Q - Are we meant to replace our meals with green smoothies?
A - The green smoothie challenge is it is not specifically designed to be a meal replacement program, you can continue to eat your usual meals, however, you may like to increase the challenge by replacing just one meal a day with a green smoothie. Breakfast is a good choice as it gets you off to a great start for the day, though any meal will do.
Q - How much Green Smoothie should I be drinking each day?
A -. The ideal quantity of Green Smoothie is 4 glasses (1 litre) a day. Include 200 grams ( 7oz) of leafy greens and 150 to 300 grams (5 to 10oz) of fruit plus 1 to 2 glasses of water. If this is too much for you to begin with, start with half this amount and gradually increase each day.
Q - Can I add raw eggs, whey protein or superfood powders to my Green Smoothie?
A - I would leave out whey protein, eggs and superfoods for the duration of the challenge (14 days). High quality fat and protein (including many superfoods) are great for “building” however, they can slow down “cleansing”. Also, superfoods are not necessary for this challenge where the focus is on having a direct experience of the power of green living foods. The 14 day Green Smoothie Challenge is a great opportunity to “clean house” and most of us will benefit from a short cleanse. After 14 days you may chose to add superfoods, protein and fat to your smoothies.
Q - I am excited about starting the green smoothie challenge. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions for smoothies that my kids will drink. I currently give them a strawberry banana smoothie in the morning. But I cannot get them to touch greens. Do you have any recipes that might hide the look and flavour of the greens?
A - Its great that your kids are having a fruit smoothie already. I find that the sweeter fruits like banana and mango can totally disguise the flavour but not the colour of the smoothie which can be an issue for some kids (and adults!) Many people have successfully overcome the green issue by adding a cup or two of bright coloured berries to their smoothies. Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries are an awesome source of antioxidants and are usually available frozen all year round.
Q - Instead of water can you use 100% fruit juice or soy milk?
A - My suggestion is that you stick to pure water in your green smoothies. Bottled juice, even 100% pure is lacking in enzymes and the life force found in fresh juices, is often very high in fruit sugar and has preservatives added. Also because fruit juice is missing fibre it is absorbed very quickly and can create unwanted blood sugar spikes.
Most soymilk is heavily processed and is something I would leave out of my smoothie. After the challenge feel free to add soy milk if you like. For 14 days just see what it is like to have one meal/smoothie which includes 100% fresh, whole, unprocessed, unpackaged organic produce. After the challenge feel free to add soy milk if you like or even better you might like to try freshly made almond milk (soaked almonds blended with water).
Q - I have a cheap blender and when I blend my smoothie I still get little chunks of greens floating around in it. I don’t mind the chunks though but am I still getting the full benefit?
A - My aim is to have green smoothies available to everyone, so if your blender isn’t “cutting it” so to speak and you don’t want to spend money on a new one that is perfectly OK if you don’t mind the chunks. You will still benefit. However, to get the full benefit of the green smoothie it helps to have a blender which is powerful enough to liquefy the ingredients to a creamy consistency. This way you will be breaking down the tough cell walls in fibrous greens releasing maximum nutrition. If you can afford it a powerful 900W+ blender is a great investment in your health. In Australia the Sunbeam Cafe Series Blender is a good entry point blender. It has plenty of power, is available in most electrical retailers and costs around $200. In the USA the 900w L’Equip blender will do the job for $134. If you are really serious and want to use commercial strength power blenders, in Australia try the 2HP Powermill blender for $699 or in the USA try the Vitamix, $395 for 2HP or $495 for 3HP.
Q - I have been told to stay away from eating so many bananas because of their high glycemic content... too much sugar.
A – While certain metabolic body types don’t do so well on high glycemic fruit, my feeling is that bananas have been unfairly discriminated against! This is a very frequently asked question. A low glycemic approach has its merits because we have been living on a diet high in refined sugars and processed carbohydrates. However, to me high GI fruit should not be lumped together with manmade sugars. Fresh fruit is high in vitamins, minerals, fibre and enzymes which are very different to the dead calories found in manmade sugars. So don't be scared of bananas. First I would try them and see how you feel. If there is an issue for you, you can reduce the quantity of high glycemic fruit and replace it with lower glycemic fruit such as pears and apples. At the end of the day you need to tune into what is working for your body, regardless of what experts (including me!) say.
Q - I am planning on continuing past the two week challenge, but will be travelling. What is the best travel blender for smoothies?
