Green Smoothie Questions

Why Nature Intended Us To Rotate Our Greens

14 Comments 21 October 2009

Millions of years of co-existence on the same planet has resulted in plants, people, and animals developing a strong symbiotic connection. Plants do not mind if people and animals eat their fruits because such practice benefits the plant by spreading its seeds and thus promoting future generations. In fact plants are “interested” in someone eating their fruit, but only when it is ripe.

The ultimate goal of all plants is to continue their species and provide adequate living conditions for themselves. That is why so many fruits in the world have a round shape, so that they can roll away and start a new life. Plants have learned to make their fruit colorful, palatable, fragrant, and nutritious, to ensure that its consumers not only eat one fruit but continue to return for more. This strategy works very well and all fruit gets eaten. Have you ever noticed how thoroughly birds clean cherry trees or how squirrels keep working on an oak tree until there are no more acorns left? What happens next? The “eaters” digest their food and have bowel movements far away from the mother plant and the seeds are covered with nice “organic fertilizer.” The seeds get a perfect start. Inside the fruit, the seeds are wisely protected from being digested with hardy shells and inhibitors. Note that the plant keeps its fruit extremely un-tasteful, colorless, and without attractive fragrance all the way until the seeds are ripe, so that nobody wastes them before the seeds have matured.

The following example illustrates how much the continuation of their species means to plants. In a recent study in Russia, biologists discovered that “When a tree is foreseeing its death, the tree gathers its entire energy and deposits this energy into producing seeds for the very last time. For example, an oak tree broken by the storm or a cedar tree with its bark removed from its trunk, in a farewell effort before they die forever, give their record crops of acorns or nuts.” (Soloukhin, Vladimir. Razryv Trava. In Russian. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia, 2001.)

…Plants “allow” humans and animals to eat ALL of their fruits, but only PART of their leaves, because plants need to have leaves for their own use – which is manufacturing chlorophyll. However, plants depend on moving creatures for many different reasons, like pollination, fertilizing the soil, and hanging around to help eat the ripe fruit. For this reason, plants accumulate a lot of highly nutritious elements in their leaves, but mix these nourishing ingredients with either bitterness or very small amounts of alkaloids (poisons).

That is how animals are forced to rotate their menu and that is why all wild animals are browsers. They eat a small amount of one thing, then move on to many other plants during the course of the day. The body is capable of easily detoxifying small amounts of a great many things, but it is much more difficult for the human system to get rid of a large amount of one type of poison. This is why it is crucial for us to learn to rotate the greens in our diet. Chimpanzees also rotate the green plants they eat. They go through approximately 117 different plants in one year. (Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzees of Gombe. Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of HarvardUniversity Press. 1986.)

We humans need to learn to alternate our variety of greens as much as possible instead of eating only iceberg lettuce, spinach and romaine. Unfortunately, I was able to locate only about 40 types of various greens, including edible weeds that are available in my state of Oregon. I hope that our farmers will learn to grow a larger variety of green leafy vegetables to increase our green sources. The greens available in grocery stores were mostly bred from the dandelion and mustard families. Despite their names and appearances, cultivated greens have similar nutritional content. To meet our nutritional needs, it is essential that we learn to include greens from a number of totally different plant families into our daily diets.

The following is a list of greens that my family has been rotating in our diets.


Arugula (rocket)



Beet greens (tops)

Bok choy

Bamboo Leaves

Carrot tops



Cactus, napal leaves

Collard greens



Fresee lettuice

Goji leaves (wolfberry)

Grape leaves

Kale (3 types)



Mustard greens

Lettuce (all types red and green)


Pumpkin or squash leaves


Radish tops

Salad Burnet


Romaine lettuce green and red leaf (no Iceberg or light colored leaf)

Turnip greens



Aloe Vera

Baby dill




Lemon Balm


Parsley (2 types)

Peppermint leaves




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Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. Carol says:

    I agree we need our food from future but people keep telling me that there is something that interferes with calcium intake from raw spinach, etc (oxilate?) if you eat it raw and that it needs to be cooked?????

  2. emilyb says:

    On page 34 of Green Smoothie Revolution Victoria explains that oxalic acid in food is considered harmful because it can combine with calcium and may leach the body of this important mineral. Many people seem to know about the oxalic acid in spinach yet so one talks about other common foods which contain it like beans or grains. Coffee has a high oxalic acid content and contains no calcium, where as spinach is loaded with calcium which minimizes the risk of loosing this mineral from the body.

    The amount of Oxalic acid in spinach is very small, however if you don’t rotate your greens and use only spinach for many weeks, you may accumulate oxalic acid and experience symptoms of poisoning. The most important thing to remember is ROTATE YOUR GREENS!

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  5. KarenLana says:

    Thank you for the fantastic information found here! How often should the greens be rotated? Does it have to be every 2-3 days or can I go as long as a week on the same greens without problems? I’ve enjoyed reading the many articles on the site. Thanks very much for your help in clarifying the frequency of rotation.

  6. emilyb says:

    A week with the same green could be too long for some people. To be safe we suggest a minimum of 2 greens per week, and a different 2 greens the next week. Please remember that the more you rotate the more nutrition you gain, and monitor how you are feeling to adjust the variety of greens if necessary.

  7. Mila says:

    Hi everyone. This is an older post but I hope someone might check back on it and answer my question —

    I’ve been having green smoothies and love them. Regarding rotation, I was wondering if Lemon Basil also needed to be rotated. I tried doing an internet search but only found that it was very beneficial and had many medicinal/homeopathic purposes. One site even suggested a small amount everyday (for arthritis, etc) but in pasta sauces, etc. No warnings about over-consumption. Does anyone know if there are any negative side effects from getting too much (lemon) basil? Or not rotating it? I actually love it in various green smoothies.

    Thank you!

  8. emilyb says:

    Dear Mila – Victoria’s research points to all greens having a small amounts of alkaloid. She teaches that we must rotate them if we are consuming large amounts each day. If you were using a SMALL amount of lemon basil each day along with other greens in your smoothies you may not notice any side effects. Please monitor your body and make changes to the rotation if needed.

  9. Jack Green says:

    in terms of rotating i guess there’s a 2 ways:
    (sorry for the bad analogy)

    “GangBang” – Salad Bowl (All greens, in small amounts)

    “Flavor of the Week” – Spinach / chard, this meal, parsley / kale next meal.

    …does anyone know if LEEkS are leaves, it says their leave SHEETHS or something like that. There an interesting leaf.

  10. Susan - Canada says:


    I have been doing green smoothies for at least 1 year now. Combinations usually are: spinach, collard greens, kale, broccoli, etc; then the next week, I’ll use spinach, swiss chard, bok choy and celery, etc. I change my greens from week to week, but then go back to my first combination and start the combination again, but stay with the same combination for 1 week. Is this o.k.?

  11. carolann goode says:

    I love drinking my green smoothies, I have become more healthier every day .But I have a question every time I drink my smoothie i get very cold like chilled.Maybe you have a answer to this Thank you,…..Carolann


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