10 Reasons to Drink Super-Charged Smoothies…

  • August
    30

    I LOVE SMOOTHIES!

    **Even while I write this article I am drinking a blueberry protein and greens smoothie.

    For the last 10 years I’ve had close to a smoothie (or shake) a day. I went through a phase when I would have it as my summer breakfast, but now I mostly have them post-workout or for added nutrition while traveling.

    Why do I love smoothies?

    1. It beats drinking juice
    2. Hydration
    3. It fills me up and keeps me satiated
    4. It’s quick and easy to make, and a handy meal replacement for those busy days
    5. Easy clean up
    6. It’s so versatile…
    7. I can drink it on-the-go and it’s easy to digest
    8. It’s full of nutrients, minerals, fiber and protein
    9. It’s affordable
    10. Healthy smoothies taste delicious (even green ones), you just need to train your taste buds and take baby steps

    It’s tough to beat the benefits of smoothies over any other snack or beverage. Make a mean, green smoothie and it’ll keep you super-charged all afternoon. It’s especially good for those who hate to eat vegetables, are trying to lose weight, vegetarian/ vegan and need a protein boost , are relying on caffeine or sugar to get them through the day, or for those who are training hard. Slowly start to implement more vegetables and less fruit into your smoothies to help balance your blood sugar and pump you full of nutrients.

    Read about all the benefits below and get my favorite recipes and tips for making super-charged smoothies:

    1. It beats drinking juice.

    Often juice is as bad as drinking pop or eating sugar because the juice is not actually made from fruit. If your juice says “made from concentrate” be aware. It basically means “made from sugar”. And yes, technically fruits are high in sugars, but they also contain essential nutrients and fiber.

    Now, even if your juice is homemade or freshly squeezed, find out how the fruits are being juiced. In many cases, the fruits and vegetables are ground up and the pulp is extracted from the liquid. If your juice is without pulp it’s also without fiber. Fiber is key to healthy bowel movements and also helps to moderate the effects of sugar in your bloodstream and absorb more nutrients in your gut.

    The best types of juices are those which are “cold-pressed” because it maintains the highest nutrients and adds back in some fiber, but not all.

    PRO TIP: Save the pulp and add it back into your juice, soups, or stews.

    Shakes are my second go-to drinks after smoothies, especially when I’m on a flight, road trip or traveling to a place without a blender. Shakes are typically powdered nutrients (greens, antioxidants and protein) mixed with water. You often see shaker cups with a spiral metal ball inside and that’s to help break up any powdered clumps. Again, this isn’t ideal because there is hardly any fiber, but you do get your nutrient intake when fresh veg and fruits are not available to blend.

    2. Hydration.

    Admittedly, I don’t drink enough water throughout the day, so any extra hydration through fruits, veg, teas and smoothies I will take. When you are feeling groggy, low energy or dizzy, most likely you are dehydrated. Too many people will reach for a high-carb food, sugary snack or cup of caffeinated tea or coffee without drinking some water first.

    Drinking water is crucial for your body and brain to function optimally. See how many glasses or bottles of water you drink in a day?

    HOMEWORK: Place 6 rubber bands around your water bottle. Carry the bottle wherever you go. Every time you finish a glass, remove one band and place it on your wrist. At the end of the day, count how many glasses you drank. Was it more than 4?

    3. It fills me up and keeps me satiated.

    Fiber and protein are the secret ingredients to feeling satisfied and full. They are the craving crushers when it comes to dieting and weight loss. Try adding one of the following to your smoothies and feel the power:

    • Fiber (2 tbsp): psyllium, flax, hemp, chia, fresh leafy greens, peas, beans
    • Protein (20-30g): New Zealand Whey, or vegan sources (pea, hemp, pumpkin, brown rice, cranberry, broccoli, nut, seeds, quinoa, soy)

    As you can see, many vegan proteins also contain a lot of fiber, so you can get two-fold benefits by adding a vegan protein source to your smoothie.

    4. It’s quick and easy to make, and a handy meal replacement for those busy days.

    I have a secret trick when I make my smoothies: Pre-made single-serving smoothie baggies (PMSSSB.. that’s a mouthful).

    In a zip-lock bag, combine the proper proportions of each ingredient (minus any liquids) and store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use. This way, all you need to do is toss the contents of one baggie into your blender, add in some milk, fish oils, and water and your smoothie is ready to go.

    My go-to smoothie baggies have approximately:

    • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    • 1 handful of fresh spinach
    • 2 pieces of kale (leaves only)
    • 1/2 an avocado (pitted and cubed)
    • 2 tbsp of flax or chia seeds
    • 1 serving of green's powder
    • 25g of vegan protein powder

    I make 5-6 baggies at a time so that I always have a ready-to-go smoothie for early mornings or busy days. Just add the contents of your frozen baggie into your blender with your vegan milk, fish oils and water and BAM! Meal in minutes.

