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I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten that look from a co-worker as they walk past my desk. The “I want to ask what that is but don’t know if I want to know the answer” look. Introducing, the green smoothie.

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Our morning green smoothie ritual started as a way to pack tons of nutrients and superfoods into our diet during an 11-day detox. The detox focused on crowding in our diet with good foods, which naturally caused crowding out of other foods. There was a lengthy list of foods to eat on a daily basis: flaxseed, citrus, greens and berries, among others. Piling a bunch of these foods into a blender and whirring up a healthy, tasty drink was a one-two punch. The smoothies are packed with the nutrients of hearty greens but taste like a sweet blend of fruit – perfect! I’ve continued to make a green smoothie for Matthew and I every morning since the detox. It’s usually the only fruit he gets during the day and I get all revved up knowing that I’ve had a serving or two of greens before lunchtime.

I love that I can make slight changes to the ingredients and produce a different smoothie every morning. I stash half in the refrigerator for Matthew and take the rest in a to-go cup with me to have at work. I’m always quizzing Matthew on what he thinks was in his smoothie and he never gets it right. It’s the only time I get to hold food knowledge over his head, and you better believe that I love it.

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The makeup of my smoothies is pretty standard – a banana or avocado to make them creamy, water or almond milk, a handful of ice cubes, a tablespoon or two of flaxseed and chia seeds, berries for sweetness and of course, leafy greens. I usually add a scoop or two of high-quality protein powder to make it a meal. The greens I choose depend on what’s on sale at our co-op. Spinach is great for beginners because there’s no “green” taste. Kale, chard, collard greens and other dark greens are a little more potent but pack a bigger nutritional punch.

The key is to slowly increase the amount of greens over time. I started by substituting small handful of kale for spinach into Matthew’s smoothies and “forgot” to tell him about it for a week or two just to see if he noticed. Amazingly, he did not.

As with anything, it takes some practice. I’ve had my fair share of failures. If that happens, add a little more fruit for sweetness or a spoonful of peanut butter if need be, and drink up.

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There are tons of health benefits of drinking green smoothies, you can read about some of them here.

Green Smoothie
{gluten-free, vegan}

Yield: 1 big smoothie

1 cup almond milk
1 ripe banana (frozen is best)
2 handfuls of spinach, kale or other green
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Optional add-ins:
-protein powder
-grated ginger
-cocoa nibs
-nut butters
-spirulina
-carob powder
-maca powder
-wheat grass powder

Add the almond milk first, then all remaining ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for a minute or two until smooth.

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