Monday, October 3, 2011

Smoothie Rules

Over the past several weeks I have found some things to work out really well and some to be truly gross. These are the "rules" that I have come up with when making fruit and vegetable smoothies.
  • Mix like-colored fruits and vegetables together.
    • Orange fruits and vegetables- carrots, peaches, cantaloupe melon, yellow apples, apricots, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, tangerines, orange peppers
    • Red Fruits and vegetables- red apples, beets, red cabbage, cherries, cranberries, red grapes, pomegranates, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes watermelon, red bell peppers
    • Green fruits and veggies- green apples, celery, avocados, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, green bell peppers, green cabbage, cucumbers, green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi, lettuce, peas, spinach, zucchini, green herbs like cilantro, parsley, mint, and last but not least wheat grass
    • Blue & purple fruits and vegetables- blackberries, blueberries, figs, plums, prunes (be careful with these- they cause going to the bathroom and farting issues), purple grapes, raisins
    • Citrus fruits- oranges, lemons, limes, pineapple, grapefruit. 
  • Bananas are a great base for every smoothie
  • If you want to add a vegetable to a smoothie another color than one using green fruits and veggies, use spinach, cucumber and romaine lettuce, they are the mildest flavors of all
  • Pineapple, peaches, and mango are great in just about every smoothie I have tried.
  • I do not think that protein powder should be added to fruit and vegetable smoothies because the flavor over powers the great taste of the fruits and veggies. See my protein shake post for an alternative.
  • One blender full makes about 3 large glasses and lasts me into the early afternoon, but when I first started I needed more because my body was  not used to eating just fruits and vegetables. 
  • I smoothie instead of juice because when you eat the entire fruit/vegetable, you get a ton of fiber which would be non-existent if you were to juice. This is especially important with fruit. The fiber present in the whole fruit slows down the absorption of the sugar into the blood stream thereby creating a lower glycemic effect than if you were to drink the fruit juice (which is converted into glucose very rapidly causing a spike in blood sugar, a dump of insulin, and a crash- NOT GOOD!)
  • Avoid mustard greens unless you want to drink a mustard smoothie (learned the hard way by my sister)
  • Use fresh ginger VERY sparingly (learned the hard way by my father)
If you replace breakfast and lunch with smoothies (it doesn't matter which color, but ideally you would want to alternate everyday to get the benefits from all of the colors) you will feel better within a matter of a week or two. NO JOKE! I can tell now after several weeks on the smoothies that I am having better workouts, I have more energy, I have better poops, and I crave healthy foods instead of potato chips. Oh yeah, I almost forgot....I AM LOSING WEIGHT WITHOUT EVEN TRYING! 

Blue/Purple fruits and vegetables contain such phytochemicals as anthocyanins and phenolics. These help to lower the risk of some cancers and are good for urinary tract health, memory function and healthy aging. 

Green fruits and vegetables contain varying amounts of lutein and indoles, which help to promote strong bones and teeth, vision health and may lower the risk of some types of cancer.

White produce, which includes tan and brown fruits and vegetables, is known for the phytochemical allicin, found especially in the onion family. It promotes heart health, a lower risk of some cancers and helps cholesterol levels that are already healthy. Garlic and onions are the top items in the white/allicin produce list. Other white fruits and vegetables are bananas, brown pears, dates, cauliflower, ginger and jicama.
I would stay away from using onions and garlic in smoothies for obvious reasons. 

Yellow/Orange fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C and the phytonutrients carotenoids and bioflavonoids. These are beneficial for heart and vision health, a healthy immune system and a lower risk of some cancers.
Red produce is a common host to the phytonutrients lycopene and anthocyanins. Between them, they promote heart and urinary tract health, memory function and a lower risk of some cancers.

All fruits and vegetables are powerful anti-oxidants that contain numerous different micro-nutrients that our body needs to perform necessary functions and heal itself from damage. So eat as many different fruits and vegetables as you possibly can, preferably as raw as possible. 

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