Green Smoothie Goodness

by Sarah La Touche
There’s a lot to be said for the goodness of smoothies. Being quick, simple and easy to digest are just three of their many benefits.city_java_smoothies_556031-531

Obviously, if you are time poor, tossing a range of nutritious ingredients into the blender to whizz up can be a huge time saver, but that is just a start.

There are many benefits to be gained from drinking smoothies, and in particular they are great for:

  • Increasing your energy
  • Improving digestion and bowel function
  • Reducing cravings for sweet and processed foods
  • Improving skin tone and fewer blemishes
  • Weight loss (just watch the sugar content)
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced vitamin and mineral status

So how can this be and what’s involved? Well, for many people, eating a good breakfast (or breakfast at all) just isn’t an option. Some don’t have a big appetite so a liquid meal makes good sense for not only getting it down, but for obtaining optimum nutrients. Others have trouble digesting solid foods in the mornings. Again a tasty, no-chew breakfast is ideal. For many, there just isn’t time and grabbing a bad-choice-carbohydrate-loaded muffin on the way to the office is a bad, but convenient (and regrettable) option.

Having a smoothie is the perfect way to get a power-packed amount of nutrients into your body in an easily absorbed and tasty form.  Expanding from the run-of-the-mill yoghurt-and-berries or banana smoothie opens up the possibility of adding a wide range of nutrient-dense foods to your blended breakfast.   Mineral and vitamin rich fruits and leafy greens or whole grain nuts and seeds such as linseed, chia, pumpkin, cashew and sunflower seeds make great starters for your day.

A high powered blender breaks down the cellulose structures found in these foods faster and more effectively than we can by chewing, which is why a smoothie is so much easier to digest than your usual breakfast. This breaking of the cell walls releases the nutrients held within. And yet you still get plenty of soluble and insoluble fibre – along with all the fabulous antioxidants – helping to make you feel fuller for longer.

Quality fibre also performs other useful tasks like mopping up unwanted toxins, spent hormones and cholesterol that the body needs to expel via the large intestine. You can think of fibre rather like a courier van removing unwanted packages from your powerhouse body.

If you have kids that aren’t getting enough of their 5 + a day (shouldn’t that be 8+), smoothies are a great option for ‘hiding’ healthy fruits and vegetables that they might normally not eat in a delicious drink. Most kids will reach for a smoothie way before they‘ll choose a salad sandwich or cereal. And the more fruit you add, the more child-friendly they are. It won’t be long before the little ones are asking you for their daily smoothie, or even making it for themselves once old enough.

More Than Nutrients

You’ll get plenty of live enzymes in a blended smoothie because you are adding raw foods or a mix of raw and cooked for those with sensitive tummies. Enzymes are involved in all bodily functions but especially digestion. By eating raw foods and in particular leafy greens that retain their essential enzymes, you’ll get an energy kick without depleting your enzyme capacity. So for some, a smoothie means they can consume some raw foods without experiencing compromised digestion and in many cases, they can improve their digestive capacity over time.

Most importantly, smoothies taste great and almost anyone will drink them including vegephobic kids and adults, and picky eaters.

Why a smoothie, not a juice?

Simple: when you make a juice not only is it far more time-intensive, but such a lot of the food is wasted – in fact most of the health-giving fibre and antioxidants goes out on the compost.  A juice is rapidly absorbed and as a result gives a bigger sugar-kick, resulting in hunger just a short time later.  When you blend your foods, you get all the nutrients, a full stomach and long-lasting energy.

So whether you are looking for a healthier start to your day, clearer thinking, extra nutrients or are just short of time, here are a few recipes to get you started.

You will need:

Other additions can include but are not limited to –

  • Flaked and soaked grains like Quinoa, oats, millet, amaranth, brown rice
  • Flaxseed, olive, avocado or coconut oil
  • Any nuts and seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, raw cashews) preferably soaked overnight.
  • Bee pollen
  • Aloe Vera, Noni juice, tart cherry juice
  • Your choice of “Super foods” such as Acai, Maca powder, Goji berries
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Cayenne pepper, turmeric
  • Ginger or garlic
  • Raw chocolate or cocoa powder
  • Lemon, orange or lime zest
  • Sea vegetables like Karengo or Wakame (pre-soaked)
  • Sprouts
  • Wheat germ, oat bran, rice bran, Psyllium
  • Organic sugar free yoghurt or Kefir
  • Stevia, Agave nectar, palm sugar, Xylitol, fresh dates, honey, maple syrup

LSA Power Smoothie (Makes 1)

  • 1 kiwi fruit/ 2 tablespoons berries/1/2 an apple
  • ½ cup rice milk or water
  • ½ cup Bio Farms low-fat yoghurt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds)
  • 3 drops Stevia natural sweetener
  • 1 dessertspoon organic rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon slippery elm powder

Place all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth

High Fibre Power Smoothie (Makes 1)

  • 1 kiwi fruit/2 tablespoons berries/1/2 an apple – cored but not peeled
  • ½ cup rice milk or water
  • ½ cup Bio Farms low-fat yoghurt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground linseeds,
  • 3 drops Stevia natural sweetener
  • 1 desertspoon organic Psyllium powder
  • 1 teaspoon slippery elm powder
  • 1 dessertspoon barley grass

Place all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Serve cool.

Basic Green Smoothie (Makes 8 cups)

  • 2.5 cups filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon Stevia
  • ¼ whole lemon including peel (high in flavonoids)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil (omega’s)
  • 250 – 500 grams raw greens – start with lettuce and/or spinach, later add chard, kale, collards, beet greens as you get more experienced
  • 1 avocado or celery stalk

Puree until very smooth then add

  • 1 – 2 bananas
  • 1 – 2 cups berries

Any other fruit you enjoy. Adding more fruit makes the greens more delicious
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Blend again until completely smooth and serve.
…. and DRINK…. To Your Good Health