Are All Green Smoothies Healthy?

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Are you really drinking a healthy smoothie?  Even if you are making your own it may not be.  Are you energized from it? 

Have you carefully considered all the ingredients that went into that drink? Organic?

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My Green Kale Smoothie –not yummy yet

Tips to making green smoothies "kid friendly":

  • Have them decide on their favorite fruits
  • Try some romaine lettuce as a way to introduce the "green" — later add in a little kale with the lettuce (romaine most mild)
  • For fruit: bananas always nice to have in each drink with some berries
  • Have them go shopping for those
  • Have them pick from the garden, if possible
  • Teach them about buying organics lessons as first choice, if possible
  • Have them get the cups ready for the smoothie
  • Have them turn on the blender and pour the drink

Hearing two voices…

The other day I overheard a conversation in which one authority was asked if she would add strawberry leaves into a smoothie.  "Yes." I thought to myself "no."  Why "no?"  The reason I thought that way is because I have been around for a while — decades — and mainly desiring only organics when affordable or many times I will not buy. 

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Strawberries are part of the top 12 heavily pesticide produce list below.  To me organic is where I am at and buy this way when possible.  Wondering what the other 11 are? 

Now let me ask you this: Have you ever considered what you are buying when it comes to feeding your body healthy?  Just like dogs, people or plants green smoothies are not all created equal. 


I love eating mainly raw foods so this is just part of my lifestyle.  I just play with the ingredients on hand and create never knowing how it will come out but for sure taste delicious.


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Blueberry Smoothie — looks like chocolate

Finally…yummy green smoothie for you and your kids. Recipe is below. 

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Carol's Favorite Green Smoothie

"Twist and Shout Lemon Green Smoothie"


Handful of kale, romaine lettuce, 3 stalks of celery (can increase after you do the taste test), thick slice of lemon with skin on, 1/2 banana, about 3/4 cup water (start with enough to get your blender moving and can add more), 1-2 tablespoons Chia seeds (opt).  Note: Can add more banana if wish, but start with less as best first. Decorate over glass with slice of lemon over glass. Yummy.  Off to drink mine now.  Organics preferred.


Did you know pesticides…


-May affect your health.

-Eating or drinking 5 fruits or vegetables from the list below shows that out of  the top 12 leads us consuming an average of 14 different pesticides daily.  


According a non profit advocacy group, Environmental Working Group, this is the 2011 list of the top 12 worst heavily sprayed pesticides fruits and vegetables.  Pesticides may even affect your health. 

The worst most heavily sprayed is apples and the order lessens the amount of pesticides, but still not advisable to use: 

  1. Apple
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines-imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries-– domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

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Same green drink but different reflection

So you can't afford organics, you can be a frugal shopper…

-shop local at Farmer's Market

-shop stores where "local" signs are displayed over the produce in that store

Where's the green smoothie recipes?

Berry Smoothie…

All organic ingredients: Handful of kale, 3/4 water, banana, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (don't think organic), about 1/2 cup blueberries, lemon slice with skin, and some purslane (a weed, from my garden).

Add more fruit to make it sweeter flavor; however, I still drink things that don't taste good that do my body wonders.

Green Smoothie…

Same as above, but added mango instead of berries. Add pinch of purslane and one dandelion flower found in garden. 

Give me kale?  Which one? Curly or Dino (there are other varieties out there.)

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Different varieties of kale

Again, key is best to make it on a sweeter side for young kids. 

I could be adding another recipe if I find one that is much tastier. 

3 Ways to Clean Your Produce safely and inexpensively:

Way 1: Susan Sumner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, researcher, said one way to disinfect and not sure if that includes removing pesticides off is below and can be used on counters:

White vinegar or cider vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide Walmart or another drugstore area may have.  Put vinegar and hydrogen peroxide into own dark-colored spray bottles.  Not sure where to fine these but in a place where you make your own products. Spray produce first with vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide. Rinse under running water.

Way 2:  This method below is a diluted form of hydrochloric acid to wash off pesticides:

Fill sink with cold water.
Add 4 tablespoons salt and juice of half a fresh lemon.
Soak produce 5-10 minutes (leafy greens 2-3 minutes, berries 1-2 minutes). Rinse well after soaking and use.
Way 3: Eat Cleaner, is a product that was shown on QVC, sells their products in some stores and perhaps on their website.  They did a test on apples and proved 99.8% efficacy removing pesticides.
Reflecting and Acting…
So here I shared the top 12 worst heavily pesticide sprayed fruits and vegetables.  Will you be making your own spray and buying more organics if available and affordable? Will you be growing more of your own produce with kids and make a kids garden a fun family project?

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Carol Giambri is a gardening expert. She is obsessed with the garden and eating healthy as a frugal shopper.  At a 12 step program she would probably stand up admitting: "I am addicted and obsessed with the garden and its foods."  She even shops for unique shapes of fruits and veggies.  From worm composting, which is a new desire, to homemade cleaning products, eating edible weeds, coaching programs, speaking, writing content for blogs, green/recycle talk, dogs and helping her hubby she enjoys encouraging people.  Carol plans to write several books on healthy living as well as a pet book where her heart still remains having seen so many go to heaven.



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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

michele August 24, 2011 at 5:00 am

I am also a maker of green smoothies. Interesting you se purslane….Tried it once but never again. NOT my favorite!

Anastasiya Day August 24, 2011 at 5:35 am

I love smoothies :) Great article, thank you for your great tips – I will try Berry Smoothie! Thank you for sharing.

