3-day green smoothie cleanse


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First off - let's be clear about what we're calling a cleanse. This is not intended to be a "let's starve ourselves and live on spicy lemonade for 3 days" type of a deal. You are not to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and like you have the worst case of PMS to ever exist. You are not trying to lost 10 pounds in 3 days. Sorry, kids - that one just doesn't happen.

What this is about is making your body feel good. It's more of a reset, but we can call it a cleanse because trust me - all of the fiber from the greens and fruits will make you feel cleansed.

{Read this, on the difference between juicing and smoothie-ing if you haven't already}

Each smoothie recipe makes about 6 cups, which provide 3 2-cup servings for each day. In addition to this, you should also snack on healthy foods if your body craves it. I did this exact cleanse for 3 days and felt amazing afterward - though I did not stick to only smoothie.

I ate some form of whole grain in the morning - either a piece of fitness bread with raw almond butter or steel-cut oats. Likewise, you could have brown rice at some point in the day or another good, complex carb. For me, one healthy serving of this in addition to the smoothies and maybe a few nuts and additional raw fruits and veggies was perfect. These smoothies are super-filling, and energizing - I happened to do this during a move into a new apartment.

The recipes are really tailorable to your own preferences. You will notice a pattern; each smoothie contains about 3 packed cups of greens, a frozen banana (I always like to add this because it gives good texture), a couple cups of fruit, 1 to 2 cups liquid (use coconut water, almond milk, juice (as long as it's all-natural), water or any blend), some form of fat (nuts, avocado, flax, etc.), and maybe an extra nutritional and/or flavor boost, like ginger, cacao powder, or spirulina. Once you get the formula down, you can get creative and come up with your own combinations!

NOTES ON YOUR BLENDER: If you're ready to make the investment, the Vitamix ($500) is hands-down the way to go. It turns smoothies into pure heaven, and it makes the most amazing purées, dressings, hummus, soup, etc. I love mine so much that I literally consider packing it in my suitcase when I travel. There is a lifetime warranty, which if you give any blender heavy usage, you're going to need. Other options at lower price points are the Ninja ($130) and the Nutribullet ($100). If you already have another type of blender, you'll have to do some experimenting to find out what yours can handle; some blenders are better than others. Things like nuts and flaxseed can be purchase ground - almond flour instead of almonds, for example - if necessary.

Each recipe makes about 6 cups, which provides three 2-cup servings. If you try this as a cleanse, be prepared to eat more than just these smoothies - snack on raw vegetables (fruit is okay but the smoothies contain a lot so veggies are better) and whole grains, like steel-cut oats and brown rice, when you're hungry. This is not about starvation!

Day 1: Everything Green

Between the kale, parsley, and spirulina (an algae powder that's basically like taking the green of vegetables in its most concentrated form), this is the super-green smoothie. This variety of kale is less bitter than curly, but it's still pretty bitter so I usually combine it with spinach to lessen the burden. (If you hate it, go for all spinach!) I like throwing in green grapes, an apple, and a pear for even more green goodness - but when I don't have those on hand, I go for frozen blueberries. Parsley is great for you but you can also try dandelion greens on occasion for an extra detox boost; they are on the bitter side, so I like to add frozen pineapple when I do that to balance the flavor.

  • 2 cups (packed) lacinto/tuscan/dinosaur kale leaves
  • 1 cup (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1 large handful parsley (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 green apple, cored
  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 to 2 cups coconut water or unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes

Day 2: Beets 'n Berries

Without the greens, this would be a gorgeous shade of red - and with them, well, it's not the prettiest. But it does taste good! Swiss chard is pretty mild, compared to kale, so you can use it on its own or in combination with spinach if you prefer. You can usually find the beets precooked in the produce section at Whole Foods; I'm not gonna lie ... without those, I'd probably be too lazy to add them. Be sure to use ground flax if you're not using a VitaMix. Cacao powder - yes, chocolate! - is packed with antioxidants. More than blueberries, red wine, tea, etc.

  • 3 cups (packed) Swiss chard leaves
  • 3 cooked beets
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 to 2 cups coconut water or unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes

Day 3: Peach/Avocado/Ginger

This might just be my all-time fave smoothie in terms of flavor. I love, love, love the heavy dose of ginger - and it's perfect with peaches. A little avocado adds your healthy fat for the day, though I like to throw in some cashews, too. Try replacing some of the peaches with frozen mango to switch things up. Maca powder is good for energy and stamina, as well as sexual health for both women and women. Can't go wrong with that!

  • 3 cups (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1/2 avocado, pitted
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder
  • 1 to 2 cups coconut water
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes