Green Smoothies Can’t Be As Bad as Cocaine… Can They? : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Wednesday Feb 22 | BY |
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Let’s fight the real fight, not fight each other… #tiredofsillyarguments

After Monday’s post on green smoothies, I feel like I have a few questions and clarifications to make…

No matter how much you can write, there are always angles and aspects that you can miss.

To bring everyone up to speed, there has been some debate about whether green smoothies are healthy or not.

It’s actually not a debate. Green smoothies are healthy (for most) and with that said — if you like — you don’t even have to read the rest of this article.

But, for your own enjoyment, I’d love for you to indulge…

Here’s the back story (plus, the previous article here)…

A blogger recently posted an article (which has since been removed) that basically stated T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn told her drinking green smoothies were bad for her health and she subsequently stopped… and posted an article that got quite a bit of attention.

A reader contacted me to comment on her article, as well as the experts involved, and I gladly did.

I wrote about (1) the absurdity of saying that green smoothies being “bad” for your health and (2) why you can’t listen to everyone all the time.

In today’s article, I want to clarify a few points, add some additional information from Victoria Boutenko — Ms. Green Smoothie herself — and answer some questions that need to be answered.

Yes, I still think Dr. Esselstyn is completely wrong (And T. Colin Campbell too.)

I didn’t mention T. Colin Campbell in the discussion on Monday, because I didn’t have a reference to the old article that was initially posted — it’s since been changed. Apparently, Campbell was the one who started the whole thing and told this poor blogger than green smoothies were bad. The blogger then posted backup data from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Regardless of how the story broke or who the main characters are, there’s still nothing that I’ve seen that will convince me smoothies are “bad” for your health.

Cocaine is “bad” for your health.

So to lump those two together is rather irresponsible.

It makes me wonder what else is irresponsible that they represent. If they can be so wrong about one thing, then what else are they wrong about?

(I don’t think this article is about that, but it’s worth looking into one day.)

NOTE: Some of you said Dr. Esselstyn didn’t mention “green” smoothies. This is not true, a quick search will demonstrate that he implicates them just like any only smoothie.

Poor science leads the way…

As usual, poor or non-existing science is the basis of why Dr. Esselstyn and Campbell think smoothies are bad for your health.

From Dr. Esselstyn’s website, it’s clear he believes that fiber is destroyed and rendered “unhelpful” when blended.

Victoria Boutenko has chimed in with some real research that shows this is in fact not the case (to substantiate what I already presented).

She wrote in her newsletter this…

“There are several scientific articles studying finely vs. coarsely ground fiber. One such article compared bran particles of 2 mm to less than .7 mm. This study found that both fine and coarse fiber have only 2% difference in performance. Moreover, the researchers stated “Fine bran causes less disturbance of gastric physiology than coarse bran” and discussed how finely ground fiber increases nutrient absorption, and reduces bloating, heartburn, and constipation.

“In other articles I found similar statements: ‘particle size of the fiber source did not affect performance.'”

(You can find the citations here.)

This basically says whatever Dr. Esselstyn is thinking is happening in that blender is truly not happening at all.

So the theory is unproven, or more appropriately somewhat wrong.

Even really smart helpful people can be wrong — or more wrong than right.

(I still want to be clear that I respect Dr. Esselstyn’s work, so this is not a personal attack by any means.)

What Victoria also says is something that is more sage like than the scientific research and is much closer to my heart…

“If we utilize our ability to observe, we can free ourselves from the labyrinth of confusions. I believe that our own conscious observations are a thousand times more important than any rigid scientific claim.”

Thank goodness for her. Victoria, we appreciate you!

Moving on…

What if the fiber is separated from the nutrients and the sugar, doesn’t that make a smoothie bad or more likely to cause problems?

Not exactly, but this is another argument that is made by Dr. Esselstyn. He explains that by separating the sugar from the fiber, it’s worse for your health.

Again, not exactly true…

Here’s a posting from Michael who is writing from Hallelujah Acres that demonstrates, at the very least, that Dr. Esselstyn needs to investigate deeper:


“I have done some testing an blood glucose changes with smoothies. I have found that banana-based smoothies do cause a small spike in my own blood sugar. But when I add ground flax seed to the smoothie it causes a flat blood sugar response without inhibiting the absorption of added vitamin C (testing done on myself). In other tests I have found that fiber does not inhibit the absorption of carotenoids. This is in agreement with the scientific literature. Fiber does not inhibit the absorption of nutrients when the nutrients have already been separated from the fiber.”


So, of course, Michael is just one person and this is a relatively unscientific experiment, but he brings up three good points here.

First, fiber — even when separated from the nutrients — does not lose its relative effectiveness. You can find science on this just about anywhere… it’s the same science that the cereal companies and Metamucil use to attempt to prove their products are good for you — and in the case of fiber, they’re right. (But, for many other reasons they’re wrong as well.)

Second — an affirmation — is that his blood glucose does spike a little (which I mentioned as something that can be true when you drink a smoothie) when he drinks a higher fruit smoothie. This may or may not be an issue for some.

For those who are susceptible to insulin spikes and blood sugar issues, you may want to watch your smoothie intake — or drop the amount of fruit in them. For those who don’t have these issues, I don’t think there’s an issue. Your blood sugar spikes at different times during the day depending on what you eat. The key is to keep it down as a general rule.

Think of those spikes like the daily peaks and valleys on a day of stock trading. You’d think that the market was crashing and soaring all within an 8 hour period. But the reality is that over time, the market either climbs or drops steadily. (With the exception of the recent 2008 crash — which is because it was being “fed” by “junk” mortgage packages… funny how things are the same right? Feeding, junk, packages, crash!)

