Benefits of Green Smoothies for Life

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There are so many benefits of green smoothies in today’s post. Green Smoothies are easy to make and full of nutritional ingredients, and yet still tasty too! Learn how to make green smoothies, the best blenders for green smoothies, and more!

Why Green Smoothies Matter: a guide to adding more smoothies to your day every day.

Today on the Namely Marly Podcast I’m talking about the Benefits of Green Smoothies. If you’re curious about green smoothies, how to make them, or ways to make them a part of your every day, listen in for more information.

Also, be sure to check out my discussion with the No-Meat Athlete, Matt Frazier on the High-Performing Vegan Athlete or my talk with Rachael Hutchings about Autoimmune Disease and Plant-Based Diets.

Today I’m talking smoothies. specifically why green smoothies matter. Have you ever found yourself wondering what this whole smoothie thing is all about anyways? Have you ever asked yourself why green smoothers matter? I mean, what’s the big, fat deal? Right?

You also might be curious about the difference between smoothies and juices. Well, I’m going to share about that too. And I’m going to share about the benefits of smoothies. Of course.

You can read the content below on why green smoothies matter or feel free to listen to the free podcast version.

Why Green Smoothies?

You can’t really talk about smoothies without talking about the benefits. Because  honestly, do you think we’d be drinking a big glass o’ green for nothing?

I don’t think so.

There better be some massive payoff to make us do that and you’ll see below my thoughts on that. I’m even going to talk about some of my favorite ingredients in smoothies along with my tried and true basic smoothie recipe from which most of my smoothies originate.

Also, do smoothies make you skinny? Come on. We all want to know that. Right?

You know I love talking about creative, authentic living, and vegan diets too. That said, we’re going to be adding another topic – how to live green. In the current environment and with the current political situation, I think it’s more important than ever for each of us to become passionate about the environment and the things we can do as individuals to make a difference.

But, for today we are talking about green smoothies. You know, when you fill a blender full of dark green leafy veggies and blend it up and drink it. Of course, we add more to it than just greens, but we’ll get more into that in just a bit.

New Year’s Resolutions

At the end of the year I always ask Shawn and Adee what their new year’s resolutions will be. Shawn is not typically a “resolutions” kind of guy, but this year he surprised me with a couple. One of them was he wanted to have more smoothies. I think it’s because we both realize the importance of getting those greens in. And the occasional salad with his meal just wasn’t cutting it.

It also helps that I showed him a video from Dr. Rhonda Patrick on the nutrients found in her favorite smoothie (see link below). Her podcast, Found My Fitness, is one of my favorites. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical science and she has done extensive research on aging, cancer, and nutrition. I love brainiacs.

In her video she talks about ALL the benefits of her smoothie recipe. I showed that to Shawn and we discussed why green smoothies matter, and we’ve been having regular smoothies ever since.

Update: It’s been three years and we continue to have a daily green smoothie and we love it!

I learned about smoothies a long time ago, even before I met Shawn. And I’ve had them off and on over the years. But having your partner equally interested and invested in healthy living, sure is helpful. Because making them for him and myself somehow makes them easier to do.

I highly encourage finding an accountability partner or someone else who is equally inspired about smoothies.

Green Tea Banana Smoothie - it's a smooth criminal!

My Basic Green Smoothie Recipe

Wondering how to make a green smoothie recipe? Here’s our basic green smoothie that we make most days:

  • Hemp Seed: I put a tablespoon or so of hemp seeds into a blender (you could do almonds or cashews). Add a cup of water and blend it. You’ll end up with a cup of plant-based milk. You can use this milk for baking, or pouring over your cereal (although it’s good to add a smidge of vanilla to use it in something like cereal), etc. However, we’ll leave it in the blender to begin the smoothie making.
  • Bananas. To that plant-based milk, add 1 – 2 bananas. It depends on how sweet you want your smoothie. Blend the bananas with the milk. By the way, this banana milk is pretty tasty stuff on its own.
  • Greens. Next, fill the blender with greens. I like using a mixture of spinach, kale, and swiss chard, but more on that in a bit.
  • Ground Flax. Add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed. It’s good to have Omega-3s in our plant-based diet and ground flax is a great source for that.
  • Vegan Protein Powder. Sometimes we add a tablespoon or so of plant-based protein powder. It just depends on what kind of flavor or texture you’re after. We love either chocolate or vanilla protein powder.

