I don’t love green smoothies, even though I drink them and I promote drinking them to other people. The benefits of a green smoothie are indisputable—lower blood pressure, more energy, more fiber, more nutrients, chlorophyll, lower cholesterol….and lots more. But sometimes, green smoothies can be so…green.
As you know, Kristina and I are in a protein ice cream rut. It’s fabulous—and I really should call it a protein ice cream kick because that sounds so much more positive. I believe it’s one of the best kind of kicks to be on—and it has also introduced me to xanthan gum and guar gum. In the past, I would see one or both of these gums on a food label, and think they were just another processing agent. I’m not sure if I ever returned anything to a shelf based on it containing a gum, but I definitely just made assumptions and never researched what they actually were (until now).
Both can actually be used as thickeners, stabilizers, and emulsifiers, and they make smoothies extra smooth….unless you add too much, and then the smoothie turns into a huge blob of snot. Sorry, true.
xanthan gum -the NOW brand of xanthan gum says it is a soluble fiber produced from the pure culture fermentation of the microorganism Xanthomonas campestris.
guar gum – this is the fiber from the seed of the guar plant. In higher doses, it can cure both extremes of digestive problems, if you get my drift. It’s more natural than xanthan gum (xanthan gum, now that I read about it, does not seem natural at all). It helps to bind, smooth, and emulsify in recipes. You’ll often see it in ice cream and in gluten free products. You also may see it in tablets (to bind) and in lotions (to emulsify).
My conclusion: guar gum seems to be a pretty harmless and useful (I use it in water/ice based smoothies and ice creams and you would think the base was coconut milk!). Xanthan gum seems to leave a little to be desired based on it being processed and dried using alcohol. I own both gums, and because the xanthan gum is expensive and you only use 1/4 tsp in a smoothie/ice cream at a time, I’m going to continue to use it until it’s gone. After that, I think I’ll just stick to the guar gum.
I don’t know if you can tell how smooth this smoothie is, but if you’ve ever made a green smoothie, you are probably familiar with it having some kind of texture…if not being downright chunky. If I had to judge this smoothie on texture alone, I would guess it was made of coconut milk and frozen banana (and definitely no fibrous lettuce!). Other than the fabulous texture, the taste did leave room for improvement. It wasn’t terrible–I could have it again (but it made twice as much as shown in the pic, and I had to throw out the last inch because I had crossed a line regarding the amount I had consumed).
Would you use a gum? I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s crazy how water and ice can become so creamy!