Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Vandurian Green Smoothie

It would be so aptly named had I added some durian to this green smoothie. Alas, no Mexican durian to be found...yet (But also I think it just grows in southeast Asia). The Vandurian, turns out, is what I've nicknamed the van (i.e. our 1988 GMC Vandura currently playing the role of our mobile home/RV). 
This name works on several levels. Aside from the obvious play on words (Vandura/Vandurian) - the van, like the fruit, is as Evan puts it, "Hard, rough around the edges, and tough to break into" and it smells a bit like sweaty feet mixed with hints of tropical abundance. It has a soft, squishy interior, intrigues all the passersby, and everybody wants a piece. Some are turned off by the foul odor while others can't wait to see what it looks like when we open her up. If you've never seen a durian in real life or, more importantly, smelled one, you might have a hard time correlating the two.

A Durian
 (Photo from this site)
After my sole experience chopping into an imported durian back in Portland last summer, I can assure you it is a smell that still haunts me to this day. (Kev, Sarah, Fritzy? You all can attest). It tasted like used gym socks dipped in rotten carmel-y, bubble gum syrup. I couldn't swallow it. Evan tried it, too. We spit it out and threw it out and held our noses every time we walked by the trash can on the front porch. The sounds of repulsion started as soon as the meat cleaver sliced through the prickly outer coating into the hot mess inside. The moaning and groaning didn't stop until an hour after we disposed of its contents when the rancid odor lingering in the apartment finally dissipated.

But this post isn't about durian (or the Vandurian for that matter) so much as it's about the two hours I spent in the sweat hut dripping over the contents that eventually became this:
The Vandurian Green Smoothie
Once upon a time, I was on a green smoothie kick. I got Evan into them, too (sort of). I learned about the concept of green smoothies over a year ago when I saw Victoria Boutenko interviewed on Rawkathon, a 7-day online raw and living foods event. I soon bought her book, Green For Life, where she discusses her family's experience overcoming a myriad of health issues like diabetes and obesity by switching to raw foods, in particular, green smoothies. Do check out her book and get some delicious green smoothie recipes in addition to an inspiring story about her family's recovery to health. 

It's something most people have to develop a taste for - you start out with a small handful of spinach (the easiest leafy green to stomach) and blend it with a boat load of sweet fruits (bananas, apples, berries, mangos, etc).  Eventually you get to a point where you're blending (and enjoying) entire heads of lettuce, kale, collards, parsley, cilantro and celery with just some lemon juice to sweeten. You can also make savory green soups, as well.

So we brought along Dad's not-so-magical Magic Bullet.Magic Bullet Express 17-Piece High-Speed Blender Mixing SystemIt must be made for traveling because I don't know who in their right mind would choose the Magic Bullet over a standard blender. You've probably seen the Magic Bullet infomercials. It comes with maybe eight blending vessels of various sizes and claims it can whip up margaritas, smoothies and everything under the sun in a matter of seconds. 

Well, it works. I mean, It functions. It gets the job done, but you really have to labor over it. I can remember coming back to reality after spending three weeks at the amazing Living Light Culinary Institute where we used the Vitamix (which is an awesome high-speed blender) for smoothies, nut pates, dressings, and sauces and then having to re-adjust to the Not-so-Magic Bullet. Anyway, so we brought along this pseudo-blender and haven't used it once. I thought it was about time to give it a shot. 

Green smoothies are an excellent way to pack in large amounts of fruits, veggies, and leafy greens. Most of the world doesn't get nearly enough raw fruits and vegetables in their diet, so this is a simple way to "make it and take it" wherever you're headed. I find that when I go without a green smoothie in any 24-hour period, I have cravings for not only greens, but sweets and nuts and cooked foods, as well. Those cravings seem to subside when I get a daily dose of green smoothie in my system. 

** Bookmark one of my favorite health-conscious veggie bloggers and read her post on green smoothies @ http://myliferecipe.com/ **

Let the smoothie-making begin - OH, and let me preface this by sadly announcing the death of my camera. It had a short yet fulfilling life before it finally bit the sand. We will get by for now with Evan's iPhone. 

