Experiments in Healthy Smoothies

Post Published on October 11, 2023.
Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by davemackey.

Introduction

I started the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet in August which is similar to the popular Paleo diet but more strict. Maybe I’ll talk more about AIP someday, but for the moment I mention it only to explain why I’ve been experimenting with smoothies (and to some extent, why I’ve chosen the ingredients I’ve used).

Below I’ve chronicled the first steps of my smoothie journey. The result was 20+ smoothies that I found both appetizing and filling. I’ve since progressed further in my journey and I intend to provide my steps since then, but I think this is a good place to start.

Starting Point

I started with 1.5 cups Great Value 100% Apple Juice, 1 Avocado, 1 Great Value Smoothie.

This tasted great but depending on the smoothie mix it was all fruits, no vegetables. Others include some vegetables but seem to be a fairly nominal amount.

Adding Broccoli

Next step was to add 10 pieces Great Value Broccoli Cuts to the mix. This tasted good, there was a slight broccoli flavor, but not overwhelming for me (and I do not love broccoli).

I learned that broccoli is fairly dense and requires more liquid, so increased Apple Juice to 2 cups or even slightly more.

Reducing Broccoli, Adding Carrots

My next step was to reduce the broccoli to 5 and add 5 carrots. This removes the broccoli taste completely and makes the smoothie even smoother.

I made the majority of a large batch of smoothies using this formula (~20 servings).

Removing Apple Juice, Adding Coconut Milk

Towards the very end I ran out of Apple Juice but had on hand SO Delicious Organic Coconut Unsweetened.

I found the coconut milk didn’t go as far in reducing the solidity of the smoothie as apple juice does. I also found that the smoothie takes on a somewhat bland taste with the coconut milk.

Concluding Thoughts

For my next experiment I intend to use half coconut milk and half apple juice. I’m also thinking about adding cauliflower to the mix.

Other potential vegetables that could be good additions include celery, cucumber, sweet potato, asparagus, pumpkin, seaweed, spinach, and zucchini.

Why those particular fruits? Because they look most attractive to me personally out of the list of allowable AIP fruits.

Resources

AIP

Juice

  • I used Walmart’s Great Value 100% Apple Juice which comes in jugs of 96 fl oz. because it is inexpensive and has only water and Vitamin C as additional ingredients. I expect I’ll continue to use this variety.

Smoothies

  • I also intend to continue using the Great Value Smoothies, they are relatively inexpensive (compared to other smoothie mixes). The ingredients vary based on the flavor.
    • The Green Fruit & Vegetable Smoothie contains ascorbic acid, citric acid, and malic acid and may contain traces of coconut and soy.
      • imho, these are the least tasty of the smoothies I’ve tried.
    • The Red Fruit Smoothie tastes good but doesn’t contain any vegetables. It also includes ascorbic acid and citric acid and may contain traces of coconut and soy.
    • The Blue Fruit & Vegetable Smoothie is my personal favorite. It does contain ascorbic acid and citric acid but there is no warning about trace elements of coconut or soy.
    • There is also an Orange Fruit & Vegetable Smoothie which I have not tried.
  • There are some other smoothie fruit mixes but many of them seem to add grain based proteins. Others offer larger quantities at perhaps slightly less price, which I may try – but the individual bags make it quite easy if one is only looking to make a smoothie or two rather than mass producing (though I generally favor the latter approach).

Avocados

  • I picked these up at the local Walmart. They were around $0.90 each. Some people warn against buying hard avocados but I didn’t find this to be a problem since they are chopped up by the blender.
  • I tend to use a larger knife and cut through the center of the avocado (including the nut at the center) rather than attempting to maneuver around the nut.

Broccoli

  • This time I used the Great Value Broccoli Cuts (which come in a 32 oz/2 lb bag) and they were fine. However I think I’ll go with full heads of broccoli in the future as they’ll be easier to measure and provide more consistency in what is in each smoothie.

Carrots

  • I used Bolthouse Farms Baby-Cut Carrots (which came in 32 oz / 2 lb bag). The price on these seemed equitable to buying full carrots at the store I was at and they can be plopped into the smoothie without needing peeling or cutting into segments. I’ll probably continue to use baby carrots unless there is a significant price difference.

Coconut Milk

  • I picked up the SO Delicious Organic Coconut Unsweetened milk from Costco. It came in a box containing 6 32 fl. oz. containers. I have no complaints about it currently but will be using half coconut and half apple in my upcoming smoothies.

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