Wake, smoothie, move, repeat. Wake, smoothie, move, repeat.
Green juices or smoothies have become part of everyday vernacular, almost as ubiquitous as a daily caffeine hit, among the health conscious anyway. But despite nutritious smoothies being a buzzword for years now (green smoothie is one of the biggest “trending” words in 2015), its widespread fame hasn’t changed the fact it’s rare for daily greens to be well executed.
And, here’s the clincher, because of this, it actually has little or none of the desired effects on your health and energy.
It’s touted as your daily equaliser, an input of nutrient dense and enzyme-rich liquid that can help make you feel great and perhaps help you look it too. It has the potential to deliver easily accessible nutrition to your system and can help you detoxify. If your health is in “credit”, then a green smoothie/juice can further create a bit of a buffer to nutritional and life stresses.
While the idea of grabbing a pre-mixed or pre-powdered greens together with a new, trendy milk or “mylk”, appears to be an efficient way of throwing in the good stuff while getting optimum benefits, the truth is it probably isn’t. There are improvements to be made, and lots of them.
GREEN SMOOTHIE MISTAKES
1. Using pre-mixed, pre-powdered greens and berries
There are an abundance of these fruits and vegetables in their fresh and whole form, with all their intact enzymes and catalysts at your local growers market. A minimal amount of dead, dried, pesticide and chemical farmed green powder is not of any benefit to anyone. Always go fresh when you can.
2. Using low-grade protein powder
Putting awesome fresh produce in your shake and then degrading it by adding a low-grade protein source is not the best way to go.
You’re potentially adding a whole bunch of hidden fillers, inflammatory agents or chemicals to what is supposed to be our remedy against these things! Look out for ingredients like colourings, preservatives and a list of inactive ingredients longer than the active ingredients.
3. Check your superfood blend
Adding superfood blends that only contain micro-doses of the superfoods that you were after is commonplace. Have you considered how much you are going to actually need of that exotic sounding “superfood”?
Some brands contain only contain one tenth or one hundredth of the star ingredient they are promoting, which will do little for your health, even though they are listed on the label and are a selling point for the product.
4. What’s your pre-made blend made of?
Using pre-made blends that have added ingredients for texture, consistency and shelf life need to be scrutinised closely.
Ingredients to avoid are inactive ingredients – they’re inactive because they haven’t been added for use in the nutritional content of the product, but are still put in the product, which means your body still has to process and deal with it.
While some natural sweeteners are OK, again without sourcing them yourself you have little control over their quality. Other sweeteners are flat out terrible for your system – high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin are the big ones to look out for so avoid these at all costs.
GREEN SMOOTHIES COME GOOD
The main point is, we need to start questioning all ingredients. It doesn’t help anyone if the “healthy” ingredients are produced in an unhealthy way, with unhealthy fillers. The benefits and assurance of using some home ingredients like a quality honey, or some well sourced stevia are more beneficial and harmonious to your body.
The other thing to look out for is food derived from a wholefood.
Most of the beneficial elements, such as vitamins and minerals, found in wholefoods are only used by the body when consumed with the rest of the wholefood. A wholefood contains the needed catalysts and enzymes to help you break down and make use of the nutrients you need to get out of those healthy foods. Nature has already got a great system set up for us and unfortunately separating and prepackaging parts of the wholefood, or synthetically trying to recreate elements of it doesn’t necessarily work.
Yes, it’s a smoothie ingredient minefield out there!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GREEN SMOOTHIE POSSIBLE
1. Buy fresh, quality produce
Preferably from local markets or growers. This way you know (because you can ask) where your fruit and veg has been, how long it has (or hasn’t) been in storage and what sort of conditions it has been grown in. Go chemical-free, organic, and sustainably grown produce. Buy lots of it and buy variety.
We recommend a variety of colours and particular qualities (for example, avocado for fat, banana for potassium, etc). Mix it up, too; the number of documented benefits to a wide variety of fruit and veg is only made to look dull by the potentials, uses and benefits we haven’t discovered yet.
2. Pick a suspension fluid
All of the produce will be blended into oblivion so you’ll need something liquid to carry them for texture and enjoyment’s sake (even if you are about your hardcore health there’s nothing wrong with having a health dense and tasty smoothie). Try home-made nut milks, hemp milk or coconut water.
