Life Hacks: Smoothie Secrets and My Best CLEAN Smoothie Recipes

  1. Orange: for immunity
  2. Green: for strength 
  3. Purple: for cleansing

If you have been reading my blog recently, you know that I did a fast and made a bunch of fruit- and vegetable-based smoothies with varying degrees of success.

Now I wanted to share with you the recipes for some good ones I made and point out their health benefits. Fruit, yes has sugar, but it also has fiber and other stuff. I include vegetables and fats in all of these for a balance that will leave you sated for awhile.

I have been working on three and then an “Everything” version.

First, I will offer some tips to make smoothie making super easy!

I, for one, get up at 5:45 am and race out the door with my smoothie in one hand and my coffee in the other at 6:30 am. My morning routine amounts to: get out of the house as quickly as possible. BUT. I need breakfast and coffee, so I have created a million shortcuts for myself to ease the pain of the pre-dawn routine.

Tip 1: Buy, cut, and freeze the ingredients ahead of time

I am the only one in my household. Fresh fruit is delicious, but it over-ripens and rots before I can eat it all if I buy too much, and I don’t have the time to do to the market (or the street vendor) daily. I prefer to buy a bunch and then use it as I need it. A lot of work on a Sunday afternoon = less work on a Monday morning!

Step 1: WASH
Step 2: Peel
Step 3: Cut into chunks
Step 4: Freeze on a cookie sheet
Step 5: Put in zip-lock bags

I cut bananas in half, celery in pieces and apples (cored) in quarters. I cut pineapple, mango, papaya and avocado in chunks.

Top Tip 2: Make frozen juice cubes

For some things, especially fluids, I find ice cube trays to be amazing. My ice cube tray is about 2 tablespoons per cube, so that means 2 cubes is about 1/4 cup.

Step 1: Prepare juice
Step 2: Pour into ice cube trays and freeze
Step 3: Put ice cubes in zip-lock bags

Examples of when to use this technique:

  • Blend watermelon up
  • Mix beets with pomegranate juice for purple cubes
  • Coconut water and flesh and make my own coconut milk.
  • Store bought coconut water to keep it fresh
  • Sometimes I blend kale and/or spinach with aloe juice for green cubes

Of course, these are all only suggestions. Smoothies are not cakes, the recipes are all about taste, texture, volume, and desired benefit. You do you!

Here is a picture of my freezer.  On the top left are some frozen bananas and then that bag of white are coconut cubes. Far right are passion fruit cubes. Below you can see the cookie sheets freezing. You will notice an empty zip-lock. You can use whatever storage you want. I use and reuse these and just keep putting the same thing in, so I don’t wash them even. Reduce, reuse, recycle!screenshot_20200313-193951_instagram

This is another stage of prep. Now you can see on the far right are watermelon cubes and on the other side of the pineapple are beet cubes. The spinach and kale mix is ready for a bag or to be mixed with some fluid and turned into cubes!

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If you are worried about the nutrition of your frozen produce, this blog writer has some great links to research on that topic. In short: you are not losing nutrients by freezing them and you are saving time and potentially reducing waste, thus saving money!!

Top Tip 3: Prepare ginger and turmeric. 

No joke: turmeric will turn EVERYTHING yellow. You DO NOT want to deal with fresh turmeric on the daily. Truth.

I take my fresh ginger root and fresh turmeric root, peel them, chop them up teeny-tiny and then put them in a jar with coconut oil and put that in the fridge.The coconut oil will protect them from spoiling and as I mentioned in a previous blog, turmeric needs fat to work, so this way, that is taken care of!

The Smoothies!

Because there is fruit in these, they do have sugar. For me, I’m not that worried about it, but if you are, you can always reduce the fruit and increase the veg. Also, it’s important to note whether the fruit is high or low on the glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the sugar enters your blood stream. The lower the number, the better. According to that link I just shared, under 55 is “low.”

For all of these, the process is the same:

Step 1: Put all ingredients in a GOOD blender
Step 2: Blend

I cannot emphasize enough that the measurements are estimates. Maybe you want more or less of something for the benefits. Maybe you want it thicker, thinner. Maybe you want to add yogurt. This is just to start you off. Be creative and enjoy!

