Recently I've become obsessed with making meals in my blender! It all started with my Nrsg Skills teacher bringing us a huge bottle full of a "green smoothie." I'm sure most of my American friends have heard of green smoothies, but It's a fairly new trend here. My instructor and I were discussing the concept, and what it boils down to is - a lot of us don't really chew our food. Take lettuce for an example, we take a couple of bites then swallow, right? To get all the health benefits and nutrients from lettuce (and every other fruit/vegetable with phytochemicals and antioxidants) you need to grind it down to fine pieces to rupture their cell membranes and get the full amount of nutrients. Also, a lot of people aren't eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables as it is, so smoothies can be a great way to add them slowly to your diet.
The best way to eat/drink green smoothies are to incorporate them into your usual diet. I've started drinking a huge water bottle a day (about 3 cups) and then am slowly working my way up. I've found I'm a lot less hungry during classes, and I don't crave salty/sweet foods as much. I'm also starting to crave more greens, and get excited at looking at recipes, crazy huh?! My biggest concern, is that you either have to slowly incorporate the green smoothies into your diet and then increase, or drink just a little a day. Your stomach is naturally acidic, and depending on the amount of vegetables and types of fruits you are adding to your smoothie mixure, your stomach pH will change over quite quickly. My instructor was off a few weeks ago because her body was "detoxing," BUT she also didn't eat a very healthy diet to begin with. Another thing is, your body becomes accustomed to the smoothies, & if you stop for a few days/accidently skip your smoothies your body will notice; you will most likely up with a headache. Now, I think the idea is great, but I think if you are taking enough to work/school with you to snack on, your body is benefiting and you don't really need the 2L+ a day of the stuff. I just wouldn't recommend detoxing by going completely off your regular diet onto green smoothies. Our bodies need everything in moderation, so make sure you're still getting your grains, protein, and milk!
And now what exactly is a green smoothie, or what goes into it?? Basically, all you need are a couple of fruits, a cup of vegetables, and water or milk. For vegetables, my usual choices are: spinach, kale, celery, lettuce, watercress. The rule of thumb for newbies is to start off with about 1/2-1 cup of spinach and work your way up to a higher ratio of spinach to fruit. (You do need to rotate your vegetables.) I didn't exactly care for spinach before making these smoothies, but I CRAVE it now! Honestly; I asked my boyfriend to try a smoothie I made last night, and he loved it! After I told him it had spinach in it, he did make a funny face, but agreed it tasted good and the spinach is virtually unnoticeable (unless your using large amounts.) Another turn off for some people, is the bright green color of the mixture. My huge water jug is black with a printed design on it, so if that bothers you, that could be an option.
Here's an example of a simple recipe to get you started; combine all these ingredients into a blender then let her rip! You want to get it it to a fine consistency:
1/2 cup strawberries
1-2 ripe bananas
1 cup spinach
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup water
My smoothie for tomorrow is a mix of mango, strawberries, banana, spinach and water. As you get into it, start experimenting! A friend of mine adds oats to hers, and you could substitute water for milk, or try almond milk/soy milk. There's all sorts of recipes and books out on the net for green smoothies. I've been loving the Smoothie Handbook and Incredible Smoothies who have recipes for other types of raw foods as well. Please let me know if you end up trying one!