So it’s not what you do once, it’s what you do most of the time.

So on this point, Dr. Esselstyn is correct — smoothies may cause a blood sugar spike — but to what harm to the body?

That’s a more important question.

From the observed and studied benefits of green smoothies, it’s tempting to say that all the research on them is positive, but I don’t like to blanket anything without leaving out a possibility that some people can’t handle them for blood sugar reasons.

Like I said in the first article, we’ve had diabetics go through our Raw Food Challenge — which is high in fruit sugar — and their blood sugar levels have dropped noticeably while on the program. They have not dropped as much as on a no sugar, Gabriel Cousens diet, but they have dropped meaning that even though there is a lot of sugar, something positive is happening.

(BTW: Any diabetics who want to take this challenge, please talk to a medical professional first AND continue to monitor your glucose levels throughout the duration of it. I’m serious about this.)

Finally, Michael has found that adding flax to his smoothie helps his blood sugar not spike. I can’t tell the relevance of this until I know what his levels look 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours and beyond the initial spike to determine if the quick surge dropped quickly, or if the non-spike (with the flax) may have sustained a higher level over the same period of time. This prolonged higher level would mean that elevated levels of insulin were present for longer and it took longer for the blood sugar to decrease. This could interfere with hormone function and possible contribute to yeast and other bacterial growth in the body.

But again, that’s why you incorporate blood testing into your health protocol. It is a tool that will help you identify what is working for you and what is not.

Also, Michael, if you have details on your levels over a period of a few hours, please post below in the comments! (This is why I love community.)

If you want to slow down the metabolism of the sugar in the smoothie, why not add a tablespoon of coconut oil to it?

This question came up in the comments and was somewhat answered by Michael in his experiments above. Yes, adding the coconut oil will likely not cause the spike, but will it keep the levels elevated for longer?

Something to test. Again, I think it may keep levels higher based on what I know about fat digestion and high fat diets. This is why I try to avoid adding fats to my green smoothies (try is carefully selected here). But it doesn’t mean that I won’t eat fat!

But Kevin, what about Oxidization of smoothies?

Michelle asks the age-old questions about oxidizing smoothies when you blend…

It’s a great question.

Many — particularly raw food — experts explain that blending will destroy and oxidize all the nutrients in the smoothie.

Michelle, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

To me, this is the stuff for those who want to feed a neurosis about their food — or pass their neurosis along to others.

Blending, shipping, picking, the sun, chewing, and digestion all cause oxidation.

Some nutrients will be destroyed in the blending process, but others will be made more available by breaking the food down. It’s an exchange that I can live with and so should you. It’s just easier and more peaceful to think this way.

Also, to be even more frank, many long lived cultures in history have survived on cooked foods which are quite oxidized. Apparently, they get enough nutrition to last into their 90’s and 100’s, so it’s worth taking a second look at how much we care about the oxidation of our smoothies.

To eat without oxidation is impossible, so I think it’s best to leave this half-baked cause and effect alone and worry about Monstanto changing the genetics of all the food on the planet.

If you need to be concerned about something, please focus your attention — and change-making ability — on this serious risk to our environment and food system.

Finally, an epic green smoothie fail…

Here’s a message from Victoria (not Boutenko!)…

“My cousin recently made herself a green smoothie. She included broccoli, celery, and spinach and enough water to blend it. Now she won’t even try one of the recipes from Victoria B’s book or any other.

“Suggestions to help her try again, with better flavor results?”

Wow! Of course she won’t try anything else, that must have tasted like dirt.

I would recommend making something for her the next time you see her that tastes amazing. Maybe then she’ll change her tune.

My two favorite beginner green smoothies are:

– Pineapple and cilantro. (A handful of each.)
– Spinach, banana and strawberry. (Again, a handful of each.)

These are both simple and delicious and almost anyone can enjoy them.

Hope that helps! (You can find more in our smoothie recipe book here.)

So this ends the chapter on green smoothies. Please drink them and their unhelpful fiber with confidence while you question what experts say.

Even me (even though I’m not an expert!)…

Your question of the day: What is your favorite starter green smoothie? Let’s make this a reference for Victoria’s cousin and everyone else who wants to get started!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Peg says:

    My favorite “go to” smoothie is: one bunch of romaine, cucumber, celery, basil, a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of salt. Sometimes I add some avocado–either blend it or chop it up in a bowl and have “soup”.

    I have a history of high blood sugar, so I rely on savory smoothies, but have no trouble if I add a small piece of fruit.

    This is just a matter of common sense–if you have blood sugar issues, don’t add so much fruit and test your blood.

    Green smoothies are the best things that have ever happened to me.

  2. Eileen says:

    I use romaine lettuce in my “green” smoothies because it is light, and not as bitter as dark, leafy greens. Here is a great starter:
    4-6 leaves of Romaine lettuce
    2-3 pears with the skin (pits removed)**
    1 banana
    2 cups of water
    **Try substituting the pears with blueberries (frozen blueberries adds a great icy feel)

    I always add a scoop of either maca powder, Vitamineral green powder, or spirulina just for added nutrients.

  3. IreneK says:

    Baby spinach (handful or two), dino kale (only a couple of leaves – it’s potent), pear, a date or two, frozen banana. Sometimes add in romaine, celery, cucumber, cauliflower (try it!), and whatever other veggies/fruits I got on sale. My cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, blah blah blah have plunged since I’ve added green smoothies to my diet. And my weight. While I respect the Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell, as long as I continue to get the incredible health results that I’m getting, I see no need to stop my smoothies.

