Green it and Mean it

For the holidays, my dad purchased me a Vitamix  blender (I had asked for an older version that was much cheaper, but my dad is a sweetheart...

For the holidays, my dad purchased me a Vitamix blender (I had asked for an older version that was much cheaper, but my dad is a sweetheart and opted for more power!).  You might've seen them in action -- they're the same blenders that you see at Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or Smoothie King, making smoothies and crappuchinos frappucinos.  A Vitamix isn't like a normal blender--it's a blender on steroids.  There are things that a Vitamix can do that a normal blender cannot. (Side note:  Vitamix cannot do your taxes...)
But now that I had one in my house, I was going to put my Vitamix to better use.  What do I mean by "better use"?  Let me use my favorite smoothie from Jamba Juice to illustrate: 


Look in the list of ingredients -- it looks pretty healthy with all the fruits and veggies listed -- but the proportions are totally off in terms of making it healthy.  There are way too many fruits and juices and not enough low-calorie greens.  This is basically a sugar bomb.

And maybe instead of a Jamba Juice, you're drinking a V8 Splash, thinking it's healthy:

High fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient -- and tucked in at the very end is sucralose (Splenda).  So sure it might be low in calories, but it's piss poor when it comes to actual nutriton.   

Surely I could do better than what was available at the grocery store and in the local smoothie shops.  I started with the Mean Green Juice/Smoothie as popularized by the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead":

Ingredients 
6-8 leaves kale
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp fresh ginger
4 celery stalks
1 banana (optional)

I start with the 2 cups of cold water in the blender and 1 cup of ice.  Then I add in the ginger, kale, and lemon.  I put the Vitamix on the "Smoothie" pre-programmed function and let it whirl.  I do this to give the kale a head start on getting blended down into a pulp (I don't know if a regular blender could handle this). 

In the meantime, I prep the rest of my fruits and veggies -- coring the apple (leave the peel on), peeling the banana, peeling the cucumber (I do this b/c cucumber skins make me gassy, but feel free to leave the skins on -- just wash them thoroughly) -- and then add them to the blender for another whirl around on the "Smoothie" function.

I store my smoothie in the fridge and add ice/water to my glass as necessary.  Depending on how much water I added at the start, and/or the composition of the mix (i.e. if I have a large cucumber that adds a lot of water) -- the mix can be a little "flurpy" (just say the word "flurp" and you know what I'm talking about).    One whole pitcher (showing everything above) is between 350-375 calories.  In other words, one 64 ounce Mean Green juice contains about the same number of calories as one 24-ounce Jamba Juice.

Right now, I'm using this to supplement my daily intake of calories and nutrients.  I'm seeing the benefits of drinking my Mean Green and other home-made smoothies:  I'm taking in less sugar, more fruits/veggies, more water, and I feel great.  My skin looks and feels great, I am *raises an eyebrow* very regular, and I feel good about putting healthy fuel in my body. 

I know that some of you also like making fresh/homemade smoothies (i.e., not from a pre-packaged mix) -- what are some of your favorite recipes?

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14 comments

  1. ME SO JEALOUS!!!!

    LOL! Enjoy that amazing machine and all the healthy benefits from it. :)

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  2. OK I'm not a fan of the color green but WOW that is a great shade of green! Whole veg and fruit juice is an awesome way to get more veggies in (something I still struggle with). I'm not a fan of leafy greens cooked and I can only eat so many salads before they start to bore me - sticking them in a smoothy with a piece of fruit might be the way to go. Thanks for the tip!

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  3. I love playing around with texture when I'm getting bored with any certain fruit or veggie. Add heat, remove heat. Playing around with food and recipes helps to keep food exciting and delious.

    And yes, this is a pretty fancy green color -- and it tastes soooo good.

