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02/24/2012

eBook Review: The New Green Smoothie Diet: Going Green Never Tasted So Good  »

These days, it seems like everyone in the health world has a different perspective on what we should and shouldn’t put in smoothies. Some say all-fruit is the way to go, while others advocate using only low-glycemic fruits like berries and grapefruit (including the medical doctor who runs the raw vegan retreat center where I worked for two years). Well-known raw foodist David “Avocado” Wolfe advises tossing in durian, mangoes, bananas, goji berries, and every “superfood” on the market. Others say not to use any fruit at all. Even regular self-help people want to weigh in! Martha Beck, a personal favorite motivational life coach of mine (with several Harvard degrees, to boot!) says in her latest book Finding Your Way in A Wild New World that we should blend following a 1:1 fruit to veggie ratio. Kris Carr’s new smoothie e-book is out, and though I haven’t read it yet (I want to!) I strongly suspect she’s got her own spin on the smoothie ingredient debate.

The New Green Smoothie Diet: Going Green Never Tasted So Good by Hilary Greenleaf predictably stakes a claim about which ingredients belong in smoothies. Greenleaf says we should drink smoothies that are 60% fruit and avoid putting powders, nut and soy milk in our smoothies, and only use water for liquid. I guess that’s good for some people who may get all confused by labels and accidentally toss in something crazy like, say, whey powder or maybe arsenic along with their produce. But what about super nutrient-dense add-ins like raw, vegan supplements Vega, Green Grasses, hemp protein, maca, cacao powder, and HealthForce Vitamineral Green, spirulina, chlorella, etc.? I just had a smoothie this morning that included many of the aforementioned discouraged smoothie ingredients, so I’m a bit biased, but I wonder why would she suggest these added raw vegan organic ingredients are a bad idea, without much explanation? Greenleaf includes lots of studies and research in her 50-page ebook, but I wish she would’ve rounded up some optimal smoothie ingredient studies, because somebody needs to get the final word on the smoothie debate once and for all!

Once I got past my initial distaste for yet another dogmatic yet scientifically unsubstantiated approach to smoothies, I found plenty to like in this e-book. I appreciate that it cites lots of articles and studies on obesity, health and nutrition, and mentions the importance of choosing organic when possible. Other claims made by author Greenleaf, like how green smoothies can combat “liver sluggishness,” I wasn’t so sure about, but I am intrigued by all of the recipes here that include guava! According to Greenleaf, a small guava added to smoothies can lead to strong hair and clear skin. Sounds yummy and healthful! I’m willing to pick up some guava and give it a whirl. Other highlights include weird recipes like The “Salty Smoothie,” which Greenleaf says also works as a cold summer soup. As the title suggests, all recipes include some greens to give you caffeine-free energy.

There aren’t tons of recipes in this book—it focuses mainly on the nutrition benefits of smoothies and the recipes feel like kind of a side note. Still, there are some gems that are worth trying! This morning I made the Energy Smoothie, “a great salty smoothie to help increase your energy levels and ‘warm’ you up.” 

Here’s the recipe (with permission from author!):

Energy Smoothie
(Note: author does not indicate how many servings this makes; I’d say based on my experience it makes 1-2 servings)

Ingredients
One head of lettuce (author recommends red, which I used)
1 cup Swiss chard
1 medium cucumber, peeled
1 cup turnip or collard greens (I used collards)
1 lemon, peeled and seeded
1 tsp seaweed (I tossed in a little bit of kelp)

I’m not sure about the whole “warm” thing, but I did enjoy my thick, chewy puddle of green nutrition! Normally, I’d be very tempted to separate out the pulp using a nut mylk bag after blending just greens and citrus, but I abstained from straining this time and actually enjoyed the chew factor. If you like your green smoothies strong like I do, this recipe is pretty rad!

If you’re open to looking past Greenleaf’s strict smoothie rules and advice about how many calories you should aim to eat at every meal (this totally assumes we all have the same physical activity levels, body types, weights, and AH THIS FRUSTRATES ME SO MUCH SO I’M JUST GOING TO STOP), then The New Green Smoothie Diet isn’t a bad place to start if you’re just getting into the blending game. Overall, this recipe ebook is a winner. Happy blending!

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.

06/13/2011

Readers’ choice: protein powder!  »

An omni woman at my work has been asking me a lot of questions and seems to be eliminating animal products from her diet. Yay! The other day, she realized the whey protein she puts in her morning green shakes does, indeed, come from an animal. She asked if I could recommend a vegan option instead. First I told her that people don’t really need a crazy amount of protein, but she was not having it. So, I turned to our Twitter and Facebook friends and did a little vegan crowd-sourcing. I got so many great answers! Thanks to everyone who helped—you guys are the best! And I thought everybody might be interested in the suggestions so here’s a round-up:

Hemp protein seems to be the most popular suggestion and the popular brands seem to be Tempt and Nutiva.

One responder (sorry, I forget who! But you rule) said this about hemp powder: “Instead of your body breaking down a protein like whey or soy into amino acids to then build into protein, it provides the amino acids directly and skips the step of breaking it down. It’s the same thing with quinoa.” Interesting. Oh and a bunch of people said you can get really good deals for Nutiva on Amazon and that Tempt is available at Whole Foods. And someone else said Trader Joe’s chocolate hemp protein “is amazing.” The vegan weightlifters also recommend hemp. I think hemp is also a good environmentally conscious option but I’m just making that up.

Second most popular is Vega which I think is a combination of a bunch of different vegan proteins like hemp, brown rice, pea, etc. One person says it has iron and B12 in it too which is always nice. Another person said the vanilla flavor of Vega is too sweet. And someone said it’s the only protein powder they like that mixes well with water. And someone else specifically recommended Vega Sport—20g of protein in just half a serving. Yowza!

Third is a tie between Sun Warrior protein powder and pea protein.

Other suggestions (sorry, I’m not about to link all of these mofos, you can google them):
Brown rice protein
Amazing grasses
Whole Foods’ soy protein powder in vanilla or chocolate
Peanut flour
Nutribiotic rice protein
Amazing Meal
Plant Fusion Chocolate (“has crack in it”)
Silken tofu
Warrior Food by Healthforce

Spiru-tein
Ground quinoa
Ground raw pepitas

30/70 blend of brown rice and gemma pea protein from True Protein.
Nitrofusion
Whole Nectar organic soy protein powder

That’s a lotta’ protein! Thanks guys! Until next time.

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