    I have, by the way, two “normal” meals a day, plant strong and high raw. Not a vegan.

  4. Kat says:

    My go to smoothie is a mixture of kale and green apple.

  5. Susan` says:

    I have avoided green smoothies for several years because I have type 2 diabetes. If I were to make a smoothie containing bananas or pears or for that matter, any fruit, it would indeed be bad for my health. This insanity of “absolutism” needs to be let go of. It comes up again and again: Every body has different needs. We are losing perspective by microfocusing on what is good or bad. What works for you???

    And if anyone can post some savory smoothies that actually taste good I would love to include them in my diet.

  6. Lori says:

    My favorite green smoothie is 2 oz. spinach, 2 oz. zucchinni, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 oz. sprouts, 1/4 lime, 2 oz. coconut milk, raw egg(optional), 4 oz water, 1/4 tsp. stevia and 4 ice cubes. Blend, top with a few blueberries or raspberries and eat with a spoon. Low sugar yet very creamy and tasty!

  7. Kathy says:

    Thanks for the discussion- I, too, am sugar-sensitive and rarely consume fruit juice. My green smoothies have little/no sugar in them, they’re alkalizing and nutrient-rich.

    Refreshing Recipe: Celery-Cucumber for the base, and Green it up with Kale and parsley and spinach. They’re the least bitter greens. I add a little bit of lemon to keep it from turning brown. If you need a bit of sweetness, then just add a half of an apple (or more if you’re a newbie). I drink these by the quart.

    A unique recipe I got from my friend Amy is Apple, Cilantro, Basil and Lime. It’s SOO delicious, and pretty potent, so use small juice glasses or brandy snifters to serve. The aroma is intoxicating! It’s only for special occasions- I use this as an appetizer or a substitute for a dessert wine.

    Thanks for your contributions!

  8. Susan says:

    “To me, this is the stuff for those who want to feed a neurosis about their food — or pass their neurosis along to others.” Wow. Could kiss you for that one. But I won’t…maybe a pat on the back? Fabulous.

  9. Barb C says:

    Favorite starter smoothie is frozen banana, cilantro (or parsley) and water – incredibly refreshing! Thanks for all you do, Kev.

  10. Cameron Day says:

    Kefir base

    Blend until smooth, turn off and add some protein powder and 2 raw free range eggs and blend just enough to mix the eggs. Delicious & nutritious with a fairly balanced macro-nutrient ratio.

  11. Dirk Kukler says:

    I use alkaline (PH 9.5) water and lemon juice (1/2 lemon), a handful of sprouts that I grow myself, Banana, Cinnamon, sea salt, Avocado, blueberries, a spoonful Tocotrienol,
    sometimes a raw egg, green powder like barley green, spirulina or chlorella and a tbsp Coconut oil. Sometimes I add maca powder, bee pollen.

  12. Roni says:

    I like to keep it simple:

    Any green you have on hand, i.e. romaine, collard, turnip – even iceburg lettuce if that’s all you have. A banana. Some water.

    Adjust each according to your taste, your ability to handle sugar and how thick you’d like it.

  13. Alyssia says:

    Well water
    A banana
    A pear or apple
    A handful of organic Spinach or Kale

  14. Aussie Sal says:

    I use Parsley, Kale, Cucumber, Chard, Dandelion,
    just about any ORGANIC green I have available.

    Apple, lime or lemon and a SOLUBLE fibrous fruit such as soaked Goji berries, banana,pear, plum, or peach.
    The soluble fibre gives it a creamier texture.
    Otherwise you end up with a fibrous, separated chewy mess.

  15. arnold zimmerman says:

    It is hard to believe that these two well respected researchers/MD and Dr. Brian Clement to add another voice, felt it necessary to expound such rubbish. Ms. Boutenko is quite right. A little common sense goes a long way. Any negative side effects if they do exist, would be mitigated by the overwhelming positive benefits of all that fiber, phytonutrients, etc. In addition, Dr. Jon Barron has found that thorough mastication essentially nullifies any potential spiking of blood sugar/insulin levels. Combining the flax fiber with the fruit and vegetable fiber results in a win win situation.

  16. Aussie Sal says:

    Nearly forgot.

    Spare Water Kefir Grains.

    Helps prevent oxidation.

  17. Garrett says:

    So many of the “green smoothie” drinks are just sugar bombs. Let’s be honest. I wouldn’t want to make a habit of drinking about 90-percent of what’s being pushed out there! I have no way of knowing, but I would suspect that many folks are simply in massive denial about this.

    If Dr Mercola has any credibility at all, then it might be worth remembering his advice: keep your fructose intake to 15 grams PER DAY or less. That translates to about 1.5 medium apples per day. Most smoothies I see are blasting way past that 15 grams in the first couple of swallows.

    I’m blessed to not be “sugar sensitive”… however, I do think the “standard smoothie recipe” is nothing more than mainlining fructose to the max. For me, my “go to” smoothie is a savory one:

    1) Fresh Spring Water;
    2) Lots of organic cilantro;
    3) Himalayan Sea Salt or Celtic Sea Salt to taste;
    4) Spinach;
    5) Avocado;
    6) Small sliver of jalapeno (optional, of course);
    7) Some peeled ginger;
    8) Some Vitamineral Green (or similar);
    9) One or two cloves of garlic (optional)

    As for whacking the crap out of your food? Not necessary. A simple $5 garage sale blender will work just fine. A Vitamix is not necessary. Who cares if there are a few lumps? If texture just drives you crazy… fine… just whack the crap out of your food until you’re happy again. Less whacking might just answer some of the concerns about fiber and nutrients.