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  4. My morning smoothie, which keeps me pretty satisfied until lunch time:

    - 3 egg whites (Costco has a great price for a ton of eggs)
    - 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
    - 1/2 cup 2% fat Fage Greek yogurt
    - 1/4 cup oat bran
    - 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    - 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

    About 267 calories, 5g fat, 43g carbs, 9g fiber, 15g sugar, 31g protein

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  5. I'm so glad you commented about too many fruits and juices in smoothies as being sugar bombs. People often ask me if I juice and I do but only once in awhile. I juice mainly veggies and only when I know my body is lacking vitamins/minerals. Like the day before my half I got my period. I knew my iron would be low and therefore I wouldn't have my normal energy levels so I drank a juice of greens and citrus (so my body could absorb the iron) to help give me a boost. Juices loaded with fruit are almost as bad as sugar soda. It's like mainlining sugar. That's no good. So yes, while juicing can be beneficial it can also be quite detremental to your body if you aren't careful. So, thanks for mentioning that all juices were not created equally :)

    P.S. I'm super jealous of your vitamix. Lol!

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  6. Adding a bit of avocado gives the mixture some healthy fat and a nice mousse-like texture. I love to add lemon juice and ginger too. Beet can be fun, too. And I LOVE the green color.

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  7. Carolyn -- so what does that taste like? I'm sure I could find a way to make it without the eggs, no?

    Dacia -- don't be jealous. I'm sure my Vitamix would be friends with you :) In "Fat Sick & Nearly Dead" they try to keep the juices 90% vegetable and 10% fruit based on volume (not calories). This way it keeps the sugars low and the drinks deliciously healthy!

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  8. KCLA -- have you ever seen Jason Mraz's recipe for chocomole?

    http://articles.cnn.com/2008-05-26/entertainment/mraz.recipe_1_avocados-agave-nectar-carob?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ

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  9. It tastes really refreshing; the blueberry and strawberry flavors are what come through the most, and the color is a nice purple. The oat bran is especially good if you aren't drinking it right away... sort of helps keep the smoothie thick (I make it, take it in to work, then shake it up and drink once I'm at my desk).

    Honestly, you cannot even taste the egg whites; it skeeved me out a bit the first time, but now I don't even think about it. They add a good amount of protein without a ton of extra calories or using a processed additive. If you really don't want to use the eggs, then find a good protein substitute (maybe tofu if you like that) so you aren't only getting carbs and some fat.

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  10. was pointed in this direction by @travellingcari on twitter. I, too, have battled obesity since I was young. A sedentary job over the past 20 years has not helped (still love the job!). I purchased a Nutribullet in June 2012. Using just the basic smoothie, blueberries, peach, apple, banana and spinach (not big on kale, working at it, but it tastes very bitter to me and will permeate the smoothie :shudders:). By the end of October I had lost at least 25 pounds. Since then it's been a bit slower simply because I cut back on the smoothies. No matter how good they taste...it gets old. So, I took a break. Have just gotten back on the bandwagon and am back at it. Love that little machine! It lives it its bag under my desk at the office.

    Good luck with your journey!
    Tamara

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  11. If the Vitamix is insufficient for your tax needs, let me know, and I can pick up the slack.

    However, what it is doing appears to be phenomenal. Perhaps a grand-master blender will have to be in my future as well!

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  12. Carolyn -- I'll try the egg whites... I might be more comfortable using egg white powder...

    Tamara -- I think ginger balances out the bitterness of kale. I try to keep my smoothies 80-90% veggie/green (cucumbers are technically fruit) by volume. Fruit smoothies are delicious, but high in calories.

    Mr. Rabbit -- duly noted re the taxes. Could you believe it took all of January for me to get my W2? I know they sell refurbished Vitamixes at the fraction of the price and they are like Kitchen Aid Stand mixers -- they last a very long time.

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  13. Hi there ! I'm doing the juciing diet for 90 days ! Anyways, I really need a substitute for Kale leaves ... do you know of any ? My local supermarket will never sell Kale :(

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<3 Robby