Smoothies are fun and delicious. They’re a great way to boost your nutrition, whether it be by adding more greens to your diet (without even necessarily tasting them), experimenting with superfoods or adding protein after a work-out.
Is there a “right” way to make a smoothie or do you just throw a few things into a blender? I highly encourage free-styling and adding ingredients that suit your personal needs and goals, however, keeping a few basic steps and tips in mind is useful. Here is how I recommend building a smoothie. Get your blender ready!
1. Choose Fruits
There are really no rules about which fruits you can add to your smoothie, but aside from taste, you may want to consider factors like glycemic index if you have a particular health condition like diabetes or if you want to lose weight. Berries are lowest on the glycemic scale and suitable even for people trying to lose weight.
Organic is always best, if possible, when juicing and making smoothies. Fresh organic fruits are wonderful when they are in season, but frozen fruits are great any time of year. Their nutrition has been locked in by the freezing process. Frozen fruits will also add the “ice”, without actually adding ice, which may dilute the taste.
2. Choose greens
The next consideration is which greens to add to your smoothie. Adding more greens to your diet will alkalinize your body and promote good health.
Be mindful that some greens have a bold taste (like kale), whereas others are more mild (like bok choy or spinach). You can safely add more of the mild-tasting greens without noticing them.
You have the choice to add fresh greens or a scoopful of powdered greens. There are many wonderful green powders on the market.
If you are new to smoothies and juicing, the most important rule to keep in mind is: GO SLOW! Greens have lots of fiber which you may not be used to ingesting all at once. It is excellent for your health, but you have to slowly introduce changes in your diet. Add just half a scoopful of powdered greens to start with, or a handful of fresh greens, and then work your way up to more.
3. Choose liquid base
For a creamy, thick smoothie, usually 1 to 2 cups of liquid for every 3 cups of fruits/veggies is the recommended proportion, however this may vary depending on which fruits you are using. For example, bananas and mangoes will add thickness, whereas berries will be more fluid.
You can choose between these categories of liquids: nut milks, fresh juices, water or iced teas and coffees.
4. Thicken the texture
If you like your smoothies really full-bodied, you can thicken them by adding ice, nuts or nut butters (if you want to add healthy fats), non-dairy yogurts, coconut meat, or soaked chia seeds. You can experiment with any of these depending on what your dietary needs and goals are.
5. Increase flavour
Do you want a sweet tasting smoothie? The fruits you add may be enough sweetness for you, but if not there are easy cures. Healthy sweeteners, such as a few drops of stevia can do the trick. I like to add coconut water sometimes, rather than plain water, to sweeten things up slightly.
Are you craving a salty flavour for smoothies with greens, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, for example? Add a pinch of sea salt and boost up your trace minerals intake.
Spices or herbs are also useful for flavour, but also for nutritional purposes e.g. cinnamon will help regulate blood sugar, cilantro will help purify the blood.
Finally, depending on what your needs and goals are, you may want to add nutritional supplements to your smoothies. Added vegan protein after a work-out or for a meal replacement is beneficial for building and repairing muscle. Other ingredients you may want to consider to boost your nutrition are omega-3s, probiotics, or multivitamins.
There are also countless natural superfoods you can experiment with such as maca root, ashwagandha, moringa leaf, spirulina, chlorella, to name just a few. Do your research and case study your body to see how these make you feel. Again, just remember to introduce new things into your diet slowly.
There you have it: my six easy steps to building a tasty and nutritious smoothie to replace a meal or give you a boost in your day. Drink up! To your health and that of all Beings! Namaste!
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A healthy body is a guest-chamber for the soul; a sick body is a prison. ~Francis Bacon