Autumn is the time when the days become shorter and darker, when the sun is not shining so brightly… Time of hot soups, warming ragus, and comforting drinks. It is also the season of harvest, for after the warm summer it is time to collect the gifts of nature. Fruit and vegetables are in great abundance in autumn. Packed with vitamins and nutrients (especially if you choose organic), they are the most welcoming gifts you can give your body in preparation for the cold times to come!
So, how about preserving all the beneficial qualities of these fruit and vegetables and eating them raw? Seems like a good idea…until you face kale!
Kale, high in many vitamins, including Vitamin A, C (considered very beneficial for skin health), iron, calcium, anti-oxidants, and many more, is, indeed, a super food! Unfortunately, rather peculiarly tasting super food (as many of them are)! So the solution to eat it raw as it is is not that tempting for many of us – including me!
So how can you preserve all the wonderful properties of this superfood without making eating this vegetable a complete nurture? My solution is – blend it!
Good question. Indeed, I think there is an ongoing debate about which one if better, and I think each side has its point.
Gary used to juice vegetables and fruit for his green juice for quiet a while before I met him. He would drink it quiet often and even take it to nearly every trip we would take (which would always scare me, as Gary would often insist on me drinking half – at that point I was not yet into juicing that much!) However, after reading some literature on the topic and doing some research, Gary decided to try making smoothies. And even though we do make juices from time to time, smoothies are definitely a more popular drink in our house. Partly because of the benefits listed below, and partly because it is so much easier to make!
From the juicers’ perspective, when you juice fruit or vegetables, you keep all the nutrients while getting rid of fiber, which potentially allows you to take in much more juice and, hence, vitamins and minerals in them. Which is a very good thing if you need to take lots of vitamins and minerals at once!
However, from the smoothie makers’ perspective, when you juice you loose an important ingredient – fiber. And fiber has many beneficial qualities – it helps healthy digestion and elimination of toxins, might help with water retention, and also keeps you full for longer. Another important factor, from my perspective, is that, in the smoothie making process, very little (if anything) is wasted. Indeed, it always makes me sad to see how much goes into the bin once the juicing process is over!
However, saying that, we can surely see the advantages of juice over smoothie when it comes to quickly “packing” your body with vitamins and minerals – you can “drink” many more of those when you chose juice over smoothie.
So we would recommend mixing and matching these two according to your circumstances (juicing can be quiet time consuming if you do not have a juicer and have to run your creation through a muslim bag or cheese cloth to make juice out of it). The choice is always yours!
I love this smoothie as it combines the bitterness of kale with the sweetness and sourness of apple, which makes it a delicious and quick vitamin boost!
I would also recommend using organic ingredients to make sure you are getting all the goodness without the nasties that you can find in non-organic produce. Always look for certified organic to make sure you are getting what you are paying for! In the US, it is most likely to be USDA Organic certified, and in Europe – either Soil Association Organic, or Eu/Non-EU Agriculture – look for their logos on the packs!
Also, you will need a blender (and common sense things like knifes and cutting boards for cutting!)
Preparation time: 10min
- organic kale (half a pack or 90g)
- 2 medium sized organic apples. I use pink lady as they are so sweet and delicious, but you can mix and match and see which ones work best for you! Remember – the sweeter you want your smoothie, the sweeter apples you should use!
- half organic lemon juice
- 2 cups spring (or filtered) water
That’s it! In case you would like an extra boost, I also love adding these few things:
- 1/2 t.s. organic spirulina powder (I use this one)
- 1/2 t.s. organic chlorella powder (I use this one)
- 1/2 t.s. organic maca powder (I use this one)
- Raw Organic Green Super Food Powder (1 scoop). I use this one by Garden of Life which lasts me for a very long time! Could not find it on UK amazon though, so you might need to search a bit!
- organic mint leaves (I use 2-5)
- organic nettle leaves (I use 2-5 small ones – the younger the plant, the better!)
- juice of one orange (for extra sweetness)
- First of all, you need to wash everything carefully to make sure you remove all the dirt or soil from the products (except for the powders – do not wash those!)
- place kale in the blender, add 2 cups of water, and blend until smooth (kale might take lots of space in your blender, so it is easier to blend it first and then add everything else)
- cut apples in half, take the seeds out, then cut apples into relatively small pieces (you might need to cut smaller if your blender is not very strong)
- place the apple pieces into the blender
- juice half a lemon, pour the juice into blender
- juice orange (if using), pour it into blender
- add powders, mint and nettle leaves (if you are using them)
- blend everything until smooth
Gary and I believe that the fresher the smoothie, the more life force there is in it. So we try our best to drink it fresh – just pour it our into a glass and enjoy!
However, this batch can potentially make you 4-6 glasses of smoothie, so if you are unable to drink it straight away, you can store it in the fridge and consume, most preferably, within a day (though you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days). I also heard that it is possible to freeze your smoothie so that it keeps longer, but I have never tried it, but if you have, please, share!
One last note. I thought I would share it with you so that you don’t have to learn from your unsuccessful experience like I had! Here it goes… more doesn’t mean better! And I am talking about the goodness now!
Firstly, it must be taken into consideration that taking in too much vitamins, certain foods, or raw foods can have certain negative effects on your body if it doesn’t agree with them, or is simply not used to them! So even though tempting as it is to gulp through the whole jar of juice or smoothie to fill yourself with all the goodness you can get, be cautious about doing it! Always start with smaller doses, gradually increasing the dose overtime. If unsure about any of the ingredients, always check with your doctor! Also if you are taking any medications, are pregnant or feeding, or have any health concerns, still best to check with your doctor. Some of the super foods you might be using in your smoothies might have possible side effects in great doses or with certain health conditions, so always look out for those and check carefully before consuming any new food even though it might be labelled as “super food” or “the healthiest food on the planet”!
Secondly, the more healthy and super foods in your smoothie doesn’t always mean better either! When I tried to make my first green juice I thought the idea was basically to make it as green as possible… So I must have put nearly everything green and/or healthy in my juice, including…drum roll…GARLIC, SPRING ONIONS, CAYENNE PEPPER and many other weird ingredients that you wouldn’t usually find in a smoothie! The smoothie was definitely energizing…in a way that my eyes would pop out as if I just ate a jar of hot chilli peppers! I ended up with very unpleasant feeling in my stomach, a great desire to vomit, and with a full jar of “goodness” which, apparently, was too good for me to drink!
After this unpleasant experience I think I did not approach juicing or making smoothies for a year! It was quiet a detrimental experience, considering how much I might have gained if only my first juicing experience was not that awful!
So my advice to juicing and/or smoothie newbies – do not make my mistake! Even if you have to add 5 or 6 apples to your smoothie to cover up the bitter taste or kale and make it taste good to you, do it! Over time, your taste pallet and body will get used to “weird” healthy tastes – to the point that one day you can even find yourself craving things like kale, spinach, spirulina, and others! But in order for it to happen, you need to take it slow and not drive yourself away from the process… Make it about you, about fun, creativity, and pleasure! Try to make your smoothie as tasty as possible, even if in the beginning it means cutting the powerful greens to a minimum. Trust me – the wait is much better and pleasurable for your mind and body than the “Cold Turkey” method!
Have you? What was your experience? Which ingredients did you use? Did you find any health benefits from doing it?