The Lean Green Smoothie

greensmoothieAbout three years ago I replaced my traditional fruit-heavy smoothie with one dominated by greens: spinach, avocado, kale, etc.. I typically drink one in the morning or post-workout and sometimes a second one mid-afternoon. The results have been dramatic, both in terms of body composition and energy levels. The smoothies also guarantee that I’ll be getting more than enough green veggies every day.

The most encouraging thing is that one of our two sons will drink what he calls “green juice” and I’m working on the other one. There’s no way I’d get them to eat a plate full of those foods (lucky if they’d try just one), but when it goes into the blender and comes out as a smoothie, the oldest actually enjoys it.

I’m forever tinkering with the formula, but here’s what’s working right now:

12 oz of water

6 ice cubes

1/2 avocado

1 cup of Costco “Power Greens” (a mix of kale, spinach and chard)

I eat asparagus several times a week for dinner, but don’t throw it into the smoothie. It probably would work very well.

greensmoothie2For taste, I add half a frozen banana and half a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder, which also provides 14 grams of protein. I’ll also add 2 ounces of orange juice and also strawberries, when in season.

Transitioning to green smoothies can be a challenge at first, which I why the sweeter ingredients are important. But like anything else, it’s possible to train yourself to like anything and gradually scale back on the sweeter stuff.

That’s why I also throw in a cap-full of apple cider vinegar. When I had a kidney stone five years ago (before reforming my nutrition program), I was told apple cider vinegar can help prevent stones. Maybe it’s an old wives tale, but when you’ve had a kidney stone, you’ll do anything to avoid another. I couldn’t stomach ACV at first, but now I throw one cap-full of it into the smoothie and do another shot straight up. Good stuff.

For the smoothie, consider ACV optional.

Avocado is a key ingredient as it gives the drink more of a smoothie texture. Otherwise it’s more of a juice. You could go with a whole avocado, though that’s a lot of calories.

I use a BlendTec Home Total Blender, which admittedly is a pricey item (starting at $399, though occasionally less at Costco). Then again, it has a 3 horsepower motor and is quite durable. I’ve put mine to the test. According to its digital counter, I used it more than 3,000 time this morning since getting it late in 2006. That’s just 10 cents a use. I can’t think of anything motorized or electrical I’ve owned since then that’s still operational – let alone that works so well.

Enjoy and please let me know what green smoothie ingredients work well for you