New Year Detox Smoothie

source: Ricki Heller

Now that the holiday cheer has abated, you may find yourself yearning for a lighter, cleaner diet once again. Perhaps you’ve overindulged just a little on the wine at the office party, or dug into that cheese ball at the buffet table one time too many. . . or was it the sticky toffee pudding that put you over the edge?

For me, January heralds a perfect time to reflect and refresh. But a good cleanse doesn’t have to mean near-starving or downing massive amounts of wheatgrass and lemon water (though I do imbibe those on a regular basis anyway).

A simple, natural way to detox involves eating and drinking whole, real foods as close as possible to their natural state.  

If you’re looking to repair some of the effects of too much holiday hoopla, this smoothie is one of my all-time favorite tonics. Its secret ingredient is beets, a powerhouse root vegetable that provides a range of health benefits. 

Beets help tone the liver (perfect to counteract the effects of excess alcohol, sugar or party food). They’re also chock-full of antioxidants that prevent several types of cancer (including colon, breast, prostate and testicular); they thwart inflammation that can lead to heart disease or Type II diabetes; and they are full of soluble fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C and a host of other essential nutrients.

The other ingredients are all great for detoxing as well: kale contains chlorophyll, a potent detoxifier, and cucumbers are highly alkaline, perfect to reset a healthy pH balance in your body.

When blended into this fruity sipper, these nutritious roots will add a wee bit of sweetness and a vibrant fuschia hue, while working their healing detox magic–all without you even knowing they’re there (promise!).

source: Ricki Heller

Brilliantly Beet Smoothie

Makes 1 large or 2 small servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium beet, baked until soft, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 cup (240 ml) mixed fresh or frozen berries (I used blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • 3 large or 4 medium kale leaves (in keeping with the color scheme, I used purple kale)
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut in chunks
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 scoop of your favorite plain or vanilla protein powder (such as Vanilla SunWarrior)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain or vanilla rice milk
  • 5-10 drops (or 1 packet dry) plain or vanilla stevia

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. (Note: if you use fresh berries, you may wish to add 1-2 ice cubes for a cold smoothie).
  2. Drink immediately.

What’s in your favorite healthy smoothie?

Ricki Heller is the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar (one of only three cookbooks endorsed by Ellen DeGeneres on her website) as well as three e-cookbooks. She writes the popular food blog Diet, Dessert and Dogs, where, for the past three years, she has chronicled her journey with candida and posted almost 600 sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, whole-foods recipes.

Read all of Ricki’s posts here.

47 Responses to New Year Detox Smoothie

  • Alta says:

    I love using beets in smoothies. This is so pretty and I can imagine it tastes lovely.

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  • Kim Lutz says:

    Thanks, Ricki. I haven’t thought to use beets in smoothies. I will definitely add this to our rotation!

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    Ricki Reply:

    Kim, you will love it! They add a gorgeous color, of course, but I also love the sweetness they impart. Mixed with the berries, it’s a perfect combination. :)

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  • Wow. This is a smoothie that I would devour. What a brilliant and beautiful color! I love this. I am just shocked that I have never thought of adding beets to my smoothies, especially since I grow them in my garden. Gah! What is wrong with me?

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  • I have never tried beets in my smoothie recipes before. I love beets in salads though, so I will surely try this recipe out. What a great way to start the New Year!

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  • I’m not big on smoothies, but I recently started drinking a green one with kale, collards, apple, pear and banana. Pretty yummy. I’d love to try this one!

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  • Andrea M says:

    I’m not sure if I like beets or not – do they carry a strong flavor? regardless, this looks so refreshing!

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    Amy Green Reply:

    Beets have a distinct flavor. When cooked, they’re sweet, soft, and creamy. I love them.

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    Ricki Reply:

    Andrea, I find that once they’re cooked and peeled, then blended with the berries, you really don’t taste anything very beet-specific at all! My husband complains that they have an earthy taste, but he didn’t even notice them in this drink. :)

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    Alisa Reply:

    I do think beets have a distinct flavor that doesn’t work with everything, but I do LOVE them with a frozen banana in a smoothie too. Beets and bananas just pair so nicely.

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    Phyllis Walker Reply:

    I love beets! In Jamaica we graate them & mix them with grate carrot juice for a wonderful drink. Now I wash them & put them in the slow-cooker overnight and then the next day I let them cool and peel them, dice them and just eat them. Delicious! I will try this recipe for beets & kale.

