Not only are they quick and easy to make, but smoothies are a great way to incorporate more fresh fruit into your diet. Starting your day with a smoothie helps to flush your digestive system and allows your body to do some cleansing before the rest of the day’s eating begins. If you’re bold enough to add some fresh leafy greens to the mix, your body will thank you for providing it with a whole assortment of essential nutrients. (see page 5)
There are many ways to make a great smoothie, and once you get an idea of what you like, the possibilities are endless. All the summer fruits make great additions to a basic smoothie recipe, which can be as simple as orange juice and frozen banana. Add whatever fruit you have available, and you’ll soon learn what you really like. Berries are a fantastic addition, and they add antioxidants as well as flavor.
The following recipes are just a few of my favorites, starting with Gentle World’s world-famous “Banini”, which is a recipe that absolutely everyone should know about. Using just a few simple, healthy ingredients, the Banini (a vegan version of a Vanilla Malted) is a fantastic treat that everybody loves.
Photo courtesy of Photos8.com
Next: Banini (Vanilla Malted Shake)
Banini (Vanilla Malted Shake)
yields 1 blender
To make this recipe, you need to prepare for it the day before, by freezing some ripe bananas. When you have some that are already spotted, remove the peels and put the bananas in a plastic bag. Place them in the freezer overnight, for use the next day.
4 bananas, peeled & frozen, sliced
1/4 C. tahini (sesame butter)
1 t. vanilla
1 fresh banana, peeled (optional)
1 T. maple syrup* (optional)
ice cold water
In the blender, start with two cups of ice cold water. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Add water until it reaches the desired consistency. Sweeten to taste.
*To produce maple syrup, sap has to be collected and boiled down. During the boiling, a drop of lard, shortening or vegetable oil is sometimes added to prevent the sap from foaming up, and this ingredient is not listed on the label. When buying maple syrup, look for the kosher symbol, or call the company to see that they use vegetable-based defoamers.
Image credit: acfou via flickr
Next: Papaya Pleasure Smoothie
Papaya Pleasure Smoothie
yields 3/4 of a blender
To make this recipe, it’s best to prepare for it the day before, by freezing some ripe bananas (see previous page). If you haven’t planned ahead, you can always use a fresh banana instead.
2-3 small strawberry papayas
1 C. ice cold water
2 bananas, peeled & frozen
1/2 t. vanilla
1-2 T. maple syrup*
1 fresh banana
Slice frozen bananas. In a blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.
* To produce maple syrup, sap has to be collected and boiled down. During the boiling, a drop of lard, shortening or vegetable oil is sometimes added to prevent the sap from foaming up, and this ingredient is not listed on the label. When buying maple syrup, look for the kosher symbol, or call the company to see that they use vegetable-based defoamers.
Next: Aloe-Orange Julius
To make this recipe, it’s best to prepare for it the day before, by freezing some ripe bananas (see page 2). If you haven’t planned ahead, you can always use a fresh banana instead.
Some people might think that aloe is a strange ingredient to add to a smoothie… Actually, it’s known as being a helpful addition to a detoxifying diet. When added to this vegan orange julius recipe, it helps to create a frothy, creamy consistency.
There’s a particular type of aloe that is best for eating, because it has a mild flavor. The variety with the white-spotted skin is the one to go for… But don’t be afraid to add regular aloe if that’s all you have.
1 1/2 C. orange juice (chilled)
4 T. fresh aloe (scooped out from skin)
1 oz. wheatgrass juice (optional)
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Next: Green Smoothie Variations
A green smoothie regimen is a delicious way to incorporate dark greens into your diet, which everybody agrees are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Blending them up and adding citrus helps to increase absorption of iron and other nutrients.
To make a delicious, nutritious green smoothie, all you really need is a smoothie recipe that you really like, and some fresh leafy greens of just about any variety. My favorites are Spinach, Lacinato (Dinosaur Kale), Totsoi (see picture above) and Red Russian Kale. But any dark green leafies will work just fine.
It’s almost essential to use a Vita-Mix for a green smoothie, but a blender will work if you cut up your greens beforehand and use the ‘pulse’ function at the beginning of blending. If you’re not careful, green leaves can get caught around the blade of the blender, and end up burning out the motor. If you’re serious about green smoothies, and you’re in a position to invest in a Vita-Mix (look for one second-hand – they can be quite reasonable), you’ll be glad you did – it really makes for a super-smooth green drink with no concern about burn-out.
I start my drink with some sort of fruit juice – either orange or something else with a tangy flavor – orange-mango is nice too. If you use a dark colored drink (with a berry flavor), your smoothie will come out less green than reddish or brown, which doesn’t really matter, but it might turn you off if you’re just starting out.
It’s really simple – I just throw some fruit juice into the blender, add a sliced frozen banana (see page 2), then add my greens and a little water with ice in it. Feel free to try some different variations – papaya, mango and pineapple are some of my favorites to add, but peaches, nectarines and berries are equally good.
When you’re starting out, just use a small amount of greens at first. You can always add more, but the strong flavor of lots of greens can be off-putting at first. As you get used to it, you’ll probably find that you want to keep adding more, since it just makes the drink more nutritious.