A - Great question. It depends on how you are travelling. When travelling in a car I take my Powermill blender with me, however, when I travelled to India I took a Bamix style blender (the one with the blades on the end of a stick). It is light, portable, easy to clean, and it did an adequate job. There are also some mini blenders on the market like the Magic Bullet which are very light and portable, though I haven't personally used one.
Q - I love the idea of the GS. I have been a vegetarian for over 10 years but have never thought about combining the greens in my smoothies. I have been pleasantly surprised. My picky 2 year old even likes some of them. I have not experienced anything positive to date however. In fact I have been feeling the opposite. I have had mild headaches, dizziness and constipation. Am I doing something wrong or is this all part of my body detoxing? I have been following the basic recipes that you have given on line. Example: 1/2 head of lettuce, 2-3 bananas, mango (or other fruit), water. Could it be the bananas that are causing the constipation?
A - You are almost certainly experiencing a cleansing reaction. When you introduce larger amounts of high quality living food into your diet, such as green smoothies, it is highly likely your body will take the opportunity to “clean house” by dumping accumulated toxins into your bloodstream. This can cause flu like symptoms, headaches, fevers, runny nose, rashes, nausea etc. Rather than be discouraged a cleansing reaction is cause to celebrate that you are on the road to better health. Cleansing reactions commonly last from 1-3 days and can be alleviated by drinking plenty of pure water and getting plenty of rest. When changing eating habits it can be quite normal to become constipated or to have loose stools while your body adjusts to the new food. I have also found that unripe bananas can cause constipation as well. If symptoms persist or become too extreme please consult a health professional.
Q - I'm thrilled to be part of the challenge. I'm a vegan. This is the 1st. time I'll combine so much fruit with greens. For people with poor digestion, can sweet fruit be combined with acid or sub -acid fruit? If I use less fruit, will they still be effective?
A - According to Victoria Boutenko, leafy greens are a different category to starchy root vegetables. They seem to combine very well with most fruits and in my experience this is true. It is best to experiment and trust your body. It will let you know if the smoothie is agreeing with you or not. I personally don't combine other fruit with oranges and lemons.
The reason we combine fruit with leafy greens is most people find the greens unpalatable, especially in the quantities we are suggesting. You are welcome to reduce the fruit if that works for you - the name of the game is to "get the greens in" and enjoy it.
Q - You recommend that we buy four x 500ml (1 pint) glass jars for storing our green smoothies. Does that mean I'll be making more than ONE day's worth of smoothie at one time? While I like the idea that I don't have to wash, chop and blend fruits and veggies every day, doesn't the nutritional value drastically decrease, the longer the smoothie is saved?
A - Fresh is definitely best, however, you may find there are times when you don't get through your smoothie in one sitting or you may want to take you smoothie with you to work or on your travels. This is where the jars come in handy. Runi and I travel often and sometimes make up to 4 litres of GS to take with us. I have an ice box in the car and sometimes store my GS for up to 48 hours. When there are no other options on the road I would rather have a 48 hour old GS than eat processed food.
Q - I don't have a GI reading for the smoothie, however, I can share with you many people with diabetes have managed to improve their condition with green smoothies and proper nutrition. One approach is to stop fruit/grains/alcohol/processed foods/sugar/dairy/meat altogether. While very effective, to me this is an extreme approach which most people couldn't maintain unless they were locked in a padded cell.
A - According to Victoria Boutenko it is definitely a good idea for type 2 diabetic’s to begin with low GI fruits - use green apples, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, or cucumbers. You may like to add sweeter fruits to your smoothies little by little and closely monitor your blood sugar. You will probably notice that after you ingest sweet fruit, your blood sugar will go up at first, but for a very short time. Then it will go down and stay on the lower level much longer than from eating any other food. There is a big difference between the sugar in the fruit and the sugar in cooked potato. Above all be very cautious and monitor vigilantly.
Q - I'm just a little worried about the ingredients in the smoothies, hoping I will be able to access them, e.g. peaches etc are a little impossible to get hold of at the moment-where we are anyway.
A - The recipes we are giving you for your green smoothies are just guidelines. The important thing is that you are putting in 2-3 large handfuls of leafy greens + fruit and you are enjoying the experience! Feel free to experiment and invent your own favourite recipes. Use what is available in your area.
Q - My bowel movements have increased and have turned green. Is this normal?
A - Yes, green stools and increased bowel movements are a perfectly normal result of drinking green smoothies. Some people also find their stools initially become looser when beginning on green smoothies and then firm up as they become accustomed to them.