Blend all these ingredients until you’re left with a creamy green smoothie. You can add some additional plant-based milk here if you’d like. Also, you can add 1 — 2 cups of crushed ice and blend that in as well. Again, it depends on your preference for texture.

You’ve got my very basic green smoothie recipe.

Green Smoothie Adaptations

Here are some of my favorite ways to add to this basic smoothie recipe:

  • I add a cup or two of chopped frozen pineapple chunks to turn this into a Pina Colada Smoothie. I’m going to share with you my favorite way to prepare pineapples in a minute
  • Feel free to replace the water with coconut water and add a tablespoon of coconut flakes to add the colada to your pina colada smoothie. I have to say this is  really good
  • You can also add berries to your smoothie. That is so nice
  • Sometimes I’ll add peanut butter powder and cinnamon to make a peanut butter oatmeal cookie flavored smoothie
  • You can also add cocoa powder or chocolate protein powder to make a chocolate smoothie
  • You can get really creative here and add berries to your chocolate smoothie. I call that my chocolate covered berry smoothie. It’s very good!

Does this give you some ideas on how you can make your own smoothies? Feel free to take that basic smoothie recipe and make it your own!

Green Tea Banana Smoothie

What’s the Difference Between Smoothies and Juices?

The difference between juicing and smoothies is one word: fiber. In juices, the fiber is extracted. That means those nutritious phytonutrients are more easily digested without the fiber getting in the way.

You can do both — smoothies and juices — in the same day. Just figure out what works best for you.

Do you need to rush out and buy an expensive juicer? Nope. If you don’t have a juicer and you want to try your hand at making juices, simply put your veggies in a blender, and then use a cheesecloth to strain the liquid, aka juice.

For me personally? I like smoothies better. I have had trouble with digestion in my life and so I need that fiber. Also, you just can’t ignore the nutrition of a smoothie. In fact, let’s talk about that for a moment.

Vegan Pina Colada Smoothie with pineapples, bananas, and coconut. So Good!

The Benefits of Smoothies

If you’re kind of on the fence about smoothies, you are not alone. The idea of putting greens into a blender, blending it up, and drinking it? It’s not overly enticing.

But here’s the thing, once you add some delicious fruits to your smoothie, you can hardly notice the taste of the greens. And besides, there are some pretty impressive benefits.

I’m going to leave a link in the show notes page to Dr. Rhonnda Patrick’s video on the nutrition of smoothies, because she goes into the nutritional science. She has a Ph.D. in biomedical science and she loves to get into the details.

In fact, her video is so convincing that even Shawn is participating in our daily smoothies now. He was reluctant at the beginning but understanding the science behind the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables and fruits in your diet every day, has been a game changer.

This information is provided via Dr. Patrick’s guide (see link below).

So, here we go. Here are some of the main nutrients in a smoothie that I think make them so worth while:

Magnesium. This is at the part of the vegetable that makes it green. So, any time you’re eating something green, you can be pretty sure you’re getting magnesium. Why should you care? According to Dr. Patrick, there are hundreds of enzymes in the body that require magnesium to create energy.

How much magnesium will you get in a smoothie like my basic smoothie above? Roughly around 3 – 350 mg, depending on how many greens you use.

I’ve also found magnesium to be helpful in dealing with constipation. My family doctor suggested I take a magnesium supplement and it was definitely helpful. However, why take a pill when you can eat (or drink) the greens?

Cruciferous. I include kale in my smoothies because it is a cruciferous vegetable. And why is that important? Well, Dr. Patrick goes into the details of this in her video linked below. I encourage you to watch it!

