Summertime and the livin' is easy. We don't have to worry about slipping and sliding on the ice and can enjoy getting caught in a rain shower. Just raise your face to the sky, stick out your tongue, slurp and laugh - like when you were little. It's a refreshing way to stay young.

Summer is also a time for luscious, ripe, organic fruits and vegetables. I have a mouth-watering, easy way to get a ton of nutrition from this summer harvest and help you grow younger: make green smoothies.

I make them in my Vitamix every other day but you can use any blender as long as it's powerful - 1000 watts or more. Unlike a juicer, cleanup is easy with a blender, and you're not throwing out the fiber that's so good for you. I put the greens - such as spinach, kale, green chard, dandelion greens, arugula, bok choy, celery or mustard greens - plus about two or three cups of water and some fruit - into the blender and turn it on for 30 seconds or less.

Just use the greens, such as beet tops or carrot tops, not the whole vegetable, since all kinds of fruit mix well with greens, but not with vegetables. Bananas and apples are good in green smoothies and easy to have on hand since apples will keep in the fridge quite a while and bananas will keep in the freezer.

Don't peel the apples (organic only) but do discard the seeds before putting them in the blender because apple seeds are poisonous. I also use mangoes, pears, berries, peaches and any other kind of fruit in with the greens. I recommend reading "Green Smoothie Revolution" by Victoria Boutenko if you want inspiration and recipes for delicious, nutritious smoothies. Here are a few points to remember, based on the information in her book:

1. Use only greens, fruit and water. Don't add anything else like protein powder or nuts and supplements.

2. Your smoothie should not be part of a meal. Drink it by itself and don't eat or drink anything else for 40 minutes before or after your smoothie.

3. Never add starchy vegetables like carrots, zucchini, cabbage, peas, corn, green beans, etc. to your green smoothie since those don't combine well with fruit (except with apples).

4. Rotate your greens. For example, use spinach one day, kale the next, chard the following day and so on. You don't need to rotate your fruits.

5. Make it delicious so you'll look forward to drinking it.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, laugh a lot and drink plenty of green smoothies.

Ellen Wood of Questa is the award-winning author of the series of books, "The Secret Method for Growing Younger." Her websites are and Contact Ellen at

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