It’s not always easy practising what I preach when it comes to health and nutrition – although I try to buy organic, I avoid dairy and I’ve been a vegetarian nearly all my life (since I was nine) – it’s taken a while to get on board the green juice/smoothie movement. Now that I have though I’m really quite into it – but how do you make them taste good?
First, I found this great list of four easy recipes for green juices and smoothies – I think it’s one of the better collections I’ve seen. I passed it round my non-hippy friends and to my surprise they were guzzling down green concoctions before I’d even had a chance to take a proper look myself. I finally dusted off my blender (a brilliant Kenwood Compact Jug Blender) and now perfecting the art of blending green…
I started experimenting with big bunches of green veg – whatever organic variety I could get at the shops: spinach, kale, lettuce leaves, celery, cucumber, parsley and mint as well as lemons and fruit for taste and added vits.
After a few attempts I’ve arrived at a few top tips on how to blend green and enjoy it.
– Use a whole (or half) lemon – yes, including the rind! – Buy organic, unwaxed lemons and add to the mix. Not only will it balance the earthy taste of the greens but the vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron more effectively.
I’ve also just read in Neal’s Yard Remedies new book ‘Healing Foods‘ a lemon’s skin contains the highest concentration of antioxidants and citrus liminoids (which studies have shown can help control blood sugar levels).
So instead of just squeezing the lemon juice, use the whole (or half) lemon – chop up it up small (so the blender can handle it easily) and pop it in first. It gives the blend a fantastic kick.
– Balance any sour from lemon with low-sugar fruits – pears, kiwi (use the whole kiwi including the skin), blackberries, strawberries or melon will give the recipe a palatable lift and add more antioxidants and vitamin C.
– Experiment with different raw green veg – fresh, organic, uncooked spinach is great because we usually eat spinach cooked which means a massive loss of nutrients. Use half a bag (if you’re using baby leaf) or a whole bunch if using large leaf, fresh. The darker the greens, the greater the goodness so try different varieties of kale and/or parsley.
– Add liquids and high-water veg to thin it down – as with most smoothies, too little juice leaves things sludgy so thin it down with ice, apple juice, coconut juice or rice milk and you’ll get a better consistency and taste. High-water veg includes cucumber and celery.
– Add a superfood powders – one of the reasons I’ve turned to greens is to eat a more alkaline-rich diet. I’m hoping this will mean fewer health problems and a cleaner, healthier gut in the long run. When the gut is functioning properly it absorbs more nutrients and this can lead to better health and better skin too. I love Pukka Herbs Organic Clean Greens (includes sprirulina, kale sprouts and wheat grass juice).
Other super-food powders currently doing the rounds on the health-fanatics’s shopping list are Aduna Baobab Fruit Pulp Powder for a super-strength dose of immune-boosting vitamin C or Organic Burst Maca Powder for a natural way to boost energy levels – great if you’re a busy mum or do a lot of sport.
– Don’t forget it’s trial and error – the more you blend and experiment with quantities and combinations the better it gets. The first few times I did it I wasn’t so impressed but now I’m loving it – it’s great with mint and cucumber too so make sure you have plenty of those as make everything taste great.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on!