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A beginner’s guide to Smoothies !

making_smoothyArticle by Gabriela Lerner

Happy Smoothy New Year!

Hello and welcome to my very first blog post on Fab after Fifty. I’m delighted to have joined the editorial team of this inspirational, supportive and fun website for us ladies of a certain age. Over the next few weeks I will be gradually introducing you to the benefits of raw food and give you tips and recipes to help you integrate more plant-based raw foods into your daily life.

If you google the internet about healthy eating, you will find that dieticians, nutritionists and health experts often disagree about what’s good and what’s bad for you. However, most, if not all, agree that we should all eat more fruit and vegetables in their natural state. Particularly green leafy vegetables deliver the highest amount of micronutrients and phytonutrients to our bodies, helping us to gain more energy, lose weight, stay younger and healthier for longer.

Introducing more greens into your diet through smoothies

However, often when I talk to women, vegetables don’t feature much in their diet and leafy greens even less. This mostly has to do with not knowing how to prepare these nutrition power houses so that they taste nice and there is even a lack of understanding on what green leafy vegetables are.

Spinach comes to mind, followed by kale. But there are far more, such as chard, dandelion, rocket, red clover, spring greens, romaine lettuce, lambs lettuce… the list goes on. And the easiest, fastest and tastiest way to consume these in large quantities – as opposed to just a garnish on your plate – is to make smoothies. Simply blend green leafy vegetables with fruit to make tasty food replacements bursting with nutrition.

A word about organics. I use organic fruit and vegetables where ever I can. But if you can’t get organic produce or it is too expensive for you, then I believe it is better to eat non-organic then to skip the fruit and vegetables all together. Organic is most important for the leafy greens and thin skinned fruit. To help you make good buying choices, USA Environmental Working Group has published a list of fruit and veg that you should definitely eat organic and those that are okay to eat non-organic http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Green smoothies were invented over 20 years ago by Victoria Boutenko but it’s only in the last few years that they have become more main-stream to the extent that you can now buy ‘green smoothies’ ready made in the supermarkets. But beware, shop bought smoothies are not raw and they are also overloaded with sugars. You can read more about this topic in a blog on my website http://www.radiantonraw.co.uk/posts/should-you-assume-that-smoothies-are-good-for-you/3077

I really encourage you to make your own smoothies at home. They only take a few minutes to make. Smoothies are best consumed fresh and if you simply replace your normal breakfast with a litre of green smoothy every day or at least a few times a week you will shed some pounds, feel more energetic and start to develop smooth skin and shiny hair. So why not give it a go. Here is a short crash course on getting started.

How to get started to make Smoothies

You will need a blender. It can be done in a food processor, but you won’t get as smooth a smoothy and lumpy smoothies simple don’t taste great. Ideally you would want a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, Blentec or Thermomix (the later being my choice because it does so much more than just blend). This will make your life a lot easier and smoothy making a breeze. If you have a normal household blender then that’s a good start and certainly good enough for you to try out a few weeks whether smoothy drinking is for you.

You’ll also need a good sharp knife and chopping board. That’s it! Oh yes and lots of leafy greens, plus some fruit. Any ripe fruit is good but some fruit does not combine well into good flavour. So when you start out it’s good to stick to some tried and tested recipes like the ones I show below. Remember, the fruit should be ripe, really ripe! I have various fruit like bananas, pineapple, mango, pears, apple etc in my fruit bowl to make sure there is always something ripe. If fruit gets too ripe, simply cut it up and freeze it for use in smoothies later on. Yes, it’s okay to use frozen fruit. In fact if you want a strawberry smoothy in winter it’s much better to buy the fruit frozen than to buy watery tasting, super expensive fresh strawberries flown in from some far away country. Frozen fruit gets picked when it is at its peak ripeness and therefore it makes for a good choice for smoothies.

To make 1 litre of smoothy you will need greens, 2-3 types of fruit and water. Personally I don’t really measure any more. I know how much water to put into my Thermomix jug, I add two good handfuls of greens and then chuck in fruit to taste. Once everything is in your blender, blend on the highest speed from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on how powerful your blender is. You want to end up with a smooth creamy consistency, add more water if it’s too thick to drink. It takes me all but 2 minutes to make my morning smoothy… you’ll get there too.

