I make a smoothie pretty much every single morning. Greens, banana, pineapple, superfood add-ins, frozen berries- blend and repeat. And although I know the ingredients are colourful and healthy – more often than not the resulting drink has more of a greeny-brownish hue. Not the most visually appealing (in fact the other day my youngest told me that his smoothie looked like diarrhea…..sigh)
My friend Lisa always says that the experience of eating (or drinking) begins with your eyes. And if that’s the case then perhaps a cup of poop coloured smoothie isn’t how my family wants to start their day. Fair enough. So I started tinkering with my smoothies to make them more eye catching.
I recently enjoyed a weekend away with a good pal and she gave me an awesome suggestion for a wonderful bright red vegetable that I’ve been overlooking in my smoothie recipes. This particular veggie has been proven to lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, boost stamina, fight inflammation, detox the body and is rich in vitamins and minerals. What magical ingredient did I find that not only makes my smoothie look beautifully ruby-red but also ups the health factor? Beets! These gorgeous and often unappreciated gems of the vegetable kingdom add brilliant redness and a subtle sweetness to a smoothie that is not at all overpowering.
So kick those brown drinks to the curb and add a burst of colour to your next smoothie! And if you want to get extra fancy – try slicing a strawberry to pop on the side of the glass. Voila – beautiful and nutritious.
Ruby Red Smoothie
4-6 cups packed spinach
1 small beet (or 1/2 a medium beet)
1 2-inch ring of pineapple
1 -2 cups frozen strawberries (or raspberries)
Superfood add-ins (optional)
Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and whir for 1 minute. Drink up the goodness!
Oh and one thing to keep in mind if you decide to add beets – you need to brace yourself because they will actually turn your poop just as red as your smoothie (believe it or not – this is actually a pretty effective selling feature for kids ; )
I took a vegan cooking class a few years ago and in the course of preparing the food, the instructor was extolling the virtues of her high-powered blender called a Vitamix. I clearly remember thinking at the time that anyone who would spend $600 on a blender was certifiably nuts and I would never make such a foolish purchase.
Fast forward to today and I seriously can’t imagine my life without my beloved Vitamix blender. I use this thing at least twice every single day and often three and four times. I make smoothies, lattes, sauces, hummus, batter, soup, ice cream, salad dressings and more. Heck – I even travel with it when I can (yes my family was actually vitamixing green smoothies in our hotel room at Darien Lake this past summer! Hey – we needed something to balance out the Dippin’ Dots and kettle corn ; )
It is so much a part of my everyday life and so vital to my plant-based diet that I would seriously break down and cry if I had to go without it. This little baby pulverizes greens so that a kale and banana smoothie is green, chunk free and delicious. It can blend nuts to liquid in seconds, turn garlic cloves to smooth mush and break down a whole apple – core and all- in under 30 seconds. I’ve even heard it can crack through avocado pits but I haven’t personally put this to the test.
And as if this wasn’t enough – I am now even more in love because after an accidental tumble off of our counter and a resultant crack in the pitcher base – the lovely folks at Vitamix graciously sent me a brand new carafe for free!
So am I telling you that you simply must buy one? Well kind of. Trust me I get it – this is a big purchase. And for a blender?! Seems nuts eh? But it can and will change your life if you embrace the power of this mighty little machine. And FYI – Vitamix has a travelling road show at Costco locations in Canada year-round so if you are lucky enough to catch them while they are in your local store you can get $100 off of the regular price.
If you decide to take the plunge and purchase a Vitamix or if you own one but you haven’t dusted it off for a while, here is a basic recipe for a Green Smoothie that we make a variation of in our house every single morning. I rotate the greens, fruits and veggies but I always like to start my day with this nutrient-packed beverage and I insist that the kids down them too….even if we are about to ride the Viper at Darien Lake. Happy blending!
Basic Green Smoothie
4-6 cups of packed spinach
1/2 of a cucumber
1 ripe banana
1/4 of a medium pineapple
3-4 cups of frozen strawberries
Enough water to cover
Blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Enjoy!