3. Pick the right protein
If you are going to add a protein source, or a powder, do your research. Know your products. Do they use proprietary blends? Then guess what – it’s impossible to know what the hidden ingredients are. Are they transparent with the sourcing of their ingredients? If not, why not? Are they traceable sources? There are companies out there making the effort to nail these crucial factors in the products they deliver. It’s worth finding them and using them.
4. Get yourself an easy to clean, simple blender
You will make the money back on the cash you don’t spend on pre-packed, potentially low quality juices, and you will hit more variety and therefore more nutrition!
Red Hippo, run by Nick Dawe and Mitch and Ryan Barraclough, is an Australian company that provides synergistic protein blends, supported by science, and road tested by Olympians.
It’s no secret that green vegetables are tremendously healthy and beneficial to our bodies. But chewing down on a big salad every day can get a little old and boring after a while, no matter how many variations you’ve been trying out. Fortunately, there are also other delicious ways to get your daily dose of leafy vegetables in!
Green smoothies have been on everyone’s lips lately – quite literally so. These nutritious and convenient liquid meals or snacks can be made up of various different ingredients and range from a light to thick texture, having either a sweet, sour, bitter, or even spicy taste. Now, that’s quite some diversion!
Here are three reasons why green smoothies are a great addition to your day:
Rich In Nutrients
Raw fruits and vegetables have the highest amounts of vitamins and minerals in regards to their calories. Especially the vitamins A and C give your immune system quite a boost and the calcium and magnesium make for healthy, strong bones. On top of that, green smoothies are rich in chlorophyll which enhances the immune system, purifies the blood and rejuvenates the body. They also contain lots of antioxidants, which help you fight off diseases and prevent aging.
Their alkaline effect on the body makes for a great environment in which ailments don’t stand a chance. This high nutrient density is extra beneficial to your health because of the blending process that takes place. This allows for a way better digestion of the food since blending it is a form or pre-digestion: it breaks down cellular walls and makes it easier for the body to extract nutrients and assimilate them.
A blender does a way better job at that than your teeth ever could! It really unlocks those nutrients and maximizes their delivery to your body. Naturally, this gives you a boost of energy since the body doesn’t have to do all the work in the intestines. This rush of natural sugar and hydration can also make for amazing mental clarity.
You’ll Get That Radiant Glow
On top of preventing or even healing many acute and chronic diseases thanks to the high amount of nutrients found in green smoothies, they also work on another level. You see, if you support your body to become really healthy, it can finally get things done like repairing tissue, releasing toxins and everything that’s not that important in order to keep you alive.
This means your skin gets tighter and clears up, your hair grows stronger and becomes shinier. It’s also due to the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables have a high amount of water and therefore secretly hydrate your body. If you mix them up with even more liquid and call it a meal – you’ve just done a huge favor for yourself. But they can also do a lot of good when it comes to your weight!
Smoothies keep you full for quite some time, not just due to their water content, but also, because they contain a lot of fiber. This little helper improves your digestion and really gets things moving through your bowel. It also helps to keep your blood sugar stable, especially when combined with natural sugars from fruit – the green vegetables make for a wonderful balance.
Since smoothies are rather low in calories, weight loss can happen with ease while on the same time you fill your cells up with micronutrients. This helps tremendously with cravings since your body is satiated on a cellular level and you won’t really reach for these chips or chocolates.
They’re Delicious & Convenient
Lastly, I want to mention the fact that it’s really no big hassle at all. Whipping up some green goodness with the help of a blender can be done within literally 2 minutes – plus you get to choose the exact ingredients. As opposed to getting your food and drink outside somewhere at a store, where you have limited options but a juicy price, you can be the chef here. Buying greens in bulk cut down on your cost tremendously.
Wanting to opt for organic? Go for it. Having to watch your budget? Get the regular stuff. You can even grow them yourself without having your own garden. Especially if you keep the ingredients seasonal and local, you’ll be sure to get the most nutrients from freshly picked or harvested food that wasn’t shipped thousands of miles. With produce ranging from apples, oranges, persimmons and pears during winter time to berries, peaches and melons over the summer – you won’t get tired of the taste.
There are endless possibilities to combine your ingredients! Throwing some seeds, nut butter, spices like vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg or turmeric, different plant milk or juices, fresh herbs – do you think it will get old at one point? I often find myself just freestyling with the ingredients I have laying around and, unless you’re looking for some new inspiration, you usually don’t even need a recipe book for them.
