Healthy Smoothies For Weight Loss with Delicious Recipes

BlueberryMangoSmoothieBy  Chantelle Zakariasen

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

You may have caught on to the smoothie buzz that’s been humming in high frequency the last few years. People everywhere are learning the usefulness of drinkable nutrition, and embracing the fact that smoothies are easy and nutritious.

Smoothies are adaptable, you can use what’s in season, add superfood or supplements, all with minimal prep work.

In a busy modern world, where we need the power of fruits and vegetables more than ever (1)(2), smoothies are a hot commodity.

For those of us who feel we could be eating more raw foods, smoothies are a great place to start. A powerful blender breaks down the cell walls of it’s vegetable or fruit contents, making them even easier to digest.

For anyone who may be experiencing digestive problems, this is an important fact to consider (3)(4). Incorporating a nutrient dense combination of foods (5), even once a day, even a few times per week, can change the way you feel and function long term.

The smoothie habit is one worth getting into and sticking with if you want to start feeling great.

Green Smoothies vs. Fruit Smoothies

The buzz on green smoothies is noteworthy, and well deserved. Drinking your smoothie with an emphasis on greens is an easy way to bring more of the nutrient rich power foods (6) into your diet. I think everyone has a hard time eating 4-6 servings of vegetables every day (7), especially green leafy ones. Yet the benefits of green foods are under appreciated, the amount of minerals in hardy greens like collards and kale are more than most other foods (8).

We can get these superfood into our life in an easy and delicious way when we just pop them into our smoothies. The fibrous whole food greens will also help to regulate any blood sugar spikes (9) that the fruit may have caused.

Fruit smoothies aren’t necessarily bad, they’re better than say a milkshake from your favorite fast food joint. However, there’s still a lot of sugar in fruit, and when your trying to heal your body, improve your energy and digestion, sugar isn’t your best friend (10)(11).

Instead, you can still enjoy the benefits and tasty sweetness of your favorite fruits with a few green foods thrown in. This will up the nutrition, alleviate the blood sugar roller coaster and probably lower the overall sugar dose you are getting in one sitting. Ideally our smoothies should be a balance of about 70% greens and 30% fruit, just to give you an idea of the balance we’re after.

Work your way up to this if you’re not used to eating a lot of greens, start out with about 40% greens and 60% fruit and gradually add more greens.

Benefits of Drinking Your Nutrients

There’s no denying that we live in the age of business (12). This is often a good excuse for people to make really poor food choices. When fast food is your only option, well, your certainly not going to let yourself starve. But you do starve, nutritionally when you choose sugar and refined carbohydrate foods as your main fuel (14).

Smoothies offer a convenient solution to this problem. Only about 9-14% of Americans are consuming the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day (15). You can make a green smoothie in under 5 minutes, stick it in a thermos and run out the door. Problem solved and you don’t have to eat donuts for breakfast ever again.

Smoothies are easy to digest as the cell walls of the fruits and vegetables have been pulverized for your sipping pleasure. The nutrients are easily assimilated and your organs don’t have to work very hard to process food that is free from common toxins. This not only affects your digestion but also your energy levels and keeps you full and satisfied (16).

Smoothies with Fiber

When we choose smoothies over juices we get the natural plant fiber in an easy to digest form. Juices are great for a quick burst of energy, but they break down much faster than a smoothie containing the whole food (17).

This is important for blood sugar balance and proper digestion. There is a time and place for adhering to a juicing program, such as people who suffer from extreme digestive conditions which make them incapable of ingesting much fiber. However for most people smoothies are really useful for getting things moving and consuming the whole food (18), not just the juice, has endless benefits.

Whole Foods in Smoothies

When we consume the whole food, we are ingesting it as it was meant to be ingested. People can often develop problems with apple juice and drink it all day long without feeling “full” (19), but I don’t think you would eat apples all day long, how does 6 apples a day sound?

Smoothies are more filling and the nutrients take longer to assimilate than with a juice. They are better long term fuel and can actually save you a bit of money since you’ll need less fruits and vegetables to fill your cup.

Blood Sugar Response

The modern standard american diet (20) puts us at great risk for developing problems like diabetes (21). An excess of sugars and refined carbohydrates ridden of any speckle of nutrition is a recipe for blood sugar disaster. For many people this roller coaster starts off first thing in the morning (22). After resting for ideally 8 hours (23), we wake up and start a cycle for the day, when we choose a waffle or a muffin with a tall glass of OJ or sweetened coffee, we give our bodies a very short term energy boost. We’ve just ingested a lot of sugar and the energy we have from that won’t last very long, so we get a craving, eat more sugar and the cycle continues (24).

