Green Drink Smoothie Guide (Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know)
Today, I’m going to give you the ‘skinny’ on green smoothies. Whether you’ve arrived here to learn more about the green smoothie diet, or you are in ketosis and worried about your green smoothie interfering, I’ve got all the information you will need.
Are green smoothies really THAT healthy?
The answer is, mostly, they are… (I’ll explain that later)
The incredible popularity of green smoothies has caused a lot of marketing scams to target people, just like you and I, who simply want to lose weight, feel sharper, and lower our chances for seasonal colds and flu.
There are lots of green smoothie diet anecdotes, but which ones really matter?
That’s what I’m going to explain. My only request to you, the reader, is to hold off for just a few minutes longer before buying that green smoothie shake recipe or book.
You may not want or need it after reading my Green Smoothie Diet Guide.
To Make Things Easy, JUMP To Sections You Prefer
- 1 Green Drink Smoothie Guide (Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know)
- 2 How To Make a Green Smoothie
- 2.1 Green Smoothies Premade – Green Drink Powders
- 2.2 Green Smoothies – Grocery Store / DIY
- 2.3 Green Smoothies – Hybrid
- 2.4 Green Smoothie Recipes
- 2.5 Green Smoothies and Weight Loss
- 2.6 Green Smoothies Carbs – Ketosis
- 2.7 Green Smoothie Cleanse / Detox
- 2.8 Naked Juice Green Smoothie Review
- 2.9 The Green Truth – My Final Thoughts
First, let’s start with the basics.
What Are Green Smoothies?
A green smoothie is a drink that is typically composed of leafy green vegetables. The leafy green vegetable content should be dense enough that the drink is green in color (hence, the ‘green drink smoothie’ name).
Leafy green vegetables are scientifically shown to be some of the most nutrient dense plants on earth.
Due to the green smoothie’s renowned and widely agreed upon health benefits, many people seek out green smoothies as a way to stave off seasonal illnesses like cold and flu, as well as offer a layer of protection against degenerative diseases.
And of course, weight loss (I’ll get to that later).
Green Smoothie Ingredients
You might already know this (if so, bounce down).
The core base of any green smoothie consists of some, or all, of the following ingredients.
There are more, but these are the main base ingredients.
What About Fruit?
Of course, fruits and honey are often put into a green smoothie. This is done more for alleviating the “earthy taste” commonly associated with any green drink.
But, fruit means sugar (specifically, fructose, the lousy sugar).
What About Herbs?
Of course, herbs such as Gingko Biloba, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginseng can be put in a green drink smoothie.
As is often the case, the green drink smoothie is a one-stop health pop. The more health, the merrier the green drink experience.
Green smoothies with herbs is something that happens more with a premade green drink smoothie than ones you make on your own (that’s a topic we start discussing next).
How To Make a Green Smoothie
Learning how to make a green smoothie is an art, but its also not as difficult as some people would like to make it out to be.
Often, people or companies attempting to sell you green smoothie products will make it seem that making a green smoothie requires a degree in rocket science.
It does not.
That said, there are three different ways to achieve creating a green smoothie drink. One is to do it your darn self, the other is to buy premade green smoothie versions, and the last way is to do a bit of both.
Green Smoothies Premade – Green Drink Powders
Simply put, buying premade green smoothie containers is the absolute most straightforward way to make a green smoothie drink. But it isn’t without risk…
We have a list of the top green smoothie powders to serve as a guide for anyone new to buying green drink powders.
You can buy green smoothie formulas at Whole Foods, grocery stores, probably even Target (and of course, online).
A green smoothie container will usually come with a scoop. Yes, its so easy, even a caveman could do make a green smoothie.
In many cases, the green smoothie premade version merely is scooped out and mixed with either water or some sort of milk or almond milk base.
The added benefit of using a green smoothie premade product is that you can make your smoothies on the go.
For example, you can bring it to work and mix it in your water container at lunch.
You can take it on a road trip with you.
But it’s not all roses (or spinach) when it comes to premade green smoothie products…
Premade green smoothies are often filled with additives and preservatives that the green smoothie manufacturer uses to extend the product’s expiration date.
The longer a product can stay on a store’s shelf, the more money the product maker can potentially earn.
That’s just basic green smoothie economics at play, my friends.
Nasty additives and preservatives are why reading green smoothie labels is of the utmost importance!
Additionally, serving sizes vs. price of green smoothie container matter (a whole lot).
The price of the green smoothie container should be compared to the number of servings and the individual serving sizes to figure out what kind of “deal” you are getting.
It’s quite simple to do (follow me here)
If the container is a 30 day supply and each serving is 5 grams of green drink, and the entire container cost you $100, you are paying $3.33 per 5 gram serving each day.
Is that good or bad?
Maybe, but let’s discuss it more deeply to get a better idea.
To make things easy, I’ve created my official green smoothie container chart.
Meal Replacement Green Drinks
A meal replacement green drink requires a heavy serving size and the presence of a decent amount of protein. Generally, I look for 9 to 15 grams per serving in this category. This can often translate to $3 or even up to $4 per serving.
Anything under 7 grams per serving is likely a cheaper product (or it should be).
