30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 4 & Final Thoughts

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This is the final week, that technically represents a week and a half.  I enjoyed this experiment. I don’t know if I’d do this daily in the future, but I might consider it, especially the recipes with cherries and berries. I got breakfast everyday for the first time in a long time.

RAINBOW LOVE

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1 orange

1 cup strawberries

½ cup blueberries

1 banana

I liked this one a lot too. It was a very tasty combo. I used kale instead of spinach, and extra strawberries and blueberries to replace the banana. I also added chia seeds and Greek yogurt, though I thought it tasted fine without the Greek yogurt too.

SIMPLY CHERRY

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

2 cups cherries

1 banana

Used kale and a cherry berry mix and it was another delicious combination. Definitely add this one to my favorites list.

 

MANGO ORANGE MADNESS

2 cups spinach

2 cups coconut water

1 orange

1 cup mango

1 banana

I didn’t have quite enough mango so I used two oranges and subbed pineapple for banana, kale instead of spinach and 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water instead of coconut water chia seeds and greek yogurt for protein. It worked. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. But it was drinkable (which is more than I can say for a few other recipes that I tried.

 

ALMOND BUTTER CUP

2 cups spinach

2 cups almond milk

2 bananas

3 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons almond butter

I used some very crunchy homemade almond butter, strawberries instead of bananas and baking coco instead of cacao. So it was practically it’s own recipe. It was interesting. I would drink it again, but I might try a different combination. I think cherries or blueberries might be good too. Maybe with milk and a little Greek yogurt instead of almond milk. But the concept was tasty.

 

CHERRY TART

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1 cup pineapple

1 cup cherries

1 banana

So this was really more of a berry tart, since I used a cherry berry mix, but I tried to make it heavy on the cherries. I also used a little more of both the berry mix and the pineapple, since I don’t use banana. I mixed Greek yogurt into my portion. It was a little more bitter but not bad.

I haven’t decided whether I’ll be continuing with the Greek smoothies. I’m just trying to get a feel of whether this is really healthy for me. I like that it’s an easy breakfast and that it gets me a veggies at breakfast, a time when I normally wouldn’t get any kind of vegetables. I don’t even eat fruit in the morning anymore, after getting used to cutting it out on my diabetes diet. While I’ve read plenty of studies that say that green smoothies are helpful in balancing blood sugar, but part of me just quite can’t believe it. I suppose I could test my current blood sugar before and after, but I don’t relish sticking myself again unnecessarily. (It was quite a miserable few months when I did it four or five times a day).

So I think I’ll keep the smoothies in, using my favorite recipes, and maybe just a few times a weeks. So how did the smoothie challenge work out for you?

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 3 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 3 Recap

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I’m finally used to the habit of making a smoothie almost everyday. I’m beginning to question the health of it however. Somehow, while drinking my breakfast everyday certainly seems efficient, I wonder if it’s really healthy. Next week I’m going to try adding egg casserole back in again to make sure I’m getting some extra protein at breakfast, plus I’m sure the extra veggies won’t hurt either.

STRAWBERRY BLAST 

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups almond milk

2 cups strawberries, frozen

1 banana

I didn’t have enough strawberries to pull this off and you already know how I feel about banana, but what I did have in the back of my fridge was a container of kiwi that needed to be finished up, so I substituted a kiwi for banana.

I think I liked this, however, I learned two important lessons. I really don’t like almond milk that much. I think if I have the chance to make this in the future I’d use water as a base and then add milk and Greek yogurt to my portion of it, keeping the rest of it dairy free for my son. I also think I should have peeled the kiwi. I guess I thought it would be a healthy interesting experiment, but I my blender just couldn’t handle it. In addition to strawberry leaves (yes, I put them in whole too), and small chunks of kale (I ran out of spinach) I could feel the texture of kiwi skin. So the flavor of this smoothie wasn’t bad, but the texture was a little mealy for me. I also added hemp seeds for additional protein.