I gathered the ripe fruit laying around the van - an orange, a few mangos, a pineapple, a couple of limes, jicama, and a bag of spinach that I had just bought.
I halved and quartered the orange (I knew I had to cut everything up into small pieces in order for the Bullet to successfully homogenize the contents). 
I cut up the mango by slicing two halves (the "cheeks").
I sliced off the remaining sides of the mango and scored the cheeks with a knife.
I inverted the cheeks and used my fingers to pop off the mango cubes into the blender.
I used our deep-cycle battery in the van to power the blender.
But soon discovered that it was out of juice, so I actually had to turn the van on to power the blender. I also couldn't find the cap to the blender so I had to use a lid from a plastic container that I found swimming around in the ocean of crap inside the van.
Next, I cut up the pineapple. You know when a pineapple is ripe if you can easily remove the leaves from the top. Most of you are aware of how to cut a pineapple, but for those of you who don't - 
Remove the top. If you pull the leaves out, you can put that little nub on the end through a juicer (It's where the highest concentration of the enzyme bromelain is found - helps you digest proteins)
Slice off either end of the pineapple.
Work your way around the pineapple removing the course outer layer.

You may find some skin that didn't get sliced off in the first round - remove these and save the scraps for your juicer.
Slice around the inner core. I had to remove a chunk of this pineapple that looked rotten.
And cube.
I added the pineapple cubes to the Magic Bullet and took the blender across the street to the wifi cafe that Evan was working at.
I used the outlet here because I didn't want to keep turning the van off and on to use the blender.
I emptied the contents into a jar so I could reload the Bullet with more ingredients (The main blender vessel is not large - it holds 1 liter of contents)
I added the rest of the pineapple and juice from two limes.
Next, I grabbed some jicama. (Jicama is huge down here - peeled, sliced or shredded and mixed with lime juice, chili spices, and salt).
Peel it.
Blend it.
I had to put the contents of this round of blending into another jar so I could add the spinach. 
Keep in mind, everytime I use the blender, I have to go across the street and plug it into the outlet at the wifi cafe.
Final round of blending. I mixed some of the mango-pineapple-lime juice pureƩ with the spinach-pineapple-jicama pureƩ and the rest of the spinach (which I did chop up to make it easy on the Bullet, but it still struggled through it). And I added some chia seeds because I brought them on the trip and haven't been eating them.
I ended up with 2 qts of green smoothie of which Evan had none (bummer) and I drank maybe 1 1/2 qts that day. 
Then I added my powders - Vitamineral Green, Earth, and Macaand a little stevia.
Then the cleanup...
2 hours later...
The Vandurian Green Smoothie

Also, fun fact of the day: Did you know that if you put the top of the pineapple in a bowl of water it will start to sprout more pineapples? No joke. 

That green smoothie was so satisfying (minus the fiberous, unblended chunks the Magic Bullet left for me to chew through and the warmish van-temperature smoothie that resulted), I went through the trouble of making another one today. I am so amped today, too. I can definitely tell a difference in my energy levels when I get my green smoothie. Now go make yours! 

Thanks for reading :)



  1. Kinda makes me wish you had a videocamera...I'm sorta of picturing silent movie type footage of you cutting, loading, and the carting the bullet over to the wifi cafe. Of course it would end with the cafe police chasing you around the van. Sorry the bullet turned out to be such a dud...dad said he wanted something to mix his powdered drinks with...I'm sure it works great for powdered drinks!

  2. i hit subscribe in every way i could figure out. so i think i'm subscribed now! ha. hopefully. =]

  3. Yes, I think green smoothies are the amazing elixers to health and happiness. I just read Victoria's 12 Steps to Raw Foods on the airplane back from Maui--she updated it in 2007--I wonder if it has similar information to her Green for Life. I want to send 12 Steps to Raw to everyone I know, but I am not sure if they would read it. I have started a number of people on green smoothies, and they are loving them. Good for you for perservering with the Bullet. I love what Muir said! Ha! Costco has been having good specials on the Vitamix 5200. Best price I have seen. Love to you both!

  4. hm, should i have been emailed with comment responses? maybe i'm not subscribed.
    blogz are confusiiinngg....

  5. yea, i don't really get it. I don't know if I have to change my settings or you have to change yours in order to receive email updates. I don't understand the point of subscribing to a blog if you're not notified about updates...other than it making my blog look like I have a bunch of followers.

  6. Sick post J! You are R A W E S O M E!!!