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June 27 2013 / Emily

Green Smoothies

Lately I feel like kale and green smoothies have been all the rage.  One of my coworkers was so kind to give me a blender as a housewarming gift, and last week I decided I would give the smoothie craze a try.

I’ve never had my own blender.  My cat had never seen a blender.  He kept exploring the counter as I was trying to assemble my smoothie ingredients, and curled up next to the blender right before I turned it on.  I had to commemorate the moment.  I really wish I could have recorded as I turned the blender on, because it absolutely terrified him, and amused me to no end.  This is not animal abuse, I promise.

just you wait...

just you wait…

Gotta love instagram to help me share moments like these, and this blog for helping me share it with even more friends!

Oh and hey, this is the first appearance of my new kitchen on the blog.  I’ve been in my new house almost two months and my blogging has definitely fallen behind.  I will try to get some more “eat” category items going now that my kitchen facilities are at least 5x larger and I even have an oven with legitimate temperature controls.  Hooray!

So last week I had failed to bring lunch to work one day, which led me to a big and unhealthy lunch out.  I do love a Moe’s burrito, and their queso is a major weakness of mine.  So I figured a very low-fat and low-calorie dinner was in order.  I assembled my first green smoothie.  This one was comprised of kale, frozen banana, almond milk, granny smith apple, wheat bran, and some ice.

me assembling, cat exploring

me assembling, cat exploring

It was palatable, but really just tasted like sorta gritty liquid kale.  Not a promising start to the green smoothie craze that was surely supposed to replace meals for me every day and help me drop some stubborn pounds.  Okay, stubborn is generous to me, I can’t say I’ve really done much work lately to slim down.  My running has been lacking!

my first green smoothie.

my first green smoothie.

So it actually did work to tide me over for dinner.  I was also out of the house that night drinking beer (healthy, right?) and playing bar trivia, so I didn’t have the opportunity to snack on other food.  When I got home late that evening I was quite tempted to grab a snack, but I held off.  Wasn’t even that starving for breakfast in the morning, just normal hungry.

All well and good, right?  So the day after green smoothie number one, I ate a normal breakfast and lunch, but by dinner I was absolutely ravenous.  Ate a huge dinner that evening.  I didn’t even exercise Monday or Tuesday.

So then step forward to Wednesday.  I was back to a normal, fairly healthy breakfast and lunch, and for dinner I decided to give the smoothie a try again.  I figured I needed some other flavors to help balance out the kale.

looks better!

looks better!

This time I went for spinach, kale, granny smith apple, almond milk, wheat bran, and frozen strawberries, pineapple and mango.  This comes in a “smoothie mix” package with the frozen fruit at Harris Teeter.  I thought the stronger flavors of those fruits compared to the banana and apple of the first one would help the flavor profile.

Well… it was a little better.  I could taste the fruits, but the overpowering flavor was still the greens.  I swear that I’d heard people say that their green smoothies didn’t taste like spinach or kale at all.  Either I’m adding way too many greens or everyone was lying.

looks the same!

looks the same!

Anyway, on Wednesday evening I had gone out and participated in the Twin City Track Club’s Summer Track Series, which is a tune-up for Ultimate Runner.  That is this weekend!  I ran 1 mile, 400 meters, 800 meters, 100 meters and 2 miles cross country.  After that I went home and threw together the above smoothie to drink as I was heading to what turned out to be our final kickball game of the season.  As with the first green smoothie, I had the benefit of not being home near snacks after having this smoothie for dinner.

Then again the following day, I was ridiculously hungry by dinner and surely ate back all the calories I “saved” by having some pureed spinach and kale for dinner the day prior.  Thwarted!!

All in all, I think I have learned that a simple smoothie like this is not going to be enough for me to utilize as a meal replacement.  Also I learned that people are fibbers regarding the taste of kale vanishing into a delicious fruity treat.

Depending on what you toss into smoothies, if using a lot of fruits and especially nuts or peanut butter, I expect smoothies can be surprisingly dense in calories, sugars and fat.  That will definitely be something to keep in mind.  After Ultimate Runner this weekend, I will need to start working on my training plan for this fall’s 50 miler.  Once I get back into the swing of things mileage-wise, I won’t be needing to cut calories so much.  In that case, these smoothies might be good as an additional calorie source, perhaps an after-workout treat or snack between meals.

I’ll have to get used to washing the blender though.

What do you all think about green smoothies?  Delicious or just nutritious?



Leave a Comment
  1. runningwithsam / Jun 28 2013 6:58 AM

    I can’t do the kale smoothies, I was never able to mask that flavor and that is just not what I want my smoothie to taste like. If you just stick to spinach though, there is not an over powering flavor from the raw. Blueberries and raspberries helped the flavor, too.

    • Emily / Jun 28 2013 8:57 AM

      thanks for your comment! I’ve been meaning to stop by the farmers market, so maybe I can pick up some berries and try again – without kale.

  2. Darrel Wells / Jun 28 2013 10:52 AM

    I’ve been enjoying fruit smoothies occasionally for a couple of years. Mostly as snacks, sometimes to replace b’fast or lunch. I don’t think I’d ever try to replace dinner with one, though!

    I also use the frozen fruit & berry blends, and add banana, yogurt (sometimes), and milk (either soy, almond, or – gasp – cow). I haven’t tried greens… I don’t see how that could taste good at all!

    • Emily / Jun 29 2013 2:47 PM

      I eat pretty substantial breakfasts and lunches, and sometimes – especially if my exercise has been missing – am not terribly hungry at dinnertime. Your smoothies sounds good, skipping the greens! And for what it’s worth, I’ve got nothing against cow’s milk – well, nothing except some lactose intolerance. 🙂

  3. Cindy / Jun 28 2013 12:10 PM

    Emily, Emily, Emily. You need to add some nuts into that smoothie. I love adding almonds, brazil nuts or macadamia nuts and they DEFINITELY mask the taste of the spinach/kale. You might be putting too much in there. Bananas are also a good mask.

    The other HUGE thing to add to mask the greens is lemon or lime juice (I just squeeze a little bit in and voila). Try it….you’ll like it! 🙂

    Good luck at Ultimate Runner on Saturday. I was a one and done with that hot, hot race!

    • Emily / Jun 29 2013 2:49 PM

      I’ll consider some nuts next time; I am sure the fats would make the smoothie more filling. I don’t usually have any around the house though. If it masks the kale, then all the better. I’ve used banana in most of mine so far, but no citrus juice. Thanks for the suggestions!

      And thank you. Ultimate Runner is definitely tough in the heat. I’ve enjoyed having the different distances to focus on for the early part of summer, but I sure wish the temperatures could be dialed down!

  4. Dana / Jun 29 2013 9:03 PM

    I think you’ve inspired me, Em! I have gotten really into the yogurt, frozen berries, OJ combination, but it’s pretty high in sugar. Might give kale a try- even if it’s not the most tasty, it’s still fun to see what combos can go together! BTW, I have been so excited about Ultimate Runner and admittedly, felt a longing to be a Hanes park today.

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