Green Smoothie Challenge Tips

August 14, 2009 at 5:24 am 13 comments

green smoothie bottle

As we approach the start of the Green Smoothie Challenge, I wanted to give you some tips that I’ve learned along the way. Many of you have emailed me with various questions and concerns and I thought I would just address all of them right here!

Are there any books or inspirational websites that I can read?
I would highly recommend the book Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko. It’s one thing to commit to the challenge…but it will get really hard to continue if you don’t have the “head knowledge” telling you WHY this is of benefit to your body. Green For Life details what greens do for your body and why we can’t live without them. She also includes many different recipes, including savory versions (instead of sweet). It’s a quick and easy read…spend some time in the hammock this weekend and check it out!

As for websites, if you haven’t signed up for our Facebook group, be sure to do that! We just hit 100 members over there, and I’m sure it will be an active community of support starting on Monday. You could also go to Gone Raw and search on “green smoothie” for more recipes.

What is the most important part of the challenge?
Setting yourself up for success is VITAL. Don’t wait until Monday morning to run to the grocery store for your ingredients! Being PREPARED will be key throughout the entire 30 days. Also, find yourself a “green smoothie buddy”. If you are the only green smoothie drinker in a sea of doughnuts and coffee, you will sink fast! Get someone to join you in the challenge.

Where is the best place to buy ingredients?
Green smoothies can be made up of endless combinations of fruits and greens.Β  And these can be purchased at any grocery store. However, I do recommend that if you have a Costco in your area, go there. The large containers of organic baby spinach are about HALF the price of the regular grocery store. And you can get the large bag of Spectrum frozen fruit for a great price. They also have whole pineapples for less than $3.00. Bonus.

Find Your Favorite
No, you shouldn’t have to CHOKE down your green smoothie. It should be a pleasurable experience. Something you ENJOY and look forward to every morning. If this isn’t the case, you’re doing something wrong. If you really don’t like how your smoothies are turning out…figure out why. Are they too thick? Too thin? Too chunky? Too sweet? Not sweet enough? These are all things that can be fixed. I will say that green smoothie making is an art form. It will probably take you several days to get it right. Watch my video again if you’re confused.

Make It Pretty
Before Monday, find a glass that you really LOVE that will be your smoothie container. It could be just a big jar like mine…or you could use a beautiful wine glass. The key is to find something that brings you joy. When you see it, you should be happy. This one would make me happy. Or this one. And then post on your blogs about your fun glass so I can see! πŸ™‚

Do you really mean NO white sugar?
Yes, that is what I mean. However, don’t get crazy over it. If you’re out with friends and you’re having the waiter to bring out the salad dressing bottle so you can check if there is sugar in it…you’ve gone crazy. If you want to be that way…bring your own dressing. BUT, you don’t have to do that. The whole point to the no white sugar thing is to cut out all processed foods. Please note that no white sugar also includes all foods with high fructose corn syrups (I can hear the collective ‘aaaawwwww man!’ now). Just stop eating junk and you’ll take care of this rule. Doughnuts, cookies, candy, pop, all of it! Gone. For 30 days. If you must have sweets…grab some dark chocolate or dates. Good stuff.

I’m worried that I won’t be able to make one every morning.
Good news! You can make them in advance. This is especially helpful for those who you who work outside the home or those who have children and can’t even find a moment in the mornings to make food for yourself. The key is to make them the night before and then store them in mason jars with lids. Or empty bottles (the Synergy kombucha bottles work great!). In her book, Green For Life, Victoria Boutenko says that you can keep green smoothies for up to 3 days. I prefer to drink them within 24 hours because they start to taste different, but that’s up to you.

I can’t find time to exercise! How will I be able to add that to my challenge?
If you look at your day, I bet there are lots of little gaps of “dead time” that you could be doing something active with your body. I’ve gotten to be an expert at this lately. I do leg lifts while brushing my teeth. I do squats while I’m bouncing/holding Lucy. I walk around the driveway a couple of times after getting the mail. Last night I did 20 minutes of yoga right before bed…and while it wasn’t that much, it really helped! There are so many inexpensive and quick ways to move your body…fill up gallon jugs with water and do arm curls and squats, do push ups and crunches…just use the weight of your body as resistance. Get creative!

I’m not able to get fresh greens all the time, is there an alternative?
One of our fellow participants is a missionary and isn’t able to get fresh greens on a consistent basis. I started thinking about this and wanted to address it not only for her, but also for those who might want another source of greens in case they run out. Last year I blogged about Vitamineral Green, an awesome green powdered supplement with TONS of good stuff in it. This would be a great alternative to fresh greens. I would choose fresh over a powder if you can (and just use the powder as a supplement), but it will definitely satisfy the green requirement πŸ™‚ This powder would also be perfect for those who need to travelΒ  a lot and can’t always seek out fresh greens at their destination. You can take this in water (although I’m not sure how tasty it would be!).

Do I need a juicer to participate in this challenge?
No! Only a blender is required. On a related note, the fabulous Vita-Mix has a 30 day money back guarantee, so if you’ve been dreaming of a new blender, check it out!

Just 3 more days until we start the challenge! Are you excited?! Wooo hooo!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/christaface/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Entry filed under: Green Smoothies, Raw.

Happy Foody Green Smoothie Challenge – 2009 Accessorize Your Smoothie: Get a Cool Straw

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  August 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Question: how often do you do the green smoothie challenges? Cause I could probably do the smoothie part of this one, but as I’m just a few weeks out from having my baby, I still don’t have the go-ahead for exercising yet. I can definitely follow along with the smoothies this time…but am definitely interested in doing any subsequent challenges in which I can also exercise.

    Reply
  • 2. freshfloralart  |  August 14, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Just want to say that I love this photo! It’s hard to get a good green smoothie photo.

    Reply
  • 3. Lindsay  |  August 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Question: Do you have problems with your smoothie separating? That happens to me when I try to refrigerate them after a few hours… I have a chunky part you can’t suck up with a straw and then a watery part, and won’t mix no matter how hard I shake. This happens a lot with blueberries! Any suggestions?

    Reply
  • 4. annie  |  August 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I have many questions πŸ™‚

    I delivered my son in April (at home, praise the Lord) and my body needs a jumpstart to kick it back into gear. I’ve been slightly overwhelmed with a two year old and a newborn and not sleeping so good, etc etc. so I’m thinking this may be just the thing. I tried to make a green smoothie yesterday, just to kind of get the feel of it, and I’m not so sure now…….

    I used romaine (because it’s what we had) and a wide variety of fruits (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, a peach, and a banana). I started with about two cups of fruit and a handful of the romaine. Yuck. All I could taste was the gritty, bitter lettuce. So I added more fruit and more water. Still bitter. More….more….Finally I gave up and added a tablespoon of evaporated cane juice. I don’t usually add any sweeteners to my smoothies, but I didn’t know what else to try. It somewhat worked. I could still taste the romaine but it didn’t have that bitter, sandy, earthy taste to it.

    What happened? πŸ™‚

    I made another one today with a different variety of fruits but still needed to add a little bit of the cane juice. Is it the romaine? I’m boring and don’t like most other types of greens, except spinach, so I’m hesitant to try something else in the smoothie.

    Both smoothies, by the way, were not the awesome lime green of your photos. They were purply-blue. I’m guessing because of the berries. Does that mean if I make your favorite pineapple blend posted the other day mine will be neon, too? It might be lame to make a food because of a color, but oh well. πŸ™‚

    I’m not having issues exercising. With a two year old, I’m not sure anyone would have trouble exercising! I am having issues curbing my sweet tooth. I’m guessing adding the evaporated cane juice or honey isn’t going to do much to help that, is it? I just don’t know how else to make them taste better.

    I’m not having issues, either, with cutting out refined sugar or HFCS, since we avoid those in our daily life anyway. What about natural sugars, though, like the cane juice or rapadura, etc.? I’m figuring those are okay, right?

