5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life!

5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life!

5 Reasons Why You Need Green Smoothies In Your Life + Fennel & Cardamom Green Smoothie Recipe

 

Before I talk about this fennel & cardamom green smoothie recipe, I want to share 5 reasons why you need green smoothies in your life!

If you already drink green smoothies on the regular that’s fabulous! You may want to skip down to the recipe, or read on to reaffirm why you do it.

If green smoothies are an occasional or even non existent thing for you, the following 5 reasons may just persuade you otherwise.

Here are my top 5 reasons why you need green smoothies in your life:

 

1. Green smoothies are a simple way to give your diet and health a boost. 

Green smoothies are an amazing way to get a lot of nutrients into your body in one go and are a really simple and inexpensive way to boost your diet naturally.

Think of how many greens go into a green smoothie compared to piling that same amount on a plate. It’s a lot easier to drink a green smoothie than it is to eat a huge plate of raw vegetables…wouldn’t you agree?

 

2. Green smoothies get your digestion flowing.

Green smoothies are packed with fibre and hydration which are essential for good digestion. Just about everybody who does my 5 Day Green Smoothie Challenge or the 10 Day Sugar Cleanse reports back that they’ve never been so regular!

And let’s face it, no one wants stagnant food hanging around in their gut. It slows the metabolism and can cause unpleasant gas.

A healthy digestive system means a healthy body that’s less prone to illness.

 

3. Green smoothies leave your skin glowing.

As I discussed in the previous point, green smoothies get your digestion flowing and this is also one of the keys to having glowing skin. Green smoothies are also very hydrating and as any good beauty therapist will tell you, adequate hydration is the first step towards reducing those fine lines.

Green smoothies contain an abundance of antioxidants which protect your cells from free radical damage and ultimately, the ageing process. Antioxidants are found in all fruits and vegetables, but are particularly abundant in the green variety.

 

4. Green smoothies can boost detoxification and healing.

This happens in two interlinked ways. Firstly, because the ingredients are already partially broken down by the blender blades it means less work for your digestive system which means your body can put more time and energy into other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

Secondly, because green smoothies are predominantly plant based and raw, the inherent nutrients and enzymes in those plants remain intact and unaffected by heat. This means your body is better able to digest and absorb these nutrients because often the plants enzymes aid in this process. Also, these intact nutrients can help boost the body’s natural detoxification and cell renewal pathways.

 

5. Green smoothies can help keep you healthy!

Green smoothies naturally contain an abundance of phytonutrients, which are ‘magical’ chemical compounds unique to certain plants. Phytonutrients give these plants their vibrant colours, tastes and smells, and their role is to help the plant thrive or fight off competitors, predators or pathogens.

In humans, phytonutrients have the ability to promote healthy cell function and have some very unique roles in preventing disease. Some examples of phytonutrients you might be familiar with are carotenoids (e.g. betacarotene which makes carrots orange), flavanoids (e.g. anthocyanin which gives blueberries their blue colour), resveratrol (found in red grapes, aka red wine!) and glucosinolates (e.g. sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower).

These compounds have been shown to collectively support cardiovascular and cognitive health, regulate inflammation, support the immune system and help prevent and fight cancer. However, the research is only in it’s infancy and I’m sure a lot more will be discovered about these compounds in the years to come.

But all the more reason to ensure you eat a wide variety of plants in abundance today!

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

 

That sums up my top 5 reasons why you should include green smoothies in your diet, and if you get the recipe right, they taste pretty damn amazing too!

So without further ado, here’s one of my favourite green smoothie recipes, Fennel & Cardamom Green Smoothie. Fennel has a beautiful mild anise flavour which combines beautifully with fragrant cardamom. If you’re not a big cardamom fan go easy at first and slowly increase the amount to your taste.

If you try this green smoothie recipe, let me know!

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think, and be sure to tag a picture #swoonfood on Instagram. Enjoy!

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

Makes: 1 extra large or 2 small smoothies
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 large handful of spinach leaves
1/4 -1/2 bulb of fennel (depending on how large your fennel is)
1/2 green apple
1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp coconut yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup filtered water

Wash the spinach leaves well, and leave to drain in a sieve.
Wash the fennel well and chop in half.
Peel the lemon and apple (if not organic) and place in the blender jug along with the spinach and fennel.
Add the coconut yoghurt, cardamom and water and blend on high until all the ingredients are well blended and smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy.
This smoothie will keep in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 3 days.

 

FENNEL & CARDAMOM GREEN SMOOTHIE

How To Make A Green Juice Without A Juicer

How To Make A Green Juice Without A Juicer

How to make a green juice without a juicer

 

 Is it possible to create a green juice without a juicer?

I’m a huge fan of green smoothies and not just because of their amazing health benefits. If you get the blend right (which isn’t that hard once you know the fundamentals) they taste pretty damn amazing too!