  18. WILL says:

    I started green smoothies 7 years ago along with other diet changes. from total cholesteral of 220, BP of 160/95 and fairley high blood sugar…

    the only effects are positve, the cholesteral is 110, BP 120/75 and normal blood sugar, energy levels like I was 18 again (that was eh… 43 years ago. There are too many other benefits to state here.

    The value of the fiber and nutrients are way more in a smoothie than in a salad, that’s why we do the smoothies in the first place!
    A larger quantity of veggies is condensed into the smoothie as opposed to the quantity in a salad.This also applies to juice, you could not possibly eat that much produce as what the Norwalk will put into a glass (or mason jar, my preferred quantity and storage).

    Give up the lettuce, it has about the same nutrient values as tap water.

    My favorites
    Raw Ginger
    Mexican oregano
    Kale (or whatever green is looking good)
    then get inventive and try honey, pollen or any goodies that you want to try.

    My v8 juice (this is the one for smoothie #1)

  19. Asoye says:

    My favorite vita mix is ;
    whole avocado (seed,peel & all)
    banana ( in it entirety)
    an orange (whole of course )
    I also add, a scoop of green vibrance,spirilina,maca & Kemut powder… Yummy!

  20. Lois Kubota says:

    Dandelion greens, pineapple, apple and blueberries. Then I add ground flax seed and chia seeds as well.

    Just had my eyes checked, and my vision has improved the last two years. Nearly 20/20 now.

    I’m sure the blueberries have made a difference and the green smoothies I have been drinking for about 4 years now.

  21. lizzy says:

    I still have a hard time with green smoothies, as I find it too much sugar. but also just watching those greens being hacked by the blender makes me feel like they are getting kind of sick being whirred so much. it takes powerful blending to get if fine.

    As much as I would like to I haven’t quite figured out how to get comfortable with them.

    Most of these recipes here seem either too sweet or too savory.

  22. Jeff says:

    Right on Kevin! I love my smoothies! And you know what they say, “one man’s medicine is another man’s poison”. Thank you for sharing so freely and expressing openly!

  23. Valesa says:

    My basic beginner smoothie for people new to them is a wedge of pineapple, a banana, a HUGE handful of spinach, a little 100% cranberry juice (or fresh cranberries if it’s in the fall), water, and some frozen strawberries. I might throw in a handful of parsley too if I have it, plus some ice.

    I also really like a basic one that came with my Vitamix: 2-3 wedges of pineapple, a large handful of spinach, water, a few fresh mint leaves, and ice. Yum!

  24. Donna says:

    Lately I love nettles, 1 banana, 1 orange, 1 tsp. vanilla, water and ice cubes! Very dark rich green lovliness!


  25. Valesa says:

    By the way, what is your opinion on raw spinach? I have seen in a number of places it should be eaten lightly steamed/sauteed because of the oxalates. I use a lot of beet greens, spinach, and chard in my smoothies, and don’t know if it’s a concern.

  26. faith says:

    I help host healthy lifestyle retreats. I explain my story, share Green For Life, and exhibit the making of a “green smoothie.” Then we enjoy the flavor. Most, if not all, have never experienced food this way and are shocked at how delicious it is.

    Frozen Blueberries

    The blueberries help it not look so “green.” For some reason, people really have a hang up over the color but once they drink it and FEEL the benefits, they are hooked. It’s an inexpensive, yummy,simple “newbie” smoothie with ingredients that can be bought at the local grocery store and are familiar to everyone.

  27. cristina says:

    my daughter is a cancer survivor she is 9 years, I start juicing 3 years ago when she start chimio, I don’t have the patience to follow recipes so i put 4 handful of green (kale,dandelion watercress etc..) always 4 carrots and half of any fruit but they don’t taste good.. my concern is carrots because i use them always …. please I need advice

  28. Stacie says:

    2 red Anjou pears (or pear of choice)
    1 cup pineapple
    a couple handfuls of greens (spinach, kale or chard are all good)
    ground vanilla to taste
    1 Tbs honey or sweetener of choice if you want it
    water – enough to make it the consistency you want
    ice – enough to make it as cold as you like
    (I also get some good fat from chia gel and add a mushroom powder blend for its benefits, neither of which affect the taste. If your blender can handle it, adding a couple Tbs of almonds (or Brazil nuts or whatever you like) is a nice addition, too–raw and pre-soaked, of course! =))

  29. KC says:

    I make my usual smoothie with frozen berries, an apple, and a small head of romaine, handful of kale, or 1/2 bunch of cilantro, plus an extra or 2 I might have on hand: 3 Brazil nuts, bee pollen, brown rice protein powder, yogurt, etc. Add water and blend.

    I’m looking forward to trying all the other yummy ideas in these comments. Thanks!

  30. Anna21 says:

    That epic smoothie fail sounds a lot like my raw soup! In addition to the broccoli, spinach and celery, I add garlic, spices, avocado (including the pit), basil, dandelion and thyme…..yum… well, for me anyway.

    Besides my raw soup, I enjoy green smoothies with dandelion, sprouts, water and a little fruit.

    For the more adventurous among us, you can also add shredded spinach, zucchini and/ or sunflower sprouts to your raw or cooked cookies. It cuts down on the sugar content and it’s a tasty way to get more veggies in your diet.

    Anyway that was a great article.

  31. Hi Kevin,

    Thank you so much for addressing this as i teach raw food classes and so many things can be conflicting and sometimes people think you don’t know the answer and it’s not that but everyone has a different opinion. Anyway, yes according to Dr. Brian Clemente, we do lose some of the nutrients from the oxidation, but I agree with Kevin in that it’s still better than some of the processed garbage that’s out there. We absolutely get fiber from them too as Victoria Boutenko pointed out. One thing that has been pointed out to me is we need to combine eating, juicing and blending as they all have different benefits on the healing of the body. It all depends on what each individual can handle especially if they have digestive issues. Victoria has proven how beneficially healing green smoothies are and has videos on it. The body needs to chew food at some point but in the healing stages it may not be able to, therefore needing green smoothies or just juicing. Thought I would add my 2 cents.
    Paula Denoncourt
    Certified Holistic Health Counselor
    Raw Food Educator

  32. Peter says:

    I don’t think it’s necessary to add fruit to a “green” smoothie. Greens alone are fine, healthy and delicious, once you get used to them. My morning smoothie for many years has been a whole stalk of broccoli, two stalks of celery, a bunch of kale, an avocado (that makes it both sweet and smooth), a small amount of carrot juice (also for sweetening), sunflower greens, broccoli sprouts, and a couple of cups of water. That’s all I eat from breakfast until dinner. I don’t get hungry during the day, have plenty of energy, climb mountains and get at least two hours of vigirous exercise every day. At 63 I’m healthier and more fit than most 20 year olds. So it seems to be working. I used to include a whole apple, but I stopped doing that because combining fruit and veggies is poor food combining since fruit digests so much faster. Now I have the apple and lemon juice as soon as I wake up. Then 1 hour exercise routine, shower and the smoothie and I’m ready to go.

    It’s not necessary to add fruit (although some consider avocado a fruit) to a “green” smoothie. Why not just keep it green? Then chew your sweet fruit at a different time.

  33. Claire says:

    Avocados with peel & seed in green smoothies? I use avocados, but have NEVER tried the seed & peel. Vitamix or blender can handle this? What are some benefits of the peel & seed?

  34. Susan says:

    green/sour apple
    lemon (rind and all)
    peeled ginger root
    romaine or kale
    parsley or cilantro
    green drink mix
    AFA blue-green algae,
    or other superfoods

    The lemon (peel,seeds and all) really kicks up the flavor of a primarily veggie smoothie. For those concerned with food combining I find that lemon and apple mix well with the veggies without problem.

    My weight and BP have both fallen dramatically after only 4 months on the smoothies. Big (:

  35. Veronica says:

    what about the oxalic acid ( leafy greens)? does it deplete iron?

  36. Cielie says:

    My favourite green smoothie:
    Lemon juice
    Goat milk Kefir
    Protein powder
    Cayenne pepper
    Himalaya rock salt

  37. Velda says:

    I like some of the smoothie recipes you have in your 7-day raw food challenge book. I don’t have it right in front of me, so I don’t know exactly what was in it, but I remember spinach, pinneaple and I think some lemon. It was such a beautiful, bright green, and had a very refreshing taste. I loved it.

    Great article, Kevin. Thank you so much. We so appreciate you!!

  38. victoria says:

    My cousin said she was going to try the cilantro and pineapple smoothie in the morning! THANK YOU!

  39. Juanita says:

    I make green smoothies almost everyday with any organic greens and fruit. I like smoothies made from kale and pears, I usually add chlorella. Sometimes i use stevia tea instead of water to make a sweet smoothie for my son without using a lot of fruit. Sometimes i use Horsetail, Alfalfa, Nettle tea instead of water for silica and extra minerals in the green smoothie. I feel really great after drinking a green smoothie so I know they are beneficial. Green smoothies have been a wonderful way to get greens into my three year old son’s diet.

  40. Holly says:

    Many are complaining about the amount of sugar. That’s the easiest part to change. Use only one banana which is about 20 gms of carbs or one Granny Smith apple, medium size which is about 30 gms of carbs. Remember carbs turn into sugar which turns into increased weight. You do not have to use five or six fruits and make this the sweet smoothie from hell. Fruit or most fruits are high in carbs, if anyone is noticing weight gain, cut back your fruit – too many carbs!!!! For those that are diabetic on insulin, watch the blueberries. They have a tendency to lower blood sugar levels if using a pump or Lantus. Use plenty of lemon or lime juice, herbs and use mint, it’s wonderful. Using grasses are good too and grasses are not bitter like spinach and the dark leafy greens.

  41. I can’t eat much fruit due to slow/deficient diamine oxidase enzyme activity so my Green Smoothie has always had low fruit.

    My favorite GS is ½ a large Mango with a handful of rocket (arugula)and 6 or 7 large Romaine lettuce leaves. You can add a handful of blueberries to this if fruit is not a problem. I have to avoid spinach on the low histamine diet for the DAO problem.

  42. Michael says:

    Coconut water,Italian Kale,Rainbow chard,Irish moss or avacodo, parsely, cilantro, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, bannana, cantalope(when in season)or frozen rasberries, spirulina,and nutraburst. All thrown in a blendtec makes a great lunch.

  43. Heather Marsh says:

    Much like Victoria Boutenko, I have very little liking for raw greens by themselves. I knew I needed to eat more of them, but they actually caused me considerable gastric distress.

    As a child I would not eat lettuce unless it was absolutely smothered in (commercial) mayonaise or wrapped around a spoonful of sugar, which my mother permitted even though sugar gave me a rash.

    And Folic acid supplementation can only go so far.

    My first effort on my usual blender left chunks of the green – so had to be donated to my worm farm (they survived).

    But no gastric distress when the chunks were blended out. My husband still pulls faces when he sees the blender out and I do admit that the smoothies look like pond slime.

    My suggestions for beginners are simple.
    DO get a good blender.
    Use an opaque cup at first.
    Use berries and a banana as your fruit at first.
    Vary your source of greens frequently in order to avoid a build up of a particular lectin. (Victoria writes about this)

    I don’t fret about the fructose as this is the only way I can tolerate raw leafy greens without fat or sugar overload or gastric distress.

    My daughter says my skin looks much better when I am drinking green smoothies regularly.

    My favourite sweet smoothie at present contains up to a bunch of green leaves, some cranberry juice, a mango minus the seed, and a half a cup of frozen berries.

    I do not have much room for ‘regular’ food if I do manage to drink a quart of green smoothie, but I try to eat something high in (unprocessed) fat to help nutrient absorption.

    I have not yet investigated savoury green smoothies.

  44. Jackie says:

    If green smoothies are so bad for you why is it that I feel so great with them and it’s the one thing that doesn’t spike my blood sugar.
    They are great and I feel great with them, my body knows

  45. Romaine, cucumber, celery, apple, pear and a couple of dates. Enough water to blend. Either a squirt or two of lemon, a little stevia, or nothing else. Thanks, Kevin!

  46. Anne K. says:

    My favorite is dandelion greens, pineapple (fresh), and strawberries (fresh or frozen) (this may be one from Victoria Boutenko’s book- I can’t remember).

  47. My green drinks are constantly evolving, but here’s one of my forever go-to green monsters:)

    20oz water or green tea
    Handful of broccoli (stems and all)
    1-2 scoops protein (I use Vega)
    1 scoop glucose-amine (if post workout otherwise omit)
    1 scoop flax-seed (grounded, golden preferred)
    1 scoop “nature source” green ensymes
    1 scoop super greens
    *optional once a week add a handful of red or green cabbage


  48. Alan says:

    I’d like to comment about adding oil to smoothies. I’ve read a few articles about how a little oil can actually help assimilate various nutritional benefits. For example, one study showed that more nutrients and vitamins were absorbed from eating a salad with a little oil. It’s similar to needing to take vitamin D with oil because it is oil soluble and can’t really be assimilated otherwise.

    If anyone has has any thoughts on this please share.

  49. Larry says:

    Some of these arguments between PH’d types, are why the majority of folks just shrug their shoulders and continue eating their Mickey D’s, Krispy Creme’s and Big Gulps.
    If you really get into it all, someone will contradict whatever they want to and then discourage you from even trying.
    I’m not sure what Campbell and Esselstyn sought to accomplish.

  50. Page says:

    I use different leafy greens each day. Today is spinach and arugula. Yesterday was baby kale and romaine lettuce. Everyday, however, I put in two tablespoons of hemp seed, a scoop of Amazing Grass, one half of an organic lemon w/ peel, a cup of coconut water and a handful of alkaline water ice. Other than the lemon, no added fruit. These are quite tasty, packed with fiber and nutrients. No blood sugar swings.

  51. Rocio says:

    I am not an expert but because I have thyroid problems, oxalates issues, candida.. etc..mine are very simple. First I juice my zucchini, cucumber, romaine lettuces, some carrots, one pice of beets with greens if possible, tiny ginger, one small green apple, then I take my vitamix and add some more romaine lettuces, and sometimes blueberries (I don’t really need them) my drink tastes delicious.
    For my children I add avocado, tangerines, kale, mangos,..for me, simple is better.
    I steam all my broccoli, cauliflower, etc. I am making fermented vegetables, see how it goes. Have a blessed day.

  52. Connie says:

    I look forward to my breakfast almost every morning with a mixture of
    small handful of spinach, kale, any kind of berry, 1/2 banana, flax oil. I then add a powder blend of organic protein, greens, fruits & veggies. I change it around sometimes by substituting mango or other fruit. Not only have I lost some unwanted pounds, but I’m energized at least until noon – sometime past. I don’t crave sugar like I used to. I feel great!

  53. Kathy says:

    You know what I like to tell people who spout off as “fact” things they think they know or believe to be true.
    Just try it and prove me wrong! (or right)
    I feel certain the detractors have never tried a green smoothie.

  54. Kathy says:

    Alan, I agree with you about the oil. I add walnut or pumpkin seed to my smoothies. And then may also follow smoothie with some rice crackers with coconut oil or tahini.

    And while we are talking about fats. I keep seeing recently about fats holding your blood sugar at high levels. For the average person without sugar problems I would bet that having the fats holds the sugar stable at a normal level.

  55. Susan says:


    My naturopath/nutritionist has long recommended adding coconut or other healthy oils to my meals–and smoothies in particular. A little oil/fat does improve the assimilability of many nutrients. I personally do not the like the taste that coconut oil imparts to my veggie smoothies so I eat a spoonful before eating my smoothie. I love coconut oil straight out of the jar. Yummy…

  56. pe says:

    ‘Devil’s advocate’ is a neglected specialty in ‘modern’ times. The Devil is those parts of ourselves we can’t accept– and, till we integrate them into our whole, will torment us. In that spirit (and for #41?) …
    #1 et al vs #5-6-7-17-21-42: non-bitter greens are favored along with supersweet fruit (pineapple, mango, pear, banana… )
    But #34 on stevia tea for sweet-loving toddlers, try it, people, and let us know!
    #18 ‘Give up the lettuce’ Nearly true for iceberg, rating 81, but greenleaf, redleaf, romaine and butterhead are 87-9.
    #2, #11-19, #39 et al: all the dried-powdered ingredients are well-oxidized to start.
    Some of these concerns are covered by savory or quasi-savory smoothies.
    #14 suggest soluble fiber. Comments?
    #17: for what it’s worth, I find limiting fructose to 9 grams (my chosen limit) has no dietary agonies..
    #31: interesting observation about lemon (and lime?) and apple.
    #6 “eat with a spoon” vs guzzling. Victoria Boutenko has done wonders for raw fooders. But I note she sells a plastic chewing device to remedy mechanized chewing. Would a food processor pre-chew veggies less (see #21) and save your teeth?
    Disclosure: I blend some 2-day-sprouted fatty seeds with kefir and water to break them, in a cheap low-wattage blender.

