Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie | La La Lovely Blog

I know.  You are rolling your eyes at “Instead of Coffee” Green Smoothie.  I would be too.  Except that I drink this green juice (as I call it), these days, instead of coffee.  It’s the closest quick hit of drinkable energy that I’ve found.

I stopped drinking coffee because . . .

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie | La La Lovely Blog

I know. You are rolling your eyes at “Instead of Coffee” Green Smoothie. I would be too. Except that I drink this green juice (as I call it), these days, instead of coffee. It’s the closest quick hit of drinkable energy that I’ve found.

I stopped drinking coffee because . . .

of some health issues I was having.  This past summer, I was having terrible headaches and trying to get to the bottom of it.  I’ve always been a headache prone person, but recently they had become so frequent and intense that all I wanted to do was to be in a quiet room by myself – which doesn’t work so well when you have four children on summer break.

I started reading books, trying medication, and figured I’d have to start eliminating certain foods to see if that might be the culprit.  I was beginning to notice that my headaches would be much worse when I ate super sugary foods (like icing on cinnamon rolls) almonds, and strong iced coffees (I miss you!).  Before, I relented to denying myself, I had an appointment with an ENT, that was scheduled a month prior.  He told me my sinuses were obstructed.  And, he believed this was the reason for my headaches.  I knew weather was a factor too, so maybe there (is) was something there?  He wanted to do imaging but said my insurance wouldn’t pay for it until I did a round of antibiotics.  Saying something along the lines of…. you may have a sinus infection, anyways (which I was pretty certain I didn’t).  I took the antibiotics because they told me too and because it never crossed my mind to just toss them when I got home and then go back for imaging.  I wish I would have.  About nine days into taking the antibiotics I got a bad rash and was red from head to toe.  I knew something was very wrong when my limbs were getting heavy….so I went to the ER.  They told me it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.  They gave me meds and I went home.  I still wasn’t feeling right for about about a week and then became very ill. After another visit to the ER,  it was apparent that the medication had effected my liver.  They couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with me and were checking me for all kinds of hepatitis and strange viruses, which thank God, all tests came back negative.  To make a long story short, I had acute injury to my liver.  I spent a lot of time back and forth to doctors and labs and it was scary.  My faith sustained me and I truly believe God intervened and healed my liver.

While my liver enzymes normalized, it appears the medication and entire episode seemed to really upset my whole system.  I really couldn’t stomach much.  My digestive system seemed to be entirely out of whack (and still not back to 100%  yet).  In the midst of this, I organically had to eliminate a lot of food groups.  And, about a week into eating close to nothing, I noticed my headaches were almost completely gone.  If I did get a headache it was pretty mild and I could sleep it off (I was so scared to even take an Advil and still a little phobic of meds, as you can imagine).

I became pretty convinced that my headaches had a lot to do with caffeine, chocolate, almonds and aged cheese (and stress).  So I avoided these foods.  Which thankfully was pretty easy to do because I couldn’t digest them well anyways.

Honestly, I don’t miss the caffeine much…maybe just on Thursdays when the week feels long and the temps are sub-zero.  But, I do miss the ritual and taste of coffee.  I know there is always decaf, but I read that it can actually be worse for headaches because of the chemicals they use to extract the caffeine.  So, I’m now the weirdo that goes around asking to smell other’s coffees, candy bars and donuts.

One day as I was reading up on digestion, I came across a recipe for a glowing green smoothie that had many health benefits, and thought I’d give it a try.  I was surprised at how much of a pick me up it was.  I, now, make this most mornings and find that when I skip making it, my body craves it.  It’s my instead of coffee green smoothie.  Literally.  And, here is what’s in it:

Instead of Coffee Green Smoothie



1 cup room temperature water

1 generous handful of spinach

1 generous handful of romaine (I tear up about 4-5  long pieces)

1 celery stalk

1/4 of a handful of cilantro (stems included)

1/4 to 1/2 of fresh squeezed lemon (depending on how tart you like things)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 apple

1 pear

1 banana

Mix water, greens, lemon and turmeric on low and then add in fruit on high speed.  Blend until smooth.


This makes about two cups (the size pictured).  I usually try to get my husband to drink the extra cup or save it in the fridge (it’s good for up to two days, covered).  When I know I’m making it for only me, I half the recipe.

I understand cilantro seems a little iffy.  I used to not even be able to take celery in a smoothie or juice but somehow it just all works.  You can substitute parsley for the celery (or do both) to make it a little milder, but cilantro is good for detoxing and I needed that.  I love it in my juice now.  But, feel free to play around with the quantity of ingredients to taste.

