I know Janae already touched on this in another post, but I want to blog about it anyway.
A friend of mine has been battling cancer on a grand scale, and one of her approaches has been to learn voraciously about nutrition. I love to pick her brain about what she's been learning. One thing she introduced me to a while back is green smoothies. Honestly, healthy as I wanted to be, I didn't think I'd ever go as far as adding the concoction she shared with me to my diet. But I eventually tried something a bit less adventurous, progressed gradually, and now I actually like drinking the "green paint," no matter what the kids say about it.
What I started out with is similar to what Janae makes for her family (I can only get my husband and 2 year-old to drink any so far), and I do it in the order given because it mixes better in my regular old blender. I get mixed frozen fruit from Sam's Club, it has strawberries, pineapple, and mango the cheapest I've found close by. I also found plain yogurt with 8 different live cultures at our discount health food store--kefir has even more live cultures and is an even better alternative, but it costs more too.
Beginner Green Smoothie
1 cup mixed frozen fruit
apple juice or water to almost cover fruit
a bit (1/3 cup?) plain yogurt
a handful or two fresh spinach
A standard blender has a hard time with the frozen fruit, so I blend that a bit before adding the greens. Spinach is soft, so it blends fairly easily. Start with less and work up. Of course you can use whatever fruits you prefer. Berries are helpful in covering up the color, if green is an issue. I have to warn you though, after a few months of doing this almost every day, I was getting more and more frozen fruit chunks, and then the motor of my blender finally gave out. That's how I earned (not financially, but morally) my latest favorite appliance, my Blendtec.
(see video below for comic relief only, no other nutritional value)
More of those at http://www.willitblend.com/
When I told my friend I had finally converted to green smoothies, she told me she put in way more greens than she used to, and that I should check out the website GreenSmoothieGirl.com. This led me to a wealth of information from a healthy mom on a mission to learn and share health information, including getting her own kids to eat it (and show you how to get your kids to also). She even has demos of how and why to make a green smoothie:
I checked out her book, the Green Smoothies Diet, from the library to browse through it, but ended up reading it cover to cover. It tells her story as well as health information and a load of green smoothie recipes. A good thing to own as a reference.
She even has videos that help you know how to explain nutrition to your kids.
I've still got a ways to go to, but I've made some progress as to what I get in my smoothie. According to the Green Smoothie Girl, just with this drink (I have some at breakfast, and however much I want as the day goes on--it never lasts to dinner time), I'm getting about 15 servings of raw fruits and vegetables. Wow, after so many goals which I have had to recommit to over and over, something I've actually improved at! And way past anything I would have dreamed of when I was a young adult.
Intermediate Green Smoothie
2 cups or so water
an apple or pear, quartered and cored
a stick of celery
fresh kale, lettuces, collards, chard,etc. to fill the blender, blend
a cup or two of frozen fruit, blend again
some yogurt or kefir
1 or 2 Tbls refrigerated flax oil
a handful or two fresh spinach
1 or 2 bananas
I'm always amazed at how I can stuff so many greens into the blender and after blending, it doesn't seem like there's any more liquid in the jar than before I put them in. I go for the larger amounts if I want to make 2 quarts, one for today and one for tomorrow. It doesn't quite fit in the blender all at once, though, so I pour a little into each of two quart jars before I blend in the bananas. Then I fill up the jars and give them a shake. Someday I'll get the larger Blendtec jar, and then there'll be no stopping me!
Next adventure: converting the kids. I can't wait, I've got some ideas I want to try.
(I later wrote the post Green Smoothies for Teens and Other Green-o-phobes that you may want to read.)