DR L: Why did you write a book about green drinks?
KVW: It’s no secret anymore that leafy greens are incredibly good for us. However – most of us don’t eat enough of them! Adding greens to juices and smoothies is such an easy way to sneak in a few more servings of greens everyday. I think a lot of people love the idea of this, but are confused about where to start and how to do it. I also wanted to offer people a bunch of recipes that were not only healthy, but also totally delicious! I set about to make a book whose main purpose was to prove to people that these green drinks can be flavorful, fun and yummy. It’s not just liquidized kale. Promise!
DR L: What changes have you seen in your own health by incorporating more greens?
KVW: I grew up in Norway where leafy greens were limited to cabbage and iceberg lettuce. I didn’t even know about all these dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. So, when I moved to New York and saw all these funky leaves at the markets, I was intrigued and needed to try them. I started eating at least a serving of these greens daily and noticed how my skin started glowing more. Green juices gave me a nice energy boost and so I was sold! So much of our food is poor in nutrients – leafy greens however are loaded with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and even amino acids!
DR L: What’s your favorite “booster” to add to your smoothies?
KVW: It all depends on the need… I love adding chia seeds to smoothies for added fiber, and omega 3’s to help me feel full for longer. I also love ginger! I add it to most juices I make, but also to smoothies. Ginger boosts the digestive juices and is a great anti-inflammatory food. It’s also a great helper against nausea and was my handy helper through the first few months of my pregnancy.
DR L: That’s right, you wrote the book while you were pregnant with your son. How did that influence the process?
KVW: Well, I sure ended up drinking and taste-testing a lot of green drinks so I hope that benefited him too. He is certainly a strong, glowing and beautiful boy. Pregnancy is such a special time and I became more aware than ever about the chemicals in our food and environment. I made sure to always buy organic produce and drink plenty of smoothies with avocado! And my first meal after Felix was born was kale salad and an enormous green juice that my friend brought over. I have good friends who know me well!
DR L: What’s the main difference between juices and smoothies – and what do you drink when?
KVW: Smoothies are blended and so all the fiber, or pulp, is still in the drink. Whatever you put in is also what comes out. Juices are extracted from fruits and vegetables. The fiber is removed and you’re left with a completely liquid drink. I love and drink both juices and smoothies and I think they complement each other well in a healthy diet. Juices are great for when you need a little multi-vitamin shot, without the filling effect – juices are something you can add in to your day in addition to your meals. Smoothies are great for when you’re a little hungry because the healthy fats, fiber and proteins help fill you up and offer enough nutrition to “replace” a meal. I love smoothies for breakfast – quick, easy and easy to digest. They are also great after a tough workout of course!
DR L: What are some tips for busy people who still want to fit in a green drink a day?
KVW: As much as I love juicing, the clean up process can be a little more time-consuming, so when in a hurry – make a smoothie! The key is to have a “smoothie station” with your favorite boosters within reach. Always have some washed greens in your fridge and frozen berries and bananas handy, that way you can quickly throw together a smoothie and run out the door. If you’re lucky to live in a place that is full of juice bars (such as NYC and LA) you can save your green juice for the 3pm snack attack and go to your favorite juicer.
DR L: What’s your absolute favorite recipe in the book?
KVW: Wow. Very hard to decide. My go-to green juice is the Green Monster Juice – it’s such a sure winner – every time – with kale, romaine, apple, lemon, parsley, celery and cucumber. On a hot summer day the Green Mojito with pineapple, lime and mint is so cooling and refreshing. And when I want a little treat the Mint Chocolate Chip shake does the trick.
DR L: Do you feel that people’s attitude towards juicing and green drinks has changed?
KVW: Absolutely. It used to be a hippie thing. Then it was a “fad” for skinny celebrities. Now it’s become accessible to everyone and people are realizing what great benefits they can gain from adding more greens into their life. As our food has become so fast, processed and toxic, so many of us are overweight but also nutrient deficient! Adding some nutrient dense drinks to your life can really help restore some of those missing nutrients – and therefore help you feel more energized, lose weight and get back your glowing skin. I don’t think it’s just a fad. Green juices and smoothies are here to stay.
DR L: Juicing scares a lot of people. So how does one begin?
KVW: Juicing and blending are actually perfect for people who don’t like to cook or spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The machine does all the work for you – and if you have a decent recipe – it is really hard to mess it up. Start with a drink that sounds delicious to you and make it a few times so that you feel like you’ve really mastered it. Start with drinks that don’t have too many ingredients or steps and have fun with it. I certainly encourage people to make up their own recipes, mix and match and go with what’s in season.