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


Power Packed Morning Smoothie

Power Packed Morning Smoothie Recipe | La La Lovely Blog

So, do you make smoothies?  It seems like everyone is slurping down some kind of smoothie these days.   There are so many to try, and I do, but mostly I keep coming back to this one.  Ideally, I like to try have this every morning for breakfast (at least on week days).  Some days, however, I crave something warm (like oatmeal) and in turn whizz this up for a power packed lunch, and it’s a great afternoon pick me up.

Here is what’s in my power packed smoothie . . . .



Power Packed Morning Smoothie Recipe | La La Lovely Blog



1 handful of spinach (kale works too)

1 cup of almond milk (give or take, depending on how thick you like smoothies)

1 small frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 /2 – 1 teaspoon l-glutamine powder

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 scoop of plant based protein powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon hemp seeds


Power Packed #Smoothie Recipe | La La Lovely

I used the word recipe loosely because somedays I add more mango then blueberry and I don’t always measure.  These are my key ingredients that I like to use for their many health properties.  It’s packed with vitamin C, protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants and so on.

I’ve recently been trying out l-glutamine because I have been really low in energy and I read that can help.  It’s an amino acid that is naturally found in our bodies, but at times we produce less then needed.  It’s also supposed to be amazing for your digestive system.  I’ve been using this powder and also trying to supplement with capsules in the afternoon if I start to drag.  Have any of you tried using l-glutamine?  Be sure to read about it or ask a health professional to make sure it is right for you.

As for protein powder, I’ve been using this vanilla flavored plant based one, by Vega One.  It’s good, but, to me, it has a slight after taste.  I’m looking to experiment with some other non-dairy protein powders (share you favorites in the comments).

And, I’m totally sold on this unsweetened almond milk and this creamy peanut butter.  They taste divine on their own, in smoothies, on toast or in cereal!  Super fan!

Do you have a favorite smoothie that you keep coming back to?  Tell me what’s in it or share a link in the comments.

Here is to happy and healthy mornings and days, lovelies!

xo . t

P.S.  You can use less almond milk and make this into a smoothie bowl if you prefer to use a spoon over a straw.  Instead of blending the seeds, sprinkle them on top with a few other berries and goodies.  Yum!


get your green smoothie on



we have been making a lot of green drinks around here.  of course, it’s the new year and everyone is cutting this and that and everything out of their diet.  i’m not good at that.  i never have been.  but, like I told you earlier this week, what am good at is adding good things.  and adding lots of fruits and vegetables is a good thing.  i love vegetables but i don’t always find it easy to eat several servings a day.  what i do find manageable is to drink them in a yummy smoothie. my current favorite combo is:

+ spinach : a big handful
+ cucumber : a quarter of an english cucumber
+ pear : one half
+ banana : one half, frozen
+ mango : one handful, frozen
+ chia seeds : about a tablespoon
+ rice milk : to desired consistency
+ ice : one small handful

its good.  my kids love it, kind of good and there was no bribing or brainwashing them into believing it was hulk juice.  it’s really one of the only smoothies that i don’t put almond butter or yogurt in and i have to say i like it all the more.

do you love to smoothies?  i’d love to hear your favorite combos.

i also love this green smoothie, that i wrote about last year, and when i want a non-green smoothie this recipe is my go to.




Lately, I’ve been a smoothie making machine.  After having a stare down withLouise’s green shakes everyday on Instagram I decided to give it a try.  I’m not the greatest at cutting out entire food groups but I am ok at adding good things. But when it came down to it, I didn’t start green I went with LA in Bloom’s Date Shake (which is a definite favorite and could easily pass as dessert).  Once I got to blending, I got braver and started throwing spinach in and ever since I got a Vitamix, I’ve been concocting all kinds of vegetable and fruit smoothies.

Right now, I’m really enjoying the combination above.  Kale sounds a little scary but, I promise, it’s not.  My 2 year old drank the mixture and thought it was milk shake.  The key, I find, is to always add a frozen banana.  It stabilizes and smooths out the greens.  When I want a little protein I add a tablespoon of almond butter and use almond milk.  You can change out any fruit, frozen or fresh to your liking.  I think mangos and blackberries are a really lovely combination and I tend to like a good portion of my fruit to be frozen to keep that smoothie consistency.  And, when in doubt, if you are ever in need of smoothie inspiration, then well you know where to go, Pinterest!



