In recent years the humble smoothie has become an increasingly popular beverage here in North America. And it’s easy to understand why – smoothies are quick, nutritious and infinitely variable. They can change with the seasons or change with your personal tastes. They’re also a great way to incorporate different superfoods into your diet.
Smoothies have come to be viewed as a healthy treat. But be aware that many retail smoothies, bought from restaurants or specialty smoothie type stores, may be using ingredients that aren’t healthy at all. Watch for the use of refined sweeteners, ice cream or (sweetened) frozen yogurt. Few of the smoothie establishments offer fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Also, bottled juice blends found in food retail outlets tend to be pasteurized and therefore contain much less of the nutrients you’d find in the actual fruits and veggies.
As is often my advice on most subjects, if you want something done right, do it yourself – the best way to insure you’re getting everything you need in your morning smoothie is to whip out the old blender and start blending.
Really a smoothie need be nothing more complicated than a handful of your favorite berries, fruit and some unpasteurized juice thrown in the blender for two minutes. Adding vegetables, nuts and seeds is an even better idea. You can increase the healthfulness of your drink by using fresh squeezed juice instead of store-bought, but really it need be nothing more complicated than water (although this will result in a less flavorful drink).
But to really increase the healthfulness of the beverage, you can add something green. Since juicing wheat grass or spinach may not be an option for most, I recommend one of the many green drink supplements on the market. I won’t get into which one is best here, but do a little research to find out which one meets your needs. Adding a shot or two of a green drink supplement to your morning smoothie is a great way to up its nutrient content and get your day off to a super-healthy start.
There are many other superfoods that can be added to a morning smoothie to jazz up your morning nutrients – acai, aloe vera gel, raw cacao powder, spirulina, chlorella, green tea extract or many of the other superfoods that research is uncovering daily. Adding a couple of spoonfuls of raw yogurt isn’t a bad idea, as it adds protein, but remember that your smoothie need not contain dairy products, particularly if you have trouble with dairy. A rich and creamy texture is possible without using dairy. A raw organic egg yolk is another good way to increase protein and gives a good dose of healthy fats, but make sure you investigate the yolk for freshness and color before adding it to the smoothie. I always throw in a little pinch of unrefined sea salt, too. It increases the mineral profile of the drink and helps bring out the flavors already there.
So dust off the old blender that’s been sitting in your pantry, unused for the last couple of years and start blending up some fruits and veggies. Your body will thank you for it.
I have made smoothies for years by just using fresh fruits and veggies that are available, sometimes using ones that are a little over ripe. I usually use one or two bananas as they make add an excellent smoothness and taste if too many acidic ingredients are added. I put them in just as they are, washed, cored and peeled only if necessary, mix and match whatever I have and only add some water (I use cold boiled tap water). I use frozen berries if I have them, or even some small amounts of greens like part of an avocado, a bit of spinach, whatever. It always comes out great and of course I check for taste before serving it. If not peeling all fruits (i.e., apples or pears), then one gets a bit of fiber at the same time.
Author by Doug DiPasquale