You Ask, I Answer: Favorite Smoothies

Earlier this week, when I wrote in to take requests for raw rehab, I got at least three emails asking me the same thing: “how do you make your green smoothies?”

The question made me smile. Why? Because it’s an automatic assumption that all people who love raw food must be green smoothie drinkers. Well, dear readers, you will be shocked to learn that I am not a green smoothie fan: never was, and probably won’t be anytime soon.

What’s this, you say? No green smoothies? How could it be? Listen, I don’t mind green smoothies. I really don’t. But since a) I’m not much of a fruit eater, and b) I tend to eat copious amounts of green things without blending them into my drinks, I’ve never found that green smoothies are an integral part of my lifestyle. If you love them, that’s great! But they can be optional if you happen to get your greens on in other ways. After all, the main premise behind the beloved green smoothie is simply that we all need to eat more greens. Since it’s hard for most people to munch on greens all day, blending them into tasty drinks can be an excellent way of filling up. If you’re already someone who eats and juices a lot of green food, though, the idea of greening your smoothies becomes slightly irrelevant. And since at least half of my lunches and dinners usually consist of dark, leafy greens, I don’t fret too much about how much green stuff I’m getting.

Not gonna lie: there’s also a slight aversion going on. Ask me to eat a bucket of raw kale, and I’ll gladly oblige. Give me a bowl of steamed spinach in the morning next to a smoothie, and I’ll gobble it up with out hesitation. In fact, I’ve been known to devour kale salad for breakfast with glee. But throw greens in my smoothie, and I suddenly find myself getting a case of the heebie jeebies. I don’t know why this is: I certainly have no problems whatsoever with green juice (and some hardcore green juice varieties at that), but there’s something about mixing greens with fruit that makes me cringe.

Fortunately, I own a juicer. So when I do want to have a healthy dose of green power in the morning, I can juice up a storm. And when I crave a smoothie — as I sometimes do in the summertime — I can focus more on the fruit than on the greens. The smoothies I most enjoy are banana based (bananas are the type of fruit I like most), thick (more akin to shakes than smoothies, per se), and rich (meaning that I like to enrich my smoothies with at least one source of healthy fat, be it nut butter, flax oil, or avocado). Simple fruit smoothies are lovely as a snack, but if I’m going to enjoy a smoothie as a meal, it has to pack more punch than fruit and coconut water alone!

So what kind of smoothies do I enjoy the most? I shared one of them last week, in my weekend rundown. It’s one of my favorites, and never fails to fuel me up before or after a workout. It’s my chocolate almond butter smoothie, and the approximate recipe (because I rarely measure it all out), is as follows:

Gena’s Chocolate Almond Smoothie (serves 1)

1 large or 2 small frozen bananas
2 tbsp raw cacao or carob
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp chia seeds
Lots of ice

Blend all ingredients on high till thick and smooth.

Believe me when I say that this baby will dwarf your conventional milkshake! It’s extraordinarily delicious.

My other favorite smoothie is also infused with hints of chocolate (in this case, carob), but hits a fruitier note. Like all smoothies made with berries, it boasts a lot of antioxidants. But what I like best about it is the unique flavor: it’s both refreshing and rich all at one, due to the combination of carob and berries.

Gena’s Choco-Berry Smoothie (serves 1)

1 large or 2 small bananas
1/2 cup blue or blackberries
2 tbsp carob powder
1 tbsp nut butter (cashew, almond, hemp, and coconut all work beautifully)
1 tsp chia seeds (optional, but creates a nice thickness)
1/2 cup homemade nut milk (substitute organice and store bought if necessary)
Lots of ice

Blend all ingredients on high till super thick and creamy.

Check out that lovely color! Note to folks who are sensitive to food combining: sub the flesh of one young coconut for the nut butter if you’d like a well combined option!

A few more of you have written if smoothies are usually enough to serve as a meal. My answer? Typically, no. Oddly enough, I can sip vegetable juice throughout the morning and feel sated right until lunchtime (although I usually opt for a raw or semi-raw breakfast instead). If I have a smoothie, though, it tends to activate my appetite, and smoothies are rarely enough to satisfy men once I get hangry! So if I do have a smoothie for breakfast, it’s gotta be action-packed, like the smoothies above: sometimes I’ll even opt for 2 tbsp of nut butter, or a combination of nut butter and coconut butter. That’s just me: many of you may find that a simple smoothie is perfectly satisfying for your body’s needs.

Remember, readers: we’re all different. Blended meals work nicely for many: I just find that they need to be had in combination with bulkier, solid food in order to serve as a whole meal. When I do get a hankering for a smoothie, though, the combos above (and combos like them) are my top choices for delicious, frosty nutrition.

That’s it for now, guys. Stay tuned, though: tomorrow night, as I paint Chicago red, the first of a few special guest posts I’ve got planned for the week ahead will pop up on CR. And on Monday, I’ll be checking in with a travel update. Have a great weekend!


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Categories: Uncategorized, Smoothies

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  1. Your smoothies looks amazing! Lip Smackin! Just like hilorosie said!

    Its nice to see people like Carob! I am about to try it! I am allergic to chocolate so thats a bummer. However, I have tried Carob truffles and they happen to be amazing so I am hoping the powder is too!

  2. Hi Gena! Do you soak your chia seeds at all prior to adding them to your smoothie?

  3. Can’t wait to try these! Last night I made your chia seed pudding. It turned out delicious and very satisfying!

  4. All the smoothies look great! i’m like you too, fruit smoothies trigger my appetite and i get hangry! drives me crazy, no matter how much nut butter i put in!

