Archive for the ‘green smoothies’ category

Naturopaths and Oxalic Acid

July 18, 2010

Friday I went to a wonderful naturopath who also eats raw, although not exclusively. She mentioned something that I think is important to pass along, because it is partially what’s been going wrong with my body.

Spinach, swiss chard, and parsley have high levels of oxalic acid – parsley being the highest – and eating them raw can cause blockage of calcium absorption in the body. She said that for her green smoothies she lightly steams these particular greens until a hint of water on leaves appears. This allows for the calcium to be absorbed and still keeps the greens close to raw. She said that kale does not seem to be a problem, so that can be used without steaming, and although this may not affect everyone the same way, I have noted since being on the raw food diet that I am not absorbing calcium – and my smoothie greens have been mostly spinach. So, I’m going to try this new method and see what happens.

In the meantime, if you are looking for wonderful health care – try a naturopath. They have so much to offer in the way of alternative health remedies, and I’m thrilled to have found one who is open and aware of the many modalities that regular M.D.’s haven’t got a clue about. It’s very nice to talk to a health care professional who doesn’t get a  deer in the headlights expression when you mention things like cranial sacral, homeopathy, or raw food!! (KJ)


How to Get Kids to Drink Green Smoothies

March 13, 2010
Baby Phoebe's Green Smoothie

Baby Phoebe's Green Smoothie

The younger they are, the better. Rather than presenting a glass of dark green smoothie to a child, an excellent way to get them to want it is to include them in the process of making it. Instead of telling them it is something good for them, tell them you are going to make a very special drink – or magical drink – together. Start out with the 60% fruit, 40% deep green veggies. You can gather the veggies you want to use and not really put much attention on them. Spinach is often good for beginners as its flavor is mild. You can have it in the blender already and then     lay out all the different fruit you are going to use, asking your child to help you decide which should be first, second, third, and so on til they are all cut up and put in the blender. Then you add a cup or two of water, handful of ice cubes, and turn on the blender.  At that point, you can express your own excitement about what you are creating, and get your glasses ready for the new wonder drink.

I gave my daughter this idea for her two year old, and the results were what I expected. Our little one is quite determined in whatever she is determined about at the moment.  Her mom and dad try to cajole her to eat her veggies, but certain things like spinach and any other deep leafy green are greeted with an adamant, “NO!” Enter green smoothies.

My daughter followed my suggestion, and our two year old was delighted to point and direct her mother in which fruits to put into the blender. When the smoothie was ready, she drank a half glass. For her, that is a remarkable amount. My other granddaughter, who is 13, happened to be visiting her aunt at the time, and she liked the smoothie so much, she had two glasses.

The most important thing with little children is to become a child yourself. Be playful and enthusiastic about what you are going to create together. Make it fun, and the child will pick up on the excitement and think they have been part of creating a very special concoction.  Once they start drinking the smoothies, they will want to help you experiment with different fruits. If they make comments about the veggies, you can let them know that the drink can’t be special without them, and that’s why you need to find just the right fruits to make the green veggies happy.

It’s all a PR job, and you can have a good time exploring. You might even be surprised when your child comes up with some good ideas for combinations you hadn’t even thought of!

Happy Smoothie making! (KJ)

The Pomelo Green Smoothie Experiment!

March 12, 2010

Last evening we got a call from my very excited sister!  She proclaimed that she had just produced the best tasting green smoothie since she started making them about a week ago.  The recipe was quite simple.  Start with a cup of water, then a skinned grapefruit, two handfuls of spinach, followed by a frozen banana. She said that it was the best one she had made so far. Up until yesterday she had been having mixed results in the taste department but had been feeling better than ever. She is committed to making Green Smoothies a part of her life now. She even has her boss at work interested!

Pomelo Fruit

Pomelo Fruit

Since my sister lives in Wisconsin, coming by a decent variety of fruits and vegetables is not easy.  We live in California where a vast variety of fresh organic fruits and greens abound. A couple of weeks ago at the Palo Alto Farmer’s Market we came across an interesting fruit, new to us called a Pomelo, or Pummelo. It comes originally from China. It is a giant citrus fruit, native to Malaysia, and thought to be the ancestor to the grapefruit. Like grapefruits, pomelos vary greatly in color, size and shape. They range from cantaloupe-size to as large as a 25-pound watermelon and have very thick, soft rind that can vary in color from yellow to pale yellowish-brown to pink.

Pomelo Shell & Meaty Fruit

Pomelo Shell & Meaty Fruit

Since we had no grapefruit we decided to try to make a smoothie using the pomelo. When you open up a pomelo you see that it has a very thick skin. The skin is very pithy and bitter, but the fruit is fabulously sweet, unlike a regular grapefruit.  If you ever get a chance to try one, do it! You won’t be disappointed!

