I’ve been drinking smoothies for a few years now, mostly because I find it to be the easiest way to get my veggies. I’ve found there to be lots of misconceptions though – I think people are really overthinking the concept of a smoothie – so here is the low down to get you started.
- Don’t juice!
When you juice, you are basically throwing out all the good stuff – fiber, protein, fat and carbohydrates – you get a lot less of everything and the stuff you are not eating is taking up valuable space in the landfills.
- Don’t buy a $300 blender!
You don’t need it. My $15 blender has been doing quite fine now for probably something like 8 years, probably longer, I can’t remember when I bought it.
- Don’t overdo it with fruits!
The point here is to get maximum health benefits – a bit of fruit is good for flavor and sweetness – but you don’t want to overdo it. You could start off with a high amount of fruit and then slowly wean yourself to a lower amount. You will learn to like the lower sugar versions to the point that you will dislike the higher sugar version.
Ok, now that we have all the things out of the way that we shouldn’t do, what should we do?
- Eat a Rainbow
Basically put a variety of veggies in your smoothie to maximize the variety of nutrients that you are getting. Different colored vegetables generally have different cross sections of nutrients and vitamins. Some examples are:Yellow/Orange: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes (cooked), Squash, Cantaloupe, Pumpkin, Pineapple, Sweet Corn
Red: Red Pepper, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Cranberries, Strawberries, Beets, Radishes (very little – very strong), Red Grapes
Green: Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Romain lettuce, Zucchini, Green Beans, Cucumber, Green Grapes, Avocado
White/Brown: Banana, Brown Pears, White Corn, Figs, White Eggplant
Blue/Purple: Blackberries, Blueberries, Plums, Purple Carrots, Eggplant, Purple PeppersEat what’s in season and eat what’s on sale – good for the environment and good for the pocketbook.
2. Add some seaweed
That’s right – add some seaweed. It will thicken your smoothie and make it insanely healthy. I don’t use ice in my shakes – seaweed is what thickens my shakes. Just add a few dried sprigs and blend – by the time the blender is done the seaweed will have absorbed the liquid. If you have a real powerful blender – you can pre-soak the seaweed.
3. Spice up your smoothie
This is fairly easy to do – add in some spices. Some you should try are Ginger (raw or powder), Turmeric (raw or power), Cardamon, Cinnamon, Fennel and Annis. In addition, herbs are fantastic to add flavor – use mint, lemon balm, basil, rosemary, sage or tarragon for a change of pace.
4. Additional Nutrients
Lacking anything else in your diet? Add protein powder if you want more protein (Whey, Soy, Egg or Rice protein powder – there are lots of options). For more carbohydrates, add rice powder, cooked grains, cooked potatoes, cooked yam/sweet potatoes. My diet naturally gets a low amount of fat, so sometimes I will add coconut shavings, walnuts, sunflower seeds, avocado or even a nut butter (such as peanut butter).
How do you like your smoothie?