Eat Happy Things – The (Not So Green) Smoothie

OK, I’ll admit to you right now…my smoothies don’t look like this… But they DO taste just as good as this one looks. And they are doubly healthy because they contain not only fruit, but also vegetables and greens. You’ve heard of the “Green Smoothie“, right?

OK… my smoothies don’t really look like this either (and neither do I!) … What the heck gives?Β  πŸ˜›

My smoothies may not look beautiful or iridescent green, but they pack a punch as far as happy, healthy ingredients. And the reason they aren’t emerald-green is because, frankly, I don’t like that much “green” in my smoothie.

We all know we need to eat healthy foods to maintain our physical health and optimal weight. But, did you also realize that a healthy, well-balanced diet also helps maintain your mental and emotional health? I am NOT going to tell you that you can cure your depression or bi-polar disorder, or any other kind of clinical mental health disorder by altering your diet. I’m neither a nutritionist, nor a doctor.

But, I WILL tell you that you CAN improve and impact your symptoms, and help manage secondary symptoms which often accompany mental health issues, with a healthy diet. And a person who is not suffering from a clinical disorder can and will see a vast improvement in their mental and emotional sense of well-being as their diet improves.

I’m not going to post the Food Pyramid, because in all honesty, I don’t personally think it’s correct. It shows the bottom layer, the food you are supposed to eat the most of, as grains, and the second layer as fruits and vegetables. I think those layers should be reversed. I think at least half or more of our diet should consist of fruits and vegetables.

Please note: I am NOT a “foodie”, “vegan”, “vegetarian”, or “raw foodist“. I am not a health food nut by any stretch of the imagination, however, I would definitely say that my family’s diet is fairly well above the average American diet (and getting better all the time!) and it’s not because I spend hours making gourmet, exotic health foods, or spending hundreds of dollars on exotic health foods.

Our healthier eating habits started with one simple addition: the green smoothie. The first time I tried to make one, I threw strawberries, bananas, and a handful of raw spinach in the blender, along with some vanilla yogurt and milk. My son and I looked into the blender, at the gloppy, green, somewhat chunky mess within. We then looked at each other and simultaneously said, “Do you want to try it first?”

I bravely stuck my spoon in there and tried the horrid looking thing – and loved it! I’ll be darned if I could even really taste the spinach at all. And my son, who was nine years old at the time, agreed. Much to my surprise, the two picky eaters – my husband who thinks there should only be three food groups: steak, fried pork chops, and garlic mashed potatoes, and my daughter, who could live on bacon, cereal, bagels and cream cheese, and candy – both liked it.

I’ve refined my smoothie since, and learned that you should not always use the same greens in your smoothie every time. You should either alternate the type of greens, or do like I do now, and use a mixture of greens, instead of just spinach which has a very mild flavor. As a result, the “green” taste is enhanced (some of them are fairly bitter tasting) and so I use less greens. The result: a not so green, green smoothie. But I found that if I tried to make them too green neither myself nor my family members like them.

Start out with a small amount of greens. Gradually over time, you can try adding more. But the most important thing is to actually LIKE the taste. Here is my basic recipe. Change it up however you like! If you freeze the fruit, you won’t have to use ice, and the smoothies will be more flavorful! I cut up bananas and freeze them in ziplock baggies – 4 bananas per bag (1 for each member of my family), and buy the other fruits already frozen.

Per person, and all are approximate, use more or less to your taste. (it’s ok to “wing it”):

  • 1/4 cup Coconut milk – I use Silk brand and find it next to the regular milk, with the rice and soy milk. Coconut is a “super food”, so this is an easy way to work it into your diet.
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt – another “super food”. Make sure it says “Live and active cultures” on it!
  • SMALL handful “spring mix” salad greens – I buy the large plastic bags of spring mix
  • VERY small handful mixed shreds: red cabbage, carrot, broccoli – I buy a small bag of each and mix them together
  • 1 banana
  • About 1/2 cup of frozen fruit of your choice

Also, you will hardly EVER see me advocating or suggesting buying an expensive piece of anything. I am a complete cheap skate. But I can’t recommend highly enough the Vitamix blender. It cost around $400, but if you can scrape the funds, or save the funds to buy one – do it. You will NOT regret it. It easily blends the frozen fruit whereas with a regular blender, you will forever be stopping, mixing, tamping down, and waiting for the fruit to thaw partially. Also, it’s a breeze to clean. I have used mine almost every day for over a year now with not one problem!

I do not own one other piece of high-priced appliance. I have the cheapest toaster, coffee maker, and microwave you can find. And a 15-year-old basic bread machine that someone gave me. That’s it. Save your pennies if you have to, but I guarantee this is a purchase that you will never regret.

Serve your family one large green smoothie EVERY day! Me and my son sometimes drink several a day. Here’s to your happy health!

Help is available 24/7 at the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you have any other great recipes or suggestions to make the perfect smoothie? Sharing is caring!Β  πŸ˜‰

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8 thoughts on “Eat Happy Things – The (Not So Green) Smoothie

  1. I’ve been coveting a Vitamix for a while now. πŸ™‚ We have a cheap-o Hamilton Beach blender. I like it because it blends directly in the travel mug, but we’ll upgrade first chance we get.
    My husband and I have smoothies almost every morning for breakfast. He likes the berry smoothie: 8 oz milk, frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries), half of a frozen banana, and a little protein powder.
    I go for the peanut butter banana shake: 6 oz soy milk, 2 tbsp organic peanut butter (crunchy!), half of a frozen banana, 2 tbsp of local honey, and 2 tbsp of frozen Greek yogurt.
    I’ve heard that coconut is a “super food.” Why is that?

  2. mmm… peanut butter banana, so yummy! My hubby just requested one this afternoon! It’s his favorite kind of smoothie. Blueberries are a super food as well, and both my kids hate them, so I sneak them into their smoothies, haha! πŸ˜‰

    I keep meaning to try greek yogurt and raw honey thanks for the tip! I’ve heard lots of good things about the health benefits of both. Well, I hate to advise a simple living guru like yourself to buy an expensive blender, but I promise, like with your tablet, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. πŸ™‚

    • I understand your hesitation, but if it helps, I’m certainly not against spending money on something that I will use every day – particularly something that supports such a healthy lifestyle! (Maybe I need to write a post about how I’m not against buying things… people say that sort of thing to me all the time. :P) What model is your Vitamix? Or is there just one kind? I’m woefully uneducated about blenders.

  3. I splurged and got the 5200. It’s big, bad, and powerful. I literally thought about it like I do my oven or refrigerator, and then the $400 I paid for it didn’t seem that bad. I think some people can’t understand because they don’t fully realize how much they WILL use their blender if they get a really great one. Most people think of a blender as a frivolous gadget. But when it come to healthy eating, you will use it as much as your oven. You already know, because you use your cheapy one every day.

    I think there is as much myth surrounding simple living as there is that surrounds healthy eating, or even depression and suicide. People hear me suggest eating more raw food and less meat, and they automatically assume I’m a vegan or raw foodist. And they get definite ideas about what I should and shouldn’t do for my daughter and her depression. People probably think you sleep on the floor. πŸ˜‰

    • Am I hurting my case if I admit that I do actually sleep on the floor? Haha! The big thing that people don’t take into account is that I choose to sleep on a pad on the floor rather than a bed because I believe that it’s the best thing for me. I don’t judge other people for owning beds. :p I definitely understand where you’re coming from, though. I find that it’s difficult for me to communicate to others that I’ve made certain lifestyle decisions (minimalism, or for you, more raw foods) that I feel are good for me, but not for everyone. On the flip side, there are broader principles (like simplifying) that I believe are good for everyone. It’s hard to break through stigmas. The more that I think about it, the more I want to write an article addressing that. If I do write it, do you mind if I quote your above comment? It sums up my thoughts really well.

  4. haha, me and my husbands “bed” is actually two mattresses stacked on top of one another on the floor! πŸ˜‰

    I was envisioning you curled up on a little pile of leaves on the floor, actually. πŸ™‚ I guess those stigmas are a bitch, eh? πŸ˜‰

    I think an article on the myths and misconception of simple living is definitely in order. I have to do the same thing concerning the M&M’s of depression and mental illness as well. Feel free to quote me. And I’m so glad I found your blog, as I think simplification is one of the MOST important things people can do to improve their mental and emotional well being!

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