Boost Your Smoothies
There is a limit to the number of tablets you can swallow in a day before the good habit gets too hard and it just doesn’t happen regularly. I like to add the ‘good stuff’ to my smoothies, as it’s so easy to do and therefore more likely to happen.
Smoothies are so much more than a fruity fix. In fact, don’t go crazy with the fruit, a handful of fresh blueberries or frozen mixed berries are perfect for a morning smoothie, and a banana makes a great evening smoothie. If you are not using frozen fruit, then throw in a couple of ice cubes for chill, or if you are using watery fruits, such as watermelon or pineapple, then an ice cube or two will actually thicken it.
The liquid component you use is going to determine how healthy the smoothie really is. Think water, coconut water/milk, almond milk or herbal tea… I often use a combo of water with a little coconut or almond milk, or a dollop of coconut oil or even a nut butter (such as almond or cashew butter).
For me, the smoothies I make don’t need to taste fantastically sweet – it’s about getting the healthy supplements and superfoods that give a boost and protect from disease. Then you can feel happy that you’re doing the right things. Of course, in saying that, taste is still important, so mask the nasty tasting ones with a sweet vitamin C powder, cinnamon or cacao (for a healthy chocolate treat)….
Here are some supplements to consider when looking for the boost factor:
» Chlorella – for regulating hormones, good cardiovascular health and boosting metabolism. It’s high in vitamin A for burning fat and also rich in amino-acids, potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. It is also known for its detoxification properties and helps to negate the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Start small and build up as the body needs to get used to it (it made me feel sick at first).
» Spirulina – this wholefood is a source of chlorophyll, vitamin B12, vitamin K, vitamin A and antioxidants for heart health. Taken on a daily basis it is reported to restore and revitalise your health. It also keeps you regular 🙂
Note: these green algae ‘cousins’ are both a very deep green colour, from the high concentration of chlorophyll, and have a strong flavour (the kind of flavour that means they must be good for you!)…. I alternate them in a morning smoothie with berries, cinnamon, cayenne pepper (just a dash for some spice), coconut oil, chia seeds, Maca powder and water. You can go for half almond milk/half water if you wish, or add some coconut water.
» Maca – the superfood of one of the oldest and once most advanced civilizations on earth, the Incas and Peruvians, Maca is actually a root vegetable related to the broccoli and radish family. Maca powder has a slightly nutty flavour (not unpleasant at all) and one teaspoon in your smoothie will give you an energy boost (of the non-caffeine variety). It is also reportedly good for the immune system, libido (big grin!) and fertility.
» Cacao – the tree from which cocoa (and hence chocolate) are made, Cacao has almost 4 times the antioxidant power of dark chocolate (kind of like going back to the source and getting the authentic benefits). Essential for the happiest ME in menopause, as it does great things for mood and stress, as well as lowering cholesterol, improving heart function, and reducing cancer risk. I like to have both the powder and the nibs (little crunchy pieces of cacao) on hand. A banana and cacao powder smoothie masks the taste of magnesium…. while adding a small handful of cacao nibs into any smoothie gives a chocolatey crunch when needed. Check out my The Joy of Cacao post.
» Coconut oil – there seems to be a 101 uses for coconut oil lately and so many benefits, namely that it increases energy expenditure and therefore burns fat. It also kills bacteria, lowers cholesterol and is great for hair and skin. Use it internally and externally!
» Flaxseed oil – it’s a protein, it’s a source of fibre and Omeg3, it keeps you regular… and all you need to do is add a few drops into your smoothie!
» Chia seeds – loaded with nutrients (and very few calories), Chia seeds provide sustainable energy, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, calcium and fibre. One of the healthiest foods on the planet and easy to add to smoothies, cereals or healthy snack bars.
» Magnesium powder – I add this to a smoothie at night when I start to get the aches and pains that are a by-product of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It tastes and smells awful, so add something nice to mask it!
» Green vege powder – full of the goodness of a variety of green vegetables, add this when your intake is not what it ought to be.
» Cinnamon / Cayenne Pepper / Turmeric – add any of these for taste but also for their amazing healthy properties….
Cinnamon boosts metabolism, helps with irritable bowel and controls blood sugar levels.
Cayenne Pepper aids digestion, supports weight loss, is anti-bacterial, anti-cold and flu and prevents migraines.
Turmeric (Curcumin) is anti-inflammatory, boosts brain function, aids heart health, helps prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease and assists with depression. See my post The Keys to Great Health.
If you haven’t made smoothies before or are after some new inspiration, here’s a couple of great sites: