Featured in 7 Smoothies to Kick off January
Today, I’m going to share my fool-proof system for making delicious detox smoothies.
Whether you binged over the holidays, drank too much alcohol on the weekend, want to boost your immune system or lose some weight, or just want to eat a bit healthier, smoothies are the easiest way to pack a ton of nutrition into your meal.
You can make a smoothie in less than 10 minutes. And the best part is, you don’t even need to turn on the oven!
My Criteria for a Great Detox Smoothie
When I make a smoothie, it needs to satisfy three basic criteria:
1. It needs to look gorgeous: We eat first with our eyes, and nobody wants to drink anything that looks like swamp water!
2. It needs to be mind-blowingly delicious: Life is too short to eat food that isn’t scrumptious.
3. It needs to be nutrient-dense with awesome ingredients.
I start everyday with a smoothie, and I think they can be enjoyed everyday. However, I recommend rotating your ingredients to include a variety of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and greens, herbs, and spices so you don’t overdo it on any one ingredient. Mix things up!
Fruits and vegetables begin to oxidize the minute you cut them open, so it’s always best to enjoy them the minute they’re made to minimize the degradation of nutrients and to get the most bang for you buck.
Having said that, we’re all busy and it’s not always possible to drink your smoothie right away. If you’re making a smoothie in the morning to drink later in the day (or the night before to drink in the morning), you can still get a lot of goodness from your ingredients. Seal the smoothie in a jar right after making, store it in the fridge, and then shake it up again before enjoying.
My Favorite Ingredients for Detox Smoothies (and Why):
Coconut Water: After plain filtered water, coconut water is my go-to liquid for smoothies. Low in calories and carbohydrates, and almost completely fat free, coconut water pairs well with most fruits and veggies. It’s also a natural energy drink that’s rich in electrolytes that keep you hydrated.
Spinach: Loaded with iron and other minerals, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, protein, antioxidants, fiber, and anti-inflammatory power, this leafy legend is an immunity boosting cleansing champion. With a mild taste that’s easily masked by fruits and vegetables, spinach is my top choice for introductory green smoothies. You can add 1 to 2 cups into any blend without really changing the flavor.
Beets: Rich in iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and dietary nitrates, beets build mineral-rich blood to dial up detox. Grate raw beets for the smoothest texture with conventional blenders, or lightly steam them to make them more palatable.
Apples: Pectin is a soluble fiber in apples that help sweep the colon for digestive health. Apple pectin lowers the body’s demand for insulin, keeping apples’ glycemic index low. Many of the nutrients and fiber in apples are concentrated in the skin, so include the peels!
Strawberries: Strawberries are relatively low in sugar, while still providing tons of flavor. Rich in phytonutrients, vitamin C, mineral buffers, and omega-3s, these righteous red berries are bursting with antioxidants ammo to combat inflammation in the eyes, muscles, and blood. Full of fiber, strawberries are great for digestion and detox. Strawberries add sweetness to smoothies; throw them in fresh or frozen.
Pineapple: Bromelain, the protein-digesting enzyme in pineapple, bolsters the power of its vitamin C content to help clear respiratory congestion, suppress coughs, loosen mucus, flush out toxins, reduce swelling and bloating, and stimulate circulation for a deep-dive detox. Use pineapple fresh or frozen.
Lemon: Low in sugar and full of nutrients, lemons are detox divas. Lemons are amped up with antioxidant vitamin C, antibiotic phytonutrients, and B vitamins. The citric acid in lemons aids digestion while ascorbic acid fights free radicals.
Lemon peels are particularly rich in antioxidants, so throw some zest into your shakes for an additional “booster” of nutrition and flavor.
Cayenne Pepper: I seize every opportunity to add a pinch of cayenne to smoothies. It adds crazy-amazing flavor and healing potential. As one of the most powerful detox foods, cayenne heats the body to sweat out toxins. Naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal, cayenne is also a powerful immune booster.
Throw some in your weight-loss shakes, too, as it helps burn fat!
Broccoli: Broccoli is one of the richest sources of glucosinolates – some of the most powerful toxin tackling compounds found in foods. Armed with an arsenal of antioxidants, minerals, flavonoids, carotenoids, omega-3s, and fiber, these fierce florets combat inflammation, oxygenate the blood, and banish bad bacteria for better digestion.
I boost most smoothies with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of raw frozen broccoli. As our taste buds are temperature sensitive, we can’t taste the full dimension of flavors at extremely cold temps, so you can slip frozen florets into smoothies unnoticed.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Below are my basic steps for spectacular smoothies, with suggestions for including the top detox foods. Feel free to swap out, or add in, any other ingredients you like! Just pick your ingredients, blend, and enjoy!
1 Choose a base liquid: You can use 1 to 2 cups of filtered water, raw coconut water, unsweetened almond milk or hemp milk, fresh apple or orange juice, herbal tea, green tea, unsweetened kefir or kombucha.
2 Choose your base ingredients: Add 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruits or veggies, like apple, orange, kiwi, melon, berries, beets, cucumber, pineapple, mango, or peaches.
3 Add some creaminess: Banana, avocado, coconut meat, unsweetened natural yogurts, blanched almonds, or almond butter all add richness and creaminess to smoothies.
4 Add some greens: Next add 1 to 2 cups of spinach, romaine or radish greens; 1 cup kale, bok choy, chard, collards, beet greens; or 1/4 cup arugula or dandelion greens.
5 Boost the nutrients: Choose one or more of the following: 1 tablespoon of chia, hemp or flax seeds; 1 tablespoon of coconut, flax, or hemp oil; 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of superfood powders like açaí, pomegranate, camu, maqui, goji, wheatgrass, or broccoli sprouts; 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon spirulina or chlorella; or add 1/4 cup frozen raw broccoli or cauliflower.
6 Add some magic: Inspire flavor fever with spices! Add a pinch to 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, red pepper flakes, turmeric, or curry powder, or 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or fresh ginger. Or try fresh (not dried) herbs like 1 1/2 teaspoons of rosemary, or 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of parsley, cilantro, basil, or mint. Lift the pungency of earthy root veggies or leafy greens with 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of lemon or lime zest.
7 Blend! Throw all of the ingredients into your blender, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth and creamy.
[Photos in this article by Trent Lanz.]