As a paleo diet fan, you likely eat more vegetables than most people. Broccoli and asparagus are probably in your regular meal rotation. And the leafy greens of spinach and kale also show up on your dinner table from time to time. But what about other leafy greens such as chard, collards, turnips, or even carrot greens?
Many of us duck away from eating a wide variety of greens for one simple reason – they taste bitter as hell. We know they pack a serious vitamin and mineral punch, but getting past the bitter taste can be a challenge. And that’s where the green smoothie comes to the rescue. Not only can green smoothies make getting those greens palatable, but they can also be a source of healthy fats and even protein. So, get ready to fire up that high-speed blender as I take you through the steps of how to make a green smoothie.
Step 1: Get Your Greens.
You can’t have a “green” smoothie without greens. As I mentioned above, use the green smoothie as an opportunity to get some variety with your greens choices. Here is a list of greens that you may want to try:
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Carrot Greens
The cilantro, mint, and parsley are best used as additions to the other greens such as kale, spinach, or chard. Same thing for the arugula and romaine lettuces. I often use a combination of at least two greens when I make a green smoothie.
Step 2: Find Your Fruit.
Fruit is the “spoonful of sugar” that helps the medicine of the greens go down. And make no mistake, fruit is high in sugar (fructose). And, for that reason, we want to use only enough to make the green smoothie taste good, but not too good. When you first start drinking green smoothies, you might start out using more fruit. But over time, you’ll want to gradually reduce the amount of fruit, and increase the amount of healthy greens. Here are some fruits that go great in green smoothies:
The kind of fruit you use is limited only by your imagination. Have fun experimenting with different fruit-and-greens combinations, but go light on the sweeter fruits such as pineapple, banana, and mango, and lean more towards grapefruit and berries.
Step 3: Bring On The Fat.
As a paleo fan, I know you have no misguided fears about eating healthy sources of fat. And two of the favorite fat sources go great in green smoothies: avocado and coconut oil.
Adding half an avocado to a green smoothie will give it an awesome creamy texture. And a tablespoon of coconut oil will add a subtle tropical flavor which is not nearly as pronounced as you might imagine when combined with the other ingredients. I’ll often include both avocado and coconut oil in my green smoothies.
Nuts can also add some healthy fat to your green smoothies. A small handful of almonds or walnuts blends up fine as long as you keep the quantity “small”. And if you blur the lines of paleo and consume some dairy, full fat Greek yogurt will provide a smooth texture and some healthy bacteria.
Step 4: Protein Power.
As you can imagine, we’re not going to blend up a ribeye steak into our green smoothie. But another protein powerhouse goes great with the green smoothie: raw eggs. If you have concerns with eating raw eggs, simply leave them out of your smoothie. Personally, I often drop two raw eggs into the blender with the other ingredients, and have never had any issues.
Putting it all together…
Looking for an example of a green smoothie recipe? Check out the video below and the ingredient list that follows:
- Large bunch of kale
- 2 kiwis
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 orange
- 2 raw eggs
- Ice and water to blend to desired consistency
Other Green Smoothie Tips
So, now that we have the basic steps for making a green smoothie, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:
Use a high-speed professional grade blender. Yes, they are quite pricey. But if you are serious about green smoothies, you really only have two blender choices: Vitamix or Blentec. You can try searching Craigslist or Ebay for a deal on a used model, but they are pretty tough to find. Once people invest in a quality blender, they usually hang on to them.
Freeze your ingredients. When I buy a bunch of kale or collards, I’ll wash them, and then place them in freezer bags. Keeping the greens in the freezer helps them last longer, and gives your smoothie a nice texture. Buying frozen fruit is another good way to make sure you always have green smoothie ingredients on hand.
Get creative! Green smoothies provide a great opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s rainbow chard or papaya, experimenting with new ingredients keeps your green smoothies interesting.
When you’re ready to increase your leafy greens intake but don’t want to deal with the bitter taste, blend up a delicious green smoothie. And remember to compliment those greens with a little bit of fruit, some healthy fats, and maybe even an egg or two. Now go drink your greens!
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