Review: The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw

The Green Smoothies Diet

By Robyn Openshaw

©2009, Ulysses Press: Berkeley, CA.

Just to let you know, I had already dabbled in green smoothies before reading this book. I was aware of them from the Boutenko family and from random online forums. It seems like a great idea: make your greens taste better by blending them with fruit. I found out that getting the right balance between fruit and greens is not as easy as I thought it would be and everyone has a different opinion.

It seems like everyone has a Something Diet book to write and sometimes those are fun to read. Of course, remember to read critically and take into account what you already know about your own body’s likes, dislikes and tolerances. So, a whole diet of green smoothies and nothing but? Well yes, if you want. Openshaw has a compelling writing style and invites the reader to try a green smoothie, any of her 51 recipes in the book (including two template recipes with add-in suggestions) or any smoothies you invent or find, as long as you have leafy green vegetables in it.

I wondered how she could get a whole book out of this simple principle and I was (mostly) pleasantly surprised. We get tips on how to get greens for the cheapest possible dollar and highest possible nutrient bang-for-your-buck; these are more useful in the USA but some tips are applicable to Canada and other countries. We also get descriptions of what different kinds of greens can do for our body based on their different nutrient profiles. We are told what kinds of smoothies each type of leafy green might taste best in and when each is in season (take note: Openshaw lives in Linden, Utah so this seasonal profile works best at similar latitudes). As the author is a mother, there are several places that give tips for giving green smoothies to children and having the children actually try them and want more.

The most interesting part of the book was Openshaw’s rather detailed descriptions on how one can grow their own greens, summer and winter. Fresh is best and she really gets into the lifestyle instead of just the consumption part. I guess if you are going to be downing mugs of produce every day in order to reap the rewards of their nutrients to make and keep your body healthy it makes sense to try and grow the plants yourself if you can. That way, they are certainly organic, local and as fresh as possible so your nutrition is truly maximized.

There is some information about “superfood” and herbal additions to your drinks and for those who want it, a list comparing Vita-Mix and Blendtec blenders. Openshaw prefers the blendtec. My husband and I have a Vita-Mix. Personally, I think that both are expensive and both work well. A high-speed blender does make a difference when you want to blend greens to an extremely smooth consistency instead of having floating green pieces in your drink. For small batches, I have personally found the 700-watt PC Power blender to do just fine. All you have to do is blend a little longer. I’d link to it but they don’t have it up on the web; visit a Loblaw’s operation to find one. I got mine at Superstore.

I got really sick shortly after reading The Green Smoothies Diet so I decided to try and get more nutrients into me to aid in healing faster. I admit I didn’t follow any recipe exactly but I did add water, fruit and greens in roughly the proportions given in the book. They taste great, better than all my previous attempts. If you are going to consume something every day, it had better taste great (otherwise how long will the trend honestly last?) so that was nice. Did I get better faster than usual? No, but it was easy to get these down when ill and perhaps in the long run it would make more of an immunity difference in me.

The only part that seemed somewhat sketchy was the questionnaire responses voluntarily included from Openshaw’s web site greensmoothiegirl.com The questionnaire asks people to report what wonderful things have happened to them after consuming green smoothies for at least 30 days. I wonder if someone who got negligible results would bother to answer a survey. The survey itself does not include questions about negative results of green smoothie consumption except for one about “uncomfortable cleansing reactions” indicating that the reactions were short-term and then went away. As with almost every diet, it works for some people and those for whom it works are advocates. Consuming more whole foods certainly won’t hurt and I found them a tasty addition to my own diet. If you’re curious, check out the book: The Green Smoothies Diet.

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