Those that know me, know I’m a bit skeptical about anything faddy. We all like to think there are short-cuts to good health. Juicing and smoothies are touted as detoxing etc etc. Juicing is just extracting the sugar and water from a beautiful piece of fruit so in my opinion, forget it. Vegetable smoothies however, well maybe there’s some benefits.
What are the benefits?
- using up the veg in your fridge that might otherwise go to waste
- helpful in weight loss/management
- getting some extra calories for those who’ve lost their appetite
- additional protein and nutrients
I have an old style blender with a glass jug that I bought off ebay for a fiver! It does the job so a basic blender is sufficient.
Stuff to use
Start with a piece of fresh ginger. It helps warm the stomach and aids digestion and absorption.
If you’re ok with dairy then whey protein has a high level of protein and is favoured by those wishing to build muscle. A good alternative is hemp protein. It is slightly lower in protein but contains a whole host of other nutrients, it’s also very high in fibre so is helpful for the digestion and weight management. There’s a general view that hemp being a resilient crop, is less likely to have been treated with pesticides so likely to be naturally organic. Buy a product which is unflavoured and unsweetened.
Great level of nutrients, adds creaminess, good fatty acids plus a high level of good cholesterol. Also whilst impossible to prove, anecdotally it seems to stop you craving junk food.
Some people might recoil in horror at the idea of a raw egg but you don’t taste it and it adds creaminess and of course protein.
Stick with mainly green veg such as kale, spinach, frozen peas, cucumber, broccoli or perhaps beetroot (I don’t see any reason why you can’t use the cooked ones you buy in packets).
Again fatty acids, (that’s yer omegas) which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is seen as a key player in chronic disease and has been researched in relation to heart disease. There’s a helpful insight into the different types of oils available here. Personally, I think Safflower oil and Flax oil are particular to note. Safflower oil has high levels of CLA (Conjugated linolenic acid) which have shown to help with weight loss. Flax oil has high levels of ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which again fights inflammation, possibly helpful for arthritis and also during menopause as a photo-oestrogen.
If you’re finding your bowels aren’t moving well then the addition of an oil will be helpful. About a tablespoon.
Add some apple or pear for sweetness. They’re low GI and have plenty of fibre and nutrients.
Culinary herbs tend to have a good level of nutrients and can add some flavour. Parsley, mint (pea and mint for example) maybe basil, sage-also a photo-oestrogen.
There’s a lot of additional ‘supplemental powders’ that can also be added depending on what you’re aiming for.
- Powdered vitamin B complex and C for energy, B12 for vegans and vegetarians, Vitamin C in the winter against colds (maybe).
- Inositol also a B vitamin but excellent if weight management is your goal as it regulates blood sugar. Essential for a condition called PCOS
- Chlorella and spiralina ‘green super foods’ nutrients. Chlorella is supposed to bind to heavy metals in the body for excretion.
- pre and pro-biotics a great addition if your digestion is poor, you are suffering from allergies, thrush, possibly for bad skin or have had antibiotics. Biokult is my favoured brand, just empty a capsule into your smoothie mix.
Just add a glass of water. If you are needing to put on weight and ok with dairy, you could make it with whole milk.
Keep the recipe simple. You can end up with a gloopy disgusting mess by trying to add too much. It may be the smoothie is a breakfast alternative for those who struggle to eat breakfast. It can be something you have as soon as you get home from work which might help you curb those biscuit cravings.