There comes a time in everyone’s life when we feel the need for a boost. A serious boost.
No matter how healthy or ‘good’ you try to be, let’s face it, life can get in the way. In times of stress, adding some extra oomph to your diet is positively required! So what’s the truth about boosting nutrients, detoxing and generally up levelling your health?
To detox, or not to detox?
The much-vaunted regime of the detox isn’t always necessary or appropriate. Our bodies are incredible cleansers and healers, as long as we’re supporting efficient working on a regular basis by giving it what it needs. If, for any reason, bad habits, illness, or less ideal eating have taken hold, a few days of juices, supported by salads and soups, can be brilliant for taking the load off our systems and resetting our ‘clock’.
For longer term boosting, having a daily multi-veg soup, an accompanying juice or a breakfast smoothie can nudge up the nutrient count quickly and easily. Smoothies have to be one of the most effective ways to do this as fruit, veg and complementary elements can be combined without heating, meaning delicate micronutrients and enzymes remain intact.
Daily supercharging is easy….
The rise of the smoothie has been meteoric over recent years, with juicing not far behind. Countless groups, pages and pin boards on various social media blaze out the colourful benefits, with people often falling into one camp or the other. Are you a sucker for smoothies or a juice junkie?
Mainstream media hasn’t been slow in giving its verdict either. Initially, each was trumpeted as the latest foolproof way to vibrant health, weight loss, and the ability to blow any disease into oblivion. More recently, the backlash has, inevitably, come. What goes up must, eventually, be dragged down, it seems.
With smoothies and juices demonised as causing the very issues they were lauded for solving, the confusion for the average person trying to do what’s best for their health sets in!
The most important thing to remember with smoothies and juices are that they are great additions to broad, fresh eating. They are not meals in themselves – at least not for anything more than a couple of days at a time, or in the case of a decent smoothie, for breakfast.
So, what about the bad press? The truth is that, yes, if you don’t make and use smoothies and juices correctly, there are certain consequences.
Too much fruit will affect your teeth and your waistline, as well as your mood and energy levels. Use no more than 2 servings of fruit (one piece or 3 tablespoons) each time, and be sure, with smoothies, to add protein and healthy fat components, like organic probiotic yogurt, milled flax. chia seeds or almond milk. Even veg have protein and healthy fat elements, so if you can’t use yogurt – and trust me, it doesn’t work with cucumber or lettuce! – adding some veg like avocado does the job.
Using the new types of blitzer smoothie makers allows for nuts and seeds to be added too, pulverising everything to seamless smoothness. Cheaper models won’t – take care not to use frozen items, nuts or seeds with those models.
Juices or smoothies?
With juicers, fruit and veg can be mixed as desired, but the taste is not always so easy to control when you can’t use yogurts, milks, cacao, seeds, and so on. Relying on the use of sweeter veg, like carrots or parsnips, can be a way to start designing juices to your own taste. Spinach is incredibly mild in flavour, and fantastic to use in both smoothies and juices for easy-drinking green goodness!
What about the fibre factor? Clearly, the biggest problem with juices are that they exclude valuable fibre – this is one of the key reasons why juicing isn’t an eating regime for long term health, more a healthy addition to a good eating regime. There are instances where using only the juice removes a significant chunk of the goodness – juicing rather than whizzing a pear with skin on removes 40% of its cancer-fighting nutrients, including a key player called cinnamaic acid, to say nothing of the particular brand of soluble, gut-soothing fibre found in pears. A definite example of what looks healthy might not be as healthy as you think!
Smoothies are great breakfasts in a glass – quick, effortless, delicious, loved by kids (bonus!) The protein/healthy fat/good carb in every meal rule still has to hold, though. Avocado, nut butters, yogurt, milks (organic, always, if using animal milk) flax, seeds, melted coconut oil: these are all excellent ways to incorporate the protein and healthy fat elements. These are the things that steady blood sugar release, satisfy appetite, and keep your brain and body firing on all cylinders!
To sum up, there’s room for both smoothies and juices in a nutritionally balanced daily eating regime – depending on where you buy your fruit and veg, an extra dose of nutrients, as long as they’re balanced, won’t go amiss. The average person who buys from a supermarket is eating nutrient-depleted produce while happily thinking they’re getting their 5+ a day. Even when buying fresh local produce, having a smoothie for breakfast, then maybe a glass of juice at lunchtime is not going overboard, and delivering a lovely boost to your body.
So, what’s in your breakfast?
While you’re designing your breakfast smoothie, you’re no doubt feeling good about using a couple of portions of fruit, a bit of veg, and supporting elements like yogurt and raw cacao. Every food has a unique nutrient profile, and it’s the combination of different foods in a broad, balanced real food diet that is key to giving your body everything it needs. Take a look below at the range of nutrients in a few of the most common smoothie ingredients:
Vitamins A, E,, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, biotin, C, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, molybdenum;
Vitamins A, C, E, K, B3, B5, B6, folate, choline, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, biotin, omega 3;
Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B5.calcium, magnesium, sulphur, copper, iron, zinc, potassium; high in antioxidants, polyphenols, tryptophan, anandamide, theobromine;
Vitamins C, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folate, choline, betaine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (3.5:1 ratio);
Vitamins A, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, Folate, biotin, C, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium, molybdenum. EFA in organic dairy;
Vitamins A, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, choline, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese, selenium, essential fatty acids.
Here’s a targeted smoothie boost for you to try:
1 small avocado
1 mugful of berries (fresh or frozen)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
a little honey, to taste
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
small handful of mint
water to desired consistency
Whizz all ingredients, adjusting to taste (you might want more honey) Great for breakfast as a metabolism-boosting, cleansing start to the day!
To purchase a copy of Supercharge, The How To Handbook for Smoothies and Juices, with the info plus 10 targeted recipes, or any of the Body and Soul Foods, hop over to my online shop:
To see two other smoothie demo videos, head to Youtube:
Simple Throw Together Smoothies