Top Tip 4: Prep the night before

If you’re using fresh ingredients, just prepare and blend at once. However, if you’re following my previous tips and are working from frozen, I find it is best to defrost overnight. Just put the ingredients you want for your morning smoothie in the blender and put that in the fridge the night before. In the morning, it will all be thawed enough to blend.

I use a Ninja, but there are plenty of other brands. I’m not being paid to endorse Ninja, but I do love that it purees even raw carrots to smooth, and I love that it has a smoothie cup with a lid, so I can make it and go easily. I can certainly recommend it, but as long as your blender makes smoothies you like, you are good to go!

All of these recipes:

  • Use a balance of fruit and vegetables to keep sugar low, but taste high;
  • Include fiber, which will keep you more full;
  • Include some form of good fat, which will provide lasting energy and other health benefits;
  • Are full of vitamins;
  • Include ingredients to promote digestion;
  • Include at least one ingredient with nitrates, which are said to promote heart health.

Mix them up during the week to get the best balance!

Orange Immunity Smoothie

I calling this one “immunity,” because of the high vitamin A, C and anti-oxidant content, but that is really selling it short! Here’s what you are getting:

Oranges: Fiber, vitamin C, Thiamine, folate, and antioxidants. Oranges have a low glycemic index.
Carrots: Beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Also low glycemic index.
Banana: Fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper and low on the glycemic index
Papaya: Fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, potassium, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and an excellent digestive aid. Papaya helps chemically break down the amino chains in proteins. (Fun fact: it is a great marinade for meat…if you eat meat.)
Mango: Mangoes are like tasty little multi-vitamins. There are sooooo many varieties. Choose what you like and what is available. Okay here we go: Vitamin C, copper, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B5, vitamin K, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, manganese, thiamine, and magnesium. It is also high in anti-oxidant, a good source of fiber and is said to be good for hair, nails and skin.
Ginger: Oh, where do I begin with the benefits of ginger!?!??! In short, ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it can reduce pain and soreness in the body. It is great for sensitive tummies and aids in preventing nausea and indigestion. It provides energy and increases alertness. You cannot OD on ginger, so add as much as you want to this recipe!
Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant plus studies linking it to reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, etc. Note: It must be combined with pepper and fat to be absorbed!
Coconut: B vitamins, copper, iron, selenium, anti-oxidants, ‘good’ fat and fiber, if the flesh is included.
Note: I would avoid coconut cream except in small quantities, but if you do use it, make sure it is unsweetened and only has coconut and water without additives. Plain coconut water is wonderful; it just has no fiber. If you have access to fresh, green coconuts, that’s what my recipes use. I blend the soft flesh with the water and freeze in cubes. If you want to use coconut milk, I would just again advise that it is with as few additives as possible.

RECIPE
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
A few pieces of papaya
About 1/2 cup mango pieces
1/2 banana (or 1 small)
1 T mix of turmeric, ginger and coconut oil (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup coconut (I only have 3 cubes pictured, but it needed more. 4 would be about 1/4 cup.)
Note picture: freshly cracked pepper.

You could also add pineapple here. I chose not to add it in addition to the others because I didn’t want another fruit, but you could add it or substitute it for the papaya or mango on this one. Pineapple also is a great digestive aid and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

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Green Power Smoothie

I like to think of this one as the power smoothie because of it’s super high vitamin and mineral content, including calcium and iron. It is also very high in fiber and promotes the body’s alkaline state. It is also the lowest in fruit and therefore sugar. I put JUST enough to make it actually taste good!

