Smoothie revolution – Choose Well and Choose Wellness !
Whether you are trying to lose weight, satisfy a sweets craving with natural goodness, fuel up before or after a workout, tempt a picky eater to enjoy the goodness of veggies or even rest your digestion during a modified fast, there is a smoothie for you!
Boasting the promise of easy-to-digest and easy-to-absorb vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients with colon-loving fiber – to help your body in growth, repair, detoxification and resisting free radical attack. Just a brief search in a bookstore or on the web yields a treasure-trove of recipes – high-carb, low-carb, supplemented with protein powder, with or without dairy, high-fat, low-fat, usually gluten-free and almost always delicious to even the most discriminating palettes. One thing is for sure: With smoothies you have many choices.
A Smoothie For Every Dieter!
If fruits debut as the stars of the concoction, the smoothie will be rich in natural sugars. The humble banana, while it provides sweetness, is an excellent source of potassium and act as a natural thickener, can donate too many natural sugars for those who must watch their carbohydrate intake, as must those diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypoglycemia, or hyperinsulinemia. If you find yourself in carbohydrate countdown, try casting sweeter fruits in a supporting role or consider inviting strawberries to take center stage (only 0.9g of carbohydrate per medium strawberry), while adding a touch of natural banana flavoring! Blueberries are also a great choice for those watching their carbs – with only 11g of carbs and 41 calories per ½ cup serving. Freeze the fruit ahead of time to create icier, thicker smoothies. Want more thickness? Add a few pinches of sodium alginate – available in health food stores and mix well. Careful…a little goes a long way!
More Than Just Milk
With the new generation of nut and seed milks, widely available for creating your smoothie diet plan are non-GMO soymilk, coconut milk, almond milk and flaxseed milk, with or without added sugars such as rice syrup. Plus the more traditional choices such as organic and/or raw milk, consumers have a lot of choices to go creative with their smoothies. Soymilk is best consumed by menopausal women who may need the rather potent phytoestrogens found in soymilk while women who have high estrogen levels and/or low progesterone levels are best advised to choose almond or coconut milk.
More Bounce For The Ounce
Adding a scoop of protein powder will add an additional 20 to 24 grams of protein to your smoothie creation. High-quality protein powders are available as rice protein, soy protein, pea protein, whey protein (the least allergenic part of dairy) and sodium caseinate (the most allergenic), as well as combinations of pea, rice and chia seed. Rotate your protein powder source to decrease your risk of developing an allergy to it.
Go For The Green
Few would argue that the star of the smoothie show is the green smoothie. With a cup and a half of nutmilk, a touch of nut butter, a banana or other sweet fruit, a handful of baby spinach and a stalk of kale you can enjoy the nutrients of the earthy and gently bitter flavors of greens like kale and spinach (rich in calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K and beta-carotene), punctuated by the sweetness of fruit, which makes this antioxidant cocktail quite palatable. Combos of unsweetened coconut milk, a handful of frozen strawberries, a scoop of rice-pea protein, a handful of parsley leaves, a touch of pineapple extract and coconut extract makes a delightful, low-carb tropical smoothie. Strain your smoothie if you like or try one of the new high-speed juicers/mixers that pulverize the plant cell walls such that little remains to strain.
Make It A Smoothie Meal
A smoothie can be transformed into a filling, calorie-friendly meal with the addition of soaked chia seeds, for example, or a few tablespoons of well-cooked high protein grains like amaranth or quinoa (also gluten-free). If you have one of the newer high-speed mixers/blenders, you can easily break down nuts to a liquid. Don’t forget raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seed, all rich in minerals and undamaged fats which have a positive impact on blood lipid levels. Limiting your addition of nuts and seeds to 2 Tablespoons per serving will moderate your calories and fat while still providing a rich-tasting, satisfying creation.
But keep track of those calories in regard to your daily target. One fourth of an avocado tops out at 80 calories 5g fat. Even so the avocado offers a wide assortment of carotenes and even increases the absorption of two specific carotenes, lycopene and beta-carotene.
Perhaps one of the few caveats to smoothie-makers involves moderating the use of goiterogens – naturally occurring substances in various foods, that if over-consumed, can contribute to goiter and decreased thyroid function. This is of special importance to those who already suffer from sub-optimal thyroid function.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, as well as soy contain goiterogens. These are partially destroyed in the cooking process and become more of an issue when they are juiced in larger quantities) the importance of absorbing adequate levels of iodine from food. For my clients, who juice these vegetables, I recommend adding extra iodine to their diet as sea vegetables (kombu or nori), which can be sprinkled over or added to soups. However, they should still be used in moderation as they also affect the conversion of thyroid hormones. Moderation in all things!
Already hooked up on smoothies? Check these 6 immunity-boosting smoothie recipes.
(image credit: blogspot, makeandtakes, bubblews, myrecipes.timeinc)