Zero Belly Smoothies: Lose up to 16 Pounds in 14 Days and Sip Your Way to A Lean & Healthy You - David Zinczenko (2016)

Chapter 6. Green Smoothies

Kale to the Chief

Sprig of Parsley

On the Watercress

Green Monster

Under the Collard

Lemon Kale Protein Detox

Chicory Root Beer

The Cuke-Clear Option

Hemp Cat

Meet Your Matcha

Green Matcha Tea

Tea for One

Banana Salad

Beet Green

Leaf Relief

Kale ’n’ Hearty

Coco-Nuts

Rolling in Green

Greener Pastures

Orangesicle

Almond Salad

The Chard

Romaine Around

The Bluegrass Festival

When you think of green drinks, you probably think first about green juices. Juicing has been an insanely hot nutritional trend ever since Beyoncé claimed to use the Master Cleanse to get ready for Dreamgirls.

Popping into a juice bar for a cold cup of extruded kale juice may be all the rage, but when it comes to both nutritional impact and weight-loss power, juices can’t hold a candle to smoothies. First, most commercial juices use apple juice, which is a high-sugar, low-nutrient base. (Most of the nutritional impact of an apple is in its skin, not the white pulp where most of the juice is extracted from.) Second, juicing strips all the natural fiber out of produce, which is like stripping the political backstabbing out of House of Cards: The rough stuff is what makes it good. And third, juices lack fat and protein; without these crucial elements, you’re getting no fat-burning, metabolism-boosting benefits.

Next time you want to drink your veggies, blend up one of these seriously nutritious recipes.

All recipes make one serving.


GREEN SMOOTHIES

KALE TO THE CHIEF

In addition to sweetening this recipe, the mango delivers three-fourths of your daily vitamin C requirement. And kale is a rich source of the nutrient sulforaphane, which controls the genes that determine whether a stem cell turns into a fat cell.

1 cup kale

½ cup mango, peeled and pitted

¼ avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered

6 fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup coconut water

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

301 calories
12 g fat
19 g carbs
6.5 g fiber
3.4 g sugar
30 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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SPRIG OF PARSLEY

This is the world’s most overlooked superfood: Studies show that parsley is actually more dense with nutrients than kale, dandelion greens, or romaine lettuce. Combine it with superheroes like watercress and chia and you’ve got a mighty fat-fighting drink.

¼ cup fresh parsley (include the stems)

½ cup watercress

½ cup frozen strawberries

½ frozen banana

1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

214 calories
2 g fat
22 g carbs
4 g fiber
10 g sugar
28.5 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

ON THE WATERCRESS

Watercress is not only the No. 1 most powerful vegetable known to man, according to a recent study, but its nutritional calling card is folate. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those with the highest folate levels lose 8.5 times more weight when dieting than those with the lowest.

1 cup watercress

¼ apple with peel, seeded and quartered

¼ avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered

½ cup water

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

3 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

295 calories
12 g fat
18 g carbs
7 g fiber
7 g sugar
29 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

GREEN MONSTER

This filling, creamy drink isn’t what you think of when you imagine a classic green drink: It’s a lot more like a milk shake than a juice. But it will affect you in the exact opposite way: A 2012 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming pears (as well as apples and blueberries) reduced the risk of diabetes.

½ Bosc pear, seeded and quartered

½ frozen banana

¼ avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered

½ cup baby spinach, loosely packed

½ cup no-sugar-added apple juice

¼ cup water

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

3 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

271 calories
6 g fat
40 g carbs
8 g fiber
18 g sugar
15 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

UNDER THE COLLARD

If you’re vegan, collard greens should be high on your list of must-eat foods. They’re far and away the best vegetable source of choline, a nutrient (mostly found in egg yolks and meat) that turns off the genes for abdominal weight gain.

1 cup collard greens, stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

3 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

237 calories
9 g fat
11 g carbs
4 g fiber
3 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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LEMON KALE PROTEIN DETOX

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Putting lemon in your blender is like taking out a nutrition insurance policy for your smoothie. That’s because a significant percentage of the antioxidant polyphenols in any food or drink break down before they reach your bloodstream. But researchers at Purdue University discovered that adding lemon juice to the equation helped preserve the polyphenols.