    5. Easy clean up.

    Clean up couldn’t be easier, especially if you use pre-made baggies that eliminate cutting and prepping your fruits and veg. Immediately after using your blender, rinse under hot water and it’s good to go.

    If you forget to wash up right away, fill the blender half way with hot water and a squirt of dish washing detergent, then put it back on the base of the blender (with the lid on!) and turn it on for a few seconds. Instant high-power washing.

    NOTE: Re-use the soapy water for the rest of your dishes to conserve water!

    And after every 4-5 smoothies, make sure to take apart your blender and give it a good scrub.

    6. It’s so versatile…

    Cold smoothies are best reserved for summer weather when your body can more readily digest cold and raw foods. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your blender in any other season. Using the same types of ingredients, make some homemade soups and sauces that you can warm and eat all year long or freeze to store for emergency meals.

    My favorite blended winter soup is: Carrot, ginger and coconut delight.

    • 5 medium-sized carrots (also try broccoli or cauliflower)
    • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes (or any other root vegetable)
    • 1 onion
    • 1 tbsp of chopped ginger
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tsp cinammon
    • 1 whole clove
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Wash and cut up the vegetables into 2cm-cubed pieces. Keep the skin on your carrots and sweet potato for added nutrients. Put all the ingredients into a large pot and boil for 20 minutes on medium-high heat. After, transfer the contents into your blender (you may have to do them in separate batches if you have a small blender), cover and blend away. If you like your soups thick, pulse for only a few seconds. If you like your soups thin, liquefy for a minute or two and add water if needed.

    Your soup is now ready to drink or to be stored in the freezer for later enjoyment. You can also chill this recipe and make a cold soup or use as baby food (without as many spices).

    7. I can drink it on-the-go and it’s easy to digest.

    Many people have busy and stressful lives. Eating at your desk, while driving or multi-tasking is damaging for your digestion and nutrient absorption. If you’re distracted, you often don’t chew enough and your body is not in the proper state to eat.

    As often as you can remember, stop and take 3 deep slow breaths before you eat or drink. This will help flip your nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest).

    The nice thing about smoothies are that they are pre-digested for you. The blender does what your teeth would do if you were chewing food. It grinds it all up into small pieces so that it is easier to digest and also absorb. When you eat, your teeth, saliva and digestive enzymes help to break down large molecules into their molecular units before they can be absorbed through the gut and into the bloodstream.

    So even if you are distracted by your work, traffic jams, or kids, you will be more able to get nutrients out of your smoothie and it’s easy to carry a travel mug with you throughout the day.

    8. It’s full of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, healthy oils, fiber and protein.

    My favorite morning and snack smoothies combine a leafy green, green’s powder, antioxidant, healthy fat, fiber source, fish oil, and vegetarian protein.

    1. Leafy greens: spinach, kale, wheat grass
    2. Green’s powders: a pre-mixed combination of EGCG (green tea extract), spirulina, sprouted wheat grass, broccoli sprouts, chlorella, barley grass, and/or wild blue-green algae (these are all super-foods with high amounts of nutrients and anti-oxidants)
    3. Antioxidant fruits: frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, grapes, mango
    4. Healthy fats: almond milk/ yogurt, coconut milk/ water/ yogurt/ oil, avocado, or nut butters
    5. Fiber: psyllium, hemp, flax, chia
    6. Fish oil: 2-3g of EPA and 1g of DHA from small fish sources (always keep refrigerated and drink right away)
    7. Vegan protein: pea, brown rice, cranberry, broccoli, quinoa, nut, soy
    8. Optional: cinnamon, vanilla extract, raw cacao, stevia or unpasteurized honey (adolescents and adults only) for taste and health properties

    My smoothies are a super meal all in one. I get at least 4 servings of veg, 2 servings of fruit, 1 serving of protein, 2 serving of healthy fats, and 2 servings of healthy carbs (from fruit, veg, milks, nuts, seeds, legumes). I still make sure I eat balanced meals (often a late protein-rich breakfast, raw vegetable snacks and protein-veg dinner) but my smoothie ensures I get all that I need throughout the day as an additional power-up.

    9. It’s affordable.

    You don’t need a super-powered high-tech blender for smoothies. Unless you want to make butters or flours from nuts, seeds or beans then that’s a different story. The Vitamix and Blendtec seem to be all the rage these days, and I have to admit that I wouldn’t be upset to get one myself, but it’s not necessary. Even my simple MagicBullet or a Hamilton Beach for $20 will do the trick for single-serving smoothies.

    Buying produce, even organic and local, won’t break the bank either. It’s usually meat, cheeses, boxed cereals, cookies, crackers, fancy waters and other snacks that make your grocery bill soar.

    PRO TIP: When you go grocery shopping, do a perimeter walk and only buy veggies, fruits and protein. Only enter the aisles if there is a particular item on your grocery list, and don’t shop on an empty stomach – this is a sure way to pick up the junk that you want in the moment and not what is necessary.