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    Amy Green Reply:

    @Phyllis Walker, I never thought about slow cooking beets – it’s a great idea. I’ll have to try it sometime.

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    Phyllis Walker Reply:

    @Amy Green, Hi Amy…many of us don’t want to cook beets because they can stain fingers & mess up a lot of the work area however putting them in the slow cooker eliminates all of those challenges.They are also delicious roasted in the oven. The grated beets mixed with the grated carrots make an extremely refreshing drink, sometimes I add a sprig of fresh mint or a few slices of ginger. I like to experiment with my food & create new treats. Look up Harvard beets & try them if you wish…delicious!

    Amy Green Reply:

    @Phyllis Walker, Great tips, Phyllis!! Thanks for sharing them with me. I know what you mean about the stains…I always put on gloves and an apron when I’m working with beets.

  • sophie says:

    Hi! :)

    I have a question about this recipe. I understand the health benefits of each ingredient – but it dose not seem to fall into the food combining rules often recommended during detox programs. Do you find that this causes any stomach upset (mild or otherwise)? Thanks so much. (I’m just curious by the way…not trying to be a smart a$$)

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    Amy Green Reply:

    There are lots of different ways to eat; not everyone falls into the food combining rules you might follow for a detox. There are so many different ways to detox. I think she’s suggesting that one adds more whole foods in general on an everyday basis instead of a rough detox and then going back to bad habits.

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    Ricki Reply:

    Thanks, Amy–yes, that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. I think that food combining is necessary for anyone with poor digestion, but for me, a whole foods smoothie is a great addition to my week of detoxing. If you’re concerned, you could either save this for the final days of the cleanse, or else remove the protein powder (and I’ll leave the berries up to your own discretion!). :)

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  • Heather says:

    This looks super!! I wouldn’t have it with the beet already cooked. It takes away all the enzymes cooking it. I usually use shredded beets & carrots inside a raw nori wrap, so I can get all the good from all those veggies. If you have a high powered blender or a juicer–juice the beet & use the juice in the smoothie. This does look great tho! I love the addition of kale. I put a lot of raspberries, blueberries, banana, apple, ginger, pineapple, chia seeds, kale, lettuce etc.. into my smoothies & you cannot taste a vegetable at all. <3

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    Amy Green Reply:

    I am pretty sure that there’s still a ton of good-for-you stuff in cooked beets. :) It does change the enzymes like you said, and raw would be delicious too. Still, I think a cooked beet would add some incredible creaminess to a smoothie. Love your smoothie ingredients. :)

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    Ricki Reply:

    Heather, yes, you lose some of the enzymes, but as I said above to Sophie (who had a different question), if your digestion is generally good, the cooked beets certainly won’t hurt–and the vitamins, minerals and fiber should remain intact (since it’s baked, not boiled). As Amy suggested, it’s much creamier this way–and the cooking removes that earthy taste that so many people dislike. :)

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    Becky Reply:

    @Ricki, Steam the beets for 25-35 minutes (or until fairly soft when pierced w/a fork for done-ness), run under cold water, let cool, peel AND use as you wish. Steaming protects the enzymes the best!

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  • Amy Green says:

    Thanks for the protein powder suggestion…it’s something I’ve been missing in my smoothies. Off to order some – and cook some beets so I can try your ultra-creamy smoothie.

    xoxo,
    Amy

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  • Margot Weening says:

    no need to cook that beet-they are delicious raw-just cut into chunks before blending

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    Ricki Heller Reply:

    Margot, if you like them raw, then by all means, please use them that way! I’ve found that the texture is a little more gruel-like (almost like applesauce) with the raw beets, and they do impart that “earthy” taste that way. . . but maybe that’s just my own taste buds! ;-)

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  • dee m says:

    Thanks Ricki.. I have never thought to try this combo. I have done raw beets with an apple, seeing the thick glaze inside my glass always reminds me that that is how it will be drinking it down, coating my inners. :) Can’t wait to make this. .. thanks!

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    Ricki Heller Reply:

    Dee, exactly–as I said above to Margot, I found the final texture using cooked beets much more appealing than using raw. I think it depends on one’s tastes and how much you like or dislike that thick texture that comes from the raw ingredients. :)

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  • I can’t believe I’ve never tried beets in a smoothie! I’ve been devouring them lately in juices and raw salads. Time to cook one up for tomorrow’s smoothie. Thank you, Ricki!