½ lemon, peeled and seeded

½ frozen banana

1 cup kale

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

3 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

254 calories
7 g fat
20 g carbs
5 g fiber
10 g sugar
30 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

CHICORY ROOT BEER

Add chicory to the list of overlooked fat-fighters. More nutritious than lettuce or even kale, chicory is the primary source of inulin, the soluble fiber that’s added to products like Activia to promote a healthy belly biome.

½ cup chicory

½ cup spinach

¼ apple with peel, seeded and quartered

½ frozen banana

1 tsp chia seeds

1 cup water

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Touch of honey

Water to blend (optional)

After blending, add a splash of soda water for fizz.

231 calories
2 g fat
27 g carbs
5.5 g fiber
14 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

THE CUKE-CLEAR OPTION

Cucumber and watercress keep the flavor mellow, but it’s kiwi—one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids—that steals the show here.

½ cucumber, peeled and seeded

½ kiwi, peeled

1 cup watercress

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

4 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

214 calories
3 g fat
18 g carbs
4.5 g fiber
8 g sugar
19 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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HEMP CAT

Combining hemp and chia seeds gives you a superdose of omega-3 fatty acids. And hemp seeds, by weight, provide more protein than even beef or fish.

¾ cup baby kale

½ frozen banana

1 teaspoon hemp seeds

½ tablespoon chia seeds

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

270 calories
6 g fat
26 g carbs
6 g fiber
10 g sugar
29 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

MEET YOUR MATCHA

A superhealthy version of the Shamrock Shake: One study found men who drank green tea containing 136 milligrams EGCG—what you’ll find in a single 4-gram serving of matcha—lost twice as much weight than a placebo group, and four times as much visceral (belly) fat over the course of three months. And the menthol in mint has been shown to help ease digestion.

1 cup spinach, loosely packed

1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder

¼ avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered

4 fresh mint leaves

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

290 calories
12 g fat
16 g carbs
9 g fiber
3 g sugar
30 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

GREEN MATCHA TEA

Matcha is the powdered tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Some studies have shown the concentration of metabolism-boosting EGCG in matcha to be as much as 137 times greater than the amount you’ll find in most store-bought green tea. EGCG can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells) particularly in the belly.

½ cup baby spinach, loosely packed

½ frozen banana

1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

226 calories
1.3 g fat
26 g carbs
6 g fiber
13 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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TEA FOR ONE

I can’t recommend green tea enough as a smoothie enhancer. In fact, people who drink green tea regularly have nearly 20 percent less body fat than those who don’t, according to one 10-year Taiwanese study. And EGCG, the unique ingredient in green tea, can deactivate the genetic triggers for diabetes and obesity.

1 cup green tea

½ frozen banana

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

⅛ avocado

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

245 calories
6 g fat
23 g carbs
5 g fiber
11 g sugar
26 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

BANANA SALAD

There are times when you crave something that isn’t fruity or sweet, and this recipe is the perfect solution. A true folate festival, thanks to the kale and spinach, it really is like a salad in a cup—except much easier to eat when you’re driving to work.

1 cup spinach

½ cup kale

½ frozen banana

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Splash of red wine vinegar

Water to blend (optional)

237 calories
3 g fat
25 g carbs
5 g fiber
10 g sugar
29 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

BEET GREEN

Save the beets for another smoothie; for this one, all you need are the greens.

1 cup beet greens, washed

½ cup frozen strawberries

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

247 calories
9 g fat
16 g carbs
5.5 g fiber
7 g sugar
27 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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LEAF RELIEF

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Some of my favorite restaurants offer a blackberry-and-spinach salad, so I was inspired to blend them up along with a squeeze of lemon. Glad I did.

½ cup frozen blackberries

½ lemon, juiced

1 cup spinach

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain or flavored plant-based protein powder

219 calories
4.7 g fat
18.5 g carbs
8 g fiber
7 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

KALE ’N’ HEARTY

Want to keep your belly biome happy? To make sure your gut is in good shape, you need to feed your abdominal allies something called fructooligosaccharides, or FOS, a type of fiber found in fruits and leafy greens. This drink will get the party started and help heal your gut while enticing your taste buds.

