WHAT IS A “GREEN DRINK” ?
I started doing green drinks a couple years ago because I wanted a quick and easy way to get a lunch/snack on the go that packed a big nutritional punch. The concept is simple and the product is delicious: you fill a blender with your favorite antioxidant and flavanoid-rich produce, like swiss chard, kale, collards, spinach, grapefruit, blueberries and the like, and voila! You get a phytonutrient-rich, heart healthy, immune-boosting, anti-aging drink that will give you some zip in your step and make you feel oh-so-good!
FALL GREEN DRINK + JUICE
These green drink and juice recipes are perfect for fall, and the chilly weather (and flu!) that come with it. Both recipes are from a great book, The Blender Girl by Tess Masters. And because I’m like an old man with no teeth who blends everything I can, the book is right up my alley. Perfect Protein Power is good for after a Rocky-inspired workout in the rain: the protein repairs muscles, pear rehydrates and ginger quells inflammation. Beat-the-Cold-and-Flu-Blues worked like a charm when I was sick. The cayenne pepper and ginger alleviated my congestion, and the vitamin C worked to fight off the icky cold. When you’re sick, the spicier the better; it really helps lymphatic circulation. And it makes you yell ay ay ay! and jump around your kitchen.
Perfect Protein Power
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 tsp probiotic powder (or one capsule emptied into the blender)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla protein powder
- 3 ripe pears, cored and diced
- 2 cups firmly packed baby spinach
- 1/2 banana
- 2 Tbsp raw almond butter
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tsp fresh minced ginger
- 1 tsp shelled hemp seeds
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 date, pitted and soaked (optional: pears might be sweet enough you don’t need to add this)
Throw everything in your blender and blast on high speed for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy. Tweak lime juice to taste. Tastes like ice cream!
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 large or 1 small green apple, cored and chopped
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne
Throw all the ingredients into your blender and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until everything is completely pulverized. Drink this straight, chilled over ice. You can also strain it through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth before drinking. And, of course, if you have a juicer you could put all ingredients through that instead and top with the cayenne.
AUGUST GREEN DRINK
If you have a bee allergy, this recipe is not for you. In fact, if you’re bee-averse I wouldn’t even look at the recipe for fear the bee-heavy ingredients will put you into cyber anaphylactic shock. For the Poo Bear’s out there, this one’s for you. Bee’s are not only an integral part of our delicate ecosystem, but their pollen and honey also have amazing health benefits. Pollen has folic acid, is 40% protein, thought to cure autoimmune and digestive issues, and for women can increase fertility by upping the production of eggs; locally-sourced raw honey can aid in preventing allergies, is high in B vitamins and contains the powerful enzyme amylase which helps the breakdown of sugars. Damn, bees! Killin’ it with your usefulness. If only those pesky mosquitos could learn from you.
Bee Protein Shake (from Raw Food/Real World)
- 2 heaping tablespoons almond butter
- 2 cups coconut water, or filtered water (coconut water is great in the summer, to replenish electrolytes!)
- 1 cup diced mango
- 1 cup frozen diced banana
- 1 heaping tablespoon hemp protein
- 1 tablespoon bee pollen (you can get it at any health food or supplement store)
- 2 heaping tablespoons raw honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of Sea Salt
In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
JULY GREEN DRINK
While I oft refer to gluten with demeaning pet names like, “the devil” or “dirty wheat temptress,” the most evil seductress in the food world– comparable to Angelina Jolie’s leg, or Pauly Shore’s jokes in the real world– is sugar. Sugar has jokingly been compared to crack, and shown to be as addictive as cocaine. No joke. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that high-sugar and higher-glyecemic foods trigger a region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens that is known to be associated with other addictions, like drug abuse and gambling.
