There’s a lot going on here.
This antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammation green-smoothie-turned-purple is designed to use up all the odds and ends which might normally accumulate in a well-stocked refrigerator. If you’re looking at the ingredients list and cursing, then that’s something we might want to unpack together.
The great thing about this recipe is that it forces us to confront the state of our overall diet in general. Here are the rude questions I had to ask myself:
Shouldn’t I already have fresh greens like spinach and kale for the fiber my doctor told me to take in on a daily basis?
Shouldn’t I already have common vegetables like celery for homemade soups and stocks, or just for low-calorie snacking?
Shouldn’t I already have half a cucumber SOMEWHERE in my vegetable drawer, for slicing and adding to salads?
Shouldn’t I already have fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro to provide extra color, flavor and garnish for meals?
Shouldn’t I already have some leftover frozen fruit stocked in my freezer, from the last smoothie run?
Things like beets, kiwi, pineapple and turmeric we can cut ourselves a break on, since those obviously require a special trip to the store. (The good news there is that once we buy a batch, there are shortcuts for the beet juice pops and pineapple to ensure those are always ready to be pulled out of our freezer on a moment’s notice.)
All the rest, though, are commonly (and affordably!) found in the produce section or freezer aisles of most grocery stores, and are all items we might use in the preparation of balanced, everyday meals throughout the week.
So let’s not hate on this smoothie recipe for having so many ingredients. If we must, let’s hate the fact that we still haven’t kicked our largely processed-food diet, to the extent that this list overwhelms or starts us at square one.
Bummed? Don’t be. Every day brings a fresh opportunity to do better. Use this recipe as a handy checkpoint, or “pop quiz” on how your efforts to eat healthier are coming along.
Missing one or more of the ingredients? Improvise and come up with your own smoothie creation. It’s OK, the recipe is purposely imprecise for that reason. (Handful of this, a sprig of that, etc.) I once replaced the raw kale with some baby bok choy because, why not? It’s still greens. And that’s what was left over from my Glazed Shitakes and Bok Choy market run from earlier in the week. I worked with what I had. Give yourself permission to do same.
Enjoy, and have fun cleaning out that fridge!
P.S. – No, I’m not colorblind. I realize the smoothie color in the photo is more brown than purple, but who wants to drink a brown smoothie? (Answer: Not me.)
P.P.S. – This smoothie recipe is not prescribed as a cure for anybody’s [insert health condition here]. Do not write me asking if this will help with your [insert health condition here]. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or mystic healer. I’m just a woman in a kitchen who throws stuff she thinks she might like into her blender, same as you. As always, you should do your own research and seek a professional medical opinion before making this or any other changes to your diet or fitness plan. (If gastric discomfort or other symptoms occur, you should discontinue use and consult your doctor. Some people have tender tummies, and we all respond differently to detoxifying foods.)
Purple Smoothie with Beet, Turmeric and Ginger (Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory)
Yield 3 servings
Since completing the 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse years ago, I've felt the urge to break free from set recipes and rules. This particular recipe was born when I looked around my kitchen and fridge one day, assessed what was going bad, and issued myself a challenge: How many wilted produce items could I use up, and still wind up with an antioxidant/anti-inflammatory smoothie that actually tastes good?
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 1 handful kale
- 2 celery stalks, ends trimmed and cut into thirds
- 1/2 - 1 medium-sized cucumber
- a few sprigs of parsley
- a few sprigs of cilantro (optional - some people freak out about the taste of cilantro, but I like it)
- 1 cube frozen beet, turmeric and ginger juice (1/2 cup)
- 1 scoop protein powder (I use Nutiva Superfood 30 Shake)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds (optional)
- 1 - 2 kiwis, peeled
- 1/4 - 1/2 banana
- 1 handful frozen blueberries
- 1 handful frozen strawberries
- 2 handfuls frozen pineapple
- In this order, add water, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro. Blend 20-30 seconds to incorporate.
- Add beet juice cube, powders and remaining fruit ingredients. Blend 2 or 3 cycles until smooth.
- Divide into three (3) 20-ounce (or approximate) servings and refrigerate. Consume within 2-3 days.
- If you're concerned about the amount of natural sugar in the fruits, gradually cut back until you are using only half the amount of frozen fruit indicated, or to taste. Likewise, instead of using 1/2 banana, try it first with 1/4 banana. Keep that whole kiwi, though! In fact, I often throw in two if I can spare it. (Health claims include 20 nutrients and five times more vitamin C than an orange.) It's also important to remember the serving size of this recipe. All sugars contained in the fruits are spread across three servings, so you're only taking in 1/3 of the recipe's fruit each serving. If at first the smoothie still doesn't taste sweet enough for your liking, you can add 10 fresh or frozen grapes but be mindful this also increases the sugar content. Start there, but then learn to deduct more and more fruit each time until your palate adjusts to the fresh, delicious taste of a largely vegetable-based smoothie.
- For instructions on how to create frozen beet, turmeric and ginger "shots," check my previous post here. If you're worried about the possibility of intense detox symptoms from that amount of beet juice (remember, it's only 1/2 cup spread across 3 servings), you can always reduce it by simply freezing smaller cubes, and working your way up until your system adjusts. I've never had any trouble with beet juice, but I'm learning that some people have sensitive digestive tracts.
- Pick a good-quality protein powder. I settled on Nutiva brand because it's made without Stevia, whey products or other fillers I don't like.