Rotating Your Greens

Happy Thirsty Thursday!

I am enjoying a Spinach, Pineapple & Pear Smoothie with 1 cup Brazil Nut Milk, 2 T Chia Seeds, 3 T Vega Vanilla Chai & Ice

Like my snazzy new cup?

Got it at Bed Bath & Beyond, BPA-Free COPCO to-go cup. $7.99 used my coupon & proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Foundation. Now I can have my smoothies in style…on the road ๐Ÿ™‚

I posted a little bit on Friday about rotating your greens & the leaves I enjoy in my smoothies (and juice). It seems a lot of you that make green smoothies stick with spinach. Then there are those of you that go with variety, but still prefer spinach. I tend to agree thatย  a Popeye inspired smoothie tastes the best. However, it is important to rotate your greens when making these healthy, nutritious drinks we love so much.

So in honor of St. Patty’s Day (shout out to my girl, Susan in Ireland) I will do a GREEN filled post for you ๐Ÿ™‚

Life beyond Spinach



I agree with many of you that spinach makes the creamiest, tastiest green smoothie, or green monster, whatever you call them. However, eating the same spinach smoothie day in and day out may raise some caution.

Why you ask?

First off, when eating a variety of greens, you will get a balancedย  variety of nutrients that your body needs. There are also phytonutrients that your body needs andย  may not be getting if you are limiting your leafy greens to only a select few. Next, and more importantly you should rotate your greens because theย  leaves in all plants contain small amounts of toxins as a defense mechanism to protect a plant from predation.

For example,there is caution to be raised when eating greens in the Brassica family. Some members of the brassica family includeย  Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Bok Choy, Choy Sum and Pak Choi. These greens all have amazing nutrients and healing properties, but if you ate nothing but large amounts of Kale or Bok Choy ALL the time, you may be doing some damage to your thyroid gland. Check out this case where an 88 year old woman ate large amounts of Bok Choy to manage her diabetes and ended up with extreme hypothyroidism due to the over consuming the myrosinase enzyme present in raw bok choy. This doesn’t mean you should avoid bok choy. This was an extreme case where the woman was eating 3-4 raw heads of it per day.

For those of you that load bunches of spinach in your smoothies every day, you may want to be cautious of the oxalic acid present in the plant, which can be problematic in high amounts. Most people without any health problems eating a few bunches of the same two greens every day may not need to worry. However, to prevent a build up in your system or even an overdose of the toxic elements in certain plants you may want to consider rotating your greens regularly.

How to do it?

Rotate a couple different types of greens from different families every couple of weeks. For example, you could make smoothies with mustard greens and kale for 2 weeks, then switch to spinach and chard the next few weeks. You are not properly rotating your greens if you are eating different greens from the same family all the time.

The Green Families:

Knowing what greens and other veggies fall into what families can be a helpful guideline for you when rotating your greens in your diet (not ONLY your smoothies):

Brassica family

(cruciferous vegetables)Kale, Brussles Sprouts, Cabbage, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Choy Sum, Pak Choi, Turnip Root Greens, Rutabega, Arugula, Daikon

Amaranthaceae/ Chenopodiacea Family

(beet family)

Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, Beet Root


Romaine Lettuce, Dandelion Greens, Leaf Lettuce, Escarole

The Asteraceae family also contains some of the most helpful, and well known, of all herbs: arnica, burdock, boneset, calendula, chamomile, chicory, mug/cronewort, coltsfoot, dandelion, echinacea, elecampane, feverfew, gravel root, grindelia, liferoot, milk thistle, tansy, yarrow, valerian, wormwood, and wild lettuce.




(carrot family)

Parsley, Cilantro, Celery, Carrots


Do I think your spinach smoothies every day will really cause problems? I am not sold on it. Like I said before, you need large amounts of the chemicals from a single plant family to build up toxins. My main reason for rotating my greens is to get the a variety of nutrients in my diet. If you are a big plant eater, and like the same greens over and over again, you should consider switching it up!



Do you rotate your greens, or would you consider doing it?

What’s your favorite NON-SPINACH green smoothie?

Are you celebrating St. Patty’s Day today? How?

fun fact about me: (warning, this is TMI)–I got my first period on St. Patty’s Day in 7th grade. Haven’t really celebrated it since :/

Thanks so much for the AMAZING and SWEET comments on my Second Trimester Pregnancy post yesterday! I will get the 3rd up soon. Trust me, the honeymoon is definitely over ๐Ÿ™

My 34 Week Photos are up! Check em’ out!


Enjoy Your Day!



