The Great Green Smoothie Summer Salvation

This is not a perfume post. I’m too hot and cranky to think about perfume. (Please understand: I still wear it, I’m just not capable of thinking about it.) Fortunately, there are things I can do to change my cranky mood—and my favorite solution involves food. You see, one of the ways I make a living is as a holistic health counselor. In other words, I help people figure out what to eat to feel their best. But in this heat, it’s more a case of “Health counselor, heal thyself.” And I do so with a green smoothie.

What’s a green smoothie? To me, it’s any combination of greens (kale, spinach, chard, parsley, whatever), fruit, and water. You can also add tasty extras, like nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, oils, flax seeds, herbs, spices, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Ice is good, too! This time of year, my favorite thing about green smoothies is that they’re very cooling. In fact, I can’t drink them in winter: I get too cold. But in summer they’re perfect, and my favorite one is chock full of refreshing tropical-fruity goodness.

So here’s what you need to make it:

  • A super-duper blender (I use a Vitamix)
  • Water—roughly 3 cups
  • Kale, washed. You don’t need to strip the leaves off the stalk. Around here, at this time of year, the bunches of kale are HUGE, so you can use just half a bunch for this smoothie. Add more if you want to!
  • Pineapple—I had a bag of frozen pineapple in the freezer; I defrosted it in the microwave and it worked perfectly
  • Bananas—number of bananas to your taste, but I’d start with at least 2 (because this is about YUMMY). The riper, the better. Add more if you want
  • Coconut oil (raw, organic): I put in about 1.5 teaspoons but you could certainly add more, if you’re so inclined. Why coconut oil? Here’s a bit of what is being attributed to (raw organic) coconut oil these days: it increases your immunity, it helps regulate digestion, it’s great for skin and hair, it’s even useful for maintaining good cholesterol levels. Have I done studies to prove these claims? Absolutely not! But it tastes fantastic, and if it does even one of the things the world now claims it does, I’m happy
  • Shredded coconut: as much as you like

Basically, now you add everything into your blender and, well, blend. I don’t put everything in at once: I add a handful or so, blend, add more. I add the water slowly, a half-cup to a cup at a time. My goal is to add only as much water as needed to get a consistency I like. Sometimes I like my green smoothie very thick and chewy; sometimes—especially in the heat—I want it thinner, so I add more water. This smoothie should stay good, refrigerated, for about two days. (Then make more!)

When it’s done, the green smoothie is sweet, refreshing, and cooling. On a sweltering day, when you’re cranky like me, it can be downright transformative. And, by the way, it smells fantastic: the greens, once blended, have a light, vibrant freshness to them; the pineapple is powerfully mood elevating; and the coconut reminds me that, hey, summer is fun. With one of these smoothies in hand, I couldn’t agree more.

And what perfume do I wear while making this? It depends. Earlier in the week, I wore FM Le Parfum de Therese as I washed my greens and cranked up the Vitamix. I don’t generally enjoy melon notes in perfume, but this baby—which wears on me like Chanel Cristalle’s (EDT) younger sister with her face buried in a wedge of cantaloupe—is done right (although I know Patty might not agree!). And the melon complements the tropical-fruitiness of the green smoothie wonderfully. Today, I decided to bump up the coconut factor by wearing Love Coco, Olivia Giacobetti’s all-natural creation for the Honore des Pres line. Its raw-green-coconut glory, which never veers into suntan-lotion territory, is the perfect partner for this particular smoothie.

Are you a green smoothie fan? If not, what do you eat or drink to survive a heat wave? Do you ever pair your fragrance with your beverage, or with a concoction you’re cooking? Do tell!

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  • I have never even thought of doing this. thanks,
    Portia xx

    • Sam says:

      Give it a try! It’s so cooling and refreshing in hot weather. (Of course, so is a margarita–oh, choices!)

  • nozknoz says:

    I’ve been blending everything while enduring a dental renovation project and have realized that one thing I really prefer blended is melon. There’s simply nothing cooler and more refreshing than slurping up cold blended cantaloup or honeydew, with or without mint or other additions, or watermelon with some lime and sweetening.

    I added avocado and coconut water to honeydew once, and that was good. I’ve sometimes added cashew nut butter or a little brown rice when I needed more calories. Carrot juice is one of my favorite things – I have to ration myself or I’d turn orange! My favorite cucumber, walnut and yoghurt salad with cumin and chili is OK blended, though I really prefer it crunchy.

    Not sure about kale juice; I tried a commercial green juice and didn’t really care for it. Perhaps fresh is better? Or is it just a matter of adjusting one’s taste buds?

    I LOVE LPdT – I’d think its cousins Eau Sauvage and Diorella would work, too. Naturalistic orange blossom or rose would be worth a try for a Middle Eastern touch, I’d think.

    • Sam says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your ongoing dental renovation project…but boy have you come up with some fantastic blended treats to get you through! I haven’t had blended melon soup in years, but I remembering LOVING it. Thanks for the reminder. And that avocado and coconut water with honeydew sounds insanely good. I’m salivating as I type!

      I’m with you on the kale juice. I love kale blended (with fruit), but I don’t like it juiced. Somehow the flavor profile is totally different when the juice is extracted vs when you just blend up the leaves with fruit. I recommend making one of your blended melon drinks/soups and adding in a leaf or so of kale. You won’t even taste it, likely, and if you do it will just add some freshness and texture. Plus, it’ll make your wonderful drink even better for you.

      And hurray for LPdT!

  • Ann says:

    Wow, what a fun post, Sam! My mouth was watering as I read it. I, too, have heard such good things about coconut oil, but was wondering how I could use it, so now I know. I’m not a huge kale fan, so like Poodle above, might try this with spinach instead. And how cool that you’re a holistic health counselor — sounds like a pretty neat job! P.S. I’ve been wanting to try pumpkin seeds as a healthful snack, but was wondering — do you eat them shell and all or is it best to buy the shelled ones? Thanks!

    • Sam says:

      Other ways to incorporate coconut oil into meals: cook with it (ie, stir fry); drizzle some on your morning oatmeal (tastes really good); drizzle it into soup; have some on cooked veggies and/or grains (I often have a bowl of quinoa or rice for lunch with cooked vegetables and greens, plus coconut oil and tamari–so good!). Even in small amounts, the coconut oil adds a richness that is delicious.

      As for pumpkin seeds, you don’t want to eat the shells–they’re too fibrous, at least in my opinion. So shell them (or buy them with the shell removed) and enjoy them. 🙂

  • Poodle says:

    I love green smoothies. I like lots of spinach in mine. I’ll have to try kale. I’m not sure my blender would have the power to take on kale but I’ll give it a go. I envy your Vitamix. I’d love a powerhouse blender like that but not sure if I blend enough to justify that kind of purchase.

    • Sam says:

      Do try one with kale! I actually think it has a fresher/milder taste in smoothies than spinach (but that’s just me, you might totally disagree). Perhaps if you stripped the kale leaves off the stalks and then chopped the leaves a bit before putting them into the blender, that might work.

      The Vitamix is really great. I think the value is pretty good: I’ve had mine for a decade and it’s still working perfectly. Given its performance and longevity, I’d say it’s a good investment overall. But boy, is it an investment! Not a purchase decision to take lightly, I agree. There are similar powerful blenders out there, too–you might look around, maybe one of the companies is offering a deal…

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I have never had a green smoothie. I am trying to eat more veggies and my husband and I have very different veggie likes and dislikes, so our choices are often pretty limited. I like leafy greens and he does not, so this would be a great way for me to get some (and maybe even get him to eat them too!). I saw some lovely bunches of kale at the farmers’ market last week. And I’ll have a mojito, please, to battle the heat wave!

    • Sam says:

      You might indeed get your husband to eat some leafy greens via smoothies. This one, especially, is quite sweet–the main tastes are banana and pineapple. It’s delicious. Perhaps if you made some for yourself…let him taste it…he might like it. Good luck!

      But I’m with you–I’ll take the mojito, too. 😉