Kale: Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, vitamin E, manganse, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Kale also has lutein and zeaxanthin. It is also very high in anti-oxidants, nitrates and of course, fiber!
Spinach: Vitamin A, vitamin b6, vitamin b9, vitamin C, vitamin, K1, folic acid, iron, calcium. Plant nutrients included are: Lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin,  and zeaxanthin. It is high in anti-oxidants and nitrates. And it was Popeye’s favorite food!!!
Watermelon: Watermelon is aptly named because it is mostly water, so it adds liquidity to your smoothie while sweetening it. High in potassium, it is great as a recovery food. It also has vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B5, B6 and magnesium. It also has lycopene (also found in tomatoes) and anti-oxidants.
Avocado: Avocado is the secret ingredient in this smoothie. It adds the smooth, creamy texture and potassium that the banana and coconut did in the last one, plus the important ‘good fat.’ In addition to Omega-3 fatty acids, it is a good source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and vitamin E with a little magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. It is high in fiber and may be good to balance cholesterol in the body.
Apple: The apple is mostly for its sweetness, but apples are also a good source of fiber as well as vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K. They also may promote digestion and a healthy gut. The are no papaya in this category, but they add that benefit to this smoothie!
Celery: Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, promotes digestion, promotes alkalinity, super low glycemic index. It is also very high in fiber.
Pineapple: One cup provides 131% of your recommended daily intake!!! There is also fiber a ton of manganese and also vitamin B6, copper, thiamin, folate, potassium, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid ( wtf is that!?!?), riboflavin and even iron. It is an anti-inflammatory and an excellent digestive aid and high in anti-oxidants.
Coconut:  I already talked about its benefits and its main job here is just to thin the smoothie out.
Aloe vera juice: Balances your body’s alkalinity, improves liver function, improves your skin’s appearance, is good for digestion, reduces heartburn, reduces constipation and hydrates. The taste is quite bitter, and it REALLY does ‘reduce constipation,’ so I only add 1T. Add more as your body adjusts if you would like.
Super greens: I have a green powder that at any given moment is some combination of wheat grass, chlorella (algae), spirulina (algae), and matcha green tea. On their own, these all taste terrible, but in juice or a smoothie, they disappear. Any “super green” powder you have is fine.

RECIPE
1 cup mix of kale and spinach and/or any other leafy green
1/2 cup cut up celery
1/4 – 1/2 an apple
4 cubes (1/2 c) cup watermelon juice
2 cubes (1/4 c) coconut water
A few chunks of pineapple
a few chunks of avocado
1 T aloe vera juice (feel free to add more)
1 t super greens (feel free to add more)

If this is too thick, add more aloe, coconut water, watermelon, plain water or no-sugar added apple juice till you get the consistency you want.

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Purple Cleansing Smoothie

Beets and berries are a match made in heaven. You can just use beets that you cut up and freeze. I have actually blended beets with pomegranate juice and made ice cubes, so that is what this recipe uses. This is a very flavor-filled smoothie that is very high in fiber and anti-oxidants. It is the sweetest of these, but tangy and still relatively low on the glycemic index, but higher than the previous two recipes overall.

Beets: In addition to fiber, beets have folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. They are an excellent source of nitrates.
Pomegranate: Super high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium. SUPER high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Is said to reduce risk of some cancers.
Berries: You can use strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries or a combination of them all. Broadly speaking, the ALL have fiber and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are high in vitamin C, magnanese, vitamin K, copper and folate. They are sweet, but regulate blood sugar levels. They may benefit your cholesterol levels and improve your skin’s appearance.
Watermelon: I already talked about its benefits. It also adds some fluid and sweetness.
Banana: I already talked about its benefits. It is the creamy component to this one.
Aloe:  I already talked about its benefits. It also adds some fluid.
Coconut:  I already talked about its benefits. If you include the flesh, is the fat component of this one.

RECIPE
1/2 cup berries (I just buy these frozen in a bag mixed. Use what you have available fresh or frozen in any combination that you like.)
4 cubes of beet/pomegranate juice. (1/2 cup)
1/2 banana
1 T aloe vera juice
2 cubes of watermelon juice (1/4 cup)
2 cubes coconut (1/4 cup)
(I also had to add a bit of honey, but if you have sweet berries, you may not need.)

This one is also a great candidate for yogurt, milk or milk alternative. Creamy berries are delicious!!

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These recipes are just to start you off, but I encourage you to be creative. Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Do you love pina coladas? Mix pineapple, coconut and bananas with some aloe vera and celery.
  • You can add any sort of dairy or non-dairy component to make these creamy and to increase the protein.
  • You could add protein powder.
  • I make an ‘everything’ one that literally has a little bit of everything I happen to have at that moment.

I find these are a great way to start my day. They are my ‘first’ breakfast before anything involving grains. They provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals plus hydration, energy and fiber. I find them to be easy and quick to prepare on hectic mornings. Smoothies can get a bad rep, but that is usually because they can be very high in sugar with little else to balance that out. Find a balance of fat, sugar and fiber that is not a massive serving size and you will be doing okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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