drink green smoothies all day and lose weight

You could literally drink green smoothies till you’re full, all day long, and still lose weight.

If you drank TWO GALLONS a day (that’s 8 quarts), you would get only 1500 calories. That 100 fewer calories than someone my height and weight needs, even if I don’t exercise, daily!

I’ve been accidentally saying the wrong thing in my classes. A quart of green smoothie doesn’t have 400 calories–it has 200! (Hot Pink smoothie from Ch. 10 of 12 Steps has 400 calories, perfect for breakfast.)

A quart of GS will fill up your stomach. I often get emails saying, “I can’t drink a quart in one sitting! How do you do it?”

Well, first, I’m just used to it. I burn 400-600 calories working out every morning so I’m really hungry at lunch time. Sometimes I save some of my quart for late in the afternoon, but often I drink it all at once–and I always have something else, too.) And sometimes when I have an extra pint in the fridge, I have another GS for dinner!

I also get this a lot: “I am hungry an hour or two after drinking my quart of GS. What’s up with that?” Well, what’s up with that is that it’s less than 200 calories.

I was filing stuff and found this DietPower breakdown of a quart of green smoothie:

¼ lb. spinach

¼ lb. chard

½ banana

¾ cup mixed berries

1 peach

Here’s what you get (with 1 ½ cups water and a pinch of stevia):

188 calories

84% carbs, protein 12%, fat 4% (That is a BEAUTIFUL macronutrient breakdown, by the way! If someone told you 20% protein is necessary, it ISN’T.)

Because this is the highest-nutrition, lowest-calorie thing you can eat, I outline a Detox plan (3 days) and a weight loss plan (30 days) in my book, The Green Smoothies Diet.

You also get, from this recipe:

More than 50% of your daily requirements of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, manganese.

Very significant amounts of fiber (31% of daily allowance), as well as niacin, Vita E, iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium.

p.s. I do recommend adding 60-100 cals. of flaxseed to your diet, and a GS is one easy way to do that. I buy sprouted flax on Amazon. It’s live and it absorbs less water in the smoothie since it’s already been soaked (and dried).

chia seed and flax seed

So you’ve been reading about chia seed.   (I know this because I get lots of questions about it.)   Yep, I’m talking about the little things that grow the chia pet, now getting lots of attention as a power food.   And it is.   A highly expensive one (I bought a pound of it recently for about $18).

Chia seed has 7 times as much iron as spinach.   At 18%, it has more protein than beef, and its amino acids comprise  a complete protein.   It slows conversion of sugars in the bloodstream, so it’s great to eat with a  high-sugar meal.   (I mean  like potatoes or fruit–hopefully y’all have abandoned or are at least minimizing refined sugars.)

Its mucilaginous properties mean it absorbs toxins, and it’s fantastic for weight loss.   I don’t like to eat after dinner, so if my dinner was light and I get really hungry later, what I do is eat a large spoonful of chia seed and chase it with a big glass of water.   It absorbs 10 times its own weight in fluids, so it fills you up when you are hungry with hardly any calories.

It tastes mild–tastes like nothing, really.   You can sprinkle it in cereal, or put it in a smoothie–but it will dramatically thicken your smoothie.   For that matter, it’s a great thickener!   Put 1  tsp. chia seed in 3 Tbsp. water, and you’ve got yourself an egg replacement.

It’s packed with those rare Omega fatty acids that your body cannot manufacture and must receive from foods–in perfect proportions.   And it stores for a very long time!

I highly recommend it.   I’ll find a way eventually to get it for cheaper in a local group buy (maybe national–we’ll see!).   I wish it were less expensive.

Now flax seed is still quite inexpensive at less than $1/lb.   You can watch my YouTube video making flax crackers if you want to hear more about its virtues, or read Ch.  4 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. (All my demos are on GreenSmoothieGirl.com under the Videos tab now–and I have lots of new ones coming.)

Just want to share a thought from GSG reader Rochelle T., who happens to also be my cousin, whom I set up with her husband 19 years ago!   (I have 65 first cousins, 49 of them Romneys, but she’s the one I’ve been closest to my whole life–now she has 5 children.)   She was trying to figure a way to get flaxseed in her diet every day.   She just eats a spoonful of ground flax seed every morning, chasing it with water.   She says it’s nutty and pleasant tasting and it’s a great habit she’s gotten into.   Great idea.   Keep in mind that grinding flax seed (unnecessary with chia) makes its nutritional properties much more available.   Just don’t grind it far in advance, as it goes rancid quickly.

Hope this is helpful!

