Sunday, November 27, 2011

Green smoothies for breakfast

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It's time for me to develop some better eating habits. I'm not a junk food addict or a sugar nut. In fact, I'd say that overall my diet is pretty good compared with most of America. But I lean too much toward white starchy stuff (bread, pasta, rice), and I could definitely stand to eat more greens.

I'm spending the next half-year working with Rachael Pontillo of Holistically Haute, a health and wellness coach who focuses on incremental change and overall happiness and well-being. She's not a doctor and I'm not looking for a diagnosis or a prescription. I need help creating some better eating habits that, with luck, will crowd out some of the not-so-good ones. And if that comes with weight loss, so much the better.

I hate being told what to do and am resistant to "always" or "never" rules when it comes to food - in fact, I've already told Rachael I might not be her ideal client. She's been patient with me. In our first session we talked about my daily routine, typical meals, what I might be missing in my diet.

Rachael's first requests were that I drink more water, particularly first thing in the morning, and try to get in more raw greens. I'm occasionally fine with salad for breakfast, but every day? I don't think so. Rachael gave me her loose recipe for green smoothies. She drinks 16-20 ounces of this for breakfast every morning.

I don't like smoothies much, and I was kind of grossed out by the whole concept of blended kale. But, in the spirit of change, I tried it. And I liked it.

Rachael also told me not to worry so much about what I'm eating, but to try to remember how what I eat makes me feel. Know how the green smoothies make me feel? Like Superwoman. Seriously. I drink it and for two hours I've got this light, clear focus. It doesn't keep me full until lunchtime, but that's okay. The other day I had an egg sandwich for breakfast. No Superwoman feeling at all.

On the down side, the green smoothies have been a little hard on my early-morning digestion. I'm only drinking about eight ounces and will work my way up as my body adjusts.

I'll report back occasionally on the progress I'm making in my work with Rachael. Don't worry, this isn't turning into an uber-healthy blog. There will still be meat and cake. After all, it's all about incremental change and moderation.

P.S. If you're interested in Rachael's comments on this post, click here.

print recipe

Green smoothie for breakfast
A healthy way to start the day, inspired by health and wellness coach Rachael Pontillo of Holistically Haute. The fresh mint and lime take away any bitterness from the kale and dandelion greens. Freeze portions of the extra smoothie for future breakfasts.
  • 2 bananas, peeled
  • flesh of 2 avocados
  • 2 cups kale, leaves only
  • 1 cup dandelion greens
  • 1 lime (cut away skin and use flesh, not just juice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 apples, skin on, cored and cut into quarters
  • 2 cups grapes
Add all ingredients plus a little water or ice into a blender. Puree on high 2 minutes or until smooth. Serve immediately or freeze for future breakfasts.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: about 6 servings


Stacy (Little Blue Hen) said...

As I mentioned on Twitter, I was also skeptical of the green smoothies until recently. Now I miss them on vacation. My mom tried them while visiting for Thanksgiving and might start making them at home!

You're brave to start with kale! I found that spinach has a more neutral flavor.

Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves said...

This looks great! Definitely going to make when I start my job in a few weeks!

Erika Kerekes said...

Stacy - I think the fresh mint and the whole lime go a long way toward neutralizing any bitterness in the kale and dandelion. Also, starting with super fresh vegetables helps. I think they get more bitter as they sit.

Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen said...

Erika, green smoothies for breakfast-- you are very brave! Congrats on making this switch, it is inspiring. I need more greens in my diet too, and I want to feel like Superwoman, but I am afraid of kale-- every time I've tried it, I've found it too bitter for my taste. I might sub spinach, per Stacy's recommendation.

BTW, I tried to print this out, but it says I don't have permission to print... I'll copy and paste for now, but wanted to let you know in case it's something that needs fixing. :)

Erika Kerekes said...

