Are you constantly hearing about juicing and smoothies from everyone in the gym, office or on the ever-trusty resource that is the Internet? That is because they are big right now and like every other food craze, there are the misconceptions that because it’s healthy, all variations are healthy. Wrong. Used correctly a smoothie can be your best friend, but used incorrectly and it can be your worst nightmare. A well made smoothie is packed full of antioxidants and nutrients and will keep you full for some time. Making your own smoothies you can fine tune what goes into them rather than rely on a local shop that more times than not loads their smoothies with sugar rich foods to make them more appealing to the masses. So, understanding how to fully utilize the proper ingredients is fundamental. Just because you are putting a bunch of healthy foods together in a blender and chugging a quart of it does not always mean you are “eating well.” There are hidden sugars, fats and carbohydrates that can easily add up and make you have to trade in your Inverted Gear A3 gi for the Husky edition size. But hey, that’s what I am here for, so let’s dive right in and blend it on high for a few minutes.
Smoothie vs. Juice
Wait. These aren’t the same thing? Liquefying a bunch of produce in a blender is different than running pounds of food through a juicer to get a scant glass of juice. First off, there are many differences between juices and smoothies besides just quantity. The major difference is easily seen once we simply define each and provide their optimal purpose within our diets.
Smoothie Defined: The process of blending whole fruits and vegetables with a protein source resulting in a smooth beverage packed with both quick and slow digesting nutrients.
Purpose: Full meal replacement. With a smoothie, you simply need only a blender and a game plan. The blender or Nutri-bullet is used to break down whole fruits and vegetables so that the fiber, skin and pulp are broken down for easier digestion, but not removed. What this means is that since you will still have the fiber, you will feel full and you will be providing your body with a slow release food source to keep your body fed longer.
Juicing defined: The extraction of water and nutrients from fruits and vegetables while separating indigestible fibers.
Purpose: Supplement. Juicing allows your body to rapidly absorb the nutrients found in foods quickly because you do not need to process the food to extract the nutrients – a juicer did all that work for you. Juicing is a great way to get in some of the nutrients you may be lacking in one shot, but without the fiber, you will be left feeling hungry. Juicing is best used as a supplement or a detox rather than a full fledged meal.
“Smoothie Wins by Advantage: What is that advantage? You do not need anything fancy to make a wide variety of smoothies, just a plain ole blender.”
There are endless combinations of ingredients that we can put in a blender and turn into a smoothie, but ultimately there are a few key categories in which those ingredients fall into. You have to have a base, thickener, fruits/vegetables and seasonings.
Understanding how to balance these categories will maximize the benefits of said frosty beverage.
Making a smoothie is pretty simple. You have to actually try hard to make a bad one. Start with the follow foundation and branch out using your creativity, needs and taste buds.
1 Part Liquid | 1 Parts Fruits & Vegetables | 1 Part Thickener | Seasoning/Extra Goodies to taste.
Fruits-to-Green Vegetable Ratio:
3 Parts fruit | 1 Part Green Vegetables.