  57. Michael says:

    I am more “hardcore” with the greens. I JUICE (not blend) kale, chard, spinach, collard greens and then BLEND with almond milk, mixed berries, coconut oil and whey protein. The addition of protein and coconut oil should eliminate any worry about sugar spikes because these slow down the absorption of sugar. I would not recommend for beginner juicers since the veggie portion is pretty concentrated, but once you are accustomed, it is fine.

  58. Wanda says:

    I rotate my greens weekly…this week it’s Collards, but my absolute favorite is Kale! YUM…Do about 2 handfuls of whatever green, about a teaspoon of raw ginger, some raw coconut, 2 tablespoons Chia, 1 tablespoon of Hemp seed, 1 tablespoon of Maca, about a handful of fruit…which I rotate everyday. Today was sliced strawberries….and 2 cups of water. DELICIOUS.

  59. Helen says:

    Interesting DVD Fat Sick and Almost Dead is a visual about green drinks.

  60. Tonja says:

    Pineapple, kale, & parsley is good even for beginners.

    Spinach, coconut milk, mint or mint extract, avocado, and dates or stevia (or a little of each). [this one is for those who used to like Shamrock shakes]

  61. Dana Naylor says:

    I agree with Garrett #17, most people make their Green Smoothie a “sugar bomb” by adding too much fruit. I tell people who are transitioning from a SAD diet to start out with 1/2 green and 1/2 fruit but as their taste buds change they need to switch to at least 3/4 greens, 1/4 fruit. After experimenting myself with smoothies for the last 5 years I have found that I need to keep my fructose intake to about 15g. like Mercola suggests. My latest smoothie has been:

    Greens (depending on what I have on hand- kale, chard, spinach, collards)
    Almond milk
    SunWarrior protein powder- vanilla
    Almond Butter
    pinch of sea salt

    Amazingly Satisfying!!!

  62. Billy Joe says:

    If the seperation of the nutrients from the Fiber were an issue then the Gerson Miracle (AKA, Gerson Therapy) would be the Gerson Disaster. After all it is a Juice therapy that has helped many many people over come Cancer and other diseases.

    I own a Vita Mix (works the same as a Blend Tec)and I love that I can have the benefits of the Core and Seeds and Rinds of many things that are inedible without a super blender.

    As a Cancer Survivor I am always looking to give my body better Nutrition to Heal and Recover and Maintain my Health.

    I say “Eat Organic or as your Grand Parents called it Food” and boycott Monsanto and GMO Foods by eating Organic! 🙂

  63. Billy Joe says:

    Also Thanks to Other Comment Makers for your Great Recipe Ideas! I am excited to try some of the Savory Smoothies! 🙂

  64. Avril says:

    Was sugar free for 2 years…
    But since I started making smoothies, I need my dose of sugar EVERY DAY and my hips are back again :-((

  65. CL says:

    Since drinking a 32 oz green smoothie each day for 6 mos, I’ve lost some weight and feel so good. My 18 mo old grandson even loves them. Before, I rarely ate veggies or fruit because of problems with digestion. No longer an issue 🙂 My go-to smoothie is 1 c nut milk, 1 carrot, 1 t spirulina, 1 T ground flax, 1 scoop Raw Vegan protein powder, 1 banana, 1 pear, and as much greens (dino kale and cress are my favs) as I can shove in the blender (a few handfuls). Delicious!

  66. Donaji says:

    Hi Kevin. Thanks again for the past couple of articles and your way of responding in a logical way.

    I just wanted to ask though, you said:

    “Regardless of how the story broke or who the main characters are, there’s still nothing that I’ve seen that will convince me smoothies are “bad” for your health.”

    Did you mean to say GREEN smoothies? Because like it was mentioned on the last post, just saying “smoothies” alone can me a thousand different things, and I’m sure some of those “things” could be bad for you. For example processed or “fake” smoothies (bottled), or all sugar smoothies, etc. I guess by reading that, I think you mean ANY smoothie is NOT bad for you.

    Sorry for the confusion, just curious about what you meant and I was thinking of other people that are new to the blog.

  67. DeWayne says:

    My morning smoothie, 1/2 glass coconut milk, 1/4 glass cranberry juice, 1/2 banana, 4 different berries, about a cup. A teaspoon of cinnamon, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and 2 raw eggs. Also 10 Apricot seeds ground. Blend and drink

  68. Nicole says:

    The stress of worring about green smoothies can be more harmfull than the smoothie, enjoy all organic wholefoods…..
    My morning smoothy is
    Baby spinach
    lemon ginger
    1/2 apple

  69. star says:

    For those of you whom need to watch your sugar like some said use flaxseeds but cinnamon is also good just sprinkle some in a smoothie and your sugar wont go up . Take for example a diabetic who can eat a slice of apple pie and their sugar dosen’t go up because of the cinnamon . As for me what ever green veggies I have and an apple works . I do not add any kind of sugar unless I am making fruit smoothies like a “milkshake ” then I may add a little sugar [ raw or stevia ] . The best green “veggies” one can get is fresh from outside be it a garden or foraging like dandelion , raw garlic [chives] onions and so forth . I love smoothies and dont care what any say as blending it in a blender isn’t as harsh as using a juicer and no pulp is wasted .

