Saturday, March 17, 2012

Drinking Your Greens

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day and all things green, I decided to talk about drinking your greens today.

Do you drink green smoothies or juices?
I had my very first green juices and smoothies just this year when I did the Whole Living Cleanse in January. Before then, I always made my smoothies with fruit and yogurt... but the cleanse taught me how delicious and nutritious green smoothies and juice can be and now I'm hooked!

Why drink your greens?
There are lots of reasons, but the main reasons I've recently started drinking my greens are:
1. Drinking your greens is a super easy way to get several servings of raw fruits and vegetables under your belt. Literally!
2. Green juices and smoothies are nutritious, low calorie and delicious!
3. All the wonderful vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber you get from leafy greens are more easily digested and absorbed into your body when in liquid form!

Wheatgrass juice served in a shot glass
Wheatgrass* Juice
Before January of this year, I had never heard of wheatgrass juice. Then just days before I planned on starting the Whole Living detox and cleanse, my friend Marie mentioned going to a local juice bar for a shot of wheatgrass with a friend of hers who is battling cancer, and then proceeded to tell me all about the purported health benefits of wheatgrass. I was impressed, and even if the healing, restorative properties are not as comprehensive as proponents claim, there's no denying wheatgrass has incredible nutritional value, so why not try it?

My friend Marie decided straightaway to do the cleanse diet with me and on our first day, we went to the juice bar to celebrate the start of our cleanse with a wheatgrass shot. The wheatgrass juice was served in a shot glass with wedge of orange to chase and actually tasted much more pleasant than I expected.

Wheat grass is a whole food and complete protein rich in enzymes and minerals. One ounce of wheatgrass juice contains the nutritional value of 2.2 lbs. of leafy greens. Wow!

*fyi wheatgrass contains no wheat gluten.

Green Juice
Green Juices 
During my cleanse, I took a bag of vegetables to a friend's house and used her juicer to make this awesome green juice. We used collard greens, romaine lettuce, carrots, celery, apple, ginger and lemon. The juice had a very fresh, bright taste to it--I honestly really liked it! We had enough for both of us to have a generous glass full and I took home a mason jar with the remainder to have the next day. Juice is best the day it is made--better for you and better tasting, with which I agree, but I also say leftover green juice is better than NO green juice.

Green Smoothies
This is the easiest way for me [and probably most people] to drink my greens because I can make it at home anytime I want using fresh greens, fresh or frozen fruit and my blender. Easy peasy.

Green Tropical Smoothie
Green Tropical Smoothie 
1 cup very packed fresh baby spinach
1 cup coconut water or unsweetened soymilk*
1/2 cup cubed mango, frozen if possible
1/2 cup cubed pineapple, frozen if possible
1/2 cup chopped ice, if your fruit is not frozen

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

*I like to buy organic, unsweetened soymilk for which the only ingredients are filtered water and organic soybeans.

Morning Green Smoothie
Morning Green Smoothie
1 cup very packed fresh baby spinach
1 cup pineapple chunks, frozen if possible
1 fresh orange, juiced
1/2 banana, cut into chunks, frozen if possible
1/2 cup carrot juice

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.

What about you? Do you drink your greens? 

Have I inspired you to make a green smoothie?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Added on March 18, 2012:

Want to learn more about drinking your greens? 

Visit my favorite website for smoothies, juices and healthy, clean eating and living: Green Lemonade. I encourage you to visit this site even if you're a little bit interested in making your own healthy smoothies.. green or any other color of the rainbow! I think you'll find some great inspiration there. Here are some links to get you started:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Great topical post! Really good pictures too! I like green smoothies, and appreciate the recipe! BUT, wheat grass!?! My daughter and I like almost every type of food, so we thought we would like it. We each ordered a shot. I think our mistake was that we sipped it...and no one gave us the orange wedge chaser either. So, we got the full impact. It wasn't good. But, I would be willing to try again (cause of the health benefits) now that I know about the orange :)

  2. I'm a smoothie addict, so much so that I go through a blender a year. I LOVE green smoothies. I always have fresh spinach, avocado or kale on hand to dump into any smoothie mixture. It's a quick way to get the nutrients of veggies without having to cook them.

    I wish I could try the ones you have listed but I suffer from GERD so oranges, pineapples, mango's, heck - anything with acid is a big no-no for me.