Sharon O'Day August 24, 2011 at 5:56 am

Thanks, Carol, for pointing out that we need to look further than the superficial "drinking green smoothies is healthy for you" slogan.  We need to look carefully at the ingredients.  Your list of most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables was an eye-opener:  Apples, celery, spinach, imported grapes, red peppers and kale make up the foundation of my smoothies!  Thanks for this valuable article!

denny hagel August 24, 2011 at 6:21 am

Carol this is awesome…such a wealth of information! I have been wondering about green smoothies and you have answered so many of my questions! Thanks! Great job!

Jen Bennett August 24, 2011 at 8:12 am

Love the article Carol!  Love your emphasis on buying organic also.  This is something I definitely want to get better at.  Thanks for sharing your wisdom! 

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

Jen, thanks for reading and your comments. I believe after eating mainly organics for decades it is now paying dividends seeing others up their in years, like myself part of the AARP generation, not being able to relate to their sickness or medicine stories. I do my best only in making the decision to buy that particular food or skip till the price goes down as organics can be very expensive.

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 9:27 am

Denny, thanks for coming over here with your comment. I just added a section on “kids friendly” smoothie advice and will be adding another recipe to get one that little and big kids love. I have another one I will be trying from years back I totally forgot about till this morning to add in and probably take a picture of.Thanks for your compliment too.

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 9:31 am

Sharon, it’s amazing what we don’t know we don’t know. Make sense. Yesterday our local store had discounted organic celery and apples. I looked sat the price of the organic apples in the bag and was shocked seeing some 3 pound or maybe it was 5 pound bags of various apples over $7 a bag when my apples that weighted 1 1/2 were a dollar. I go to a local store that only sells organics. Glad the information was valuable and you can make better choices on what you “drink.” (Yikes and just added a section to this post about kids friendly smoothie ideas–another recipe or two coming forth from my flashback today of one that I used to like–trying it before sharing it probably later). Thanks Sharon for your valuable comments.

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

Anastasiya, For the berry smoothie I would surely add in more berries and less kale unless you love a more on the bitter side smoothie. Also romaine lettuce could tone down the taste and less kale but keep it in for the many wonderful properties kale has. Try different varieties of kale. Celery also can be added in with the lettuce as adding in a nicer balance to the strong kale flavor. As shared I don’t always drink for flavor but nutritional value. Oh, added in some kids friendly suggestions to them getting to enjoy smoothies as part of being part of the process to making it. Thanks for your comment.

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

Michele, Purslane not my favorite but still I eat it when I can harvest own. I also add in salads. Thanks for sharing.

McKenna Gordon August 24, 2011 at 9:37 am

Great article. The "dirty dozen" is a helpful list to have. Can you explain in more detail why you recommend no strawberry greens if the strawberries are organic? I always advise to keep them, but I love hearing others' perspectives, too. :)

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 10:30 am

McKenna, thanks for comment. Ah, just saw your entire question about strawberry leaves. Maybe you missed this: “Strawberries are part of the top 12 heavily pesticide produce list below.” If they are organic I would use the strawberries and leaves; however since they are on the bad list of heavily pesticide ones I would still “not” use the strawberry or the leaves unless organic based on others research. My married kids however don’t buy into the organic talk like I do and eat as they wish and can afford.

Olga Hermans August 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Great, great post Carol. I am going to try this as well. We love smoothies, but not the kind that you recommend :) We will give it a try; we just a 10 days juice fast, that has changed us quite a bit. I know that organic has a completely different taste; so much better.

Carol Giambri August 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Olga, thanks for compliment. Glad your 10 day juice fast was “fruitful.” In my favorite recipe I did use chia seeds and added it into this post as optional. Not sure if you saw this update.

Beth Heilman August 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

You've given me inspiration, Carol. Gotta try these with my 8 year old. He love a good smoothie!

Scarlett Von Gunten August 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I love green smoothies and so do my kids! Thanks for encouraging us to drink them more!

Wil August 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Some of your recipes look very interesting. Thanks for the list of heavily sprayed veggies/fruits. I'll take care to wash them thoroughly before juicing them.
Thanks for all the great tips.

Carol Giambri August 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Wil, Great you heard more about washing. Thanks for coming here.

Carol Giambri August 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Great Scarlett that your kids know a lot more than other kids do. What a gift you are sharing with them. Thanks for sharing.

Carol Giambri August 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Beth, kids love things that are sweet and the lemon twist one I shared is nice. Maybe add a little more banana to sweeten up more. Go light on the kale as hard to get used too if you are not familiar with the taste. For apple can use a softer kind of apple skin like Rome or Golden Delicious vs. Red Delicious which is usually not as sweet. Glad you were inspired. Have your child be involved in helping — even buying the apples if possible and then washing the produce. Make them part of the “party.”

AJ August 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Great recipe Carol!

Carol Giambri August 26, 2011 at 12:10 am

AJ, thanks for recipe comment. I hope you try it and for apples, something like Golden Delicious is super tasty and sweet. Enjoy!

Christiane Marshall December 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Thanks for writing this article Carol! You know, just a tiny bit of flax can add a smoothness without bananas. But be careful as too much makes the texture hard for some to take.

Carol Giambri December 20, 2011 at 12:53 am

Thanks for sharing Christiane. I heard also chia seeds are great too. Regardless all natural is the best way I believe to go for “relief” in all body areas.

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