The 7 to 10 grams means your green drink formula is decent. I would say $1.50 to $2.00 per serving isn’t a bad amount to spend on a “decent green smoothie product.”
Nothing wrong with going cheap if the price makes sense regarding value. However, you don’t want to get sold at a high price for a “meal replacement green smoothie” that only has 6 grams per serving.
What Other Nutrient Add Ons Are Present?
A green drink smoothie formula might be weaker in the serving size category, however, the product might try to score some points in the add on category.
What are “add ons?”
Things such as herbs, probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber are additional ingredients that can vastly ramp up the health attributes of your green smoothie formula.
Remember, you are buying a green smoothie formula, your core focus needs to be on how much leafy green nutrient density you get from it. However, add-ons can be pretty important in deciding if a green smoothie formula has more or less value.
Organic, GMOs, Gluten…
The other portion of the green smoothie label you need to pay attention to is the overall production aspect of the ingredients.
Does the formula you are looking at certify that its gluten free? Do you care?
Are you worried about GMOs?
These are aspects of the label that can also influence value.
Green Smoothies – Grocery Store / DIY
Want to “do it yourself?”
No problem, you’ll need access to a grocery store, farmer’s market, or even your own garden (or someone else’s garden, but I suggest you let them know your intentions!).
When you do your green smoothie yourself, you might save money….
You might not… (let’s hold off on that point for a second).
The real value in making your green smoothie is that you control all the ingredients.
You can handpick the ingredients you want to use, which allows you way more flexibility concerning your green smoothie recipe.
Premade formulas may have something in them you simply do not want and that’s a problem because you can’t remove that item.
With premade, you can add, but you can’t subtract.
You will also control the washing, cleaning of vegetables. The blender you use. The cutting board you use.
In other words, you control the environment, leaving no stone unturned.
You can also assure that your vegetable is in perfect condition before buying it.
But there are some downsides to making your green smoothie from scratch…
Making a green smoothie from scratch is a tremendous amount of work. Just buying the produce at the grocery store is a chore, but consider you have to wash it all and store it all and chop it all, you are in for a heck of a lot of work.
If you have a family or work (or both) that keep you busy, becoming a green drink-ologist may not be worth your time.
You are talking about hours and hours of work.
But you will save money, right?
Eh, not so fast…
You can save money, there is no doubt about it. But it’s harder than you think.
Produce tends to go bad, that’s just par for the course. When you make your own green smoothies, you almost have to do it every 24 hours because your own concoctions won’t preserve well.
There is always going to be produce that goes bad.
You can help minimize such losses by figuring out your green smoothie ingredient amounts.
Additionally, going to the store more frequently helps insure you have fresh produce at all times (but yes, that’s even more time spent on this project).
In my opinion, the biggest benefit to making your own green smoothies from scratch is that you control the ingredients. Even if you save money, it won’t be as much as you think and your time has value, also.
That said, controlling your ingredients from scratch can mean a healthier green drink experience as well as a better taste.
Green Smoothies – Hybrid
You knew this section was coming.
It HAD to be coming.
Because, of course, it just makes sense that one could have the best of both worlds.
Yes, you can mix your own ingredients with a premade green smoothie formula.
For many people, this is the best option. It allows you to be flexible in your ingredients but without the hassle of long grocery store lines and smelly produce that went bad.
The best approach to the hybrid method is to make sure that the green drink formula you buy has base ingredients.
You don’t want anything too extravagant because you can’t remove ingredients, you can only add them.
Once you get your base green smoothie formula purchased, you can then make a list of green smoothie ingredients that you want.
I’d create a few different categories:
Taste: Which ingredients would you like to use to add flavor to the formula. For example, maybe honey, or stevia, or peaches? Typically, taste is a refined balance between the base leafy green ingredients and sweeter fruits.
Nutrient Density: You should look at the nutrients that you are getting in the premade green smoothie formula and compare it against a chart of nutrients you know you want.
For example, maybe your doctor has advised you that you need to lower your blood pressure. If this is the case, perhaps you’d want to add in some beets, or cranberries, to help in such a way?
Texture: For many people, the texture of a green drink smoothie is a big deal. Some people like a thicker experience, others, not so much.
You can make use of starchy fruits such as bananas to add in thickness. Additionally, you might consider yogurt for the same purposes.
Time of Year: Some people believe in eating by the seasons, rather than by what’s always available in the grocery store produce section.
When watermelons are in season, you might want to spruce up your green smoothie with the additional watermelon pep!
Herbs: Herbs like Ginseng are often available in powder forms that can be quickly tossed into your green drink.
But here’s the thing…
You can also just take the herbs separately. Its up to you, really.
Fiber: Many premade green smoothie drink formulas are short on fiber. Fiber is extremely healthy and promotes weight loss.
You could buy some flaxseeds, or even pumpkin seeds, to give your green smoothie some digestive tract health.
Probiotics: This is something you are better off just purchasing and taking along side your drink. But it is possible to add them into your green smoothie.
People often use kefir and yogurt for such purposes.
Green Smoothie Recipes
There are green smoothie recipe sites all over the web. To be honest, I don’t see the purpose.