Folate. I also include spinach in my smoothies and that is a good thing because it has folate in it. Again, I will refer you to Dr. Patrick’s video for the scientific explanation of the importance of folate.

Vitamin K. This comes from Chard, a new addition to my smoothies. I had not previously eaten much chard, but after learning how many of us are getting inadequate amounts of K1 in our diet, something that chard has a lot of, I’m now having some every day.

Potassium. I almost always include a banana in my smoothies too and bananas are great sources of potassium, folate, magnesium, fiber and other phytontruients.

Green Tea Banana Smoothies

Will Green Smoothies Make Me Lose Weight?

Smoothies are not the magic bullet to skinny jeans. Sigh. I wish. But there is a sort of side door to why green smoothies matter to your weight. Because I find when I’m getting more of the right nutrients in my diet through smoothies, then I’m also feeling better overall. And when I feel better overall, I’m more apt to go work out. I also don’t find myself craving junk food as much.

If you think about it, this all makes sense. When you’ve got yourself on the right mindset, that’s when you’ll know why green smoothies matter so much. When you’re getting those greens in, you realize that you just feel good about yourself. And feeling good about yourself? That can lead to skinny jeans.

Green Tea Banana Smoothies include a healthy dose of spinach

How to Make Green Smoothies Easier

Look, I think I’ve made a good case for why green smoothies matter. But the truth is, it can be hard to keep up your smoothie habit. If you find yourself chopping away your mornings, you may start asking yourself why green smoothies matter at all. You may even give up on this super healthy habit. So here are some of my tips for making things easy on yourself:

  1. Buy Power Greens. We buy a big bag of super greens at Costco. The whole bag costs around $4 and usually lasts us through the week. It has baby kale, spinach, and chard in it, so it is perfect. That said, if you prefer to buy your produce individually at the grocery store, just wash them when you get them home and store them so that they’re ready for you to grab each morning.
  2. Add lots of Greens! I usually add about 3 cups or 3 big handfuls of greens for each of my smoothies. It usually fills up my blender. Sometimes I’ll even add more.
  3. Buy frozen berries. Again we get a big bag at costco and it costs around $9 and lasts for quite awhile.
  4. Freeze your bananas. Get a bunch of bananas. I mean a bunch. Or how about several bunches. Then when they’re at the right stage of ripeness, peel them and place slices on tray lined with waxed paper. I prefer yellow bananas with maybe a few brown spots. When they’re too ripe the flavor is overbearing in a smoothie. Anyway, once the ripeness is to your liking, slice them, place them on a tray, and place them in the freezer. About 30 minutes later just transfer them to a freezer bag.
  5. Freeze the pineapples. I do the same thing with pineapples. Rather than buying them in the can, I just buy a fresh pineapple. They’re so beautiful I will put it in the center of my table until they look not so pretty anymore. Then core it, remove the outer layers, and slice up the rest of it. Place the chunks on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and place in the freezer. Transfer to a freezer bag after they’re frozen.
  6. Get organized. Keep your seeds — like hemp and pumpkin seeds, and nuts — like cashews or almonds — in glass jars.
  7. Making Smoothies. Then when you’re ready to make your smoothies, it’s a matter of pulling out your greens, adding fruits and nuts, and blending them all together.

Quick Fix Tip

After the smoothies are done, be sure to wash the blender right away. Just add a little bit of soapy water. Then use a dish wand or brush to wipe around the inside of the blender. And then return the blender jar to the base and blend the soapy water for a few seconds to help break away anything that might be down around the blades. Then rinse it out and let set it upside down on a towel to dry.

I highly recommend doing a few things right after making your smoothies. First, be sure to put the greens back in the fridge asap. Because when they sit out at room temperature too long, it accelerates their ripening. I’ve been there one too many times and ended up with greens gone bad. It’s not pretty and they definitely don’t taste great once that happens.

Also, clean the blender right away.

Here’s how I do that. I make my smoothies on the thick side, then pour them into two glasses. One for me and one for Shawn. But there’s usually a lot of green smoothie around the edges of the blender and at the bottom. That’s some good stuff.