    [Reply]

    Ricki Heller Reply:

    My pleasure! Enjoy! :)

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  • Erin says:

    For those who don’t ever purchase things such as protein powder or stevia, what would you recommend in their place? A dollop of yogurt or sour cream, a touch of pure vanilla extract, some cornstarch and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup perhaps?

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    Ricki Heller Reply:

    Erin, I think it depends on your nutritional goals for the smoothie. If your goal is to include an alternative protein, seeds (hemp seeds, sunflower seeds) or nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc) would be a good choice. When blended they will also add a bit of creaminess. If you’re just looking for texture, the yogurt/sour cream would work equally well, as would a handful of rolled oats. And yes, you’d need to add a bit of sweetener of choice as well–maple syrup should work, or agave, if you use it. Hope that helps! :)

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  • Maggie Savage says:

    I can’t wait until Saturday when I hit up the Farmer’s Market for some beets! This is a beautiful smoothie recipe, thanks for sharing it with us Ricki!

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  • Linda Deakins says:

    I can’t wait to try it. Love your Blog!

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  • Love that color! I juice beets all the time have never done them in a smoothie.

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  • Carolyn Savage says:

    Sometimes I get a dud of a lime with almost no juice. How much do you expect to get from 1/2 a lime? 1 tsp?? Also, if I don’t have Kale on hand, what other green do you recommend (spinach??)
    Can’t wait to try it and also try it on my daughter who loves the color purple. This might just be it !!

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    Ricki Heller Reply:

    Carolyn, I’ve had those limes! ;-) I’m thinking of a nice juicy one, which yields about 2 Tbsp per lime (so 1 Tbsp/15 ml for half). Of course, you can adjust the amount of juice to your own tastes. And yes, raw spinach is always a good sub for raw kale in a smoothie. :)

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  • All I can say is I want that color in my cells. It just feels good looking at it and it makes me happy. Okay, the dark days of winter are getting to me already and this looks like the cure. Thanks, Ricki. I love beets!

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  • Such a stunning smoothie, Ricki! For the folks looking for an alternative to protein powder, I usually use almond flour or sometimes coconut flour.

    Thanks!
    Shirley

    [Reply]

    Ricki Heller Reply:

    That’s a great idea, Shirley. Thanks for the tip! :)

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  • Johnny says:

    BEETS!! I would never tought of beets in a smoothie.. perfect timing to detox after all the eating I did over these few weeks.. Thanks!

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  • Gigi says:

    I LOVE this recipe, Ricki!! I often do something similar with beets, berries, but usually do not add the cuke, and I sub coconut milk yogurt & coconut milk. Same healthy punch from beets, etc., and it doesn’t hurt that it’s just pretty to look at, either! ;)

    You come up with the best healthy creations!

    Hope you’re having a sweet New Year so far!

    xoxo,
    Gigi ;)

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  • Beets have been my favorite smoothie ingredient since day one of my smoothie making career! I love the sweetness and the fiber. The greens are awesome too.

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  • Tess Masters says:

    Ricki!
    I just blended up this smoothie for breakfast and WOW!
    YUMMO!
    Thanks for sharing. You ROCK.
    I am SO excited about sharing this journey on TBP with you.

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  • Jan Johnson says:

    I got this Berry Beet Smoothie recipe through Healthy Blender Recipes. I didn’t have all the ingredients, so improvised with terrific results. I had never used beet in a smoothie, so was wonderfully surprised at how good this was! Think I’ll try it with raw beet next time.

    Used cranberries & blueberries (unsweetened)
    Used green, curly kale
    Didn’t have cucumber, so used 1/2 Haas avocado
    Used lemon instead of lime juice
    Used NutriBiotic Vegan Vanilla Rice Protein powder
    Used unsweetened almond milk instead of rice milk
    Added 2 TBSP Aloe Vera Juice (inner filet)

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  • Maggie Savage says:

    @Jan Johnson, Thanks for sharing! It sounds fabulous. Tess is one of our contributors here at The Balanced Platter :)

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  • AlisWhim says:

    Thank for this recipe I found in one of my discovery searches around the net. I have simplified and have it this morning for breakfast. Delicious!

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  • Becky says:

    Do I peel and cube the beet first before putting in the oven? What temp? How long? As well, can I put in the beet stems (wouldn’t cook those)? Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    @Becky, Scrub the beets under water, cut off stems leaving about 1 1/2 inches of stem, leave root intact or cut it off. Steam the beets for 25-35 minutes (or until fairly soft when pierced w/a fork for done-ness), run under cold water, let cool, peel AND use as you wish. Steaming protects the enzymes the best!

    [Reply]

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