Green Smoothie Testimonials, part 6

I have a bajillion of these, and I’ll talk about other stuff sometimes and sprinkle these in, just to keep you motivated with others’ fun tales of their health improving:

I tried the green smoothie after juicing for several years. Juicing was expensive and demanded a lot of time and work extracting the juice from the fiber and cleaning the juicer. Blended raw foods made a lot of sense and I did not need to be converted on the idea.

 

When I began drinking the green smoothie I weighed 285 lbs. One year later I weigh 240 lbs.  Daily workouts have contributed as much to my weight loss as any other factor. However, the benefits of the green smoothie as I experienced them are as follows:

 

1.  Drinking the green smoothie changed my bowel movement habits, which are now frequent (2-3 times a day) and regular.

2.   The green smoothie is my pre-workout, first thing in the morning food. I have been surprised at the energy it sustains throughout my workout.

3.  The green smoothie fills me up without slowing me down. It satisfies my hunger and cravings till early in the afternoon.  It has curbed my overall appetite thus decreasing the overall calories I consume in a day.

4. I find that the green smoothie helps my digestion, especially with the foods that do not digest well. I eat a lot of lean meat and I feel the organic raw food in my gut facilitates digestion and elimination of meat.

5. Beginning my day with green smoothie drinks and working out provides me the momentum, nutrition, and motivation to eat a strict lean diet throughout the rest of the day.

 

The green smoothie has lived up to the expectations I had.  Several of the above benefits caught me totally by surprise.  I have been drinking green smoothies every morning for the past year.  They have served me well.  Now that I have lost the weight I needed, I have significantly increased my strength and energy.  My new goals are not to lose any more weight but to increase my overall lean muscle mass. My idea is to begin drinking green smoothies twice a day rather than just once in the morning.

 

–Gregg L.

 

I started drinking green smoothies and doing about 80% to 95% raw to help improve my migraine headaches. I lost 51 pounds in six months and I feel great. I am 47 years old, and I teach at an alternative high school.   It can be very stressful working with at-risk youth. I have seen my mood and attitude improve so much since I started adding green smoothies as my breakfast.

 

My favorite is 2 bananas, 1 large apple, 2 kale leaves, 6-8 dandelion greens, 2 large handfuls fresh spinach, some wheatgrass juice, 2 cups water and 1 cup of ice. Blend and I have breakfast and my afternoon snack. This great stuff and I will not ever go back to eating the way I used to with fast and processed foods.

 

–Carol N.

 

green smoothies and calories

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   I am nursing  my three-month old daughter and at the same time trying to lose the rest of my baby weight (I have about 43 pounds to lose…I gained 70 . . . oops!).   I have been trying to incorporate the smoothies into my diet, but it seems that I do not lose in the weeks when I am very consistent with drinking them.   This is what I am typically eating:

 

hot pink breakfast smoothie

1 small homemade pumpkin muffin (with wholegrain flour and agave nectar)

 

1/2 portion of whatever we had for dinner the night before (we are vegans, so usually some kind of veggie soup, stew, etc….always low fat)

1  quart green smoothie

 

vegan dinner…small portion

1 small homemade muffin

 

i also drink 2 cups of decaf chai and mother’s milk teas with stevia and a splash of vanilla almond milk

 

I am 6 feet tall and weigh approx 225 lbs (weighed 185 when I conceived, but would like to get back down to 165 eventually) and work out a few times a week.

 

I love drinking the smoothies, but am worried about the scale not moving down when I am drinking them . . . should I make my lunch only the smoothie and not any leftovers?

 

Answer:   I’m not a fan of strict calorie counting, but it helps to know some essential information.   First, your body can handle 600 to 800 calories at a time.   So, when we eat a huge meal of well over 800 calories, the body has to store some of that food energy as fat.

 

Second, a quart of green smoothie (good job!) is about 400 calories, or 500 if you’re adding a Tbsp. of flax oil.   So just keep an eye on that.   It’s obviously very nutritionally dense and low in calories.   If your leftovers portion is 600 calories, however, you might want to eat a smaller amount.

In general, your menu sounds good.   So, third, if you are eating in accordance with principles of good nutrition, not overeating, and not indulging in processed foods, and you are still not losing weight you need to lose, then my next suggestion for you would be to have your thyroid checked.   Don’t go to your OB/GYN or a standard lab for this.   Find a clinic specializing in women’s hormones, and the practitioner may be a nurse.   Have a full blood panel run, because the T3 measurement your OB/GYN would likely have you test does not tell the whole story.   You will need to have your blood workup analyzed for a fairly complex interplay of a number of factors, including T4 and some other hormones that work with your thyroid.

 

If you are one of the burgeoning number of women suffering from low thyroid (estimates seem to fall about 25% of American women), ask to be prescribed a bioidentical thyroid hormone rather than a synthetic drug (like Cytomel or Synthroid).   The natural bioidenticals are also cheaper than the drugs, since you can’t patent a natural substance.

How much fat should I eat?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:   How much fats do you take in a day? From what I gathered from your book, it looks something like: 1 tablespoon flax oil in green smoothie, 2 tablespoons coconut oil on lips and skin, a handful of nut and seeds for snacks in the afternoon.   Am I right?   I am about the same age as you.   Would the above be too much oil in a day?

 

Answer:   That’s an appropriate amount of fat for an active person in her 40’s.   (Some of that 2 Tbsp. of coconut oil may be eaten–I couldn’t put that much on my skin–and I also might use a Tablespoon or less of extra-virgin olive oil for cooking dinner, too.)

 

I might eat a few hundred calories more than the average woman my age whose weight is healthy, just because I also work out hard and am really hungry otherwise0.   I used to put everything I ate into a program called DietPower (about $35 when I bought it at dietpower.com).   By programming in my workouts AND my food, and weighing every day, I was able to establish my EXACT metabolic rate.   I learned that at 5’8″ and 135 lbs., I burn about 1600 calories a day.   (I burn more and can therefore eat more if I run 5 miles, for a 500 calorie expenditure.)

 

I no longer count calories or worry about that at all.   (Also, many whole-food items aren’t in the DietPower database.)   I find that if I don’t eat any processed foods, addictions don’t exist, and I can eat how much I want, within reason.   My friend Michelle says that she overeats anything (and uses oatmeal as an example–something she says she’ll eat four bowls of), but I don’t believe it.    Not if you go OFF refined foods for a short time to eliminate those addictions.   People not eating refined foods simply do not have a tendency to overeat legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.   That’s because they’re natural and don’t distort hormones and the other finely tuned systems in the body to create unnatural cravings.  

 

When you eat only whole foods, you are tuning your body in to its needs.

 

your body needs IODINE . . . part 2 of 3 on thinning hair

I have been reading a bunch of scientific papers by David Brownstein and G. Abraham on iodine, as I have suspected that iodine deficiency may be partly to blame for the fact that 1 in 4 American women has a thyroid problem (countless men, too), and most of those are undiagnosed.

 

You may know that your thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism.   If you have hypothyroidism, among a host of other symptoms, you are likely to have low energy and gain weight easily (and have a hard time losing it), regardless of your caloric intake.   (And hyperthyroidism, which is  that gland revving and eventually burning out,  often manifests with buggy eyes and manic energy.)   If your way of testing your thyroid is to go to an M.D. and ask for a test, you likely tested only T3, and that doesn’t show anywhere near the whole picture.   Also, the M.D.s accept a “normal” range that is inappropriately huge.

You need to go to a clinic specializing in hormones, and usually those are run by nurse practitioners.   Locally (Utah County), three clinics specialize in this, but I recommend Francine at Wellnique in Orem, who prescribes only bioidenticals rather than synthetics.   Get a full-panel blood test and have her analyze the interplay of a variety of factors including T3, T4, progesterone, and testosterone.   (Unfortunately most insurance companies won’t pay for this.)   You have to have iodine to synthesize T3 and T4.   And iodine is frankly hard to come by in food sources.

North Americans and Western Europeans have a high rate of goiter, or thyroid enlargement as felt by palpating the neck.   That’s a classic sign of iodine deficiency.   The studies I reviewed showed anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of Caucasions to have this disorder, rather easily rectified for most with iodine supplementation.

I’ve included a link below to quite a few iodine studies, for the meticulous, analytical, and detail oriented among you. 

You won’t be surprised to hear me say that the best way to get highly bioavailable iodine is through plant food:   the Japanese get it through sea vegetables, like seaweed, kelp, and dulse.   They have very low rates of breast and reproductive cancers and other iodine-deficiency problems, whereas we have high rates of all those problems.   If you like nori sheets, eat a few every day.   Roll hummus and/or veggies in it, or tear it up and put it in soup.   I personally don’t like it, so I season food with kelp, but that’s not enough.   I am using a Lugol solution of iodine and potassium iodine to try to achieve the average Japanese rate of iodine through seaweed consumption.

These are some papers regarding research on iodine:

http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/opt_Research_I.shtml