Dear Sister,

Before you read on…I’m considering a new series called “Dear Sister,”. I love letter writing–I believe it to be a lost art. For years, my sister and I (sometimes while living only 90 miles apart) have been writing letters to one another. Specially selected stationary, stickers–sometimes, words from the heart–always. We both find we express ourselves well in written word and have loved the idea of chronicling our journeys (literally, at times from Germany to Holland to England and figuratively through some of life’s toughest terrains).

I’d like to write to you, Dear Sister, the way I often write to my sister, Amy.

PS- Write back (leave a comment). One of the most anticipated elements of letter writing is sending the letter off and awaiting a reply.

Dear Sister,

The day is dreary and this morning gave us a surprise. I can only stomach a smoothie.

Do you know the type of day I describe?

It amazes me how much has caught us by surprise. How a manner of things we have dealt with, elements that would shock, rather than surprise, have become, somewhat, sadly, common. I still wonder when things will seem normal. But what is normal? And, “seem” never was solid. “Seem is,” synonymous with “appear to be” and “pretend.” It would appear that we can’t seem to rely on anything short of the Lord. And, I do believe that is exactly what these long years have taught us. We love. We lose. We cling. We carry. We drop. We drown. We catch our breath. We let go. We let God.

We let God be. Our mother. Our father. Our grandparent. Our husband. Our home.

Our Everything.

It is the afternoon, now. The sun has peered and peek-a-booed and decided to shy away from today. I’ve resigned to droplets of Vitamin D from the cabinet, the one above the microwave. I am embracing the moody clouds that seem to match the mood of the day. You know I’d be quite content to curl up on the couch, the old green one that doesn’t fit in the family room, with my Yorkshire tea, kitty, and a mystery. But it seems I needed to pour from my soul, rather than the kettle, Sister. I needed to solve a few things stirring in me, rather than a who-done-it-on the TV.

I haven’t solved anything. Only resolved once again to surrender what I think I need. What I feel is best. To let God, again, be my everything.

I’m listening to that song, again. The one, that undid me walking, with a childlike gait, in Aberdeen.”You always had my back . . .” (from the garden to the cross…from here and beyond!). The computer is crooning. The Spirit is comforting.

Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit gets all the way under the rubble–to the crushed dust, the ash, the soot? Not a speck gets swept aside. Each piece and particle inspected and sanctioned for beauty.

It’s a bit dusty, at the moment, but I can see beauty. The ash that smears between my fingers leaves a stain of loveliness to come.

There’s a smidgen of blue, now, pushing through above the pines. It’s a baby blue. Soft like a lullaby and yet as bright as a new box of crayons. I hope you are seeing this hue above you, wherever you are today, too.


In yoga class, the teacher shared an analogy of letting go. “Imagine a tennis ball in your grip,” she said softly. “If I asked you to let go, it is likely that you would envision throwing the ball, tossing it, dropping it. But look at it like this: Letting go is simply loosening your grip. Uncurling your fingers. Unclenching your muscles. Relaxing your hand. Not concerning yourself with the ball. Letting the ball do what it will do. Only concern yourself with you”

Letting go must simply, then be, not holding on.

Are there things you thought you had let go of? Only to find you are still holding on? Not relaxing your hand?

I’ve been holding things that don’t even fit into my hand, Sister.

I resign again (as many agains as I must) to let God be. My mother. My father. My grandparent. My husband. My home.

My Everything.

Loads of Love,


PS- Should you wonder what smoothie I’ve doubled down on today, Here is my current favorite concoction:

Chocolate Date (Soothing Stomach) Shake

1 banana
1 Tblsp. of cacao powder
1 scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Powder
1 scoop L-Glutamine powder
1 Medjool Date
1 tsp. honey
1 cup (ish) of coconut milk (or any nut milk)
1/2 tsp. ashwagandha (if you are feeling shook)
ice cubes to thicken (if bananas aren’t frozen)
sometimes I add in about Tblsp. of wild blueberries or a handful of spinach

*If you’d like to receive these letters directly to your inbox just click here.

Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.

My Story

Get On The List

Receive encouraging essays, updates, and a few secret posts.

Fill out the form and press enter.