PINEAPPLE BERRY 

1 ½ cups spinach, fresh

½ cup cucumber, peeled

1 cup water 1 orange, peeled

1 cup pineapple

1 cup strawberries, frozen

I modified this somewhat, using kale rather than spinach, and two cups strawberries and adding some Greek yogurt for protein. I actually liked it. For some reason the combination of flavors worked for me. It might have been the help of the extra strawberries, and the creaminess of the Greek yogurt. I didn’t notice the cucumber at all and the orange and pineapple wasn’t too pulpy this time.

BLUEBERRY KALE PUNCH 

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup almond milk

2 oranges, peeled

1 cup blueberries

2 bananas

Really enjoyed this one. I used a mixed berry blend instead of just blueberries since I don’t use bananas either and it turned out great. The amount of liquid was too little in my opinion so I added some extra water. I think perhaps my oranges weren’t juicy enough.

MORNING FUEL

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup almond milk

2 oranges, peeled

1 cup pineapple

1 banana

¼ avocado

The idea of using avocado really freaked me out, and then, as it turned out, my avocado had gone bad. As usual, I didn’t use any banana. I used extra pineapple and a little bit of frozen mango. In the past I’ve found that almond milk and citrus is slightly nauseating so I decided to use coconut milk. I used ¾ cup of coconut milk and one cup water. I then actually had to add more water because the blender wasn’t spinning properly. I think I may have used closer to 3 cups kale. Overall the flavor wasn’t bad though.

So I’ve pretty much gotten used to the daily routine of using the blender, and I’m getting used to cleaning it as well. I wish I had a better one, but I’m OK with using the one I have. My husband and daughter still think the whole green smoothie thing is rather gross, but my two year old son is loving it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve avoided, modified or deferred recipes that I found too weird (Cilantro Mango Detox anyone?) but overall I’m trying to stick to the recommended ingredients and see if I discover something new that I like. Three weeks down, one or two more to go.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Cyberfunk smoothies

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RAZZY PEACH

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
½ cup raspberries
1 ½ cup peaches
1 banana

First smoothie of the week that I tried was Razzy Peach. It looked really unappetizing and only tasted marginally better than it looked. The only thing I can figure out so far is that I’m not adding banana and I guess I need a sweeter addition. I used extra raspberry and peach to compensate for the banana and it was still really bitter tasting. All I could taste was the very tart raspberries and the greens. I also added chia seeds because they don’t bother me when I’m using a seeded berry like raspberry or strawberry.

I took the leftovers of Razzy Peach and added Greek yogurt and some strawberries the next day. Much better. I’m wondering if I just need to add more fruit, especially fresh fruit to my smoothies. Since I usually drink these in place of breakfast, I may need to try for an alternate protein source, like eggs, to make sure that I get enough protein in the morning to sustain me through the day.

I also definitely prefer them with some kind of dairy product. But since my son is allergic I’ll have to add it after the fact. It’s amazing how much smoothie that little boy can drink. He’ll drink as much as I do in a sitting, if not more. Wish my daughter felt the same. I tried a little experiment with her.

I made her a small smoothie, about 8-12 ounces. I added a couple of kale leaves, but not a full serving my any means. I blended it up with whole milk. Then I added a cup of strawberries and couple scoops of Fage full fat Greek yogurt. It was beautiful pink color (as opposed to the unappetizing brown that most green smoothies seem to turn when you mix berries and greens), and she agreed to try it. She finished a four ounce cup and asked for more. It’s a start and considering how picky she is, I’m happy she made the effort at all.

 

MANGO PASSION

1 cup kale, fresh
1 cup spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 cups mango
1 cup pineapple

So today’s smoothie was strange. I could definitely taste the greens, but it wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be. I had cut up the pineapple and mango the day before, the mango definitely wasn’t ripe, so not very sweet. I used a little more pineapple than suggested. It was very pulpy and tasted kind of “green” but it wasn’t bad. There weren’t any leftovers between my son and I.