  5. Green smoothies have never appealed to me, aesthetically or otherwise. I find them uncomfortably filling and hard to digest. (The three or four times I’ve tried them – I admit that haven’t given them much of a chance.) It’s not the fruit and veggie thing because I mix fruits and veggies in my juices (beet + pear, greens + apple + lemon, etc. I guess I’m just more of a juice person than a smoothie person, though I do like the thicker banana-based smoothies once in a while. I’m going through a VEGA “vanilla chai” smoothie phase now, in fact.

    I do make a variety of green smoothies for my 12-year-old (who doesn’t like green juice …).

  6. Thanks for posting! I just recently read that us IBSsers benefit a lot from smoothies, because our digestion is so crappy. So it’s great to get some recipes. I hear you about the green smoothies. I have to kill mine with juice or stevia to get it to be palatable. My biggest prob though is with the bananas. I CAN’T eat bananas. Any suggestions for a banana substitute? <3

  7. great photos! I also find green juice more satiating than smoothies. I did make frank a smoothie before the race this morning (although I called it a protein shake for his sake): almond milk, almond butter, frozen banana, cocoa powder, cinnamon, agave and chocolate hemp protein.

  8. These both look great! I do my green smoothies! It’s okay that you aren’t into them, I know lots of people who don’t like them. To each her own! 🙂 Have a great trip! XO

  9. Thank you for your honesty about green smoothies! I see them everywhere in the blog world and have always felt weird as I dislike them. I’m like you – I’d much rather eat my greens in their natural form.

    Thank you, too, for the delicious smoothie recipes! I just made the first one for me and my husband, and he can’t stop saying how delicious it is. You are a genius. Please keep your favorites coming. I’m going to try the marinated veggies today. Can’t wait! Thanks for all the great kitchen inspiration

  10. I totally agree with you Gena, I just prefer to eat greens in a salad than blended. Although I like how it tastes the green smoothie banana based, it’s just in the middle way between love it as it is and drink it because it’s good. 🙂

  11. That’s one of the questions I was going to ask, about your smoothies! I love this post 😉
    Do you have any ideas to make a papaya based smoothie that’s filling and well combined? I know you combine banana smoothies with nuts because bananas are denser but how about papaya?

    • Oooh, I’m sorry Lola! I really, really, REALLY dislike tropical fruits like papaya, kiwi, pineapple, and mango (with ONE exception — mango and avocado salad). And I really do tend to feel it when I combine lighter fruits with nuts (though I have been known to make exceptions for apples and almond butter, because I really like that combo), so pretty much all of my smoothies are banana-based. I’m sure you can find a recipe, though!

  12. “not a green smoothie fan: never was, and probably won’t be anytime soon.”

    Oh we are kindred spirits…including the fact that we arent onion/garlic lovers, we dont love blended green food. I mean, it’s fine but I would much prefer to chew my 1 lb of raw kale than blend it.

    Plus, as a mom, I made baby food for Skylar and basically the idea of blending (rather than juicing) produce takes me back to memories of sleepless nights and a teething baby who needed pureed food LOL

    The choco/banana creation..that’s my speed 🙂


  13. oooh i really want to try that first one! not sure if it could be better than a milkshake, but i bet its close 🙂

  14. I like the taste of all kinds of smoothies, including green, but they don’t keep me full for long and when I used to sweeten with dates (which I have stopped doing) I would get what felt like drastic blood sugar crashes. So thank you, Gena, for feeling me less alone in not getting filled up with smoothies! And I’d like to second Hannah’s suggestion of more breakfast recipes/recommendations for busy girls on the go!

  15. People are often surprised to hear that I am not much of a fan of green smoothies either, considering my enthusiasm for any blended beverage. I can tolerate spinach in the mix, but I just can’t groove on raw kale in my smoothie.
    Your recipes look amazing though, and I look forward to giving them a try!

  16. wow. i have almost the opposite reaction to you. makes sense if you don’t like fruit i guess. green smoothies keep me full, not wanting more. it’s what kept me eating raw in the beginning! love them!

  17. I looooove smoothies. Especially the green variety with heaps of spinach, banana and mango or berries 🙂 Chocolate or vanilla brown rice protein powder is always good, too!

    I’m going to have to try your recipes!!


  18. I don’t like green smoothies, I much prefer a berry/banana or cocoa/banana combo. I like some milled flax or oats in mine to make them really thick. I find a big smoothie does keep me full quite a long time and probably has as much energy as my other standard brekkie or porridge. Like you, I prefer to chew my greens than drink them! Loved your marinated veggies btw:)

  19. Mmmm these look sooo good! Thanks for the recipes!

    I also loved your avocado toast recipe, so another (belated) suggestion I have for your blog is more breakfast recipes that are raw and/or vegan friendly! I eat a heavier breakfast because I’m still in school and need the calories to get me through to lunch 5-6 hours later.

    Have a great trip to Chicago!

  20. These look wonderful, thanks! I typically only have smoothies for breakfast and use whatever fresh produce needs to be eaten with hemp powder, maybe a sweetener and flavor (carob powder, vanilla or fresh ginger).

  21. Thanks for sharing your smoothie recipes! I need to try adding nut butters to my smoothie. I am similar to you, I like to have greens in my juice but not really my smoothies. Have a great weekend, thanks for sharing as always! 🙂

  22. Those look great and would serve well as a dessert. I like to throw nut butter in mine too, just not my green smoothies. Most days I will have a green juice then mixed fruit for breakfast and other days I do green smoothie… still just greens and fruit, and either way I am full all morning. As you said Gena, it just shows that we are all different and no single thing will work for everyone. Have a great weekend! 🙂