Friday, April 14, 2006

Raw Odyssey: My First Green Smoothie!

I made my first green smoothie today. I just "winged" it. My girlfriend brought me some romaine lettuce and a slew of cucumbers. I peeled the cucumber and dropped a few chunks into the blender and processed those first, then started adding torn up romaine leaves. It was much easier than I thought it would be- I expected the leaves to just sit there with the blades spinning uselessly underneath, but the cucumber helped get things started. I alternated romaine with cucumbers, getting a beautiful green color.

I liked its wonderfully fresh and healthy flavor- but it was still bland. I added some sea salt and half a tomato, which helped. As I added the remaining cucumber and lettuce I decided to turn the smoothie into a soup. I then added 1/4 avocado for smoothness and body, a little more salt, some parsley and my homemade garam masala (from my fresh spices). Yum!

After pouring this blend in to a bowl, I dressed it up with a little parsley and sat down to eat. Let's start with the texture: it was a little like tomato juice- you know how you can see the texture in some brands of tomato juice? If I use more avocado in the future I can make this very smooth, which I may try. Now for the taste: it actually wasn't terrible, but is an acquired taste, so I drank a lot of water with it to "water down" the flavor. Next time I would add more garam masala or another spice mixture, and maybe use a whole tomato rather than half. I definitely could not eat the whole thing, though I gave it my all. I had to put 1/3 in the fridge for later tonight.

In all honesty, I don't love it. I need to experiment with the ingredients. But I felt so healthy drinking it because I know only nutritional, fresh foods are in it. I'm going to try to have one of these once a day until I run out of romaine and cucumbers. I will even try some brewer's yeast in it (heaven help me!).

Here's what said about my Green Smoothie

The Good
This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.

The Bad
A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
The sugar comment I've seen before- I can't win with the sugar thing! But a total of 11 grams in and of itself is not bad. It's the proportion of sugar in one meal they are noting. I'm surprised they didn't quibble about the sodium content, though.
Now, look at all the vitamin A and Vitamin C!

Ok, ok, I'm almost done. I just wanted to show the other minerals I got from this smoothie and address the protein question. I got 25% of my calcium and 40% of my iron from that one meal. Zinc, manganese, potassium... I mean, if I could drink two of these a day I could probably stop taking those Centrum pills! I even got 9 grams of protein, and according to NutritionData, this is pretty darned close to being a complete protein - a score of 95 out of 100. Remember the whole "raw foodists can't get enough protein" debate? According to NutritionData I could get the remaining 5 points from adding a few nuts or seeds to my smoothie (or eating them on the side).

Hopefully as I get used to green smoothies I'll enjoy them without drinking water on the side. To that end I'll be working on the taste and texture to create different kinds of green smoothies. I want to try kale, spinach and other greens. There are books and websites with recipes to check out, too.


chubbiegirl said...

try using garlic, ginger, or herbs in your smoothie/soup. i think it's really important to like the flavor of your greens before you put them in your recipe. i'm fond of kale and spinach. i tend to use a lot of parsley and cilantro in my green soups. hope this helps.



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