After health coach Katarina Arneric filled me in on the health benefits of green juice, I still wondered if it was as tasty as it was healthy, so I taste-tested three recipes myself. I don’t own a juicer, so two are really green smoothies and one is Katarina’s current favorite store-bought juice. Overall, Katarina says these three range from a starter juice to a “hardcore” one, i.e. one that’s not sweet.
Beginner: The Classic Green Monster, from Oh She Glows
This milk-based smoothie contains banana, spinach, ground flax, and, in my version, peanut butter. See the full recipe here.
Smoothie-relevant life lesson: Katarina notes that flax seeds and chia seeds are both superfoods: “really dense food that’s high in nutrients” like phytonutrients and amino acids. “[They’re] the healthy version of sprinkles—the little extra on top that gives you more nutrients.”
Flaxseed is a lot less expensive than chia seed, though. Get flax unless your horoscope says you’ll find a treasure map inside your next chia seed packet.
Flavor grade: A+. Tastes mostly like peanut butter. This might be because I used Skippy peanut butter, which totally violates the whole all-natural ethos at play here but also tastes great.
Intermediate: The Green Tropics Smoothie, from Katarina’s blog
* Fistful of spinach
* 1 banana
* 1 cup of pineapple
* 1/3 cup of coconut water
Blend it up. For added thickness, Katarina recommends freezing the banana or the pineapple beforehand.
Smoothie-relevant life lesson: This smoothie has less liquid in it than the previous one, which makes it more challenging to blend. I recommend stopping every once in a while to tamp down the solid ingredients.
Flavor grade: A-. It tasted very tropical and not at all like vegetables. Unfortunately, I think pineapple tastes … annoying? It sits weirdly with me. Hence the minus.
Advanced: Evolution’s Essential Greens with Lime Juice
I got this one at Whole Foods (you can find the Evolution retailer closest to you here), but I’ll still list out some ingredients. This juice includes:
* 8 stalks of celery
* 1/4 of a cucumber
* 3 spinach leaves
* 1 romaine lettuce leaf
* 2/3 kale leaf
* 1/6 lime
* Snips of clover sprout and parsley
* 49 blades of wheatgrass
Juice-relevant life lesson: At first, I was scared of this juice. The ingredients sounded so savory, and I couldn’t imagine drinking vegetables. Except people drink vegetables all the time. It’s called soup. Don’t worry.
Flavor grade: B-. Tastes like cold, limey soup, so not something I would seek out if it didn’t have health benefits—but not awful, either. And it requires less mental energy to drink this than to eat a salad. Just sip.
Photo: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
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