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Digestive Health

Smoothie Anyone?

We all know that eating plenty of fruit and vegetable is good for us. However, it's not always that easy for some people; sadly mostly due to the convenience way we have to live our lives. As a result our taste-buds simply become trained into a convenience lifestyle too.

We all know that eating plenty of fruit and vegetable is good for us. However, it's not always that easy for some people; sadly mostly due to the convenience way we have to live our lives. As a result our taste-buds simply become trained into a convenience lifestyle too.

However, to achieve optimum health we still need this intake.

Many people consider juicing to be an 'all-new' health regime. To a certain extent this is true. But are we really getting all that we need from this?

The short answer is no.

Many people drink plenty of fruit juice and think this is enough to make up for the lack of vegetation intake, and is still supplying all the vitamins and minerals they need.

This also isn't true.

Drinking fruit juices is fine, as part of a dietary regime, but first of all, be sure of what you are drinking. Most commercial fruit juices actually contain little of the actual fruit. Most will have the word 'concentrated' on the carton or bottle, or have a whole list of other ingredients (usually synthetic preservatives) on the ingredients list.

Only if the carton states 'not from concentrate' and only lists the fruit in the ingredients list should it be considered. (If a product is concentrated, it means it has been stripped of all moisture, dried, and then re-hydrated synthetically at a later stage. This will contain very little actual nutritional intake).

Now, even with pure fruit juices, commercially this has usually been stripped of a lot of the nutrition. Nutrition is also found in the skins and the outer layers, and these are usually not included in commercial products, because when packaged they will decay very quickly.

The same applies to vegetable juices.

Juicing machines seem to be everywhere these days: in stores, on television.... It’s a sign that people want to include healthier foods in their diets and reap the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in fresh produce. This is good news! However...

Juicing is not the elixir it’s often portrayed to be...Juicing is only a part of the raw food ingredient. What you need is the whole. This is achieved through smoothies, which use the whole fruit or vegetable, wasting nothing, and ensuring fresh, raw ingredients in a delicious way...(Note: This isn't associated with milk shakes or so-called 'smoothies', the type of commercial drink you find in convenience bars. This is a pure fruit/vegetable smoothie, which is excellent for health.)

Note that in the case of fruit smoothies (or juicing), these should only taken when you are generally healthy, not when you are in poor health. Often, in these circumstances, the body is already perhaps over-acidic. Drinking fruit juices when your body is too acidic may just increase symptoms. Therefore juicing fruits should wait until you are actually in better health and your body is more naturally alkalized. In the meantime, concentrate on vegetables.

Smoothies, both fruit and vegetable, can be delicious and very easy to digest and assimilate for your body.

Blended smoothies will provide you with a raw food that is full of enzymes yet will be much easier to digest than eating the raw veggie in its whole form.

So, what’s the difference between vegetable/fruit juices and vegetable/fruit smoothies?

With vegetable blended smoothies, you are drinking all parts of the vegetable, including the fibre. These smoothies digest more slowly and are healthier. When you juice vegetables, you remove the fibre, so the vegetable juice metabolizes or goes into your system too quickly, with an effect similar to sugar. Your blood becomes quickly acidic.

Vegetable blended smoothies allow you to obtain the benefits of vegetables in a whole form. You are breaking down the cellulose fibre in the vegetables, and this makes them easy to digest.

Even for someone who doesn't really care for vegetables (or fruits), smoothies is a good way of introducing them and making them palatable. Below you will find a couple of examples of recipes, along with a couple of links to more to help you get the idea :).

I am not a Dietician, I am a Nutritionist, but I have picked up a good few tips when it comes to smoothie making. So firstly, here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Don’t use raw cruciferous vegetables, like collards, kale, cauliflower, arugula, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. These raw vegetables have thyroid suppressing properties and are best eaten cooked or fermented.
  • Do use plenty of non-cruciferous veggies and fresh garden herbs like celery, romaine lettuce, cilantro, basil, cucumbers, green beans, sprouts, yellow squash and zucchini. 
  • Do only use small amounts of beets, carrots or other root vegetables because they become even sweeter when juiced or blended into smoothies. Later as your yeast infection or viral infections are under control, you may be able to add very small amounts of these sweet veggies blended into smoothies but only IF you are sure they are well balanced with mostly alkaline-forming ingredients like the veggies mentioned above (and see below)
  • Do ensure your smoothie is 'balanced' between expanding and contracting foods. i.e. vegetables are slightly expansive, so a pinch of Sea Salt can be used to create more balance.
  • Do use a healthy, organic form of fat, like avocados, unrefined hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil, fish oil, evening primrose or melted ghee or coconut oil. These add flavor and body, plus a fat or oil helps keeping your body feeling satisfied longer.
  • Don’t combine vegetables and general fruits in your smoothies. When combining only combine vegetables with small amounts of sour fruits such as certain applies, or lemons, limes, cranberry and pomegranates. Fruits digest more rapidly than other foods, so they tend not to combine well. 
  • Do try a small amount of soaked nuts or seeds. They give a nice texture, consistency and flavor.
  • Although they can of course be consumed at any time of day....Do try to drink your smoothies in the morning out of preference, because that’s when the body needs alkalinity and easy digestion the most. Our bodies are at their most dehydrated and acidic first thing, and are usually not ready to be overburden with rich, complex foods.
  • Blended vegetable smoothies can be a (one) meal replacement, especially if you are trying to lose weight, and are ideal to take between meals if you need to put on more muscle and/or gain weight. 
  • Always wash the vegetables and cut them up before blending; place all ingredients in the blender first and mix up; add water if you need to thin the consistency when blending.
The only way to get actual guaranteed nutrition from fruits and vegetables aside from eating them whole, raw (or steamed), is through natural, quick, easy, and most importantly 'whole' blending. The Internet is crammed full of recipes, and there are books galore devoted to good recipes. So I am sure that there is something for everyone's taste. Remember, look out for recipes that stick to vegetable juicing, especially greens, and just use fruits in tiny amounts to add taste to the smoothie. These are the best.