I’ve written many a post about the humble green smoothie and all it’s benefits, and this post here sums it up pretty well.

It was therefore only a matter of time before I decided I needed to make green juices a part of my life too. I’ve read so many amazing things about cold pressed raw green juices, most notably from the inspirational Kris Carr who’s the daily green juice queen!

The catch was, I don’t actually own a juicer.

What I do have is a blender, so I thought surely there must be a way to create a green juice with that…?!

 

The difference between a green smoothie and a juice

In my quest to create a green juice without a juicer, I began by considering the differences between a cold pressed raw juice and a smoothie.

A smoothie is generally a blended mixture of whole fruits and vegetables, with an added liquid to get things blending. It can also contain protein powders, nut butters, yogurt, seeds and other natural whole food flavourings such as ginger, turmeric, vanilla or cinnamon.

A cold pressed raw juice, on the other hand, is simply the liquid nutrients squeezed out of whole fruits and vegetables by a juicing machine. Raw juices don’t contain any extra liquids, added protein or flavourings, with the exception of maybe some ginger or turmeric.

 

Benefits of a cold pressed juice versus a smoothie

Both juices and smoothies are a great way to consume a much larger amount of raw nutrients than you’d be able to if you ate them in their whole form.

Juices are generally much lighter and easier to digest than smoothies. This is because during the juicing process, a juicer removes all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables, leaving the vitamins and minerals more readily available for absorption.

One thing to keep in mind is because all the fibre is removed in a cold pressed juice, any fruit sugars present will also be more readily absorbed. So if you have a fruit loaded juice, you can end up with some pretty crazy blood sugar spikes. The best way to avoid this is obviously to keep the fruit content low in a cold pressed jucie.

Juices are therefore great if you want a big dose of nutrients that’s light on the digestion. This might be when you’re on a cleanse, have potential gut issues, or are just wanting to boost your nutrient intake but not make a meal out of it.

A smoothie on the other hand, is a great choice if you’re wanting to consume more fibre with your nutrients which is beneficial in keeping your digetsion flowing smoothly. Also, by adding protein to your smoothies they canbe a great light meal replacement.

 

How to make a green juice without a juicer

 

What to consider when making a green juice without a juicer

In order to make a green juice in a blender, the green vegetables therefore need to be blendable and you need a way to remove the fibre after blending.

My other challenge was to create a green juice without using any fruit to sweeten it, as I was still in the middle of a sugar cleanse!

I therefore had to consider which green vegetables go well together to create something drinkable and avoid a bitter tasting green dirt juice. I discovered the secret to making this work was cucumber with it’s soft mellow flavour, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Lemon juice, although acidic to taste, is amazing at keeping the body slightly alkaline which is the ideal state. From there you can’t go wrong with celery, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, silver beet or collard greens, and fresh herbs like parsley which is very cleansing and mint which is delicious and good for digestion. Lastly, a small amount of fresh ginger adds a warm flavour and is also a great digestive aid.

 

How to create a green juice in a blender

To create a green juice in a blender, place all the ingredients into the blender jug, add just enough water to get things moving and a little ice to ensure the blender blades don’t heat things up. Blend on high until smooth, then pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the fibre. And that’s it! You essentially have a rawc green juice, albeit not officially cold pressed.

This is obviously a slightly crude method and juicers will do a much more efficient job, but if you don’t own a juicer yet and are unsure about investing in one, this is a good way to test it out.

 

When to purchase a juicer

I ended up loving my blender juices so much that I’ve since borrowed my sister’s juicer to see whether I could taste the difference in the juice, and to decide whether I need to purchase one myself.

The main differences I discovered were the juicer creates a much more intense juice as there’s no added water, and secondly, you can juice things in a juicer that would stop a blender in its tracks. The best examples are carrots and beetroot which make great alternative sweeteners to fruit.

One tip I also discovered was when using beetroot to sweeten a green juice, it’s best to put it through last and just give the juice a little swirl to avoid turning your juice into an unappetising brown colour.

Below I’ve shared my two favourite green juice recipes – a blender recipe and a juicer recipe. The original recipes don’t contain any fruit sweetener (except for lemon juice which isn’t very sweet) and taste pretty damn amazing if I say so myself.

If you’re just starting out with green juices and find them on the savoury side, I’ve included the option to add green apple or beetroot (which is my personal favourite, if not just for the crazy colour contrast it creates).

I hope you use these recipes and may they inspire you to incorporate more fresh greens into your day.

Leave a comment below and tell me what you think, and be sure to tag your pictures #swoonfood on Instagram or facebook. Enjoy!