No, no…hold on…
I’m not saying that green smoothie recipes are silly, I’m just saying, there are only so many natural, healthy ingredients that you can put into a green smoothie.
When it comes down to it, all that matters is what nutrients you want and what taste you will settle for.
All you need to know is: “Too Sweet” or not to Sweet.
It really is that simple.
If your spinach and kale and swiss chard smoothie taste like dirt, that’s because, well, it kind of is, dirt. Those are plants that absorb a lot of the earth. That’s a good thing for your health, but not always for your pallet.
So, you can add in oranges and cranberries.
But then, you have to consider, how much sugar are you willing to accept to change the green smoothie’s taste profile?
I’m not one of those “sugar is evil” guys, however, sugar in high doses, even from fruit, can detrimentally affect blood sugar.
When making up your own green smoothie, you only have to decide how much sugar you’re willing to accept for better taste.
Because, in the end, more fruit, honey, and other sweets, will improve the taste.
For some people, using a lot of fruit might be their only way to get down essential leafy greens.
But at some point, your green smoothie may turn out to be the color of a cherry!
Green Smoothies and Weight Loss
There are lots of factors that play a role in our body’s ability to manage weight.
The amount in total you eat versus the amount of energy you expend.
The amount of sleep you do, or don’t, get each night.
Your love for Netflix.
Green smoothies and weight loss are without question, bed buddies, but to what extent does the relationship go to?
A long way, actually.
A 2015 study followed over 133,000 men and women over a 24 year period. The study’s revelations were incredible.
It found direct links between increased fruit and vegetable intake and weight loss/management.
Leafy green vegetables and berries were commonly rated with a (-) decrease in weight as average serving sizes spiked.
In fact, nearly all leafy greens and berries contributed to weight loss in the study’s findings.
Green Smoothies Carbs – Ketosis
Relax! It’s going to be OK…
For many people, a ketogenic diet is a way to lose and maintain weight.
A ketogenic diet means eating so few carbs that your body runs almost entirely from fat.
I’m not here to comment on the ketogenic diet as it relates to health, that’s an entirely different subject.
If you are reading my Green Smoothie Diet Guide and are on a ketogenic diet, you’ve already decided that the ketogenic diet is right for you.
So, you only want to know, “will a green smoothie kick me out of ketosis?”
The answer is a tricky “maybe.”
Ketosis is reliant on the body’s threshold for carbs and energy. For most people, eating below 50 grams of carbs per day will keep them in ketosis. For others, it is much lower.
But for some outliers, 100 grams of carbs a day is good to go for ketosis.
Knowing that this is a carb count dilemma makes the question of “will a green smoothie kick me out of ketosis” an easier, yet still tricky solve.
Remember in the earlier “green smoothie recipes” section where we discussed the sweetness factor?
Well, that’s once again, relevant.
While leafy green vegetables do possess carbs, they don’t possess the vast amount of carbs found in fruits and honey.
The amount of fruit and honey per serving in your green smoothie will determine whether or not you are booted out of ketosis.
Here’s the thing…
You aren’t going to get 50 grams of carbs in any normal green smoothie drink I’ve ever come across.
No green smoothie can tell you what your carb / ketosis threshold is, however, if you look at the basic ketosis numbers posted in the Harvard article, you’ll likely be just fine.
Green Smoothie Cleanse / Detox
There is a new trend in modern health.
That trend is called [insert any name you like] detox.
The word detox is a highly marketable word.
But is it safe?
That’s something you’d need to check with your doctor on, however, I’m personally not a big fan. I believe in a consistent approach to dieting.
For many people, the lure of “detoxing from modern chemicals” and ultra-fast weight loss is too big to turn down.
Here’s the bad news (yep, I’m about to keep things real up in here)…
Detoxes have no supporting evidence behind them showing that they remove toxins from your body.
In fact, the human body is masterful at cleansing itself. If you aren’t adding in bad toxins on a daily basis and you are drinking green smoothies along side a healthy, balanced diet, you are probably detoxing already.
A green smoothie cleans may sound healthy, but it may end up leaving you feeling horrendous. Any fat lost of the period of a cleanse is likely to come right back once you break the cleanse.
Naked Juice Green Smoothie Review
The question comes up a lot.
That’s my unwavering opinion over the Naked Juice Green Smoothie debate.
Naked Juice Green Smoothie is just fruit juices, purees, and preservatives. You get 28 grams of sugar per serving.
While Naked Juice Green Smoothies may seem like an easy option when you are at a Starbucks, they truly aren’t beneficial to your health in any way. There are simply too many detrimental aspects to them.
The Green Truth – My Final Thoughts
Green Smoothie Diets are really more of a lifestyle.
My Green Smoothie Diet Guide taught you how to determine the best type of green smoothie to make.
It taught you how to read labels if you do decide to buy a premade version.
It showed you that green smoothie cleanses and detoxes don’t hold up nearly as well in the results category as consistent, well=balanced diets do.
We discussed green smoothies and their effects on ketosis. We also broke down green smoothie taste versus green smoothie health.
So, what are you waiting for?
It’s time to get your green smoothie diet on.