One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Getting Green from Inside Out - A Starter Guide to Great Green Juices and Smoothies

Many many moons ago, back when I was a newbie vegan I was into green juice in a major way. In fact, I went vegan during my first 7-day juice fast. The leader of the class, Arden Zinn, is actually the reason I am vegan. For years I was all about the green juice and vegetable juices of all kinds. I did three subsequent juice fast one lasting 14-days the other two lasting 30-days a piece. For someone who is obsessed with cooking and eating, like I am, it opened up so much time in my day to pursue other things that the peace and stillness of not having to worry about what I was going to have for every meal and snacks was a breath of fresh air. Sometime around my juice phase I went through a raw-food phase (seriously, don’t all new vegans go through a raw food phase?) and while I was going through my raw-food phase I got really into green smoothies. You can see the evidence of my love for green smoothies in the first 15 recipes of my first book Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. Where I blend everything from sunflower seed sprouts to broccolini into smoothies.

When I embarked on a new “healthy me” mission this past February one of the first things I added back to my life was green juices and green smoothies. With a backyard garden overflowing with fresh greens it’s a wonder I didn’t do it sooner. For my juice combinations I turned to several different books for inspiration The Complete Idiot's Guide to Juice Fasting (check out 3 recipes from the book here), The Everything Juicing Book and The Healthy Green Drink Diet were my blueprint for all my juicing needs. For an experienced juicer like me a refresher course in combining flavors was great but after two weeks of juicing my own vegetables at home I found the whole process to be ridiculously expensive and I couldn’t justify throwing all that money into my juicer when I could just eat the vegetables as they are. So I ditched the juice fasting books, tucked my juicer back into the pantry and moved on to green smoothies.

Green smoothies and other veggie based smoothies are where I found my sweet spot of nutrition. First of all, making a smoothie makes a much smaller mess than dealing with cleaning a juicer. Secondly, with green smoothies you get to keep the entire vegetable – all that good fiber and pulp with no waste! I earmarked my favorite green smoothie recipes from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food then I moved on to some other great green smoothie books my favorites being – What Color is Your Smoothie? = (there is a sweet potato pie smoothie in this book that will blow your mind!), Green Smoothie Joy , and Green for Life . With my spring garden bursting with 5 different types of lettuce/salad greens, collards, kale and spinach the mileage I have been getting and will continue to get out of these books is well worth the extra room they take up in my cookbook library. And for those of you with kids green smoothies make excellent green popsicles!

Now, stop reading this blog, get in your car (or hop on your bike) and get yourself down to your local farmer’s market to grab some fresh greens and start blending!

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