We tweaked our smoothie with an orange and also some left-over smoothie from yesterday which I think had some pear, and a little mustard green in it.  I also added a small piece of ginger. I am a crazy chef. I might toss in anything handy.

I am drinking this fabulous Pomelo Orange Green Smoothie as I write this and I must admit it may be the best one I have ever made. I just love citrus! Yummm!

Pomelo Green Smoothie

Pomelo Green Smoothie

I googled the pomelo fruit and found a couple of interesting links. One You Tube video is a short trip to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market by Kevin Gianni where he discovers the Pomelo Fruit, Kevin has a website and blog called The Renegade Health Show. He is fun and entertaining while gently encouraging people to make healthier choices in their diet.

I encourage you to experiment with your smoothie making. Google for different recipes or just use common sense and use whatever you have on hand. Just try to stick to the green smoothie rule of 60% fruit and 40% green leafy plants.

Read More about Pomelo Fruit

Pomelo, The World’s Largest Citrus Fruit

Disagreement Over Smoothies

March 6, 2010
Green Smoothie Taste Test

Steve and I have a disagreement over smoothies. He feels they should be 60% fruit and 40% veggies. He’s taken that straight from one book on smoothies. However, I have found that having the smoothie in the morning with that much fruit is not working for me. It makes me feel light headed and not good a little while after drinking it, and that brings me to another book that recommends using mostly greens and trying not to have too much fruit in the mix. Beyond that, when we were at a talk given by Steven Fowkes, who is a molecular biologist (, he strongly suggested that people have to follow their own metabolism, and that for him, fruit in the morning is absolutely not appropriate. According to each of our own unique systems, we need to find out what works to make the body hum. What is just right at noon may not be appropriate at 8 AM, while for someone else, the opposite holds true.

This whole process shows us how important it is to not be fanatical, and not to get caught in the trap of believing that one size fits all. I’m off now to see if making a green smoothie with veggies and perhaps one small chunk of banana will be the right thing for me. If not, maybe I have to eat something first and then have a smoothie later in the day. It is an experimentation in process! (KJ)


Update by Steve

Steve's Green Smoothie with Fruit

Steve's Green Smoothie with Fruit

I went to get a haircut this morning while Kathleen was left to her own devices. She would not drink my beautiful delicious Green Smoothie this morning because she protested that I made them with too much fruit. Today I made mine with Mango, Pineapple, Orange, Banana, Baby Spinach and a large leaf of Mustard Greens. Yuuuuummmmm!  Beware of mustard greens because they are very peppery and tangy and spicey!

Kathleen’s smoothie was made with spinach, mustard greens, ginger, mint, 2 carrots and parsley.

I took photos of the results for your edification.

Kathleen's Green Smoothie without Fruit

Kathleen's Green Smoothie without Fruit

Note: She said she drank a glassful and had a hard time not upchucking it. I took one sip of hers and nearly gagged. So there you have it, the disagreement resolved!


February 26, 2010

We have found out that eating raw and drinking smoothies is not going to heal us of anything if we don’t change our old habits. One of the things that smoothies do is to help break cravings for foods that are not optimum for the body. But we’ve both found out that if we DO eat things that are not good for us, the old symptoms re-emerge. For instance, when I ate pancakes with a very small amount of syrup, I got dizzy and felt crummy. Steve has a major snoring problem, and when he gave up all the foods that were not good for him and was true to the raw and smoothie diet, the snoring stopped.   HOWEVER, when he thought he could have popcorn, back it came. When he decided that some chocolate covered peanuts would be okay, snoring returned with a vengeance. Last night I made some raw date, oatmeal, raisin, carob, coconut dessert, and he had some. Snoring again. SO…the key is to recognize what you are allergic to, play around with the different foods to see how you feel, and then get back to doing what helps your body heal.

While we are exploring our food intake, let’s not forget our spiritual intake, as well as physical exercise, because we are body, mind, spirit after all. What a journey! KJ

How to Make a Green Smoothie

February 25, 2010

By Steve Freier

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Blended Drink

I made a video on How to Make a Green Smoothie and posted it on You Tube. Making Green Smoothies is the easiest thing in the world to do!  There is a simple formula. Use 60% fruit and 40% green leafy plant matter such as spinach, kale, carrot greens, beet greens, swiss chard, etc.  The fruit can be apples, pears, mango, papaya, banana, blue berries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. You can even use tomatoes and cucumber as the fruit, celery too.  It is best if all are organic, but if not then regular produce is better than nothing.