The good news is, once you’re off the sweet white pony, it’s easier to stay off. I recently read Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar,” an 8-week detox program and cookbook to help you kick your addiction. Luckily I’m not a sugar person, more of a cocaine person (just kidding), so I’ve never been under its spell. But I do enjoy a good detox and like to stay informed for my clients. There was some good info and recipes in Wilson’s book, so if you have a problem with the Big S, it may be worth flipping through. This months green drink recipe is from her book and uses plant-based stevia as a sweetener, so perfect if you’re getting off sugar and want a no-cal substitute (not to be confused with fake sugars like splenda, nutrisweet and the like–you’re better off eating real sugar than these). Enjoy!
Chocolate Chip and Mint Whip
1 2/3 cups almond milk
1 small rip avocado
large handful mint leaves
3 tablespoons organic protein powder (she suggests whey, but I prefer vegan hemp-based)
2 tablespoons green powder (optional)
1-2 generous pinches powdered stevia, to taste
small handful of ice cubes
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Throw all the ingredients, except the cacao nibs, into a blender and blend until smooth. Toss in the nibs and blend for an extra few pulses.
JUNE GREEN DRINK
This isn’t exactly a green drink but in the summertime, colorful, detox-inspired juices can’t be beat– no pun intended. This ginger beet juice is inspired by Juice Box, which I’m obsessing over. Beets help detox the liver, so this drink is perfect if you’ve had one too many margaritas on the patio at Cactus, and ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. I’ve also included below a guide that was in this months Sunset Magazine of tricks for making juices at home, so you don’t have to pay exorbitant prices at a juice bar (except for you, Juice Box; you can do no wrong).
Makes one 16oz. glass
1 large beet
2 small granny smith apples
2” knob of ginger (if you like it spicy!)
Put all the ingredients through a juicer and enjoy!
Sunset Magazine’s Tricks for Making the Perfect Juice at Home
Tip 1: Always include one item that will give lots of liquid, like grapes or oranges. Kale is great for you but only produces a couple drops of juice.
Tip 2: For the most vibrant juice, choose fruits and vegetables in the same color family. Otherwise you’ll end up with a less-than-appealing brown.
Tip 3: Keep the fruits and vegetables chilled. Your juice will be more refreshing, and you won’t need to add ice.
MAY GREEN DRINK
After literally months of not being able to look at a green juice without reliving my nightmarish barfcapades (see April’s green drink recipe below for the dirty deets), I finally felt ready to drink a green juice again. I decided I’d just think happy thoughts (unicorns, circus freaks, etc.) while I drank the juice, to create new neural pathways and new memories about the salubrious stuff. I figured I needed to start fresh with a new recipe and when I was looking at pictures of Cannes film festival online, I saw a link about the beautiful, glowing Blake Lively’s green juice detox recipe. Perfect, I thought. She probably throws up all the time and drinks green juice! There may be hope for me still.
Blake Lively’s Green Juice Recipe
1 cup kale
2 Swiss chard leaves
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 small beet
1/2 cup pineapple
2 green apples (use red for sweeter flavor)
1 sprig fresh mint
1/2 lemon, peeled
Combine all ingredients in a blender or juicer and process until smooth.
APRIL GREEN DRINK
I’m a Healeo devotee, but have been dying to cheat on them with the new “urban juicery” JuiceBox (right down the street on 12th), so was jazzed to have a min this week to go perch there with my laptop and see what this novel spot had to offer. Their menu was mostly juices and healthy fare with a couple of smoothies mixed in, and because I’m always up for having someone else make my smoothie, I opted for the latter. It’s also because about two months ago I had some sort of vile bird flu or swine plague or something and projectile vomited the green juice I’d just consumed all over my white bathroom like the chick from the exorcist. I haven’t been able to drink green juice since. Even the thought of it makes my head spin—bad joke.
I got their only green smoothie offering which was a mix of kale, pineapple, coconut yogurt and coconut meat. It was so tasty! I really liked the flavor–it wasn’t overly sweet at all– but didn’t like the little bits floating around from the hard coconut meat they used. I don’t need that much roughage. I decided to remake it at home using young coconut meat which is much smoother and creamier. It turned out really well, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. All-in-all I enjoyed my affair with JuiceBox and can’t wait to go back for more.
