In the past week I've heard two different yoga teachers recommend "stretching the optic nerve" by looking backwards during a breathing exercise. Now, I'm no ophthalmologist, but my considered opinion about that advice is, "C'mon, really? Eww." Later in class, one of the same teachers said, "This pose gives you benefits equivalent to eight hours of sleep." I have to admit I think I did stretch my optic nerve for a second with an epic, Liz Lemon-style eye roll about that little dollop of wisdom.
The point being, if this is how you tend to feel about green smoothies, have I got a recipe for you. It's my gateway green smoothie. As the name suggests, it's a mellow, entry level substance that may lead to a future risk of consuming more hardcore versions of blended greens. If you've been watching your friends get pulled down the green smoothie hatch and want to know what it's all about without a lot of commitment, this is the place to dip a toe in. Afterwards you can walk away with your self-respect intact—or you can choose not to walk away. No judgment.
Several factors make this smoothie friendlier than the average green one. First of all, with pineapple, mango, banana, and coconut oil, it's all tropical, and everyone knows that folks from the tropics get enough vitamin D, excellent avocados, and general awesomeness out of life to be more friendly than the rest of us pasty grouchfests. (And hey, the Serious Eats spell check already knows the word "grouchfests," which I think lends a certain air of legitimacy to my point.)
Beyond that, the texture is super-smooth and creamy, and there's a high percentage of fruit to greens. If you opt for baby spinach, the taste will be very mild, or go with sorrel for a bright, tangy note—but neither green will be bitter or earthy. And, of course, you can make this smoothie in a regular blender, so you won't need any fancy equipment.
So go on, try it. Let me be your enabler. The worst that can happen is you'll have to stretch your optic nerve at me. Which I'll totally be able to handle, thanks to that extra eight hours of sleep.
About the author: Carolyn Cope is the voice behind the popular food and lifestyle blog Umami Girl, where she'll soon be releasing a free e-book filled with easy ways to incorporate more healthy, plant-based foods into your life. She is equal parts live-to-eat and eat-to-live and currently does both from London.