I recently spent 4 days at an all-inclusive resort in Cabo San Lucas which means I probably drank more alcohol and ate more sugar than I did in the previous 11 months combined. When I got home I felt like I needed to load up on nutrient rich foods and particularly antioxidants to help detox and repair from the week of gluttony.
While the pastured meats, raw milk, and range of veggies I always eat are nutrient dense I felt I needed to get some more produce in my rotation. But, let’s be honest, I’m not going to sit down and eat that many fruits and vegetables each day. During the day I usually opt for fairly quick meals consisting of dinner leftovers or scrambled eggs. If I’m really busy (or lazy) I’ll just have a protein shake. So, I knew that I would fail if I tried to incorporate more produce by trying to make it into prepared meals.
I don’t believe in juicing because I feel you lose much of the nutritional value of the produce by only drinking the juice. So, I decided to try making produce smoothies with the goal of having one every day for a week. I’d attempted vegetable smoothies before and it didn’t go well so I wasn’t expecting this to be an enjoyable endeavor. However, with some small tweaks to how I was making the smoothies I enjoyed them so much that I’ve continued making them.
Here are my ten tips for making great tasting fruit and vegetable smoothies:
- Add a pinch of sea salt. Salt enhances the flavor of the ingredients and adds minerals.
- Include an ounce or two of kombucha. This adds flavor and makes the smoothie a probiotic drink to boot. Store bought or homemade kombucha will work.
- Always include half a lemon or the equivalent in lemon juice. The acid is necessary to liven up the drink and enhance the flavors.
- Use a ratio of 2 pieces of fruit to 4-5 cups of greens. If you’re new to eating a lot of vegetables you might want to have more fruit but ideally these should be vegetable smoothies with just enough fruit to sweeten them up but not make them a sugar bomb. I like to use one apple and one orange in combination with 4-5 cups of spinach, kale, lettuce, and celery as a base. Then I’ll add beets, carrots, tomatoes, or whatever else I have on hand to change up the flavor.
- Blend in some ice. Trust me, you don’t want to drink a room temperature vegetable smoothie. They need to be ice cold to taste the best.
- Use a blender that is up to the job. Without a blender that can handle ice and chop big chunks of veggies up, your smoothie experience will be less than pleasant. There are a lot of blenders out there that do a lot of awesome things and cost a lot of money, like the Vitamix. I don’t have one of those blenders. What I have is a much cheaper, simpler Ninja blender that is absolutely amazing. I’m pretty sure it could blend a set of Legos into a smoothie and it’s under $100.
- When deciding what ingredients to use, use as many colors as you can. While you want to have a lot of leafy greens in your smoothies, you also want a range of colors to get more flavor. Think orange carrots, red beets, purple cabbage, etc. The more colors, the greater range of nutrients you’re getting and the better it will taste.
- Go easy on the bananas. Bananas are great for a lot of things but they aren’t great in vegetable smoothies. Banana flavor is overwhelming and if you use an entire banana, that’s most likely all you will taste.
- Throw in some vitamin C powder. Buffered vitamin C powder will add fizz to your smoothies while increasing the vitamin content. Vitamin C is used as an antioxidant by the adrenal glands so getting a little extra can help your body deal with stress better.
- When deciding what ingredients to use in your smoothie, think about what would make a good salad. Start with a base of greens, then add accents.
Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to make your smoothies perfect, just make them! You’ll make mistakes and have awesome accidents, all of which you’ll learn from so you can consistently make better smoothies.