Megan’s Version of JuiceBox’s Kale Smoothie
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1 cup of coconut yogurt* (I like the unsweetened plain by SoDelicious)
- meat of one young coconut
- handful of kale
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend. I like a thick smoothie, but if you don’t you’re welcome to add water, or better yet, the coconut water from your young coconut.
*Unlike regular yogurt, coconut yogurt doesn’t have protein in it, so you’re welcome to add your favorite protein powder or nut butter, or use high-protein greek yogurt if dairy isn’t a problem for you.
MARCH GREEN DRINK
My client Ali told me about a couple of new must-read superfood cookbooks to add to my collection, so I immediately ran to Barnes and Noble, found the books (Superfood Smoothies and Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris) and started snapping photos of some of the recipes with my iPhone. I’ve done some soul-searching and have come to the humble conclusion that no, this isn’t considered stealing. Had I physically ripped the pages from the book, that’d be a different story.
The recipes were intriguing, some packed with exotic-sounding superfoods from the Amazon and what have you, but most with ingredients I already have in my superfoods pantry. I love mint and cacao nibs together (like mint chocolate chip ice cream!), so I knew I had to add the below recipe to the iPhone photo library aka my recipe catalog.
Let’s be clear: I’m not trying to be cheap (okay, maybe a little)— I just have limited kitchen space and a bookshelf that’s busting at the seems, so my cookbook purchasing is on hiatus. So if you happen to be at Barnes and Noble and are distracted by a flashbulb in the cookbooks section, it’s probably me, in my Carmen Sandiego getup “borrowing” recipes. Don’t worry about saying hi, but feel free to trip the security guard as he chases me out of the building; it’s hard for me to see from behind my thick black sunglasses, and I wouldn’t want to fall and make a fool of myself or worse, get caught. I have high standards, you know.
Mint Chip (Makes 1 18-oz. serving)
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- 1 cup frozen bananas
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cacao nibs
- 1 Tbsp mint leaves
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup rice milk (original unsweetened variety)
- 1/4 cup coconut water
- sweetener to taste (stevia or lucuma)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Taste and sweeten as desired.
Superfood boost: Add 1/4 tsp. chlorella powder . My favorite superfoods brand is Nutivas Naturals.
FEBRUARY NOT REALLY A GREEN DRINK, GREEN DRINK
This “shrub” recipe is not a guide on how to grow and eat the common boxwood nor is it an acronym for See His Red Underwear Burn–although that’d be equally as hipster as the actual shrub recipe. The shrub is a concoction of muddled fruit, and sometimes spices, covered with raw apple cider vinegar and “fermented” for about two weeks. Sugar is added after about a week or so to make a syrup that can be added to cocktails, or mocktails (my personal favorite); sauces; or salad dressings. And because you make it in a mason jar (earth to flannel-wearing-Ballardites), it makes the perfect gift, and with my friend Kate’s birthday looming, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make the shrub recipe I’d seen in Sunset Magazine.
I got a preview of the shrub in all its glory when I went to Stoneburner in Ballard (see this months healthy recipe for more info) and had one of their watermelon and anise hyssop shrub mocktails with seltzer. It was so good and sent me immediately back to childhood, when I would order a shirley temple at a restaurant while my sugar-nazi parents eyed me ambivalently over the tops of their menus. They’d shoot me a look that said, ‘you’d better enjoy this ’cause you know our sugar-nazi status and that it’s a big deal that we’re letting you have it.’ I get it. The car ride home was always a wild one; me in the backseat, right leg bouncing erratically, sweat beading on my face from the struggle to break free from the confines of my seat belt. We’d pull into the drive and before the car was even in park, I’d bound inside and start doing cartweals back in forth if front of the TV until my dad would tell me to “knock it off” because I was “kicking up dust.” Ahhh, the good old days…
Pineapple Ginger Mint Shrub (from the Feb edition of Sunset Magazine)
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger with peel scraped off (use a spoon)
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (1/2 by 1 in.)
