Thursday, December 3, 2009

Smoothie Basics

i get a lot of questions about smoothies and green monsters.

it is enough for a meal?
are you sure you can't taste the spinach?
what else can i add to it to make it good for me?

before i address these questions, i have some of my own for you. i would love to hear from my readers if you drink smoothies and if so, what do you put in them? have you ever gotten up the courage to add spinach? if so, could you taste it? please do tell!! post a comment and let me know:)

*note: i have compiled some of this info from various internet sources (mainly wikipedia)*

protein power: if you are planning on making a meal out of a smoothie, i recommend putting some sort of protein into it. i recommend the bsn dessert protein powder.  i have tried the chocolate, vanilla, and banana and have yet to be disappointed. it is so good. just that, milk, and ice tastes like a milkshake but with some nutritional value, protein. it will keep you fuller longer - a must when making the smoothie a meal, which yes, you can do.

leafy greens: i also HIGHLY recommend adding raw baby spinach or kale to your smoothies (1 large handful). they end up looking ugly but i promise, you can't taste them and they add tons of nutrients. "Spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip greens and bok choy are loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids. Add in its lutein and bioflavanoids (both antioxidants) and spinach is a nutritional powerhouse."

here are some other things to add to your smoothies. they seem green and "crunchy" but good for you!

ground flaxseeds: you may have noticed i add a tbs of this to all my smoothies. also good when mixed in with greek yogurt and fruit (for when you are eating soft foods). flaxseed is high in omega 3's, has anti-inflammatory properties, promote bone health, protect against heat disease, diabetes, and cancer, helps prevent and control high blood pressure, has cholesterol lowering properties, is high in fiber, and is believed to reduce chances of breast cancer. wow! flaxseed is found both whole and ground. i recommend buying ground because in order for the body to utilize the omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed must be ground. if it is whole, it will pass right through the body and remain unused.

chia seeds: these really are amazing, i have started to add them to my green monsters.
as a source of protein, the chia, after ingestion, is digested and absorbed very easily.  this results in rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by the cells. another unique quality if the chia seed is its high oil content, and the richest vegetables source for the essential omega-3 fatty acid.  it has approximately three to ten times the oil concentrations of most grains and one and a half to two times the protein concentrations of other grains.  these oils, unsaturated fatty acids, are the essential oils your body needs to help emulsify and absorb the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, & K. 

maca powder: i have read that this is a fabulous thing! i have not tried it yet but apparently you can only add a little (1 tsp or so) because the taste is a bit strong. but listen to all this goodness:
"From a nutritional standpoint, maca is rich in sugar, proteins, starches, and important minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. It also contains numerous trace minerals (including iodine), B vitamins, linoleic and oleic oils (essential fatty acids), and 18 amino acids, including 7 of the 9 essential amino acids."

and more about maca powder:
"This plant has been credited with many healthful effects, including:
  • Increasing energy, stamina and endurance
  • Enhancing libido and treating impotence
  • Stimulating fertility in both sexes
  • Supporting the immune system and adrenal function
  • Reducing chronic fatigue
  • Regulating and supporting the endocrine system"
so yay for maca powder. i'll try it and get back to you . . .

wheatgrass: another thing i have yet to try. again, i hear it's not good straight (although some people take shots of it (as well as broccoli sprout juice). i don't think i can stomach it but mixed into a yummy berry smoothie, work is you can't even taste it. wheatgrass juice and broccoli sprout juice have been shown to be anti-carcinogenic (prevent and fight cancer), among other things like boasting the immune system. again, will try it and let you know.

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