 

PEACH COCONUT DREAM

2 cups spinach, fresh
1 cup coconut water, unsweetened
2 cups grapes, freeze overnight
1 cup peaches
When I first saw this recipe on the menu I kind of wondered what it would taste like. Grapes and peaches? I didn’t have coconut water so I used 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water. The taste was interesting. This is one of the few smoothies I’ve had so far that tastes sweet enough for me. That being said, despite the introduction of chia seeds, it probably still didn’t have enough protein, so I added some Greek yogurt to my portion. This is probably the first time that I actually drank the full recommended 16 ounces. My son drank the other half of the blender full and begged for more. Unfortunately the grape skins were not well processed by my not very good blender and leave the whole smoothie tasting a little chunky. Next time I think I’d rather try two cups peaches and 1 cup grapes.

 

TROPI-KALE 

1 cup kale, fresh
1 cup spinach, fresh
2 cups coconut water, unsweetened
1 banana
2 cups pineapple

This was just too pulpy for me. I know in my head that most of the pulp was pineapple, but it felt like spinach and kale. I used mango and extra pineapple to substitute for the bananas. Half coconut milk, half water for the liquid. It was OK. I’m beginning to think that at least part of the problems I have with these smoothies is related to my poor blender. Everything is just a little too chunky for me. Overall, the sweetness was pretty good though.

 PEACHY PEAR  

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 ripe pears
1 cup peaches

So I think this could be a really good recipe. But I kind of messed it up. After waiting for days for the pears to be ripe I finally gave up and used them crunchy and they weren’t very sweet. I also used frozen peaches because I forgot to defrost them the night before. So the smoothie was very cold and not very sweet. I think I’ve also learned that spinach and kale mixed is actually a better choice than either one alone. I did add Greek yogurt which did make it a bit bitter and all I could really taste was the Greek yogurt and spinach. I’m wondering if there is some kind of binding between the yogurt and greens because it seems like that’s often all I can taste, rather than the two pears and more than cup of peaches.

 Since I had tried all of the previous recipes this week, I decided to go back and try one I hadn’t done before.

BERRY CHERRY JUBILEE

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup cherries, pitted
1 cup mixed berries
1 banana

 

I really liked this one, which lets me see an interesting pattern. I definitely prefer smoothies that have lots of berries. The good thing about that is that berries are filled with lots of healthy things. The bad side is that they are very high in sugar and tend to be expensive, even worse if I dare to buy organic, which I usually don’t.

So it seems like I’ve liked about half the smoothies so far, but at least I’m still sticking with it. I can’t claim to feel any great surge of energy or have lost any significant weight, but at least I’m getting breakfast every day which is an improvement.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

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Photo Credit: ilovemypit via Compfight cc

First official day of making “real” smoothies and I decided to start with Berry Protein Bash, mostly because it was on the official menu for the week and I actually had the ingredients without making a special trip to the store.

BERRY PROTEIN BASH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 banana
1/2 cup almonds, soaked in water overnight (if possible)

I would totally do this one again. I didn’t use any bananas and I used two cups of mixed berries from my freezer instead of straight blueberries, though I tried to make sure it was heavy on the blueberries. You could feel the texture of the almonds, though I did soak them over night which I think made it easier for my blender to process them. I put the frozen fruit in a mason jar over night with the washed spinach to make things easier in the morning. I wonder if the fact that the fruit was defrosted made a difference in the taste. I also used a high protein vanilla almond milk I had for my son to drink. (We usually buy unsweetened, but they were out last week at the store so I bought vanilla). Though our almond milk doesn’t have much sweetener in it, it definitely helped. It turned out so creamy. I felt like I was drinking a berry milkshake. I loved knowing that it was protein packed enough to keep my blood sugar balanced and it will hopefully keep me full longer. First time I actually drank the full recommended serving. Sadly, there was almost none left. Definitely be coming back to this one soon.

