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Tips & Techniques

SMOOTHIES: GOOD FOR YOU or Just a Delicious Nightmare?

Bob Mulligan, Ph.D. stated Im of the conviction that most people could change their lives dramatically in terms of health and increased energy with just a few small changes

They need to get more whole foods, more fruits and vegetables in their diet, and of course, get more physically active

Well, what better way to get moving toward more vitality and more energy than a home brewed smoothie?  Good thought Bob, but is there more to the story?

Is a Smoothie Good for You or Just a Delicious Nightmare?

The answer is simple yes AND no!  It all depends on whats in them.  Some are nothing more than delicious nightmares like Jamba Juices Peanut Butter Mood Power Smoothie that packs nearly 1200 calories in one 30 oz serving.  Thats just pure craziness in a glass and I think juice Bars should be required to post the calorie/fat/sugar counts for each of their items.  Unfortunately they dont and unfortunately much of what youll find in a juice bar is anything but healthy.  Heres the good news, its super-easy to make your own and youll know exactly whats in it.  Ill be posting several of my favorite smoothie recipes, but the beauty of a smoothie is you truly can make one from just about any fruit and/or veggie.

Top 5 reasons why Im crazy about smoothies in my healthy lifestyle

  1. OK, Im going to get a LITTLE technical here, but dont give up on me because its a point youll be glad to know.  Fresh made smoothies provide an excellent source of bio-available vitamins and minerals which partner with enzymes and co-enzymes. Vitamins activate enzymes. Without the vitamins they simply cannot work the way theyre intended. Enzymes are essential for absorbing, digesting and converting food. Enzymes produce energy at the cellular level and are critical for most of the metabolic activities taking place in your body. WOW!  Thats a biggie!
  2. Your body can absorb more of the vitamins and minerals than if you ate the fruits and vegetables whole. Many of the nutrients are stuck in the fiber and by blending fruits and vegetables, you break down the fiber and release the vital nutrients into a form your body can more easily use.
  3. Literally, any fruit or vegetable can become part of a delicious smoothie.   You can easily sneak some green vegetables  into a fruity smoothie and the kids wont even know its there.  Spinach is easily hidden in a smoothie, but amazingly enough, kids who wont eat spinach will drink a green smoothie where spinach is the main ingredient and theyll love every gulp.
  4. Smoothies are easy.  What fruit do you have in your fruit basket, fridge, or freezer?  Ive tried blends of every type and theyre all good on one level or another.  You truly cant go wrong.
  5. Smothies are a perfect morning wake-me-up; afternoon pick-me-up; or quick meal on the go!

There are two things I like to add to my smoothies to pop the nutrition

  1. Flax seed, ground (about two tablespoons).  Flax seed has become our modern miracle food because of its high content of alpha linolenic acids.  OK, if youre like me, youre probably saying what in the heck is alpha linolenic acid for crying out loud?  Actually, its a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to those found in fish such as salmon.  Multiple studies have shown that flax seed is beneficial in lowering total cholesterol, including LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels.  Its believed that it may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure.  I could go on and on about the benefits, but I dont want to bore you.  Trust me, its really, really good for you and it tastes good too.  It adds kind of a nutty flavor.  Note: Flax seed does have 3 grams of fat per tablespoon, but its an all natural, unprocessed, vegetable based fat, so I ignore it.  Im not saying Im right to ignore it, Im just telling you what I do.  Having said that, I dont drink more than one or two smoothies a day, and I believe the flax seed is a very healthy addition.  When Im not having a smoothie for breakfast, I sprinkle flax seed on my cereal.  Its just plain good for you, fat grams be damned!
  2. Whole Nectar Ultimate Soy Protein Smoothie Mix.  Its the only soy protein powder on the market that’s made with whole soybeans.  Its rich in protein, with a delicious nutty flavor.  I like the way it blends (none of that powdery taste that you get with so many protein replacements).  Its delish!  I buy this at Costco when they have it, but if you dont have a Costco in your area, you can use the above link and get it directly from the company.  Its worth every penny!

How many times a week do you drink smoothies?  What are your favorite smoothie combos?

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