1 cup kale

½ cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded

½ pear, seeded and quartered

Squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 scoop plain or vanilla plant-based protein powder

½ cup water

2 ice cubes

217 calories
1 g fat
26 g carbs
5 g fiber
11 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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COCO-NUTS

You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by eschewing peanuts for more exotic nut spreads, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with standing by plain old peanut butter. It’s higher in protein than any other nut (nearly four times as much protein as cashews) and packed with folate as well. Plus, it’s the perfect foil for coconut.

½ cup unsweetened light coconut milk

1 cup kale

½ frozen banana

1 tablespoon unsalted peanut butter

½ scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

½ cup ice

273 calories
11 g fat
28 g carbs
5 g fiber
9 g sugar
19 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

ROLLING IN GREEN

This green monster combines two of my favorite leafy greens—spinach and watercress—with some green veggies and an avocado. Your neighbors will be green with envy.

1 cup spinach

1 cup watercress

¼ avocado

¼ cucumber

¼ cup celery, diced

squeeze of lime

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (¾ to 1 cup)

266 calories
10 g fat
15 g carbs
7 g fiber
5 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

GREENER PASTURES

Why oats in your smoothie? A Tufts University study found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains (like oats) had 10 percent less belly fat than people who ate the same amount of calories from refined carbs. The more of these little disks of dietary dynamite you eat (or drink), the better.

½ frozen banana

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 cup spinach

¼ cup rolled oats

1 scoop chocolate plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

284 calories
4 g fat
35 g carbs
6 g fiber
11 g sugar
30 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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ORANGESICLE

Orange juice, no. Oranges, yes! In addition to getting the orange’s natural fiber, you’re also getting a youth makeover: A study in Evolution and Human Behavior found that people who ate more oranges had a more sun-kissed complexion than those who didn’t consume as much, thanks to nutrients called carotenoids.

½ orange, peeled and seeded

½ frozen banana

1 cup spinach, tightly packed

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 teaspoon flaxseed oil

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

3 ice cubes

Water to blend (optional)

295 calories
7 g fat
32 g carbs
6 g fiber
19 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

ALMOND SALAD

Perhaps the absolute best source of vitamin E, almond butter blends perfectly with vanilla and banana to create a subtle, nutty flavor—you’ll never even know that spinach crashed this party.

1 cup spinach

1 tablespoon almond butter

½ frozen banana

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

¾ cup water

1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder

294 calories
10 g fat
24 g carbs
6 g fiber
11 g sugar
31 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

THE CHARD

It’s not as fun a name to drop as, say, “broccolini,” but chard might be your best defense against diabetes. Recent research has shown that these powerhouse leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including anthocyanins—anti-inflammatory compounds that could offer protection from type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of East Anglia analyzed questionnaires and blood samples of about 2,000 people and found that those with the highest dietary intakes of anthocyanins had lower insulin resistance and better blood glucose regulation.

1 cup chard

½ frozen banana

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 inch fresh ginger

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

290 calories
9 g fat
26 g carbs
5 g fiber
10 g sugar
28 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

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ROMAINE AROUND

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We think of romaine lettuce as the crispy stuff at the bottom of a Caesar salad, but it’s one of the 10 most nutritious vegetables around, and higher in fiber than almost any other form of lettuce. And because it’s mostly water, it makes this smoothie a real thirst-quencher.

1 cup romaine lettuce

½ cup spinach

½ apple with peel, seeded and quartered

1 tablespoon chia seeds

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (optional)

280 calories
5.8 g fat
27 g carbs
10 g fiber
12 g sugar
20.1 g protein


GREEN SMOOTHIES

THE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL

Blueberries, spinach, and avocado all in one dish: It’s like an Avengers movie. The fat in the avocados helps make the folate in the spinach more bioavailable: Studies show that women who eat foods with high water content, such as spinach, have lower BMIs and smaller waistlines than those who don’t.

¼ cup blueberries

1 cup spinach, chopped

¼ avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop plain plant-based protein powder

Water to blend (recommended)

292 calories
12 g fat
18 g carbs
7 g fiber
7 g sugar
29 g protein



ZERO BELLY TIP:

SAY BOO TO BOOZE!

A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition showed that alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake. Another study published in the journal Obesity has suggested that this may be because alcohol heightens our senses. Researchers found that women who’d received the equivalent of about two drinks in the form of an alcohol infusion ate 30 percent more food than those who’d received a saline solution.