Live Green Smoothies For Beginners
To help you gauge a good beginner’s proportion of greens to fruit, I’ve included measurements below. But I personally never measure my greens or my fruit when I make Live Green Smoothies. Since we’re dealing with fresh produce, it’s hard to standardize measurements. For example, a small, very ripe banana will tend to be sweeter than two medium unripe bananas. “Three leaves of kale” could be tiny or huge, depending upon the bunch you bought.
A good ratio for green smoothies is 60% fruit to 40% greens.
You can use any greens, and it’s right over time to rotate your choice of greens, but keep it simple. There is no reason for complexity, and the simpler your Live Green Smoothies are, the better your body will be able to digest and absorb the unique nutrients they carry.
A newbie to LGSs will generally enjoy them on the sweeter side. But your tastes will adjust after a while, and you’ll want less sugar and more greens. There are no hard-and-fast rules, though, only guidelines. Most importantly, learn how to make the smoothies that taste good to you so that you’ll enjoy drinking them, and drink them often!
After you’ve blended your smoothie, taste it before you pour it out. Ask yourself the following questions, then add fruit or greens accordingly.
- “Do I want this more sweet, with more fruit?”
- “Do I want this more watery, with fewer greens?”
- “Do I want this energizing and clarifying, with more greens?”
- “Do I want this more refreshing, with less fruit?”
A Word About Blenders
When I started “going raw” and discovered Live Green Smoothies, I had a $20 two-speed “smoothie blender” I picked up at Wal-Mart. I achieved my entire personal transformation using that blender, and I enjoyed drinking all the smoothies that little pipsqueak of a machine churned out.
However, when I later picked up a powerful Blendtec Blender, my experience of drinking Live Green Smoothies jacked up as much as my vitality had. I’d never want to go back — the pricier Blendtec was worth every penny.
A Word About Preparing Your Greens and Fruit
Rinse the produce and throw it into the blender whole, except for fruits with pits or rough external skin. I don’t peel or core my apples; I use the stems on my greens; I don’t dice anything into small pieces, and I don’t make my smoothies in stages. Everything goes in, the button gets pressed, and presto, in 40 seconds, it’s done. Maybe I’ll add ice at the end, so I’ll do the 2nd round. But that’s the maximum fussiness I put into my smoothies. I am busy and lazy, and I must be hard-pressed and well-persuaded to put needless energy into any of my tasks.
Also, I use water to create at least a 32 oz finished product, so I don’t have to repeatedly jam the fruit & veg down to get it to blend. The blender has sufficient liquid to get the job done quickly and easily.
If you don’t use organic produce, I recommend transitioning to more organic fruits and veg – studies have revealed that organic fruit & veg do indeed have more nutrients. And I’ve taste-tested many times — organic produce is definitively sweeter, more mineral-rich, and more tender than produce is grown using pesticides. As for food preparation, you’ll have to be more aware of removing peels, skins, roots, and tops. Do what you must to ensure the food is clean and safe.
Simple Greens-and-Fruit Combinations For Live Green Smoothie Beginners
Spinach is the green of choice for beginners. It has a robust and tannic flavor when cooked, but it has virtually no taste when it is raw. Instead, it gives a feeling of intense “freshness” when combined with fruit. Parsley is also very refreshing and enjoyable for beginners. I tend to use Parsley far more frequently than Spinach these days because it’s cheaper, and I’ve tightened up the purse strings. As you begin to branch out, try other greens: Kale, Arugula, Watercress, Beet Greens, Collards, Dill, Cilantro, and even Broccoli. Later you can also experiment with making Live Green Smoothie with sprouts which make “green smoothies” of all lovely colors — purple, fuchsia, orange, and yellow!
In general, regarding fruit: choose “sweet” fruits as the basis of your combination. Reserve less-sweet fruits, such as berries, as additions unless you want an incredibly low-sugar, very tart smoothie.
- One of my all-time favorite smoothie combinations is Spinach and Pear. It tastes like the “essence of pear”… super-refreshing! Try two pears to a handful of Spinach.
- Another excellent combination is Parsley and Mango. That makes for a gorgeous spring-green smoothie, and these two flavors complement each other. One mango should suffice; add a banana or some grapes if you want it sweeter.
- Spinach with Banana & Vanilla is excellent, especially if you add a bit of ice — it’s like a pretty, green vanilla shake! Use two bananas with the Spinach, and add either a dash of organic vanilla extract or a 1″ piece of vanilla bean.
- One I make frequently is Grapes with Parsley. It’s incredibly refreshing and one that I generally make when I’m less inclined to sip — for example, when I’m taking one to the gym or making a smoothie after an intense workout, or when I’m getting my third blender full of smoothies in at the end of a busy day. Use the grapes from a lovely large bunch!
Basic Live Green Smoothie Recipe for Beginners
- 1 cup (or an excellent medium-size handful) fresh spinach or Parsley
- Two heaping cups (or two pieces) of fresh sweet fruit
- good, pure water to fill the blender to 32 oz (or to the point at which it won’t explode when you turn it on to MAX)
- 1 cup of ice (optional)
Blend: Put everything in the blender and blend until everything is broken down, as well as your blender can manage. In my Blendtec, I have it set to 40 seconds, which is overkill. If you have a not-so-powerful blender, you might want to give it a full minute or more.
Drink: Pour into a glass & drink or ice-filled water bottles to take with you on the go. One blender full will generally fill two large water bottles with ice, with a bit left over to drink.
Clean up: Rinse with hot water, then tip over to drain & dry.
After getting your smoothie feet wet, begin tinkering with these proportions.
- Add a larger handful of greens, between 1 and 2 cups or more. Try different combinations. Branch out using kale, arugula, dill, watercress, beet greens, collards, broccoli, or anything else green you can buy in your produce section!
- Add less fruit, or play with fruit combinations.