  3. I love wheatgrass juice. Unfortunately my current small town does not have a great green restaurant or grocery that sells them. I've never made it myself. Hmmm. I think drinking your greens is very beneficial. Good for you for trying something so new to you!

  4. I love a smoothie in the morning. Last school year I started making them with my immersion blender, pouring it into a travel mug and sipping during my first few class periods. I love adding in some silken tofu. It really kept me from getting hungry before lunch.

    I need to try adding spinach. Sadly, wheat grass would make me quite sick (I have Celiac disease, so wheat is a big no-no.)

    OT, did you do a site redesign? Pretty colors!

  5. I've never drunk my greens, but I have to say your photos are very inspiring! And I love the new design :)

  6. I have never drunk my greens, but your last two recipes intrigue me.

  7. Actually, they look good but especially the tropical one.

  8. I've never heard of wheatgrass juice, but I'm intrigued. Still not sure I'd drink my greens...

  9. I can't imagine drinking my greens!

    I did wonder if that last one was a cocktail or something, which may say something about my habits anyway!

  10. I've never heard of this. I'm not sure if I could, since the only thing I drink besides water is stuff that has been sweetened. Happy St Patrick's Day!

    My Weekend cooking post is here.

  11. I'm not sure about drinking anything green. But, if I did it would be that last drink, minus the pineapple. *g* (And with another fruit in it's place.)

    Hope you had a Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

  12. Great post. I could see the smoothies but I really didn't like the wheatgrass shot that I tried a few years back.

  13. I was in a hurry to get my post up yesterday afternoon before my evening got busy, but I wanted to include a mention of my new favorite website for smoothies, juices and healthy, clean eating and living. If you're interested in this lifestyle or even a little bit interested in adding a few new healthy eating habits into your life, I encourage you to visit and explore the wonderful recipes and tips and suggestions there--including I think you'll get inspired. :)
    Here are some links to to get you started:
    All About Green Lemonade
    Why Are Green Smoothies Good For You?
    How to Make a Green Smoothie (Without Bananas)
    5 Easy Green Smoothie Recipes

  14. Oh, those all actually look yummy!! :) The only green drinks I drink is Green Tea lattes or frappucino from Starbucks LOL. Guess they don't really count as they are not as healthy ^_^; But hey, some really taste like green tea ice cream, yum :P

  15. @ Libby ... Glad you liked my post! Would you believe the photos were all taken with my iphone? Not bad, right? I'm doing a photography Project 366 [leap year!] using my iphone only.. it's been fun. Lots of pictures of food, cats and my kids. lol

    I sipped the wheatgrass juice, too, but didn't think it was bad tasting at all. My friend went first and said, "Here's what you do.. " Drank her juice like a true shot in one swig and quickly sucked the orange. I was afraid I'd spew it all over the juice bar if I did that so I decided to drink it in two sips. Much to my friend's surprise, I didn't make a face or shudder and drank the rest saying, "That's not so bad." I finished the second sip and then squeezed the orange into my shot glass to make sure I got all the bits of green. At $4 a shot, I didn't want to waste a drop! Not the usual response, I know! I'd do it again, too.. but the local juice bar isn't really that local at 20+ min in a direction I don't usually travel.

    If you do it again, definitely ask for an orange wedge for a chaser! I bet you'll enjoy it more. :)

    @ Brie ... Wow. You blend so much you go through a blender in a year? Really? Maybe you need a more professional one! If you visit the green lemonade site, Noelle has some articles on the best blenders for smoothies--maybe you can try one of those next time and see if they last longer?

    I still haven't gotten around to trying your avocado smoothie that you shared on instagram. I will, though! Have an avocado just waiting for me. :)

    Sorry to hear you suffer from GERD. I guess you can't do berries than, either? Aren't they acidic?

    @ Peaceful Reader ... Yay! A wheatgrass juice fan! Like I said in my comment above, the nearest juice bar to me is about 20+ min away in a direction I rarely travel, so I'm not getting it often. I wish there was a juice bar right downtown. Or in my gym! I guess that would get expensive, though.

    @ Shannon ... I need to pick up some silken tofu. I'm trying to up the protein in my smoothies for a recovery drink after my early morning workouts and silken tofu seems like a great answer to that. I'm surprised Trader Joe's doesn't have any!

    I'm sorry to hear you have Celiac disease. That must be so tough. Of course you must check with your doctor, but from what I've read, wheat grass has NO gluten. The gluten is only in the grain or seed part of the mature wheat plant and wheatgrass juice is made only from young grass shoots which are nowhere near mature enough to produce seeds. Maybe wheatgrass juice is safe for you?

