Pooja Motl | Author. Healthy Food Chef. Mother-Daughter STEM Advocacy. Value and Virtues of Motherhood.

Watercress, Fennel & Basil Green Smoothie

I have many different labels for the smoothies I make – high insulin green, low insulin green, high insulin nut milk-based, high insulin coconut yogurt-based, etc. In the end, I tend to veer toward making low insulin green smoothies the most, because they give me the most bang for the buck: you get your greens and your blood sugar doesn’t get hit too much. In this smoothie I use watercress as the green. Watercress is a bitter green like arugula. Bitter greens help with detoxification of the liver and digestion and are nutritional powerhouses. To give this smoothie a bit of sweetness to balance the peppery, sharp flavor of the watercress, I throw in fennel and basil and coconut water.

To be very honest, I don’t enjoy smoothies as much as some might think. I’m currently working a slew of recipes for a catering job which is why there are a lot on my social media channels right now. The problem with smoothies for me is that if my body is craving and needing protein urgently, when I drink a carb-laden smoothie (which is what most smoothies are, even green smoothies, because all vegetables are carbs), I don’t feel satisfied and I also feel too full – even if I add protein powder to it. If you think about it, drinking a smoothie like this one, for example, is equivalent to eating several stems of watercress, a bit of a bulb of fennel, an entire apple, and all the coconut water from one young coconut through a straw over just a few minutes. Whereas if we didn’t have the luxury of a blender, we’d have to chew on these items and it would take us quite a bit longer. There’s something to be said for vegetables and chewing.

Yet, there is definitely a place for smoothies in a Paleo enthusiasts life. For me, this is usually in the afternoon when I am not starving yet looking for some good, nourishing, quick energy.

Here are the benefits of drinking green smoothies in a nutshell in my opinion:

1) You get to put very nutrient-dense foods in your body which you would likely not have eaten if not in a smoothie form.

2) Green leafy vegetables and bitter greens are some of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, yet hard to stomach if you don’t know how to season them or combine them into meals. If you don’t eat them regularly, drinking up a smoothie is a good bargain.

3) Green smoothies are a great way of substituting for a high glycemic meal or reaching for refined grains when you don’t have time to cook or you’re on the go.

4) You get more alkalinity in your body.

5) They make you feel GOOD.

My favorite powerful, gut-healing green smoothie


  • ½ fennel bulb, tip and base removed
  • Small handful watercress, bottom stems removed
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and peeled
  • 1 cup raw unpasteurized coconut water (preferably from a young coconut)
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • Small handful pre-washed spinach
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Juice of ½ lime


  1. Blend in a strong blender until ingredients are fully incorporated and consistency is smooth and thin.



You will notice some fibrous froth on the top – you may choose to remove it if desired. You might also have to play around with the amount of watercress you use depending on how much you enjoy the peppery, strong flavor characteristic of watercress.

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