Tori - I think the secret is getting fresh kale, and putting enough acid in it to counteract any bitterness. But I'm sure spinach would work fine. And thanks for the heads up on the printing error. Should be fixed now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Erica,

LOVE this recipe... but it sure does seem like a lot of ingredients (2 bananas, 2 avacados)! I see you can freeze it for future breakfasts. How long do you have to wait for it to thaw out and be drinkable? I'm kind of an instant breakfast person, and do not have much patience to wait for a smoothie to thaw out. If I were to make mine fresh every morning, what would the portions be for just one breakfast?

Thanks, in advance! :)

Erika Kerekes said...

This made me about 4 days' worth. I froze it in pint-size containers. I leave it out on the counter overnight to thaw so it's ready to go in the morning. If you wanted to make it fresh you'd be using half a banana and half an avocado - I hate half-bananas which is one of the reasons I made a bigger portion.

Hungry Passport said...

We made up a batch last night & had some for brekkies this a.m. If I weren't operating on about 3 hours of sleep, I'm sure I'd feel like a million bucks right now! At least there's plenty more for tomorrow and the next day. It's tastier than we expected it to be, but I think all the fruit helps with the sweetness. I might add another avocado, just for the smoooothness it gives (one of my fav shakes is the avocado shake I get at a Vietnamese restaurant back home in Memphis).

Thanks, Erika! You've inspired me to get a lot more creative with my healthy concoction-izing.

Cheers! Carol

Unknown said...

Looks delicious!

Andrew @ Eating Rules said...

You hear that? Yep, that's me cheering you on!

FamilySpice said...

You are braver than me! I made a green smoothie with kiwi, avocado & mint. I should sneak some kale or spinach in it. Good for you and good luck!

showfoodchef said...

So...I'm on my 3rd day of drinking this, AND I even have my husband drinking it with me. We sincerely really really like it, I mean a lot. I cut the ingredients in half and poured it into pint containers to freeze. We put one out on the counter in the morning, go for a 4 mile walk - come home, blitz it with a little more water in the blender. He takes his in the car on the way to work, and I drink mine before starting my work. Thank You for the inspiration and both of you for a really tasty (healthy) smoothie. :D

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Such a healthy drink and I can imagine it would be delicious with that combination of ingredients too. All the best with your lifestyle change!

Cathy @ What Would Cathy Eat? said...

Wow, that is a crazy color. I need to eat something like this for breakfast more often, too. I'll try it!

Jeanne @JollyTomato said...

Hi Erika:
Thanks for posting this - you really inspired me with your description of it! I made it earlier this week and it was tasty but it was very, very thick (more like a pudding texture). Any suggestions for thinning it out - milk? water? Maybe I didn't use enough grapes?

Erika Kerekes said...

Jeanne - yeah, I like it thick, guess I should have stated that. Ice, or water, or a little apple cider if you're feeling decadent, maybe?

Siobhan Landis said...

I'm with Stacy - when I started on green smoothies, several years ago, it was all spinach (and frozen bananas, and frozen berries). I gradually worked up to kale, and chard, and dandelion greens, and parsley, and...

Spinach is the 'starter' green that I recommend to anyone considering starting drinking green smoothies. When I started, it would be maybe a cup of spinach - now it's half a pound :-)

My default recipe remains:

Anonymous said...

Wow the recipe and all the info in the comments just gave me several great ideas! I've been a smootie-holic for years but only green smoothies with fresh frozen kale, spinach, beet greens...never thought to add an avocado! I do mint tea in mine if I don't have fresh mint and found that a couple chunks of pineapple take ANY green bitter away with the exception of collards which just does not get "smoothied" anymore! Thanks for the cool recipes, will try next!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Goodgoldenrules - mint tea is an excellent idea. My husband has nixed the avocado (he just hates it) and his current favorite green smoothie is green grapes, green apple, cucumber, kale, lime and honey. The last batch had arugula instead of kale, which he LOVED, go figure!

Recommended Alaska fishing lodge said...

I just got a blender too in the hopes of making green smoothies for my girls and me! I’m loving the comments, lots of new things to try!

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