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The Latest Green Smoothie Debate: Part 3 of 3

Robyn Openshaw - Jan 11, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

That your stomach is full of low calories and high nutrition, after your quart of green smoothie, means you didn’t eat something else. Something worse.

Both are great for different reasons—chewed foods, and blended foods.

I may sound like a broken record. But let me plead with you once again NOT to look at green smoothies as a way to cover up the abominations in your diet the REST of your day. We must take it further. It’s a great first step, but by itself it’s not good enough, especially if caffeine, animal flesh, and candy are still in your other meals.

This issue is a bit of a double-edged sword. With food that we chew, foods aren’t broken down ENOUGH for us to extract all their nutrition. Foods not chewed well cause problems with undigested proteins floating as debris in the blood and causing all kinds of inflammatory problems.

Blended foods break the fiber down. (As I’ve said, that’s not all bad. But it won’t do as well as a “colon sweeper” as a bowl of granola, or a big salad, or a bowl of lentil soup, can accomplish.)

These “experts” telling people not to drink green smoothies are forgetting a number of facts, one of which is critically important. In my lectures, I almost always have someone volunteer, and when they come up, I ask them to eat a big platter of kale, chard, and spinach, representing the amount of greens in the quart of green smoothie, daily, that I recommend. It often takes the volunteer 30 to 45 minutes to eat it. Sometimes they quit in despair, even in front of 200+ people! (Then I let them save face by picking some audience members to come up and help them.)

I ask the audience, how many of you are chewing up this amount of green food, daily? The answer, among approximately 9,000 people this year in my audiences, is somewhere between 0.0% and 0.05%. Keep in mind that while plenty of Standard American Diet folks come to my lectures, many vegans, raw foodists, and general health nuts do, too! Even the salad eaters cannot raise their hand and claim to be chewing up 15 servings of kale, turnip greens, arugula, bananas, and berries.

The forgotten fact is, in ANY form, Americans simply aren’t eating that quantity of good-quality natural plant fiber.

And then there’s the fact that our jaw is degenerated and devolved to a very narrow width and no muscle tone, from three generations of eating soft, processed foods. We can’t break our foods down sufficiently with chewing.   I’m mostly leaving that argument out, since I talk about that so often.

So the main danger, to me, of telling people they shouldn’t drink green smoothies because chewing it is better, is that you’re essentially telling them to stick with same-old same-old. Telling them that if eating huge quantities of “bulk” in salads, bowls of legumes, and granolas is ideal at a 10 (scale of 1 to 10), and achieving a 9.5 with a quart of green smoothie is worthless. It’s an unbalanced statement given the circumstances we are in—and it’s neither wise or responsible.

It’s like attacking Barney (the purple dinosaur) as the root of children’s problems while ignoring pedophiles, soda pop, and the Ritalin epidemic.

Green smoothies aren’t worthless or harmful. They’re a 9.5 on the 1-10 scale. That’s massively better than a Power Bar, a double cheeseburger, a Diet Coke, a Biggie Fries, or a Doritos with a Capri Sun. These are American staples.

Green smoothies aren’t the enemy—junk food is.

The answer, then? EAT BOTH. Chew some good plant food. Take some time and chew it well. And blend some, too, as green smoothies.

If you make my granola and have anything to say here about that challenge of eating it daily for two weeks and reporting on what it does for tell!

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Green Smoothies, Tools & Products, Whole Food

16 thoughts on “The Latest Green Smoothie Debate: Part 3 of 3”

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  1. Thank you SO much for taking time to answer my question in such great depth! I completely agree, having a green smoothie with my lunch is much better than having a bag of chips with it. That’s great if someone has time to chew that many greens a day, but as for me I don’t have that time-so for now I will stick to drinking my green smoothies 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    So question: I am trying to figure out the best way to actually eat two pounds of mostly raw vegetables in a given day, half of those “above ground leaves.” I weighed the greens I put in my smoothie this morning and was shocked at the sheer amount it took to get half a pound of those. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to actually keep that kind of green bulk around, especially while trying to feed a family, without going to the store every other day? I know gardens and freezers are great, but any thoughts if you aren’t in a position for that yet?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Kara, suck the air out of the bags with a straw if you need to compress in the fridge? Freeze if you have to but again, suck the air out first so it takes very little space? (Do you have only a mini-fridge?) In the winter, I keep a 25# bag of carrots in my garage, also boxes of oranges, apples.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely love your granola and what it does for me in so many ways. First off I want to say to those who may be thinking that making granola will take forever and so they don’t take the time to do it and thus benefit from it. Well, it doesn’t, it is actually quite quick and easy, even the 20 min stirring times while baking go by so fast just knowing you are making something awesome. And not only does it taste great, and is super healthy for you, but baking it makes your house smell delicious for days.

