|Red kale, blueberries and cherries blend to make a purple smoothie.|
A few weeks ago we had an event at my Whole Foods Market called "The Vitamix Roadshow". Watching the Vitamix Man whip up smoothie after smoothie which he sampled out to customers, gave me a renewed interest in getting my own Vitamix out of semi-retirement, and using it on a daily basis. Raise your hand if your are someone who is not getting your daily servings of things like kale and fresh spinach. How about your whole fresh fruit (not juice)? According to an article by Roxanne Webber published in the blog CHOW, over 90% of us do not get our recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables or our 2 cups of fresh fruit per day. Embarrassingly, I was in that majority, and I resolved to change my ways.
In planning out my smoothie recipe, I knew that I wanted to include fresh fruit, kale and spinach, but I was hesitant about what liquid to add to the mix to aid the blending of the ingredients. The Vitamix Man just added water. I thought I could do better. I wanted to keep my smoothie dairy free and I did not want to add fruit juice because of the high sugar content. In the end I chose to add Kombucha, and I will explain why in a bit.
|Prepping the kale.|
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has centuries of history behind its consumption all over the world. The fermenting process combines tea (an herbal drink) with Kombucha cultures, which are a combination of different strains of yeast. The fermentation process creates beneficial enzymes and bacteria (probiotics) and a whole host of beneficial compounds. It is also low calorie and low in natural sugars. There has been a "kombucha craze" of sorts over the past few years. It has been a renaissance of epic proportions, and at Whole Foods Market we sell cases upon cases of the beverage on a daily basis.
|Michelle's favorite flavor is Pomegranate.|
The Kombucha and Kale Smoothie is now my breakfast and afternoon snack five days per week. I take five minutes in the morning (really, that is all of the time required), and I drink half while I am getting ready for work, and the other half I pack with me to work in a thermos to have mid-afternoon.
Michelle became an advocate almost immediately when I suggested it to her after I began drinking it for a few weeks. She was delighted with the great taste, because it is actually delicious and refreshing, and much to her amazement, according to Weight Watchers Point System, the smoothie equals only one point! Having the smoothie for breakfast has allowed her extra points for things like a glass of wine with dinner, which made her really, really happy.
As for me, I no longer have to listen to that naggy little voice in my head. The one that reminds me that the lettuce on my sandwich does not qualify as a serving of dark leafy greens, and that those four grapes I snagged from the sample bag in the produce department earlier in the day, does not equal my two cup requirement of fresh fruit. Give this refreshing smoothie a try and see what you think.
|Green kale, strawberries and mangoes combine to make a green smoothie.|
I designed the recipe to be completely raw. You can build or rif on this basic recipe to design your own smoothie. If you desire added protein... protein powder can certainly be added. Spirulina powder, 1 to 2 teaspoons, also works well. It's also a good idea to swap your greens on a regular basis. As an example, exchange red kale for green kale and baby bok choy for spinach.
The addition of chia seeds or ground flax will add even extra fiber and create a thicker texture. Of course, if you can buy organic fruits and veggies, that's even better for you! For the frozen fruit, I buy organic frozen fruit chunks and keep a bag of the mixed fruit ready to go, so that I don't waste time having to open each bag. Of course if you wish to add yogurt, or kefir, go for it.
According to the laws of food combining, all melons should ideally be consumed alone, and therefore should not be a fruit selection for this smoothie. For those of you counting points on Weight Watchers this smoothie clocks in at one point per serving (2 points if you add whey protein powder) and is a nutritional powerhouse. The basic recipe follows:
Makes two 16-oz servings:
1 whole orange, peeled and separated into sections (removing any seeds)
3 large kale leaves (any kind is good), breaking off any tough stems
1 fresh banana (can use frozen) divided into two pieces
1 rounded cup spinach or baby chard
1 heaping cup frozen fruit of your choice (pineapple, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, mangoes, etc.)
1 cup raw Kombucha, any flavor (refrigerated section)
1. Add each ingredient to the blender in the order listed. Drink half for breakfast and pack half for lunch, or make one for you and one for a friend or spouse.