Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Green Machine

Ladies and gentlemen ... I give you the all-mighty green drink!

This delicious little concoction is packed with amazing nutrients that will help you look and feel better, and it will literally flood your body with goodness first thing in the morning. On the mornings that I choose to start my day with this tasty treat I find I have more energy, need less coffee, stay full until lunch and tend to make better eating decisions the rest of the day.

But if you must know the truth, health benefits aside, I started drinking this because my friend Melanie suggested that it would help reduce facial fine lines and wrinkles. It’s cheaper than Botox and doesn’t involve needles so I figured it was worth a try. And, while I’m hardly aging backwards, I have noticed a huge improvement in the texture of my skin and my overall appearance.

The star of this smoothie is kale which is one of the most nutritionally dense foods available. It is a nutritional POWERHOUSE that is rich in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in Vitamin C not to mention the much needed fiber so lacking in the typical American diet. The "icing on the kale" is the naturally occurring all important phytochemicals which research suggests may protect against cancer.

I’ve been told that you can wilt kale in soups or sauté it like you would spinach but I just can’t find a yummy way to cook it that I enjoy, so I blend it. Also, since I’m not cooking it, I’m not losing any of the key nutrients through the heating process and I’m getting ALL of the fiber from the leaf and stalk since I’m not juicing it.

Green Smoothie

32 or more oz. of cold, filtered water
2-3 stalks of kale (other leafy greens can work as well)
2 frozen bananas
Frozen strawberries (or any “fleshy” fruit), or frozen red grapes for sweetness
¼ cup ground flaxseed

1 scoop Juice Plus+ Complete vanilla protein powder, optional, for added nutrition and sweetness**

1 tsp milk thistle, optional (milk thistle is a seed that has been shown to be an excellent liver detoxifier; check with your doctor if you have concerns or are on any medication).

Blend above ingredients in a blender. Add more or less water for desired consistency and more or less fruit for desired sweetness. It helps to liquefy the kale in the water before adding other ingredients for a smoother consistency.

**The protein in JP+ Complete comes from 5 different plant-based sources including soy and chickpeas so it is easier to digest and more nutritious than a highly concentrated whey protein powder. It’s also ridiculously delicious.

The smoothie does have a grainy texture due to the whole kale leaves and flaxseed so it takes a little getting used to. However, it is much more nutritious than juicing because you get all of the fiber from the kale and fruit, as well as the vitamins and minerals, which will keep you full. Play around with the combination and proportions to find a consistency you like.

Also, if you already have a favorite smoothie recipe you can experiment by just tossing in a few greens to bump up the nutrition. Other than the beautiful green hue, you probably won't notice. Your kids probably won't notice either. Our little taster Harper actually requests the green smoothie these days over his old favorite chocolate. If a 4-year old can try it, like it and come back for more I'm betting that you can too!

Bottoms up!


  1. girl, you had me at liver detoxifier.
    i, um, need that.

    health store?

    okay, also...i'm supposed to use the blender right? nothing goes without saying, missy.

  2. I think you have to get juice plus through a distributor or that's the way it was 3-4 years ago.

    A friend of mine posted this on her facebook page this morning and I just wanted to share it with as many women as possible and thought this would be a most appropriate place: http://www.mamapedia.com/voices/a-mother-tick-s-body

  3. G: Yes, at a health food store. Ask someone at Whole Foods. You can buy the milk thistle and then grind it in your coffee grinder just like you do the flaxseed. I believe you can also buy it in capsule/pill form but I buy the leaves/seeds and grind it. I sent you an article about milk thisltle ... I even highlighted it b/c I am a total NERD ... remember?!?!

    And, yes, use your blender G for the drink. Also, it took me a few attempts to get the right consistency and combination of greens to fruit until I really liked it. So, please tinker with it and give it another try if you don't love it the first go around. It would be an amazing thing to add to your diet.

    LWL: you do have to get JP+ through a distributor. My good friend, Mel, sells it and is very knowledgeable if someone is interested; she also helped me set up a website so people could order online.

    I started taking JP+ about 9 months ago and love it. I've had some questions about vitamins and supplements so perhaps I will do a post about that and JP+ later this week.

  4. Oh...I will do a lot of things but I dont think I am that brave to drink the green stuff. Not to mention I have to go out and find all those different ingredients. If I can't do a one stop shop, I know me, I wont do it. I will stick to me coffee and granola bar in the a.m and will save up for Botox.

    You are good Erin...real......good to do this for yourself.


  5. I haven't done my morning smoothie in a while, but I need to get back to it b/c it does help me have more/better energy throughout my crazy days. So, in the spirit of FAL sisterhood, I pledge to try experimenting w/the kale as well. ;-)

    Also, Erin and Melanie turned me onto JP about 6 months ago. Yes, you have to get it through a distributor, and yes, I had to find some room in my budget for it, but the smoothie powder is awesome, and the capsules are a great addition to my diet. I kinda feel not so bad on the days that I eat like crap and still take my JP. not that the capsules are substitute for eating healthy, but we all have those down days where dinner consists of frozen pizza and wine (sometimes with flaxseed on the pizza, lol!), and at the very least, I know I've done one thing right by taking the JP.

  6. Kel, and anyone else who has not experimented with greens in their smoothie, start with just a small amount (1 small stalk or 1/2 a stalk) and blend it really, really well. I actually blend the water and the kale together for a while (a couple of minutes while I do something else) and then I add the frozen fruit. It makes for a better texture I think.

  7. And Glennon, the lid MUST be ON the blender. And no spatula inside it.

  8. Ahh... the smoothie recipe, this sounds more delicious than mine! Can't wait to give it a taste!

  9. i'm extra excited about this, because i think i'm one of the few people on the planet who genuinely loves kale! seriously, i LOVE it. thanks erin -- you had me at improved skin. maybe i can wean myself off my fancypants exfoliator and moisterizer. woot!

  10. Erin,
    I'm a few days behind, so I hope you'll see this. I have a tip that might help you fit leafy greens in your diet. If you put fresh Kale (or collards, or spinach, or whatever) in your freezer (or buy it frozen) you can take it out and smash it into tiny pieces. You can put it in a plastic bag and bang it with your fist or shake it around a lot in a tupperware. It will break up like glass - the more you abuse it, the smaller the pieces become.

    Once it's all broken up, you can add it to almost anything. I put leafy greens in almost everything I make, even meat items like pulled pork BBQ, hamburgers or sloppy joes. I put it in all of my soups, chilis, pasta sauces . . . I've even put it in cornbread before. My kids know it's there (they can see it) but it rarely changes the taste or texture.

    Hope this helps! We've eaten greens almost every night since I discovered this trick a few years ago.