  70. Joan says:

    Using a regular blender, I cut up and throw in an apple, then big handful of baby spinch leaves, a banana and about half blender of water – blend away and enjoy!

  71. Kevin says:


    Dont you know that strawberry and bannana are a BAD combination…leading to fermentation in the stomach.

  72. Sandra says:

    I had severe Psoriasis for about 6yrs. I tried a 80% raw diet and it was better ( and I had alot of other health benefits) but it did not clear up until I did 2 months of nothing but green smoothies. So you cannot tell me there is not something about the greens that we are missing in our diets… my friends ask ” is that healthy” … while they stuff a Bic Mac and Large Fries down their throat??? I do not understand this logic?? I am so thankful I was able to find something that helped my Psoriasis. It was keeping me up at night itching and was very embarrassing to wear short sleeves or go to the beach. People looked at me like I had leprosy or something! If you have health problems I encourage you to get as many greens in your diet any way you can!!

  73. Cheryl says:

    I use a Blendtec blender to make green smoothies. Green smoothies are my “health insurance” (since I don’t have any other). I use organic Acai berry juice, a tablespoon each of ground hemp, chia, and flax seeds, a few other nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds — whatever I have handy), a bunch of grapes and/or fresh pineapple, a apple, a couple stalks of celery, several large stalks of kale, and some Swiss chard from my garden (and if I don’t have enough kale and Swiss chard, I add some organic lettuce from my garden), a couple spoonfuls of BarleyMax Berry, a couple frozen bananas, and some other frozen fruit such as frozen blueberries or frozen pears (from the tree in my garden). This usually makes a very large batch, and I have to pour half of it out of the Blendtec and then mix it all together in the end. It usually makes about two quarts and lasts me two to four days. This makes a great tasting smoothie. I have wondered about oxidation, too, but I feel that the health benefits outweigh the negative effects of the oxidation.

  74. Sandy says:

    To: Sandy Halliday

    For your DAO problems Google a product called Histame. It is an enzyme that you take within 15 min of eating. I stumbled on this two years ago. Thanks to the internet! I was having a “pseudoallergy” to a lot of foods I was eating. And it kept getting worse. I was down to eating very little food. This product has let me eat again. A lot of allergists don’t even know about deficient diamine oxidase enzyme. So they tell you to stop eating the certain food, and that you are allergic to it. I had to inform my Dr. about this product. It works the same as when people are lactose intolerant and have to take the lactase enzyme, or Beno before consuming beans. I hope this info will help you too!

  75. Lourdes says:

    My favorite starter smoothie / nectar of the gods:

    grapes (lots… this is the base.
    1-2 kiwis
    big bunch turnip greens and/ or spinach (or more greens to taste)
    handful coriander
    frozen banana

    The breakfast smoothie in the Garden of Eden. The turnip greens have a sharp edge and, combined with the coriander, somehow end up tasting purple (like berries). The frozen banana knocks it out of the park.

  76. Helen says:

    My favourite green smoothie is:

    Two handfuls of spinach
    Juice of two limes
    1 apple
    Small handful of spearmint
    Water/coconut water

    This concoction cured my gum inflammation in a week. My dentist was astounded!

  77. Kale, bananas, coconut meat and pineapple

  78. cypriano says:

    what is all the fuss about smoothies? drink if you like, do not drink if you do not like. The important issue is how and with what are the smoothies made organic? How are they blended and do they contain any processed green powder protein or veg. powder. You need to do your own research and not rely on anyone for your health.
    Remember any food or substance that has gone from its natural state to a processed or refined


  79. Jenny says:

    My favorite Green Smoothie recipe:

    1-2 cups well water
    1/2 cucumber
    1/2 zucchini
    1 dinosaur kale leaf or regular kale leaf
    1 bunch spinach
    1 collard green leaf or 1 bok choy leaf
    1 carrot
    1 stalk celery
    1/2-1 avocado -to make it creamy
    1/4-1/2 lemon (peeled)-keeps everything green

    For those just transitioning into green smoothies, adding fruit like banana for sweetness and creaminess, and berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries for the color might might be more appealing for the green smoothie beginner.

    For those allergic to avocado, add banana and some flax oil like they recommend to stabilize your blood sugar.

    I think I could live with adding blueberries but I don’t need another sweetner, but if you need it sweet, add stevia.

    I introduced green smoothies to a couple of friends and they thanked me profusely! Green smoothies helped them feel better, have more energy, and helped them maintain their weight. Hallelujah!

  80. mike says:

    avocado or banana
    Raw pastured duck and chicken eggs
    Raw honey
    Raw grass-fed milk/kefir
    Local Bee pollen
    Fresh ground flax
    HeMp seeds
    Fish oil
    Blueberries(seasonal very
    Cayanne powder
    Raw protein powder
    Soaked dates if using banana(too thickening for avocado!
    Yeah u kno wat else .. coconut syrup(if not using honey, coconut butter(manna(specially without avocado or whole coconut!
    Yes this is everyday especially wintersmonths when not combining juice. Can wait to try that romaine sitting..also been incorporating dark greens like kno spinach God bless!!

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