Energizing Green Smoothie

Also, I know when we think of the word smoothie we think frozen or freezing cold… you can make yours colder by using very cold water and frozen bananas if you like, but I’ve found a room temperature smoothie to be easier on my system.  In fact, I made a frozen smoothie a few weeks back and got an instant headache.  I guess I’m just super sensitive, but it was enough to make me want to stick with room temperature for the most part.

I hope you give this green smoothie a try!

On a side note : I have been slowly incorporating foods again to see what I do tolerate.  I tried coffee the other week, for the first time in over 3 months.  At first it didn’t even taste that great to me, but after a few minutes it was as good as I remembered.  It didn’t seem to bother me that day, but I’m pretty certain that if I drank it everyday I’d be having more headaches (same with chocolate).  So I’ve decided, at this point, if I want it for a special occasion or once in a while then I’ll have it.  Not having headaches everyday is far better than having coffee.  As of right now, I’m gluten free (another story for another day), mostly dairy free (I have goat cheese occasionally, and will eat things like mashed potatoes if they have a little milk in them), mostly caffeine free (a little chocolate here and there and maybe a small coffee every once in a blue moon), and I avoid greasy foods too.

If you’ve been on health journey, whether by choice or necessity, I’d love to hear about it!

My other smoothie recipes here and here.


*Recipe adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie



  • Colleen
    Commented on January 13th, 2016 at 12:05pm

    Hi Trina! I’ve dealt with similar issues – frequent headaches and damage from super-strong antibiotics. We’re all so different but thought I’d share: the combination of chiropractor, yoga, and massage (consistently) has made a huge difference. Sitting at a computer can do such damage, sadly. I also take a magnesium supplement every day – a deficiency can often result in headaches. Also, I’m actually about to do a plant-based cleanse (the brand is Orenda) to repair my gut biome (from antibiotics) and completely detoxify the liver. It’s not too crazy (only 10 days and I still eat tons of plant-based foods) with strong probiotics and a bunch of other supplements. Anyway I’m hopeful for results – finally found an awesome MD with an integrative, holistic approach. Not sure if that helps at all but sorry to hear about all your struggles! Health is such a mysterious journey. xoxo

  • Trina
    Commented on January 13th, 2016 at 12:48pm

    Hi Colleen! I’m so sorry you’ve had similar issues…they are terrible. I’m so grateful to hear what has helped others and learn. Interestingly enough, I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and doing more yoga and taking magnesium (love knowing this has worked well for you). I’ve been thinking a lot about massage, but that is usually just rare treat for me. I believe my gut was damaged from the antibiotics, too. I’ve been taking a lot of probiotics (as well as digestive enzymes) and I’m slowly feeling changes that make me feel a little more like myself. I’ll have to check out that cleanse. I don’t know if I’d be up for one at this point, but I certainly think I will be in time. I’m so happy you found an MD with a holistic approach….I’m finding that is sooooo rare. I’d love to find that. It’s usually one against the other and the patient left in the middle to figure out a balanced approach.

    Thank you for sharing. It takes a lot of work to really pay attention to your body and to be your own health advocate…while we are all so different there is so much we can learn from each other! Here is to a happy and healthy new year! Take care! xo . t

  • Tina
    Commented on January 14th, 2016 at 7:38pm

    Love the smoothie recipe, although I don’t think I’ll find all of the ingredients here in Indonesia. I wanted to pass along some info I’ve learned going decaf! I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee 5 years ago or so, after realizing that it didn’t give me the benefit of added energy as a night shift nurse, so why bother? After making the switch to decaf, I too learned about the horrors of the chemical process involved in stripping the beans. Yuck! But I LOVE the taste of coffee. I discovered Swiss Water decaf methods, and now it’s my go-to. They use water extracting to decaffeinate the beans. It’s difficult to find, but in Rockford I actually found it at Walmart. The Walmart brand has an organic Colombian roast that is Swiss-water decaf. Might be a good back-up when you’re craving an iced coffee! My in-laws order theirs from Indigo coffee, which has many more flavor option in Swiss-water. Glad you’re feeling better!

  • Trina
    Commented on January 19th, 2016 at 2:24pm

    Thank you, Tina… I had no idea about Swiss water decaf methods… and that I can get this coffee in town at Wal-Mart! What!!!!! This is so exciting. Thank you for informing me on this – you made my day. Thank you for commenting! xo . t

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