    If you choose not to buy organic produce, don’t be ashamed. Although they may be slightly more nutritious, it’s not enough to make you stress about your finances. I’d rather you eat more fruits and veg than not. The bigger concern with non-organic produce is the use of pesticides, sprays and waxes that coat the outsides of your foods, but that’s also where most of the nutrition lies, in the peel. So, what to do?

    Make a DIY natural cleaning wash for your produce and especially focus on the “Dirty Dozen“. See the EWG listing for the top produce and pesticide residue data.

    1) SPRAY BOTTLE: For produce with a smooth skin surface (ie. apples, peppers, celery, nectarines, cucumber, potatoes)

    Directions: Spray your produce thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes before washing off with clean water.

    2) SOAKING SOLUTION: For produce with a high surface area (ie. grapes, strawberries, peaches, spinach, cheery tomatoes, snap peas)

    Directions: Put your produce in a bowl and cover with the Soaking Solution. Let sit for 10-30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing off with clean water.

    10. Healthy smoothies taste delicious (even green ones), you just need to train your taste buds and take baby steps

    When I first started drinking smoothies I would have cringed at a dark green drink of spinach, green’s powder and avocado. Now, I love it. But it took time to adjust my taste buds and so I started with sweeter fruit and worked my way to super foods and greens. My baby steps included:

    • Start with mangoes –> then move to blueberries
    • Start with banana –> then try avocados
    • Start with chocolate whey protein –> then vegan proteins
    • Start with 1/4 greens powder –> then increase bit by bit to a full scoop or more
    • Start with spinach –> then try kale
    • Start with chia seeds –> then try psyllium husks
    • Start with juice –> then switch to vegan milks

    Try adding at least one superfood and one supergreen to your smoothie.

    The top superfoods and their nutritional content includes:

    1. Sprouted wheat grass – high amounts of chlorophyll (70%) increases oxygen-blood-iron circulation to supports thyroid, digestive and blood glucose regulation.
    2. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts – rich in amino acids, vitamin K and anti-cancer properties
    3. Spinach – a potent source of vitamins and minerals, especially iron and manganese
    4. Kale – this high fiber and slightly bitter leafy green is packed with vitamins, minerals, and calcium as an effective anti-oxidant
    5. Seaweed (wakame, nori, dulse, kelp) – an alkalyzing anti-oxidant with a strong ability to chelate and purify the blood, not to mention a high source of iodine
    6. Blueberries – strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin C
    7. Salmon and omega 3 fish oils – the high EPA levels in omega-3 fish oils are an ideal anti-inflammatory as well as cognitive and cardiovascular support
    8. Tea (green or black) – strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic and support for metabolic and neurological activities. Do you know the difference between different caffeine products?
    9. Goji berries – very high in vitamin C with anti-oxidant properties
    10. Raw Cacao – strong anti-oxidant high in magnesium and non-heme iron
    11. Tumeric – potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent used in many countries as a heart protective spice and natural food preservative
    12. Coconut (young) – Coconut water, milk and the oils are all so nutritious. Coconut water is a potent electrolyte replacement and the medium-chain fatty acids are healthy to cook with for cognitive support or as a natural lubricant, anti-microbial and sunscreen
    13. Dark chocolate (>70%) – cocoa is a strong anti-oxidant and can lower blood pressure
    14. Unpasteurized honey and propolis – high in protein and as a natural anti-microbial to be used externally and internally (except with infants and pregnant women)

    As you can see, a number of these super foods are vegetables due to their highly nutritious content. Now let’s take a look at nutrient dense greens:

    Super Greens are commonly powdered forms of condensed vegetables or algae. I love using them as a supplemental boost to my diet. It’s especially useful for my busy mornings when I may not be able to make a well-balanced meal and can prepare a healthy morning shake with my super greens.

    I alternate my sources of greens after I finish each container to ensure I’m getting a variety of nutrition. My favorites sources are:

    • Chlorella – fresh water algae with a complete protein profile with immune and cardiovascular supporting properties
    • Spirulina – a cultivated micro-algae with high levels of protein and anti-diabetic properties
    • Sprouted wheat grass – high amounts of chlorophyll (70%) increases oxygen-blood-iron circulation to supports thyroid, digestive and blood glucose regulation.
    • Barley grass – high in calcium, non-heme iron and vitamin C
    • Wild blue-green algae – a phyto-plankton high in protein with immune supporting functions

    My Favorite Smoothie Recipes

    In all honesty, I have a few “go-to” ingredients but I also just use what ever is in my fridge. I pick an antioxidant, fresh leafy greens, a fiber source, green’s powder, vegan protein, and a vegan milk as my foundation, as seen in #8.

    • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    • 1 handful of fresh or frozen spinach
    • 2 pieces of kale (leaves only)
    • 1/2 an avocado (pitted, cubed and frozen)
    • 2 tbsp of hemp protein (Manitoba Harvest) or a vegan protein (Vega)
    • 1 serving of green’s powder (Greens+ O by Genuine Health)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • Couple cubes of ice
    What's your favorite smoothie recipe?

    What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?


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