    I love to eat it with yogurt, or almond milk, and add raspberries, blueberries, hemp seeds, or sprouts. When I first heard of putting sprouts or hemp seeds with granola I though that’s just wrong, those are salad foods, but I gave it a try and I can honestly say they make great granola foods too. I also love to put some granola in a little cup, add a few raisins (right now I’m using some that I made this past fall from my own grapes I grew, yummy sweet) and just eat it dry, like the best trail mix ever.

    And finally, yes, my digestion and elimination improve immensely whenever I eat the granola regularly. So that’s my personal testimony to share about your delicious granola. I love it thank you.
    And my sauna just barely arrived, I am so excited. Yeah!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Love it, Sue, thank you! Come back and tell us if you’re obsessed with your sauna like I am!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn! This is off the subject here but I just want you to know how much I love reading your blog and I love all the research you are doing on cancer. I was wondering what you think about the Biophotonic Scanners that measure the antioxidants in your body? Have you ever done a scan from one? I would be curious at how high your score would be! There is one at a smoothie place by my house and I consider you the expert on health and nutrition so I wondered what you thought about them? Thanks~Emily

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dear Robyn, I have made your granola recipe about 10 times. I dehydrate it instead of baking it in the oven. Takes a little longer but I try to preserve the enzymes . It definitely helps with getting your system moving. It tastes delicious, is a wonderful snack, and is filling. Even my coworkers, who eat junk all day and sugar filled granola bars, asked me to make some for them because they loved it. I highly recommend it to anyone. I also have had my sauna for about a week now, used it 4 times, and am completely in love with it. I am still ironing out the kinks of how long, how hot, etc but I have to say that I sleep like a baby after using it. Thanks for all your hard work to help us on our journey to fantastic health.

  6. Jeanne,

    How long do you put the granola in your dehydrator. I have been wanting to do this because my husband wants more of a crunch.



    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Laura, Jeanne, if you’re going to dehydrate it, just make the LIVE version of granola in Ch. 10. It’s yummier as well as healthier…..but more time consuming.

  7. Robyn,

    I totally forgot about this recipe 🙂 What temp do you recommend for the 24 hours in the dehydrator?


    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Laura, anything below 116! I do 105 just to be safe.

  8. Anonymous says:


    I LOVE that you addressed elimination (poop!). Because of our family changing our eating habits to more plant foods and, of course, our daily green smoothies, we now experience and talk about “good poops” and how wonderful that feels! Thank you for your blog and for the education you share and please address this subject even more. So many of us live with poor bowel habits and don’t talk about it. Yeah for healthy and satisfying daily bowel movements!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I just read an article stating that, “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but cruciferous vegetables should be cooked before eating as they contain chemicals that BLOCK the production of thyroid hormone in your body!    Considering that 2 out of every 3 Westerners are either overweight or obese and this is projected to jump to 75% by 2020, this is of particular importance as folks struggling with weight usually suffer from borderline to full blown hypothyroidism.”. She lists all the goodies, spinach, kale, Collard greens, along with the others. I think most of her research is based from Weston A. Price her blog has a huge following and I like much of what she teaches but have really struggled with this article. She also is really hard on the oxalic acid in spinach and other greens. I really respect you and value your research, have you heard anything that would give claim to this or dispute? Thanks for all you do!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Niki, I spoke with Dr. Brian Clement last week in Florida, director of the famed Hippocrates Health Institute for 32 years. He states that oxalic acid is HIGHER in cooked spinach, and a variety of sources i have read dispute these ideas you’ve quoted—especially the idea that cooking them somehow helps. You can read George Mateljan on the ineffectiveness of the idea that cooking spinach helps with oxalic acid. And I have written extensively on these subjects here on the blog, as well as in 12 Steps to Whole Foods. You can search on the blog. Thanks for the question.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to incorporate green smoothies into my day, But I am not quite clear when to drink them. It is a meal replacement (i.e. breakfast)? Do I drink one WITH a meal? I have some digestive issues, so I would like to not be eating anything between meals.

    Thank you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    On the “green smoothie bad” debate, while anecdotal stories about how people feel when they drink a green smoothie every day are nice, there must be some scientific studies somewhere that illustrate raw veggie shakes are totally fine. Those will help end the debate. BTW, for the detractors, point out that Dr. Oz makes a green smoothie every morning and he details his recipe! Now if Dr. Oz recommends a daily green smoothie, you know it’s good for you. Here’s his recipe:

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