Start with a cup of water. Then put your greens and then the fruit, chopped up a bit so it fits in the blender. Most chefs use and recommend a VitaMix or a Blendtec because they will absolutely chop everything so fine that the end product will be fabulously smooth and delicious!

Once you have blended your smoothie a bit, I always stop and taste and then make corrections. I will add more water if it’s too thick and I always add some ice – maybe a cup to give it a nice cool refreshing feel.

I then pour a glass to drink for breakfast and take along another cup to drink during the morning at work. I may drink yet another cup at lunch time.  It’s easy to get through the day this way without having to bother cooking or going out to fast food restaurants and wasting time and money on bad food.

Here’s a few links to a number of sites that provide many suggestions on how to make a variety of green smoothies. Enjoy!

Here’s the Boutenko Family Sites, the originators of the green smoothie:

Green Diva Mom
12 Great Tasting Green Smoothie Recipes!

Vitamix Green Smoothies with Video

Another good green smoothie site:

Let me know about your favorite recipe for green smoothies!

– Steve

A Very Busy Weekend

February 25, 2010

This past weekend was interesting – my granddaughter came to spend time with us for two days of her winter break, and I always enjoy giving her a relaxing time away from her otherwise hectic schedule. At 13, she is going through the angst and questioning that so many teenagers face. Now that we are eating raw food and drinking green smoothies, I didn’t want to force them upon her because when she comes to visit, she gets to be a little princess, and it is not the time to enforce dietary strictures. Her parents can do that. She loves pancakes, eggs and fried potatoes, french toast, Grandma’s sandwiches, and Annie’s Mac and Cheese when she’s here. (just to set the record straight – she eats much healthier food at home, which is why this is a treat for her). The pancake mix was Pamela’s gluten free, and I thought I’d just have one or two of them with her to see how I’d feel. The result was almost immediate. I felt dizzy and heaviness. I was actually surprised at how fast my body reacted. I also noted that my taste buds are becoming much more aware of flavors, and the maple syrup was way too sweet for me even though I’d used only a small dab on each pancake. Later, I felt tired, and when Steve came home Friday, he made a green drink, which immediately perked me up.

Saturday we had a wonderful gathering of friends from out of town, and everyone was interested in the green smoothies. In fact, as people were leaving, the mailman arrived, and I was aware that he had a heart attack a couple of years ago at the age of 35. We chatted, and I told him how much better Steve and I were feeling, mentioning the green smoothies. He was interested and asked about them, so I invited him in and we gave him a glass. He really liked the smoothie and asked if we would e-mail recipe for it – which I did.

Saturday night, we went out to dinner. I felt a need for a hot meal, but did not want any rice noodles. We have a favorite organic Thai restaurant that has wonderful food. If you are on the Peninsula, it is in San Carlos on El Camino Real, and is called Sirayvah Steve wanted noodles and had the Pad Thai with tofu. I had a wonderful bowl of Thai soup with coconut milk and lemongrass, and some chicken. I felt very good after. My body really wanted the hot meal. Steve, however, did not feel that good. The pad thai was too heavy for him.

Sunday morning we went to the wonderful farmer’s market on California Avenue in Palo Alto. There are two booths I’m especially fond of in addition to the great organic produce sellers. One is Raw Daddy, where we are able to get great raw food cones – like an ice cream cone – with super veggies and yummy sauces. The creator of this is looking for venture capital or angel investors to start a fast food raw restaurant, and I hope he’s able to pull it off. If you are curious, take a look at his site:

We also like the booth next to his that sells SUPER sauerkraut…some of the best I’ve ever had. It is a great aid to digestion, and if you are interested, their website is:

Sunday afternoon we attended a raw food group gathering. It was our first, and was very enjoyable. The host and hostess were warm and knowledgeable. The group consisted of 32 people from all walks of life, but I was impressed with the number of physicians and aryuvedic doctors, acupuncturists, and nurtitionists who attended. We had a potluck dinner and then a super talk about metabolism by a very knowledgeable biochemist, Steven Fowkes, who is the founder of The Cognitive Enhancement Research Institute:

Steve and I left the event feeling buoyed and enthusiastic. Also, he won third prize for his slaw and incredible corn crackers. This after only two weeks with raw recipes! It was good to see that the people involved were not fanatics. Some were new to it as we were, investigating raw food and wanting to determine how much they chose incorporate into their diet. Many were vegetarians, but others of us were not, so I was relieved to see that this was not a fanatic group.

All in all, the weekend was a confirmation of our focus, and we felt good throughout. For me, I’m normally needing much more quiet time with space between events. However, even though we had constant activity and guests from Friday on, I got through it all with energy to spare. Hurray!