 

 

How to make a green juice without a juicer

 

Green Juice (blender recipe)

Makes: 1 juice

1 x 15cm piece cucumber (peeled if not organic)
2 stalks celery
2 handfuls leafy greens such as: curly kale, cavalo nero, spinach, silver beet, collard greens
1 handful fresh herbs such as: mint and parsley
1 x 5cm piece fresh ginger
1 lemon juiced
3/4 cup filtered water
1 handful ice
optional: 1 green apple, core removed

Wash all the ingredients and place in the blender. Blend on medium speed, using the blender stick to get things moving, then high speed until smooth. If it needs more help to get things blending at the beginning, add a little more water. Pour the blended juice through a fine sieve to remove the fibre and serve in a tall glass.

Green Juice (juicer recipe)

Makes: 1 juice

1 x 15cm piece cucumber (peeled if not organic)
2 stalks celery
2 handfuls leafy greens such as: curly kale, cavalo nero, spinach, silver beet, collard greens
1 handful fresh herbs such as: mint and parsley
1 x 5cm piece fresh ginger
1 small lemon (whole)
optional: 1 small beetroot, peeled and/or 1 green apple, core removed

Put all the ingredients through a juicer in the order listed, ensuring you leave the beetroot to last if using. Drink the juice immediately or it can be stored in a sealed glass jar for one day in the fridge before it starts to oxidise and loose its potency.

 

 

 

Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

Super Green Smoothie

 

Smoothies are a fantastic way to get a lot of nutrients into you in one go, simply due to the volume of fruits and vegetables you are able to consume this way. Take a green smoothie for example, you can literally pack an entire salad or plate of greens into one glass, yet it’s easy to finish and you don’t feel overly full afterwards. The reason for this is the smoothie ingredients and their nutrients are partially broken down by the blender blades, which means they are more readily digested and absorbed by your body. This in turn means your body doesn’t have to put as much time and energy into digestion and can turn its attention to other important processes such as detoxification and healing.

The other great thing about smoothies is the ingredients are entirely raw so all the nutrients are in their original, unprocessed state. All the antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals remain intact, along with the foods inherent living enzymes which are often killed by heat. These living enzymes assist in the absorption of the nutrients which also helps to take some of the load off your digestive system. So by eating raw food in the form of a smoothie, you can maximise your nutrient intake in a very easy way.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing food that you’ll be eating raw is to consider buying organic, spray-free produce. Or an even better, much more affordable option is to grown your own if you can. The reason for this is produce that is covered in pesticides creates more work for your digestive system and liver, which essentially defeats the purpose of eating raw (easily digestible) food.

Making your own smoothies is much more cost effective than buying them and allows you to control the quality of ingredients and flavour combinations. One important thing to look out for if you are buying a smoothie (especially the pre-packaged type from the supermarket) is to check the label for added sugar. This can often be disguised as “fruit juice” or “juice concentrate” which is essentially fruit that has been stripped of it’s fibre and nutrients leaving a high concentration of fructose and not much else. Fructose can’t be used for energy by the body and can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns it into fat and stores it in the body. Alternatively by using whole fruit in a smoothie, the fibre and nutrients act to slow down the fructose absorption and the benefits of the vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals far out weigh out any negative effects from fructose. Therefore if you are going to buy a smoothie, the best places to do so are those where you know the smoothie is being made from scratch using whole, raw fruit and vegetables, such as quality cafes, raw food eateries or smoothie bars.

If you are new to green smoothies you may prefer to ease yourself into them by starting off with a fruit base, rather than going straight to an entirely green vegetable smoothie which can be an acquired taste. A good way to start is by adding a little fruit like a pear, a small handful of fresh pineapple or half a banana.

The following minty green smoothie recipe is one of my favourites and is a nice mild option to start with. It’s a mix of greens, tropical fruit and coconut water. It tastes best when chilled, so one of my top tips is to chop up a bunch of fruit and store it in your freezer. That way your smoothies will always come out chilled, even after high speed blending, and you will always have a stash of frozen fruit ready for the next one!

Use this green smoothie recipe as a base, swapping in different fruits and greens to create your own favourite smoothie combinations. Enjoy!

 

Super Green Smoothie
 

Green Smoothie

Makes: 1 large smoothie
Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup of coconut water or filtered drinking water
1 cup of spinach or kale, washed
1 2inch/6cm piece cucumber
1 cup of pineapple, chopped, preferably frozen
1 kiwifruit, peeled, chopped, preferably frozen
1/2 frozen banana
1 handful of fresh mint
1 handful ice
squeeze of lemon or lime

Place all the ingredients in the blender and slowly work up to maximum speed. You may have to stop the blender and give the ingredients a stir if you’re using frozen fruit, or use the blender stirring stick. Blend until smooth, pour into a tall glass and drink immediately. Alternatively this smoothie can be stored in the fridge in a sealed bottle for up to 2 days.

Note: This makes quite a thick, icy green smoothie. For a more liquid version just add extra coconut water or filtered drinking water, or leave out the ice.

 

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