My best advice for people to improve their health is to start consuming green smoothies on an empty stomach every morning. I tell folks to be sure to use lots of well-combined fruit—especially golden, spotted, ripe and sugar-sweet bananas, the base of my favorite green smoothie, Green ’n’ Clean Smoothie—and one or two handfuls of romaine lettuce. I tell them this meal must satisfy them all the way until lunchtime. Stomach growling at 11 a.m.? Eat more fruit—and make bigger green smoothies!
In my mind, green smoothies—they can also be made with oranges or peaches and spinach, for example—are the lynchpin of a successful raw food transition. I discuss green smoothies in much greater detail in Alive!, my raw food transition book, which puts one on the path to a raw food diet in four simple steps. Simply put, most are starved for vitamins and minerals, so the potent combination of fruit and greens provides a power-packed meal that satisfies, energizes and digests easily! Arnold Kauffman, owner of Arnold’s Way, echoes this point and has seen green smoothies help transform person after person who comes to his Lansdale, Pennsylvania, raw food café.
From April 26, 2010, through September 26, 2013, I consumed a large green smoothie for at least one meal and, most often, for two or even three meals—sometimes even four!—a day. Enjoying green smoothies every day changed my life in profound ways in just a week. My energy and mood soared after five days, and I was able to quit smoking cigarettes after seven days. By this point, I promised myself not to miss a single day drinking green smoothies. I read Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko and felt electrified about all the nutrition I consumed and excited about eating even more raw food.
Before long, I had green smoothies twice a day. I rode a surging wave made of green smoothies all the way to going vegan and then adopting a low-fat raw food diet. Even as I mastered monomeals, or eating a single food as a meal, of grapes, mangos or watermelon, for example, I didn’t want to miss a day having a green smoothie. This meal became part of me—literally, I’m built of mostly bananas by this point, having eaten about 12,000 of them in 2012 alone.
This streak of 1,250 days served two purposes outside keeping a promise to myself and my genuine enjoyment of green smoothies. It helped me know I consumed enough greens because, at the minimum, according to Dr. Doug Graham’s recommendations in The 80/10/10 Diet, I need at least 80 calories from greens a day—and this is at the low end of Graham’s scale of 2 to 6 percent of total calories coming from greens. Since I hit my stride leading an 80/10/10 lifestyle, I have aimed to have 4 percent of my calories from greens, and this amounts to just more than 2 pounds of romaine lettuce a day based on my 4,000-calorie intake.
Some raw fooders are comfortable with consuming all their greens at dinnertime, but I’ve never gone for chomping down on more than two-thirds of a pound of lettuce for my final meal. From what I noticed on 30BananansADay.com, operated by Freelee and Harley “Durianrider” Johnstone, some members think their greens consumption is low and thus aren’t thriving on a low-fat raw food diet. I like enjoying lettuce in green smoothies and chewing on celery with most fruit meals, including green smoothies, throughout the day.
The other purpose for my streak is that it sends a message to those who have yet to try a green smoothie and nonbelievers alike that there must be something magical and powerful in green smoothies for someone not to miss a day in about three-and-a-half years from when he started with these meals, which, to some, resemble a bottle full of “swamp” or “slime.” My message turned a hardcore barbecue master on to green smoothies instead of coffee and standard American diet fare for a healthier breakfast, sustained energy and to lose weight. Others have told or written me that they’ve enjoyed positive results with green smoothies as well. These stories thrill me! Send me yours!
My streak ended at the tail end of 20 hours of travel to Warsaw, Poland, before a trip to Thailand in early October. I had lots of travel planned and decided after consulting with a Vitamix representative over potential power issues not to bring my packed trusty 5200 model, tied for the best investment I’ve ever made in myself along with the money I spent on The 80/10/10 Diet and learning the Egoscue Method.
Traveling throughout Thailand without an 11-pound blender in addition to the roughly 55 pounds I’m already carrying frees me to start actually eating meals more instead of relying on blender blades that spin as fast as 240 mph to do most of the chewing for me—and this is the way we’re designed to consume meals, after all.
But for some time, green smoothies were all the rage for me—even long after the novelty of them wore off. Like my cat, forever excited about my return home, they just never let me down. I recommend enjoying at least one large green smoothie several days a week or, better, every day! These delicious, nutritious drinks are the perfect meals for those desiring to consume more fruits and vegetables, wanting more energy and mental clarity, looking to slim down and desiring to feel healthier overall. They can help pave your journey to vegan and raw food diets—and keep you on the path long after you’ve put aside the map.