- About 1 3/4 cups raw (unpasteurized), unfiltered apple cider vinegar*, such as Bragg, or raw coconut vinegar, such as Coconut Secret
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (7 or 8 limes)
- 1 cup raw, unrefined cane sugar*
- Put ginger and mint leaves in a clean widemouthed 1-qt. canning jar. Bruise them with a wooden potato masher or pestle (if you have one; or use a wooden spoon) until very fragrant. Add pineapple and enough vinegar to cover. Close jar tightly and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. This gently macerates the fruit, releasing the flavors into the vinegar. Push pineapple, mint, and ginger down so they’re completely covered by vinegar and it can draw out their flavor. (It’s also important to keep the fruit completely submerged to prevent undesirable bacteria or mold from growing on it.)
- Replace lid with a piece of cheesecloth (so air can get in and help start fermentation) and securely attach with a rubber band or the jar ring. Leave at room temperature about 12 hours.
- Discard cheesecloth. Replace lid and ring, secure tightly, and repeat the shaking daily for 3 days, keeping at room temperature.
- Pour mixture into a wide strainer set over a bowl. Discard mint, then return solids and liquid to jar. Shake well each day for 4 more days at room temperature. There’s not much of a visual indicator, but it will be done after 7 days total.
- Strain out solids over a bowl and set aside for Pineapple Salsa, or another use. Return liquid to jar, using a funnel. Add lime juice and sugar, cover, and shake until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the mint sprig.
- Chill 7 days for flavors to meld, giving the bottle a good shake every day to be sure sugar is dissolved. Discard mint. Use, or chill up to 4 months (shake before using). The shrub will get more syrupy with time.
- *Find raw, unfiltered cider vinegar at many grocery stores and natural-foods stores, and raw coconut vinegar at natural-foods stores (see a store locator at coconutsecret.com). Trader Joe’s has raw organic evaporated cane juice sugar that works great.
- Make ahead: Up to 4 months, chilled.
- *To make supremes, cut off outer peel and membrane of fruit, then cut between inner membranes to free segments.
JANUARY GREEN DRINK
I’ll be honest, I found this recipe in the unlikeliest of places: on the floor of discount store TJ Maxx. Okay, it’s not like I found food on the floor and picked it up and ate it. I found this little gem of a book entitled, The Juice Bar lying face down in filth and me being me, with my feeble mind that’s easily distracted by bright colorful things, was drawn to the pics of fruit-filled juices and veggie-packed smoothies on the back jacket. I picked it up, or should I say rescued it (you’re welcome, Juice Bar), and gave it a thumb through. There were many intriguing recipes but the one entitled “Green Giant” stood out. I’ve been looking for a green drink recipe that uses kiwi (I love those hairy little guys!) so I deemed it kismet. Although I didn’t buy the book—that had no markings of an author anywhere on it (I think it dropped straight from Heaven)—I felt proud that I’d put the book back on the shelf with all the other rejected, authorless titles, saving it from it’s ultimate demise in the absolute worst place books can go: the clearance bin at a discount store.
Packed with vitamins A, B, C, and E (and W, X, Y and Z…just kidding) and minerals iron and potassium.
1 apple, halved
1/2 cup green curly kale
2 kiwis peeled
2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
1/2 an avocado
1/4 cup chilled water
small handful of ice (optional)
Put all ingredients into the blender and blend, adding additional water as needed. Another option you can try is putting the apple, kiwi and kale through a juicer, then putting the juice in the blender with parsley and avocado with water and ice if needed. The latter makes a thinner end product, but personally, I like a thicker green smoothie. Totally up to you.