SIMPLE PEACH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
2 cups peaches
1 banana

I tried the simple peach recipe today. I didn’t love it. I used frozen mango instead of bananas. The peaches were frozen as well. I don’t know if I didn’t add enough mango to compensate for the lack of banana or if it was because the fruit was frozen but I could taste the greens a bit too much. I prefer not to taste them at all. I don’t mind eating greens, in salads, stews or on sandwiches but I don’t like them in my drinks if I can taste them. Next time I’ll try increasing the amount of fruit I use and maybe letting it defrost in the fridge over night. I’ve also discovered that my 10 year old Hamilton Beach blender just isn’t handling the frozen fruit as well as I’d like, so I need to plan accordingly. I also added chia seeds. They were a little more noticeable than in the berry smoothie because peaches don’t have any seeds the way the raspberries and blackberries did, but I didn’t find them bothersome. Also, trying to drink a smoothie made mostly with frozen fruit can cause brain freeze. Ouch. I ate my leftovers of simple peach the next day, since I knew I wouldn’t have time to make a smoothie that morning. I threw the leftovers in my smoothie maker (a tiny cheap little thing I got for Christmas from an extended family member a few years ago). It isn’t powerful enough or large enough to chop and blend a green smoothie but it’s easy and fast with hardly any cleanup if I just want to add an extra ingredient. I added a coupon scoops of Greek yogurt and some natural applesauce to sweeten it up a little. (please refer to my most recent lesson about adding Greek yogurt to smoothies). It wasn’t bad. Not great, but edible. Definitely creamier and better blended the second time around, but it tasted far more of apple sauce than peach, which for me, isn’t a good thing. Much less brain freeze too though.

TROPICAL CRUSH  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh
1 1/2 cups water
1 orange, peeled
1 cup pineapple
1 banana

Day one it was only OK. The orange and pineapple just wasn’t enough for it to be very sweet. So the second day. I added some Greek yogurt and mango and it was much tastier. But still not a favorite.

ORANGE JULIUS  |  Serves 2

2 cups spinach, fresh

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
3 oranges, peeled
1 banana

It might just be the time of year, oranges just aren’t that sweet, or the fact that I don’t use bananas, but I really didn’t like this one. I even added some mango to compensate for the lack of banana, but it was still kind of gross. I drank it, but I didn’t really like it. I combination of almond milk and oranges was a little nauseating. But then again I never did like orange Julius. The following day I added extra pineapple and some Greek yogurt and it was no better. Really hope that next week’s recipes turn out better.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

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A friend inspired me to try a green smoothie challenge, but the one she was doing really intimated me. That’s when I discovered Simple Green Smoothies, just in time for their new challenge starting April 1. I’ve never done much with green smoothies myself. I’ve done it for my kids before. I just to make super thick ones for my son when he was tiny and fed them to him with a spoon to help put some healthy calories in his system. I also tried to get my daughter to drink them when I thought she was low on iron. But I was always afraid of trying them myself. I’m not against greens. I make kale chips and I like spinach in my salad or in an egg casserole. But drinking greens?

The other reasons I was reluctant were that I was concerned whether smoothies could be made protein packed enough to keep my blood sugar balanced, especially at the beginning of the day. I also really don’t like bananas. I wish I did. They are so healthy and inexpensive and they make great smoothies, but I just don’t like them. Most smoothie recipes include bananas.

But I’ve decided to give this a try anyway. Each week I’ll give you reviews of the recipes I try and mention any modifications.

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A few early lessons:

If I add Greek yogurt I need to add extra fruit or some other sweetener like honey. It’s very bitter.

I need to take it easy on the greens. I made what would have been an otherwise great berry smoothie only to discover that it still tasted like kale.

 I technically started my challenge a little early, if only to get used to cleaning the blender every day. (Yuck, I still hate it, but I’m getting used to it). The first few recipes were ones I found on the website, and to be honest neither was a huge hit. I made the Beginner’s Luck smoothie first, with the bananas, hoping I could get past my dislike of bananas. I couldn’t.

I tried a berry smoothie and could taste the greens (kale in this case) a little bit too much. But the next day I blended the leftovers with some greek yogurt and it actually tasted quite nice.

So here goes, 30 days of smoothies. Join me in the challenge and feel free to share your favorite recipes.