Whole food is the way to go, there is no argument there. Fruit is a fantastic whole food and I encourage you to eat several servings a day.
Here comes the but…..
BUT, if you think that 100% bottled fruit smoothie at your local grocery store, Starbucks, or even a fresh smoothie at your favorite smoothie bar (cough cough, Jugo juice) is helping you achieve your health and weight loss goals, this blog post is for you!
The truth about your average smoothie is that its nothing more than concentrated sugar!
Let’s be clear, even if your smoothie is 100% fruit with no sugar added, I’m still talking to you.
Now stay with me here, I reiterate, fruit is fantastic! It contains a plethora of phytochemicals and nutrients that nourish your body and even help fight disease. They also contain fiber and water. When eaten in its whole natural form it’s pretty hard to overindulge. For example, I’m sure you’d have no problem drinking 8 ounces of fresh pressed orange juice. However, if you had to eat the 2-3 fresh whole oranges that went into that juice, it’s highly unlikely you would do so in one sitting, even though both examples have a similar caloric value.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?
To your body, drinking juice, even 100% fruit juice is the same as drinking a “fruit punch” sweetened with refined sugar. It still hits your blood like a thunder bolt and increases your blood sugar in a nanosecond, causing your body to secrete insulin and store fat. If that wasn’t bad enough, it also causes a crash in your blood sugar which in turn will lead to a craving for, you guessed it, MORE sugar! This up and down roller coaster is how most people make it through their day. It’s also why most people complain of constantly being hungry, tired and unable to make it through their day without sugar and caffeine.
At this point you may be shaking your head because if you follow me, you know that I love my smoothies and drink them regularly!
The difference is this; a smoothie MUST be balanced. It should have enough protein and fat to prevent the simple sugars in the fruit from causing a spike in your blood sugar. It should also contain some extra fiber, greens and super foods for good measure.
So to help you in making your own nutrient dense, health supporting smoothie, hormonally balanced meal replacement I’m including this step by step guide!
BASE FOR A NUTRIENT DENSE SMOOTHIE
- 1 cup of water or unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk of choice (add extra for desired consistency)
**NEVER use fruit juice
- 1 ½ heaping scoops of a raw vegan protein powder
- ½-1 whole banana
- ½-3/4 cup of frozen berries of choice (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc.) Add more or less depending on how much banana is used.
- 1 tablespoon of whole Chia seeds (black or white is fine), ground flax seed, psyllium husk
- 1 tablespoon of nut or seed butter or other type of fat such as ¼ avocado or a tablespoon of hemp hearts
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach, baby kale, swiss chard etc.
MIX in a blender and drink immediately.
*For a little variety, I suggest changing the type of fruit used. Mango, pineapple and papaya all make really yummy combinations. Other substitutions would include adding avocado instead of almond butter for a nice creamy texture and using a little coconut water for added sweetness and a different consistency.
Also try adding superfoods like “Cacao” (raw chocolate) “Gogi” berries or bee pollen for extra nutrients!