Be aware of the strong and bitter tasting vegetables, though, make sure to mix them with enough fruit, at first, to mask the flavor and get used to it. You can always change the ratio to up a number of greens. Once you’re ready, aim for more greens and vegetables than fruit! Your taste buds will learn to love it, I promise!
It’s also a great way to get your kids to consume fresh food – its so much fun to choose colorful food, put them in a jar and press the button on the blender. I would definitely recommend to let your kids choose the ingredients and to keep it more on the fruity side. This makes for a really fun and healthy treat! And it’s not just made in a matter of a few minutes – you can pour it into a Mason jar or bottle and take it with you. Now, that’s about as convenient as good eating gets!
Tips for Eating for Weight Loss!
1. Get the Blues
“I got the blues” may conjure up memories of those macaroni and cheese commercials from the ‘90s, but we’re talking about blue dishware. The color blue can act as an appetite suppressant because it has the least appealing contrast to most food. Research says toavoid plates that match the food served on them (like white plates and fettuccini Alfredo), because there is less of a contrast, which may prompt us to eat more. A small but potentially useful trick!
2. Eat Snacks!
Skipping out on snack time won’t necessarily lead to weight loss, since low calorie consumption can actually slow metabolism . Eating less than three times a day may benefit those who are obese, but research shows skipping meals throughout the day and eating one large meal at night can lead to some undesirable outcomes (like delayed insulin response) which may increase the risk of diabetes . Instead of forgoing breakfast or lunch, stick to a few meals a day with healthy snacks in between.
3. Peruse the Perimeter
Next time you need groceries, circle the perimeter of the store before going in. This isn’t a way to stalk out your prey, but actually a tactic to load up on the healthy stuff first. The edges of grocery stores generally house fresh produce, meat, and fish, while the inner aisles hold more pre-packaged, processed foods. Browsing the perimeter can help control how many unwanted additives are in the grocery basket.
4. Stock the Fridge
Make an effort to fill the fridge with healthy produce and proteins (from perusing the perimeter!). Keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand. And for when the fruit basket goes barren, make sure the freezer is stocked with frozen veggie mixes or berries (grab the bags full of just veggies, not the ones with butter-laden sauces). You may be less apt to order out when you’ve got the makings of a healthy dinner right at home. And the good news is, healthy food doesn’t always have to be pricey.
5. Eat in the A.M.
Skipping breakfast in order to “save your appetite” for dinner probably isn’t a safety shield for late-night noshing . While there’s still debate on how important breakfast really is, not eating until the afternoon may lead to binging later on (ie. four servings of mashed potatoes) . Make sure to stick a reasonably sized breakfast with plenty of protein; we tend to eat the same sized lunch and dinner regardless of how many calories we eat in the morning .
6. Get Busy in the Kitchen
We promise cooking doesn’t take long! Restaurants often use larger plates than the ones we have at home, and studies show that increased portion sizes result in increased energy intake, even if there’s a doggy bag involved .
7. Prioritize the Pantry
Take a little time out to toss the junk. If you’ve got some favorite not-so-great items you’d like to save as a treat, tuck them in the back of the pantry with healthier items, like whole grain pasta, rice, beans, and nuts up front. We know that just because the cans of tuna and a bag of lentils are right in front doesn’t mean you’ll forget the brownie mix altogether, but it’ll help keep the brownie mix out of sight, out of mind. Just seeing or smelling food can stimulate cravings, and increase hunger (especially true for junk food) .
8. Serve “Restaurant” Style
Instead of lining up the breadbasket, entire casserole, and salad bowl, right on the table, leave food on the kitchen counter (away from reach). When you’ve cleaned your plate, take a breather then decide if you really want those seconds. Changing up the environment, like by leaving food by the stove, can help reduce food intake .
9. Use Smaller Plates
History shows plate sizes have increased over the past millennium . When it’s time to sit down for dinner, choose a size-appropriate plate or bowl. Using a smaller plate (8-10 inches) instead of a tray-like plate (12 inches or more) can make us feel fuller with the same amount of food. How does this magic trick work? The brain may associate the white space with less food, plus smaller plates generally lead to smaller portions .
10. Chew Slowly
Eating slowly may not fit into a busy workday, but it pays to pace your chewing: the quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register fullness . So slow down, and take a second to savor.