12 Comments

  • “Excellent post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!”

    Lawton July 10 2012

  • “No——-please —my morning breakfast always consists of- kale-or-broccoli-or-collards—or—cauliflower !! Shoot, i usually mix 2 of them with some berries, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, vitamin D drops, a green powder, meeker red raspberry powder, activated barley, fresh flaxseeds—and i thought it was the best breakfast one could have—help !!!! Please answer—”

    mike December 24 2010

  • “The very best article on vegetables and fruits. Everyone consider eating fruits – especially the tasty ones like apple, orange, grapes etc and think, that complete the nutrition requirement and skip food intake as a part of weight loss routine. This is a good guideline on what to eat and how. Thank you so much. I like this article very much.”

    Suji Praveen December 23 2010

  • “Hi Mike, I have already spoken with you on our LivePerson system, but just to confirm here…. Raw vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli do have the potential for causing problems if they are not cooked. Especially if you are not used to (i.e. your body isn’t accustomed to) eating them this way. So this is a caution, and in the case of most people i would suggest not to do this to ensure that there is no upset to the body in any way. If you have been doing this for some time, then your body may have become accustomed to this and you may be ok. However, if you did find that you developed an imbalance of any kind, such as thyroid as the given example, it may be down to this. So just be cautious if you wish to continue this. Or perhaps just adjust your regime in line with my advices above to ensure a slightly more reliable health regime. Joanna ”

    Joanna December 24 2010

  • “Thank you for the article very informative and interesting. How much oil foods would you add to a smoothie? Some say if you just have green leafy vegetables you can combine with most fruits can you comment on this. I often have an apple and banana with a variety of lettuce type greens and parsley. Regards Meralyn”

    Meralyn Stewart December 24 2010

  • “Great article.  Makes me want to get a Blendtec.  ;)”

    Stefanie Jacinto December 27 2010

  • “Hey Joanna This is simply a fantastic article.  I run energiseforlife which is an Alkaline Diet focused site and blog and it is so great to see others paying attention to the little details like not including the high sugar vegetables (like carrots) while still showing signs of acidity/yeast, not having too much fruit while overly acidic and, most importantly, sticking to minimal fruit and maximum vegetables in the smoothies ongoing! This last point is so important – I see so many smoothie recipes that call themselves ‘alkaline’ and ‘green’, but really they are 85% fruit. I personally still believe in pure vegetable juices too, alongside smoothies.  I know you lose the fibre element, but I think removing the fibre can help with absorption of nutritents and be a little easier on the body early in the morning! A combination of both, on a (almost) daily basis is SO good.  I’ve yet to meet anyone that this hasn’t had a big, big effect on their health. I’ll be sure to be tweeting, facebooking and linking my blog to this.  Great stuff Ross”

    Ross December 25 2010

  • “Hi David, Thanks for the comments and questions. This is more anecdotal evidence rather than scientifically explored, and is a cautionary note only. Raw broccli and cauliflower contain goitrogens that ‘may’ inhibit thyroid funtion. Parboiling (ie. drop cauliflower into boiling water for three minutes, broccoli fot two minutes) inactivates the goitrogens and hence gets rid of any caution. It also removes bitterness making them more digestable. Joanna”

    Xtend-Life Expert January 06 2011

  • “Green Smoothies are becoming more popular, and people are finding the results quite amazing. I was introduced to "green" smoothies consisting of fruit blended with raw greens, such as Kale, spinach, silverbeet, carrot tops, romaine lettuce etc- any non-starchy greens. These are easily blended with a sweet selection of fruit. Nutritious and helps you reduce your craving for fatty, over salted, rubbish food. Really great!”

    Richard December 24 2010

  • “Juicing can be a good way to get more of those essential vitamins and nutrients into people’s diets, especially for those who don’t otherwise eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, but for sure you still need the fiber as well, so it is good to have smoothies as well.”

    james freeman January 15 2013

  • “I have a question….I’m a vegan, and I want to know what is the best thing to eat or take to break my food down more….Last year I suffered from E-coli and one nutritionist told me…maybe I don’t have enough acid in my stomach to break the food down…..so i started taking plant enzyme, and I noticed a difference going to the bathroom to have a bowel movement…..Any recommendation? Overall i’m in very good health…I eat the best food mostly organic…It really cost me a lot to eat healthy but my body worth it more than buying material things…..I’m 48 but people ask for proof……I did a good researched on your products, and I’ll be ordering most of what i saw…Very impressed…..Keep up the good work….I have looked high and low for skin care and supplement for so long…..Thank you very much….keep up the good work……I love everything I’m reading!!!”

    Jolice April 26 2011

  • “Hi Lawton, Thanks for your comment. The article covers a good generalised advice section which allows people to participate in this type of regime if they wish. However, if there is some further specific information you need to know, please elaborate on your request and I will do my very best to help you.”

    Xtend-Life Expert July 10 2012

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