by Cat, July 2008 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
My friend Jean H. gave me a great tip which I practice every morning: I add a few green leaves (see list, below) to my Morning Protein, Full-Meal Smoothie. At first, I was skeptical (yuk, bitter greens with my fruit and yogurt). But I found that the leaves give it a “fuller” flavor, as long as I don’t add too many. And a big bonus is that it has improved my digestion and bowel transit time!
Leafy greens like spinach and kale are best for you when lightly braised (braising breaks down the oxalates so you get the benefits of the many minerals they contain), but if you use just a few of them raw as described here, the oils/fats in your smoothie (such as coconut oil, cream, etc.) also provide benefits.
2019 note: I now use Mercola’s fermented greens (iHerb code MCL-03204) in my smoothie instead of fresh greens, as fermenting also breaks down the lectins.
See also: Smoothie Menu (on Breakfast-Brunch Menu)
Adding Fresh Greens to a Smoothie
First I pour in my milk (or other liquid), then add my cod liver and fish oils, and the greens – just a small handful. I may also add chopped up thin root of the beetroot, or young, raw beet or young, raw carrot root. I blend that until the liquid is colorful and the leaves/beets/carrots are liquified. Then I add the remaining smoothie ingredients.
As a gardener, I find it’s such a shame to compost those young, tender leaves when thinning in the garden, or the leaves from mature carrots, beets, turnips, etc. as you prepare the roots for use or storage. So much better to save them for the smoothie!
- Carrot tops are my favorite (although I’ve read they are mildly toxic if you overdo);
- Radish and turnip leaves from my garden
- Spinach and chard/beet leaves
- Parsley leaves and stems
- Kale leaves
- Broccoli and cauliflower leaves
- Young leaves of pea and bean vines
- Lettuce tends to be more bitter, so go easy.
For more ideas, see Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables (1), from Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University.
About radish leaves, from Lycos (2):
“Best used in a stir fry or wilted like spinach as they are quite hairy and not very nice raw. It is worth noting that they have diuretic and laxative properties, useful for urine problems and also good for kidney stones. Radish leaf juice mixed with lemon juice is given to jaundice patients for speedy recovery.”
- Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/newsletters/hortupdate/hortupdate_archives/2005/may05/SecVeget.html
- iq.lycos.co.uk/qa/show/65646/Are+Radish+leaves+edible+for+humans%3F/ (link no longer works)