Deconstructing the Smoothie
If you are my age, 34 ;-) , you probably think smoothies are fruity milk shakes. We couldn’t be more wrong. A smoothie is a delicious way to boost nutrition. They can be customized to individual taste and nutritional needs. My doctor recommends them at every visit as a way to get my supplements in as I have difficulty swallowing pills. After a recent dental surgery I used them for meals. My uber-glamorous dental assistant, Christina, uses smoothies served in sippy cups to sneak spinach and chia seeds into her children. My other gorgeous dental assistant, Amber, makes them for her elderly mother who has trouble keeping weight on and getting proper nutrition.
The mechanics of blending the fruit and vegetables helps make nutrients in the food more available. The blender replaces chewing and starts the digestion process with the nutrients more “exposed” for better absorption. This is very important for picky-eater children, anyone convalescing from an illness or the elderly who usually have trouble with nutrient absorption, GI distress, or digestion issues.
Another way smoothies boost nutrition is with the ingredients. A large handful of baby spinach practically disappears in a strawberry and banana smoothie. If it didn’t turn the drink green you would never know it is in there. Other ingredients, like flax seed, an opened calcium or magnesium capsule, or fish oil, are also easily disguised inside the fruity concoction.
A blender that has 1000 watts or more is especially helpful. My Dash has 1500 watts and can grind up a tree stump, well, almost. It makes smoothies in a snap without having to stop the machine and stir or scrape down the sides. If you are raising children or taking care of elderly parents, invest in one of the mega-watt blenders. It makes the process so easy you will use it more than a regular blender. Never use animal products in it and you can quickly and safely rinse it clean.
You don’t need a recipe to make a delicious and perfectly nutritional smoothie. You just need the elements. Choose one from each of the following categories and your smoothie will have super powers!
Seeds and butters
That’s all you need to know to get started. Just in case you still can’t get off the starting line, here’s a real recipe to try. It is my go-to smoothie because it has all the elements.
Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie
½ -1 cup frozen blueberries
½ fresh or frozen banana
1 cup almond milk, plus more if needed
1 T almond butter
1 T ground flax seed
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
1 T cocoa powder
stevia to taste
2-3 ice cubes if fruit isn’t frozen
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Serves 1
Here’s a great blended juice to reduce inflammation and increase detoxification.
Pineapple Cucumber Cilantro Juice Blend
1 bunch Cilantro, rinsed and drained
½ fresh pineapple, cored, and chopped
16-24 oz coconut water
1 organic cucumber
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Divide into 8oz mason jars filled to the rim. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Enjoy one 8oz glass twice a day.