Sick & tired? Try green smoothies!

Experts say Kale is one the healthiest foods

Experts say Kale is one of the healthiest foods

For decades, I’ve experienced a major energy dip in the mid afternoon.  Sometime around 2:00 or 3:00, I’d start yawning.  Since my diet has always been lousy and my relationship with green vegetables has always been distant, there’s never been much of a mystery about why I’d have that dip/crash.  But I’m not very good at giving up the foods I enjoy, so I crash and dip and crash my way through the week.

That changed this summer.

I discovered the solution thanks to prodding or inspiration from three friends, including Stasia Johnson Steinhagen, kale and my new blender.

Gratitude #1 — Stasia

Stasia is an old friend.  I met her back in the early days of coaching.  She was one of the very few coaches I met who started coaching before it became trendy.  When I first met her, she already had years of experience.  Plus she was brilliant.  She has a “Sherlock Holmes” mind and the observational powers to go with it.

With two youngsters at home, it was easy for Stasia to take her natural interest in health, healthy food and healthy living and go deeper into it.  Eventually Stasia went pro as a homeopath and herbalist.  I’ve seen Stasia every two months for years now and it has made a huge difference in my health and energy.  For the last couple of years she has encouraged me to snack on red cabbage, learn to bake kale chips and eat lots of other healthy green things.  Although I understood the point of veggies, the suggestions sounded like a lot of work rewarded by yuck and good health.  The work+yuck element kept getting in the way.

From time to time Stasia also mentioned that I could skip all the cooking and cabbage snacking by getting a blender, throwing everything good into it and getting my health handled in one smoothie.  Give Stasia credit for planting two seeds.

Green Smoothies

You probably already know about super blenders and green smoothies.  It seems everyone I know does. Here’s how Stasia’s green-smoothy seed sprouted.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I have identified a “Curious Circle” of ten friends.  Those ten either read voraciously, futz with the latest technologies or study something interesting.  From time-to-time, we exchange ideas and discoveries.

A few months ago, Curious Circle buddy Geoff Thompson recommended a blog (the Farnam Street Blog) that led me to the Tim Ferriss Show (his podcast).

With Stasia’s words floating around my sub-conscious, when I listened to a podcast of Tim Ferriss talking with Dr. Rhonda Patrick about nutrition, performance and micro-nutrients, something clicked.  Ferris and Patrick said the best way to make sure you get the micro-nutrients you need is through consuming great vegetables via green smoothies.  Stasia was right…again.

iMood Journal Ratings

iMood Journal Ratings

The hard data

By coincidence, a few months before hearing the Ferriss podcast, I had started using an iPhone app called iMood Journal.  It plays a gong sound several times a day inviting me to rank how I feel on a 10-point scale from “Couldn’t be worse” to “Insanely great.”  Although the app’s name suggests you’d rate your mood, I rated my level of energy.

I think I started using the iMood app in March or April.  Between then and July the summary graph had lots of ups and downs showing a big dip around 3:00 pm and another around 6:00.

In the big chart below, you see my average daily energy rating since the end of May.  You’ll notice the big dip in early June.  That kind of dip was typical each month I’d been doing the rankings.

You’ll also notice a vertical green line right around the time I bought my first blender. Being on the green-smoothie-hunt, I told another Curious Circle friend Brian Albright I was on the blender hunt.  Brian told me how much he and his wife Kathy loved their Nutribullet and I hustled off to Costco to get one ($79) and started the practice of having green smoothy every weekday.  That was late June.

After a few weeks, I decided I needed to spend the big bucks ($399) and went on-line with Costco and ordered the Blendtec blender.

Note steady increase in energy ratings since starting with green smoothies

Note steady increase in energy ratings since starting with green smoothies

If you were to ask Wendy if the green smoothies made a difference in my energy and mood, she’d tell you the difference has been dramatic.  My energy sustains itself throughout the day and into the evening.  Wendy claims I now surpassed her energy levels!

Back a couple of paragraphs, I mentioned prices.  You probably noticed I upgraded from a $79 Nutribullet to the $399 Blendtec.  Being great with math, you noticed that I could have gotten five Nutribullets for the price of one Blendtec.  You’re probably wondering why I did that and if it was worth it.

First, the Nutribullet did an amazingly good job for its price.  But I found it too small.  That was largely because I was trying to blend too much stuff.  Also, I found the results a little too chewy…sometimes.  That might have been my fault, too.  I have no doubt that lots of people would find the Nutribullet just great.  Most likely the Nutribullet won’t last as long as a top-of-the-line blender.  But if it lasts two years, at one-fifth the cost, you’ll be good for 10 years.  (My friend Andrew King, whose wife Kate is a yoga instructor, health advocate and smoothie devotee has told me their Blendtec shows it’s been used over 3000 times (it includes a counter) and he expects the motor to last forever.)

I spent the money on the Blendtec to make sure I’d use it regularly and that it wouldn’t end up in the basement.  Hassle making my smoothies in a too-small jar that occasionally delivers a too-chewy result would have ended up in my basement.

Will it blend?  Blendtec vs. iPhone

Blendtec vs. Vitamix I chose the Blendtec because it's shorter

Blendtec vs. Vitamix
I chose the Blendtec because it’s shorter

And I love my Blendtec blender.

The two mega-blenders are the Blendtec and the Vitamix.  I suspect they are comparable.  I suspect anyone would be delighted with either.  I bought the Blendtec because, with its jar in place, it fits under our kitchen cabinet.

Final note.  I have client who suffers from a chronic health condition.  Within two weeks of starting daily green smoothies (with a Ninja), she exclaimed that she’d never in her LIFE felt as good as she was feeling…after just two weeks of smoothies!

Keep in mind I’m reporting on a sample of two.

Your results may certainly vary.

Stasia: “All things in moderation” includes kale

Stasia has warned me that kale has a downside:  lots of oxalic acid.  Too much oxalic acid is a bad thing.  Stasia has me add a Calcium-Magnesium mix to my smoothies to neutralize that acid and she’s now made me promise I’ll steam the kale a couple of times each week.  Steaming the kale removes the oxalic acid.  She’s also encouraged me to read this post  about kale.  I thought I’d take the easy route around the oxalic acid problem by using Costco’s vegetable mix that includes kale, spinach and chard to cut the amount of kale a bit.  It turns out spinach has way more oxalic acid that kale does.  So, not wanting to try my luck with kidney stones, I’ve started steaming before blending.

If you’d like to study up on the Top Ten Fruits and Vegetables, Stasia recommends this download from Iowa State University.

Finally, I have one request:  If you know even one person who might find this post worthwhile, I will appreciate it when you forward them a copy or link.  Thanks for sharing.



It was only after working on this post for hours that I realized how many people had a hand in the discovery.

Start with friends Stasia, Geoff, Brian and Andrew.  Then toss in Tim Ferriss and Dr. Rhoda Patrick.  I am grateful to you all!


A great article about kale's pluses and minuses.  I can't vouch for their website.

A great article about kale’s pluses and minuses. I can’t vouch for their website.

2014-09-26 The Kale Shake is Awesome  This document came from the web site  I think it’s a great article about the proper way of taking advantage of kale while avoiding the downside, BUT I’m not including an active link to the site.  A security tool on my system warned me that their on-line store page was suspicious.  I’m going to see what other information the site has to offer and I’m going to avoid their on-line store.


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