Share on
Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Sharon

    After reading your post the other day I tried romaine in my smoothie for the first time. I still prefer the spinach but there was no reason at all not to start adding it into the rotation. I’m excited to try out all the other greens! Thanks for the recommendation, I’m sure it would have taken me a lot longer to get around to using other greens if you hadn’t suggested it and provided all this great information.

    March 17, 2011 at 5:05 am
  • Reply susan

    Happy St. Patrick’s day from Ireland! Great post on the greens, I’ve a lot of greens on my menu today. I’ll be making a green smoothie as my afternoon snack (I’ll use spinach in the smoothie) and I’ll make kale chips when I have the girls over later. Love your new 34th week photo!

    We celebrated St. Patrick’s day yesterday and I went out for lunch and met up with friends in the evening. Town today will be crazy busy so just taking it easy now and going to lie on the couch with a great book (Belle by Lesley Pearse). I may watch the parade on the tv.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day
    Susan x

    March 17, 2011 at 6:32 am
    • Reply laury

      I hope my Irish friend is enjoying her day ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm
  • Reply alyssa - fashion fitness foodie

    I’ve never thought to switch up my greens in the smoothie – I will try that next time. Your picture is so cute – You look great pregnant, You are glowing ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 17, 2011 at 7:32 am
  • Reply Dani @ Body By Nature

    I just finished reading the book, Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko where I learned about the importance of rotating your greens. Thank you for sharing this post, it’s most helpful!

    March 17, 2011 at 7:44 am
    • Reply laury

      I need to read that book! Heard great things!

      March 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm
  • Reply Sophia @ Raven Waves

    I don’t rotate my greens too much. But I do get a variety of greens from the Italian salad mixture that we buy. It’s got a bunch of different greens in the mix! No idea what/if I’m doing anything for St. Pat’s, but I am wearing green!

    March 17, 2011 at 7:55 am
  • Reply Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Great post Laury! I never really considered consciously rotating my greens but I think I do it pretty well – most are from the brassica family but I do eat plenty of carrots, spinach, and lettuce too! I’m currently celebrating St Patty’s with a spinach green monster.

    March 17, 2011 at 8:09 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Healthy Diaries

    I love your new smoothie cup Laury! I so want one now!

    I have a question for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If I were to make my smoothies ahead of time how long do you think they would last for? I know with juicing it’s best to drink it right away because the longer you wait the more nutrients you lose.


    March 17, 2011 at 8:56 am
    • Reply laury

      Hey Lisa,

      That’s a good question. I have heard the same juicing theory with green smoothies, but I have also heard it’s OK to let them sit overnight. I never do it because I don’t prefer it that way, but I have let it sit and get cooler in the fridge for a few hours. I just hate when it separates. My theory is drinking it is better than not no matter if it’s right away, a few hours later, or the next morning. Especially people with busy schedules that need to make them the night before!

      March 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete

    Ok your TMI St. Patty’s Day story made me laugh!

    I honestly don’t rotate my greens too much — I have tubs of spinach, romaine and spring mix in my fridge and the spinach always goes in smoothies and the romaine/spring mix is for salads. I do this for variety, but obviously I could be doing more for more variety. This was very interesting info Laury!

    March 17, 2011 at 9:11 am
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    Great post Laury! I love switching up my greens although I’ve only ever put spinach in smoothies. I try to buy greens from each of the different lettuce famillies each week (but it’s not even on purpose, it just happens). I get a variety of each! I eat ALOT of lettuce so I combine them all in to one big salad at least once, if not twice a day! Gotta get in my veggies!!

    March 17, 2011 at 9:54 am
  • Reply Kat

    Thanks for all this awesome information!! I am Irish, so I pretty much HAVE to celebrate today (hello freckles, red hair and green eyes, can’t get much more irish!!) I don’t drink, so I am going to be having GREEN at every meal, and I am trying to make the main part of the meal green. Like my green pancakes!

    March 17, 2011 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Kristina @ Life as Kristina

    This makes a lot of sense! Spinach def is my staple for smoothies and juice (I’ mix in some romaine too!) i try and hit up a variety of other greens at lunch/dinner to balance it out:)
    Happy St. Patty’s love!

    March 17, 2011 at 10:37 am
  • Reply Laura

    I love your new cup.

    I also love most things green so yea for St. Patrick’s Day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 17, 2011 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    I like to rotate between Spinach, Kale, and Collard. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never knew that about greens, though I with ya. I like rotating for the balance in nutriants. ๐Ÿ™‚ Which group would collards fall under?


    March 17, 2011 at 11:50 am
    • Reply laury

      Ohhhh, I don’t know why I didn’t list them, they are part of the Brassica family!