    @ orannia ... You should try a green smoothie with baby spinach. It tastes just like a full fruit smoothie. And if it doesn't to you, you can always increase the fruit a bit to make it sweeter.

    Thanks re: my new design! Someone made changes on their layout and it inspired me to do mine, too. ;)

    1. I must have to be brave next time I'm out and go green :)

      And someone did, huh? LOL!

  16. @ (Diane) bookchickdi ... I hope you give the green smoothies a try sometime. They're yummy. :)

    @ Gina @Hott Books ... *slurp!* They're delicious.

    @JoAnn ... I bet you'd be pleasantly surprised how mild these green smoothies taste. Maybe you'll give one a try sometime.

    @ Marg ... Try it, you'll like it! Really--these green smoothies taste very fruity. I imagine that last one in my post would be quite tasty with a splash of rum in it! ; ) Of course it would no longer be liver-friendly then, but I'd try it! ;)

    @ Melanie ... Well technically there's plenty of sugar in the smoothies since they have so much fruit in them. But if you're accustomed to very sweet drinks, you can always add a scant amount of stevia or a teaspoon or two to agave or maple syrup to sweeten these smoothies.

  17. @ Brandy ... Really? I think you'd really like these smoothies. I know you eat spinach because you make that delicious sounding spinach salad.. next time set aside a generous handful of spinach and make a smoothie with your favorite fruit. I bet you'd like it. :)
    Hope you had a Happy St. Patrick's Day, too!

    @ Beth F ... Wheatgrass juice is unusual tasting. I understand why a lot of people don't really like it.

    @ nath ... Well... I don't know if green tea lattes or frappucinos from Starbucks technically count as drinking your greens. ;p I'm sure they have some antioxidants in them if they are made from real green tea, but they're likely very high in calories, fat and sugar. Sounds yummy, though!

    I was curious, so did a little investigating.. Did you know you can look up the nutritional information for Starbucks food and drinks online? Including quantity of caffeine. Pretty cool. Here's the info on the Green Tea Creme Frappuccino and the Green Tea Latte in case you were interested. ;)

  18. What a clever post for St. Patrick's Day!

  19. You definitely motivated me to make a green smoothie. My husband and I have been talking about making green drinks for months now and even printed out a recipe but have yet to make one.

  20. I love smoothies but stick to fruit smoothies, never thought to try green smoothies. I might give the tropical a try, it sounds like something I might like since I love pineapple!

    Curious - how do they smell? A strong smell can put me off trying something new.

  21. @ Lisa@ButteryBooks ... Yay! I'm so happy to be a green smoothie motivator! :D
    I think you're going to love it and be so happy to have a new and refreshing way to get more vegetables into your diet. Maybe even before 8am! Woot!

    @ Leslie ... These and most green smoothies that include fruit are very fruity tasting and you barely taste the greens, at least with the baby spinach that I like to use. The juices are definitely more 'green' tasting.. reminiscent of grass maybe.. but a nice clean grass smell. It's the chlorophyll. :)

    Referring only to the smoothies .. they will taste AND smell like the most prominent fruit that you use. Believe it or not, the second, more vibrant green smoothie--Morning Green Smoothie-- is sweeter and more fruity smelling than the tropical, lighter colored one. I think that's because the first smoothie has coconut or soy milk which have very little flavor, therefore diluting the other flavors a little so it is a bit more bland than the dark green one.

    Keep in mind that if you regularly drink a lot of sweetened drinks, you can always increase the fruit a little in these smoothies or add a teaspoon of sweetener such as agave or maple syrup so it's more to your tastes.

  22. I'm going to confess that I don't like to drink green stuff. My mom used to put wheetgrass powder in my orange juice when I was little, which turned it this sickly green color and it tasted kind of bad. :P
    Plus it made me hate my morning oj, and I love oj.

    But I have had more decent green drinks later, my friends used to go to this vegetarian place near school, and they usually had some sort of healthful drinks and they were mostly nice.

  23. Give me regular juice, a Shamrock shake or some apple juice and I'll eat all the asparagus, broccoli and brussel sprouts, thank you very much. lol


Leave a comment! I love to hear what YOU think.
[I apologize, but I've had to disallow anonymous users to comment on my blog due to an influx of spam. I'll change it back as soon as I can. Thanks for understanding.]