Start Slowly!

Start slowly! Don’t go overboard, as drinking smoothies can have a strong detoxing effect which potentially can come with all the associated symptoms like headache and diarrhoea. I therefore suggest you make 1 litre of smoothie on the first day and share it with your partner or leave half of it for the next day. Fresh smoothies keep in an airtight glass jar for 2-3 days. Do this for a week before gradually increasing to 1 litre a day. Drink them slowly over an hour or so instead of eating breakfast if you want to lose weight. If you don’t want to lose weight, I recommend you drink only 500ml in the morning followed by some other healthy breakfast (more on that in another blog) and then have the other 500ml as a snack in the afternoon… instead of that chocolate chip cookie. I guarantee you will feel better for it!

Easily digestible nutrients

Think you can’t go until lunch just on a green smoothy? Then look at the pile of greens and fruit before you blend them and imagine eating all of it with a fork. And don’t forget, you are giving your body concentrated and easily digestible nutrients which will make it stay satisfied for longer because you are giving it what it wants. Not something you can achieve with jam on toast.

Following are a few recipes to get you started. But before I leave you to experiment with them, here are some places to go if you want to learn more about smoothies.

Get the printed book or Kindle version of Diane Kidman’s ‘Smoothy Power’  This book is an entertaining read about the benefits of smoothies and full of fantastic recipes.

Or join the 30-day Smoothy Challenge at Simple Green Smoothies  An abundance of recipes on this website and if you sign up for the free 30-day challenge you even get recipes with shopping lists delivered weekly to your mailbox.

So here’s me raising a glass of super nutritious green smoothy to your health!

Smoothies Recipes

Smoothy recipes

Pick Me Up Smoothy

2 cups of baby spinach

2 thick slices of ripe pineapple, cut into chunks

1 very ripe banana, cut into chunks

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1-2 cups water

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes until smooth.


Tropical Burst Smoothy

2 cups of lamb’s lettuce or romaine lettuce

Juice of 1 lime

1 orange, skin removed in cut into chunks

Half a large ripe mango, cut into chunks

1 banana (optional, if your mango isn’t sweet enough!)

1-2 cups of water

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes until smooth.


Immune Booster Smoothy

2 cups of kale, hard stems removed

1 slice ripe pineapple, cut into chunks

1/4 ripe mango, cut into chunks

Juice of half a lemon

1 banana, cut into chunks

1 thumb of ginger, cut into 4 pieces

½ tsp of turmeric powder

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes until smooth.


Blueberry Tumbler

2 cups of baby spinach

1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1 ripe pear, remove core, don’t peel, cut in chunks

1 ripe banana, cut into chunks

Blend all ingredients for 1-2 minutes until smooth.



Gabriela Lerner

Eating 100% raw may not be for everybody, but even if you eat just one raw meal a day it can have a huge an impact on how you feel and it will boost your immune system. I am 55 years old as I write this and I have had a very varied work life. I am in a position where I can give my best and help people reach for better health and more energy.

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  1. Ntathu Allen

    February 1, 2014

    Thanks Gabriela…a good solid read…recipes sound fab as well. Look forward to reading more Juicy Blogs!

  2. Gabriela

    March 6, 2014

    Thanks for the comment Ntathu, glad you’re enjoying the recipes.

  3. Georgina Hadrill

    May 21, 2014

    Fantastic article. I have just started wearing myself off sugar and eating green organic foods, your article will be very useful for me as I am “camping out” in my house, no kitchen at the moment so all my food is cold raw etc , I hate microwaves ,so raw unprocessed is my only option , have experimented to stage of sing nut butters as dressing in salads! Ps due to the lack of flavour in supermarket food I have also changed to organic fruit. Please can we have some salad options that do not need to be cooked .

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      May 21, 2014

      Hi Georgina,
      Just to say that Gabriela has also shared some salad recipes Enjoy 🙂

  4. Georgina Hadrill

    May 21, 2014

    Ps meant to say weaning not wearing!

  5. Denise

    July 3, 2014

    I have been drinking home made smoothies for breakfast for the past couple of weeks, the first week I lost 4lb! They are very filling and will take you right up to lunchtime and are very energizing and I have def noticed a change in my mood, I feel very ‘sunny’ guess it’s all the antioxidants!!

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