitamix for a few minutes, making sure it’s all minced and smooth.
This makes a very full pitcher in my Vitamix. I drink half (about a quart) the first day, and save the other half for evening (we eat our main meal at noon) or the next day.
My smoothie usually tastes very good. I confess to having a sweet tooth. I know I should be more adult about this, but my smoothies are usually sweeter (from fruit and/or juice) than is strictly healthy. And, if my fruit is less than sweet, I have been known to shake in some stevia.
One time I was listening to a health podcast, and a comment stuck with me: “It doesn’t always have to taste good.” I’m sure that’s a common-sense comment, and I need to pay more attention to it; nutrition isn’t always tasty, but it’s good for me.
With that said, I sometimes add stuff that’s good for me and which tastes terrible. These include apple cider vinegar and black seed oil. When I add these, I put the dosage of that into my empty cup, then add a few swallows-ful of my smoothie. I mix that up, gulp it down, then take a quick gulp of my tasty smoothie to wash it down. Now I can enjoy the rest of my smoothie.
Other smoothie ingredients to consider:
- Avocado (Extra tip: the pit is equally nutritious. Chop it into chunks and toss it in to be smoothie-d.)
- Coconut (oil, meat, kefir, butter, water)
- Beets (chop these up pretty well so your blender doesn’t have to work so hard) (another note: this adds a very beet-y taste to the whole smoothie)
- Celery (if you chop it well first, so as not to get the strings tangled up)
- Some say you can add oatmeal, but really oats should be soaked or fermented and cooked for ideal digestion
- Nuts or nut butters
- Hemp seeds
- Bee pollen
- Bone broth protein powder (Extra tip: when I’ve added the brand I buy from Dr. Axe, the smoothie becomes ridiculously foamy and starts leaking out. What I do now is dissolve the powder in a bit of hot water first, then, at the end of making my smoothie, turn the blender to low and slowly add in the dissolved protein powder.)
- Collagen powder
- Gelatin (organic, from grass-fed beef)
- Powders from foods high in Vitamin C (rosehips, orange peel, hawthorn berry, amla, acerola)
Be careful of adding poor ingredients to your smoothie, so you don’t shoot it in the foot. It’s fun to make dessert smoothies once in a while as a treat, but if you’re looking for nutrition, make sure you add only nutritious ingredients.
Whatever you add, read the ingredient label and leave out those with added sugars, fillers, thickeners, or anything you can’t pronounce.