Green Smoothies Saved My Dad’s Life

July Cooking Tool of the Month – Blender

Update 2019: this is still a very popular post on my blog, but many years after this was written my father went back to his old lifestyle. I lost him on June 28th, 2019 at the age of 73 from cirrhosis of the liver.ย 

As many of you know I moved back home in March of 2011 because my dad was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. This type of cancer is prevalent in older men and most men die with it rather than from it. But I wasn’t going to take any chances. He was also highly anaemic and B12 deficient (what do you know, even meat-eaters can be B12 deficient), on blood pressure medicine and seeing the doctor once a month. My goal was to get as many nutrients into his body as possible. Unfortunately, he had only a few teeth left (from alcoholism and poor diet), so I had to take special care in making foods he could actually eat. What did I make him every day for months? A big green smoothie.ย 

Me and my dad, May 2011

(Watch this video of me going through his pantries and my usual green smoothie)

Green smoothies saved my dad’s life. I’m not kidding. Since his diet was basically fruit juice and crackers with peanut butter I made smoothies filled with greens and protein powder for him every morning for two months straight. His blood work after the first 3 months on a whole foods vegan diet was excellent. The cancer hadn’t progressed, he got off his blood pressure medicine and no longer had to get weekly B12 injections. He was feeling great, had lost weight, started to exercise more, and was really enjoying cooking and eating healthier. After 5 months his doctor said he could come in for a check-up once a year.

When I moved to Austin last month the first thing I did was go out and get him a decent blender so he could make his own smoothies. I know that he eats better when I’m there and cooking for him, but it was time for me to move on to other things in my life. I hope that I’ve taught him what he needs to know to continue down a healthy path.

Green Smoothies

You may read on the internet that green smoothies are not good for you and that you should only chew your food instead of blending it up. While I believe that eating the whole food is ideal, in a situation where someone is severely deficient in nutrients having smoothies filled with vegetables will quickly turn someone’s health around. You can pack way more veggies into a smoothie than you could ever eat at one sitting. And if you don’t have all your teeth, then blended drinks and soups are the way to go.

A part of me thinks that green smoothies saved my life as well. I have one every morning and it fills me up until lunch and gives me the energy I need to have a productive day. Paired with exercise, it’s helped me maintain a healthy weight and the protein has helped me build muscle that I didn’t think I could as a vegan.

Do you do green smoothies? What is your favorite combination of ingredients? Share with us in the comments!ย 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s Cooking Tool of the Month and I hope you are enjoying this series on my blog. Please feel free to let us know how you are liking the feature and if you want to see any specific cooking tools in the future months. I appreciate all my readers very much and I do this all for you! So don’t be shy ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Love your story of how green smoothies turned your father's health around. Teaching my parents how to eat has been a lot of work, but I'm so thankful that they're taking things to heart. I need 'em around for as long as I can have them, after all! 

  2. This is such a touching story, Christy! My dad also had pre-prostate cancer (not sure of the correct name, but he tested positive for the cells that lead to it) back when I was in college. At the time, I wasn't even vegan, but he took it upon himself to switch from a mostly vegetarian diet to mostly vegan and his health has been awesome ever since. He lost weight, lowered his cholesterol and blood pressure, and is now really into barefoot running. It's amazing how a few small changes can transform someone's life.

    Congrats to your dad on taking his health back! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Love the photo of you and your Dad! It just makes me smile that you made him a priority and changed the whole course of his life… I agree about smoothies and juices. My sister was recently diagnosed with having a liver tumor and was put on a transplant list. She changed her diet, started juicing and within 6 months the doctors couldn't find the tumor any more. She didn't even buy an expensive juicer. It was less than $100. The power of fruits and vegetables is amazing. 

  4. This is so fabulous, Christy! And the numbers speak for themselves.  SO glad your dad is doing better, and still drinking those green smoothies! I've read the post about not drinking smoothies or juices, and I also disagree with them.  When we chew our food, we break it up, just like the blender does when we blend it. As long as we mix each mouthful with lots of saliva, there seems to be no logical reason why that mouthful is any less healthful than one we've chewed to the same point.

  5. Your dad is so lucky to have you. What a beautiful thing to take care of him! Great news that he is seeing so many improvements. I too have heard the claims against smoothies. I don't think they are the end all and be all of nutrition, but like you said, they are a great way to pack in so many veggies in one serving. I would never eat the amount of veggies I do if it wasn't for all the stuff I can cram into one drink. Keeping your dad in my thoughts!

  6. Wow, what a fantastic post! I knew that you were taking care of your dad for the past few months, but I had no idea that he had cancer. I'm glad that he is doing so much better, and that it was you who helped him out. Food is so powerful. He's very lucky to have you as his daughter!

  7. Another benefit of having you be there to help him get healthy is companionship.  Now that he is on a healthier diet it is important for him to have supportive relationships.  Do you have him plugged in to a vegan/macrobiotic community?

  8. Hi Christy, I love following your blog posts. You are very inspiring! I'm happy to hear that you helped your dad with his diet. It gives me hope that I can do the same for my dad. He has heart disease and doesn't want to give up red meat! Ugh! I love making green smoothies. One that I like to make is water, ice, banana, mango, kale, chia seeds, ginger, parsley, and cilantro.

  9. Wow, what a wonderful story! Your father should be very grateful for you and I'm sure you are grateful for the fact that you were able to help him.

    I can't say that I eat a "green smoothie" every day but I do put greens into my smoothie, does that count? lol. I usually use almond or coconut milk as the base and add hemp protein, blueberries, extra fiber and lots and lot of spinach! I would like to try this with kale but I don't have a high speed blender and the kale never seems to get blended well enough.

    I like the recipe of the previous poster- mango and parsley and ginger? Sounds amazing!

    1. Thanks Pauline! I think my dad is very happy that I helped him out and he is trying to continue the healthy eating I taught him. Sometimes I feel like he isn’t trying hard enough though ๐Ÿ™

  10. You have given your father a wonderful gift. What a sweet and inspiring story. I love the photo of the two of you! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Christy, this is incredible.  Thank you for sharing this story with all of us.  Food is so powerful and I love that you are spreading the message of how we can all take better care of ourselves and our loved ones! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. You are absolutely right about the power of greens. I first began making and drinking green drinks after reading the book Green for LIfe a few years ago.  Since then, I have adopted a plant-based diet and have more energy, strength and muscle than ever.  I swear by the power of greens and recommend green drinks and juices to all of my clients in Austin.

  13. christy…you are such a faithful daughter…GOOD JOB and i’m having fun at tea with you as we blog across the table from each other ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. I just came across this post almost 6 years later. Very inspiring and motivational! What a great daughter you are! I am also beginning my smoothie journey today! Wish me luck ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. I have tried green smoothies and the problem I have is I get very weak and have great difficulty working even when using protein powder. Also I noticed the emphasis on vegan diet do you have any suggestions

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