So I add a little bit more water and swish it around the blender and then blend it for a second or two. Then add that liquid to the two glasses. I try to get as much of the green stuff out of the blender as possible.

Favorite Smoothie Recipes

Looking for some more tasty smoothies? Give these a try:

A a clear glass is full to the rim with green banana smoothie. A pink and white paper straw is on the side, and a slice of banana is in the middle of the smoothie.

This green tea smoothie is a go-to favorite that adds the nutrition of green tea.

Green Tea Banana Spinach Smoothie
This Green Tea Smoothie will add lots of zip to your day thanks to phytonutrients from spinach and nutritional value of green tea! You'll also love that the smoothie is like a matcha shake, rich and creamy! 
Green Tea Banana Spinach Smoothie Recipe
A a clear glass is full to the rim with green banana smoothie. A pink and white paper straw is on the side, and a slice of banana is in the middle of the smoothie.
For breakfast or your afternoon snack, this Vegan Creamsicle Orange Smoothie is LOADED with nutrients to get you all those phytonutrients that your body is craving! And it tastes like an orange creamsicle too. Can't go wrong with that!

The flavor of orange shines through in this Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie. It’s delicious!

Vegan Creamsicle Orange Smoothie
This Vegan Orange Creamsicle Smoothie may look green, but tastes like a creamy orange julius! If you love creamy orange, you’ll love this healthy smoothie!
Vegan Creamsicle Orange Smoothie Recipe
For breakfast or your afternoon snack, this Vegan Creamsicle Orange Smoothie is LOADED with nutrients to get you all those phytonutrients that your body is craving! And it tastes like an orange creamsicle too. Can't go wrong with that!
Smooth and creamy - Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie #vegan

This is purely a Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake, however you can easily add a cup of greens to it for added benefits.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Start your day right with this Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie, made with less than 10 ingredients. You’ll be on your way with loads of energy!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie Recipe
Smooth and creamy - Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie #vegan

This episode on Why Green Smoothies Matter includes references to some resources you might find interesting. Here they are:

Announcements

In Conclusion

We covered a lot today discussing why green smoothies matter. I hope I’ve left you feeling inspired and ready to try adding smoothies to your diet every day…or at least most days. Wherever you are on your smoothie journey, I hope today’s episode  — Why Green Smoothies Matter — was helpful.

Health + Happiness,

Marly

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4 Responses to Benefits of Green Smoothies for Life

    • Hi Siavash. Is it because of the flavor? If so, I recommend just spinach as it has a more mild flavor. I also think buying the baby spinach helps too. A couple of other things: 1) Go ahead and add ice and process that (colder tastes better) and 2) Try to always use fresh greens. When they go soft, they can get a bad taste, and 3) Add spices. I’ve been experimenting with adding cinnamon or even freshly ground nutmeg. It really helps, and finally 4) If you have a high powered blender, getting the greens really processed helps, especially if texture is a hangup (which it can be for me). Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes!

  1. Hi there, great suggestions. I love green smoothies, my problem has always been prepping, so thanks for the Costco tip ;). … maybe I missed it, but what blenders do u recommend ?? I’m in need of new one, as mine just stopped working.

    • Hi Valeria. Thanks for your comment. I didn’t include equipment, but it’s a great idea, as we have been on quite the journey with blenders! We started out with a cheap blender, but it didn’t make “smoothies” as much as it made “chunkies”. LOL! So, we upgraded to a blender called Crux (it’s available at Macy’s). It was only like $50 which was a great price and this blender made very nice smoothies – nice and smooth! However, we make smoothies every single day and the Crux broke down after only a few months. We went through two of them, so we went with the Vitamix. It’s expensive, but we are very happy with it now 2 years in of everyday smoothies. It makes the smoothies very smooth and has held up to everyday use. That said, recently we had to send it in for a new switch, but they fixed it (it was under warranty so no cost to us) and it was back very quickly! I hope this information is helpful!

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