    Not to make this all about rules and regulations, but I am in desperate need of some discipline and while our diets are fairly healthy (no processed stuff), I’m feeling a drag that I think is linked to my slower metabolism and quirky toddler diet.

    I don’t have huge space in my grocery budget to be buying a ton of extra fruit and greens every week in order to make these, but I’m going to do my best. I guess if I cut out all the other times I eat fresh fruits and veggies and salads throughout the day and use all that in the smoothie instead, it would work out. But I’d miss my dinner salad and mid-afternoon peach. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • 5. livelightly  |  August 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Annie,
    Yes. It’s the romaine. Stop using the romaine πŸ™‚ I haven’t ever found a recipe with romaine (in a smoothie) that I liked. The baby spinach is going to be much better. And yes, anytime you’re using strawberries or blueberries (or any berry for that matter) you will have a purplish/blue/dark red smoothie. Great for feeding to kiddos who don’t like the green color.

    As far as the sweeteners go…drinking a lot of greens in the morning will really help your sweet cravings. Rapadura and evap. cane juice are better than white sugar, but they are still sugar. I try to avoid them and stick with honey, maple syrup, agave. I like sweet things too, so I can relate πŸ™‚

    It will be a bit more expensive to add the additional fruits and veggies to your diet, but it’s so beneficial. Definitely worth cutting something else OUT of the budget and adding that in.

    Hope that helps!
    Sara

    Reply
  • 6. Brianna  |  August 16, 2009 at 5:59 am

    Hey Sara,

    I’m excited to participate in this challenge! I wanted to let you know that the link to your smoothie video is actually linking to Chirstaface’s flickr…

    Going glass and straw shopping tomorrow- woo-hoo!

    Brianna

    Reply
  • 7. Jill  |  August 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Just found your blog! I just started drinking green smoothies recently! They are popular among the members of the CSA I belong to and I just LOVE them… plus they are a great way to use all the chard and kale we get from the farm each week! Not hard to keep making them when that stuff grows so fast! Good luck to everyone starting… my fav combo is frozen bananas, frozen straw/blue berries (I buy in bulk from the farmers market and freeze while in season!) a bit of plain yogurt and one huge kale or chard leaf and a little juice (whatever I have in the house oj or crystal lite). Have fun everyone!

    Reply
  • 8. Janice Hilt  |  August 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Sara,
    I’m trying this for the first time and enjoying it!

    Does it matter if I excercise before or after I drink the green smoothie? I didn’t think it did but was just wondering. I excercise first thing in the morning and then don’t the rest of the day. But if it helps to do it after I can change my schedule.

    Thanks!

    Janice

    Reply
  • 9. Melinda  |  January 5, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I just drank my first green smoothie, and it was soooooo delicious! I used a huge scoop of frozen mango from Trader Joes, a banana, a ripe kiwi, and a packed cup of baby spinach with a little ice and water. It was sweet and I couldn’t even taste the spinach! I love it and am looking forward to giving them to my family! Thanks!

    Reply
  • 10. Maki  |  April 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Will I be able to make green smoothies with my Cuisinart food processor?

    Reply
  • 11. livelightly  |  April 15, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Maki…sure! You can make them with anything that blends. HOWEVER, they will be much smoother and a nicer texture if you use a blender.

    Reply
  • 12. Maki  |  April 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks, I just tried the bosc pear, raspberry, kale recipe. Very summery & filling! My husband & son tried it as well. They liked it! Also, my son liked the green color. I liked the flavor, but I see what you mean about the texture with a food processor.

    Reply
  • 13. Catherine  |  July 26, 2010 at 5:33 am

    HEY COOL! This is how I started my ventures into green smoothies and eating more RAW. LOVE that book! LOVE where you guys have gone with it all. Thanks for sharing:
    Oh, this was my post :
    http://www.littlegift.com.au/?p=2561

    Reply

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