Since I’ve started replacing breakfast with a green smoothie every morning, I’ve had phenomenal results and many people have asked me for tips and recommendations as they do their own research into incorporating juicing into their lives. I’m adding all my best tips here for everyone who may be thinking about this too.
I had to go back and check my receipts to see when I got my magic bullet because I didn’t document when I started my green smoothie journey. You see, I didn’t go into this primarily with weight loss in mind. After big chopping and going natural, I started to look at different aspects of a natural, healthy lifestyle and vegetables are something I always knew my diet was sorely lacking in. I’m not the type of girl who’s gonna chop up and prepare a salad every day (and buying salads every day for lunch can get expensive) so I decided I would incorporate my greens into my diet by drinking them.
Before my Magic Bullet purchase, I would do this every now and then with my regular blender, but who likes to wash a big multi-cup blender every day? I got a bullet for convenience and because I didn’t want to juice my veggies, I wanted to blend them. I wanted all the fibre and nutrients that the juicer would take out of them. I wanted every possible benefit and felt as if juicing was wasting a good part of my produce.
So I got my bullet sometime around mid-April 2012. That means I’ve been having a green smoothie for breakfast almost every day for the last four and a half months. I chose breakfast because I loved the idea of a full, healthy meal without sacrificing lots of time to prepare it. I rarely do it on the weekends. I prepare my beloved eggs, plantain and sausages on those days since I have the time so this is really only a weekday thing for me. Unless I went out Saturday night and had bar food, then I most likely have a green smoothie the next morning to purge. I usually have my smoothie at around 9 am when I get to work and have a handful of nuts around 11 as a snack. Then I have a lunch of chicken and rice or ground provisions, then come home and cook and have my dinner. I truly didn’t realize I was losing any weight until I pulled this dress out to wear to work:
I was amazed that a dress I knew to be form-fitting was so loose! I was so excited and motivated! I started to add walking to my routine and would do that two or three times a week. Every now and then I skip dinner altogether and have an oatmeal shake in the evening to try and kick my weight loss up a notch. Now, I’m in the gym at least 4 days a week and I’m pretty excited that I may be able to reach my goal weight by my 30th birthday in 3 months time if I remain focused. Awesome! How far have I come since that dress? Well this top that I was gifted two months ago?
It’s now too big. I wear it over my swimsuit tops to the beach as a cover-up because it’s just hanging there all loose and revealing. I bought a bunch of stuff from Forever 21 on their buy-one-get-one-free sale this summer, all too big now. The woes of weight loss 😀 No more shopping till my birthday. I’ve busted into the 150s and I cannot tell you how excited I am that my goal weight is in sight!!! But, onto those tips I spoke of.
To juice or to blend?
Whether you choose to juice or blend is a personal choice. If you juice, you will need more to keep you fuller. A magic bullet cup holds 12 ounces and this keeps me full until my mid-morning snack without fail. I believe that’s because I keep all my fiber, but you may not want all that mush in your cup.
What veggies do you use?
I’ve read online that spinach is the most nutrient dense green so I try to ensure it is the base of each and every smoothie I have. I buy fresh when I see it, I buy frozen when I see it, I try to ensure I’m never out. Spinach is great in your omelet too or in your salad, wrap, whatever. Please do your research to see what nutrients each veggies account for so you can hit all the vitamins you’re targeting. Mine usually has spinach, kale, arugula as a base and then I throw in whatever else I have on hand but mix it up regularly so that you can rotate your nutrients. I mix and match from cucumber, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, mustard greens, calaloo, mint, parsley, Asian greens and cabbage. I put these in my cup and blend those first so that I get in as much greens as I can in my little cup, then add my fruits and ground flax seeds after.
Do you use sugar? Sweeteners?
It depends. If I use a whole lot of greens and little fruit, I’m likely to put some honey in it to make it appetizing. Sometimes I over-estimate how much water or greens I add and my cup is too full to add all the fruit I want so I add what can hold and a little honey or a little brown sugar. If my smoothie is fruit heavy I don’t need sweeteners, especially if I used carrots, blueberries, banana or mango. Those carry enough sweetness on their own but if I used say strawberries, pineapple and apples? Yeah, a little sugar is needed. Sugar isn’t bad, you just have to use it lightly. Everything in moderation is the key. Use the raw stuff and stay away from anything white. Who knows what’s really in those calorie-free packets? Meh. One spoonful is plenty and if you’re juicing instead of blending you won’t need any at all.
Easing into it (Recipe ideas here)
Don’t put all your greens in your bullet and think you’re going to love it right off the bat. Google some recipes and see what goes well together first and then get creative with your own mixes. I’m at a point where benefits trump flavour and so I throw everything in mine and when it tastes good that’s just an added bonus. When I first started, I used to make lots of strawberry mint lemonades. Those are YUMMY and hide the greens well. It was usually strawberries, mint, lime, spinach, kale, arugula. This is the mix I give to munchkin still and she loves it. Pretty simple on the ingredients and super yummy. Anything blueberry heavy is likely to be yummy too, same goes for mango! Frozen mango, banana, papaya is guaranteed to give you a creamy, yummy smoothie.
Have you looked into flax seeds and wheat germ yet? You should have by now, I speak so highly of them on here! Add some ground flax seeds to your shake. You can also add in your sunflower seeds, your chia seeds, your hemp seeds, your goji berries, probiotic yoghurt, all that other good stuff to boost nutrition.
Is it expensive? Well it’s a lot cheaper than chemotherapy, I’ll tell you that much. I buy a huge (250g) clamshell of fresh, local-farm-grown mixed greens (plus other herbs and produce) every week from Food Basket. They deliver for FREE and the clamshell costs me $250-$350 depending on the type of greens. Editing this post to include a pic of the clamshell as a couple of you asked below. It’s a pretty big clamshell, not the one you get a slice of cake in, maybe about 4 times that size. I put it beside one of those plastic plate covers every Jamaican has to give some perspective. They’re about the same size.
I did a post on several farm and market delivery services here, click to get the link to Food basket and Potosi Farms as well as others. I was lucky enough to buy a head of kale in the supermarket recently for about $350. These are Jamaican dollars, don’t be alarmed. I also got a bag of spinach for around the same $350. These will last me about a week and a half to two weeks worth of green smoothies. The huge 5lb bag of frozen strawberries from Pricesmart is around $1000 and lasts me all month. Likewise the bag of frozen blueberries, though that bag finishes quicker because I use them lots more, in my oatmeal, in my yogurt, alone as a simple snack etc. Berries help prevent cancer and are high in anti-oxidants, those things that remove harmful toxins from our insides. How much do you spend on a Burger King breakfast or a Juici Patti porridge?
If there’s anything I didn’t cover please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to answer you! I am a huge advocate of green smoothies and it will be in my life forever. Please follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram as I’m always sharing health resources on these accounts!