      March 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm
  • Reply Keri

    Thank you- I never knew that about the defense mechanism.

    March 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply Caree @ Fit-Mama

    Great post! Even though I normally switch things up because I get bored of the same thing every time, its still good to know that it is important!!

    March 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Wow, first I have to say “Happy St. Patricks *period* birthday” to you. That is just so special. hahaha you are TO FUNNY! Always cracking me up over here! Well, I gotta keep it green here for St. Pattys because my hubby is half black and half irish. So I have myself my own little Irish boy to pinch all day. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I do rotate my greens a little, but I still feel like im in a rotating rut, which includes dino kale, beet greens, and spinach. Hmmmm…I need to do better than that! I didnt know you could over do the spinach! crazy! Im sure I have been victim of overstuffing the blender. Awesome/informative post! passing it along! Hope you have the bestest St. Pattys and heres a PINCH from your secret leprachan girl..
    mwah :-*
    Autnie Mo

    March 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm
    • Reply laury

      I hope you’re enjoying St Patty’s Day with your lil half Irishman ๐Ÿ˜‰ I agree that I can get in a rut too. This post was to motivate me also! I like what I like, but definitely try and switch it up every 2 weeks.
      Thanks or passing it along!! xxoo

      March 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm
  • Reply Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie)

    I’ve never had a green smoothie in general lol Love the way you switch up your greens. Gotta get those veggies in. I’m hitting the beach for St. Patties ๐Ÿ˜€

    March 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm
  • Reply Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    I love this post! I’m a habitual spinach smoothie drinker and I’ve only tried kale in a smoothie once! Spinach is just so much easier to throw in–but I’m definitely going to try and switch it up more often!

    March 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm
  • Reply Charlie

    I don’t rotate my greens but I do buy different veggies (to get a variety of nutrients… & a variety of flavors :)). So I rarely eat the same veggies over and over. I also eat more greens in salads than in smoothies and buy a different kind every 1-2 weeks ;).

    March 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Love the greens info! I try to rotate every week ๐Ÿ™‚

    So funny about getting your period on St. Patty’s day…that has to mean something astrologically or something!

    March 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply Mary @ Bites and Bliss

    I never heard about that before but it’s interesting. Spinach is my mainly green just because the others seem so expensive..or maybe not as tasty? Like doesnt kale have a stronger flavor or something? I don’t know..guess I should try before I turn them down!

    March 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm
  • Reply Angela (the diet book junkie)

    i love my spinach but admittedly, i don’t rotate enough through the greens. love em all, but i ‘m very guilty of salad-in-a-bag and so i buy whatever is on the shelf (and it’s usually between spinach or some light colored lettuce. the choice is obvious, right?)

    March 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm
  • Reply Friday Five Time

    […] you missed my post yesterday on Rotating Your Greens, go check it […]

    March 18, 2011 at 8:20 am
  • Reply Leila @ Spinach and Skittles

    I have two of those cups – love em!

    March 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm
  • Reply Katie

    Spinach is my smoothie staple, but I would consider giving the other ones a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the info!

    Oh, do you think it’s safe to take shots of wheatgrass daily? My boyfriend and I go, like, 7 days taking it each morning, then kind of taper off and do it every other day for a couple of weeks. (Depending on our fundage since it can get pricy).

    March 22, 2011 at 10:33 am
    • Reply laury

      Hey Katie,

      As long as you feel fine taking it every day it’s safe as far as I know! I do! It’s very detoxifying so that is why sometimes you hear it causing nausea or sickness is certain people. Wheatgrass can be particularity upsetting for someone on a raw foods diet. It usually makes them feel very ill. I am not raw, but regardless have never had an issue. Combining it with some foods make cause nausea, that’s why they say to take it first thing in the AM on an empty stomach. Every day, or every other, you are still getting more benefits than not at all!

      March 22, 2011 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Avocado Snackage & Storage

    […] vanilla sun warrior, 2 T chia seeds, ice and vanilla tempt hemp milk). have you read my post on rotating your greens? I talked about how most of us prefer spinach smoothies, but how it’s important to switch it […]

    March 31, 2011 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Amy

    Glad I read this, I didn’t know I should be rotating them!!

    May 17, 2011 at 10:57 am
  • Reply Stress, Diet & Exercise

    […] adding a delicious green smoothie into your […]

    July 19, 2011 at 8:37 pm
  • Reply Friday Five 09/23

    […] 1. The Importance of Rotating Your Greens […]

    September 23, 2011 at 6:01 am
  • Leave a Reply