When we wake up and drink a green smoothie or eat a healthy breakfast packed with veggies and high quality protein, we set ourselves up to a different rhythm for the day.  We’ll actually have long term energy because our blood sugar will not have spiked in the same way if it would if we had the sugar breakfast (25).

Just the simple addition of a fiber  packed, nutrient filled morning green smoothie can save you an entire day of bad food choices.

Smoothies for Added Energy

Are there certain times during the day where you just feel totally drained? For many people that slump hits mid morning, and mid afternoon. This has to do with blood sugar balance and adrenal fatigue (26). Our adrenals are the glands which produce important hormones that regulate our stress levels. When we are in stress mode more often than not, and consuming foods that add extra stress, our adrenals start to get zapped. Having poor adrenal function makes us less adaptable and more susceptible to caving under the pressure of our daily stressors.

We do our adrenal glands and our overall mental and physical well being a huge favour when we incorporate nourishing smoothies into our daily life.

Adrenal glands need high levels of B-vitamins to function well, greens are loaded with b-vitamins (27). Magnesium is an important mineral for regulating stress and helping to keep the nervous system calm (28), dark leafy greens are amongst the highest magnesium containing foods in the plant kingdom.

The bottom line of why smoothies are so energizing, is it takes a lot of work to break down and absorb nutrients from our food, especially when they are laden with toxins and junk. Incorporating easy to digest smoothies give our overworked organs a much needed break.

Targeted Smoothie  Recipes  for Any Ailment

Tweaking and adjusting your daily smoothie to suit you is what all the fun is about. There are so many amazing superfood additions that you can add to your smoothies to address various health concerns.

Below we’ll go over some super foods that you can add to your elixirs, but I also want to address some key points for creating smoothies to help common ailments.

Smoothies for Diabetes

If your dealing with diabetes its important to keep the glycemic index low. This means no high sugar tropical fruits. Stick to apples, berries and citrus for your fruits and ample greens for the bulk of your smoothie.

Cinnamon is a naturally insulin regulating food, so adding a 1/2 tsp or so of cinnamon is useful (29).

The high fiber  content will help regulate blood sugar levels, adding some protein powder from high quality whey protein or a scoop of almond butter is a good way to fend off sugar cravings (30).

Adrenal fatigue and Green Smoothies

Rebuilding the strength in your adrenal glands takes time, but you can accelerate it by focusing on certain elements in your smoothie.

Raw cacao is energizing but also incredibly high in magnesium, adding a tablespoon to your morning smoothie will boost your energy and soothe stress.

Coconut oil is useful for fighting adrenal fatigue and provides a nourishing source of long term energy. Herbs like rhodiola and ashwaganda which you can find at the health food store in tincture form are calming and stabilizing.

Instead of using water in your smoothies I recommend making a strong brew of nettle tea the night before, enough to last a few days, and including this infusion as your liquid of choice. Nettles are very high in minerals and important b-vitamins, key to healing adrenal exhaustion.

Lose Weight With Power Packed Smoothies

Stimulating the metabolism with warming smoothie additions like cayenne and ginger are great for boosting weight loss (31). Extra protein is useful if your trying to lose weight, try adding some high quality whey (sourced from grass fed cows) or a scoop of almond butter.

Ingredients for Heart problems

Adding a source of omega-3 to your smoothies is vital if you have heart problems (32). You can achieve this through hemp seed oil, flax oil or fish oil, many fish oils are flavored and you can’t even tell they are fish. Seek out a pure and high quality fish oil in liquid form such as arctic cod liver oil.

Adding some hawthorne tincture is also beneficial and raw cacao has been shown to have heart healthy compounds.

Improve Digestion

If you suffer form digestive problems it may be best to use greens with lower fiber  content, ex. instead of kale use spinach. Additions like aloe vera juice, fresh mint, fresh ginger and inulin are very soothing to the digestive tract.

Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can manifest in a variety of ways, often joint pain is a good indicator. Try adding fresh or powdered turmeric root to your smoothies as its been shown to alleviate inflammation (32). Cayenne is also useful for this condition. Many inflammatory conditions are made worse by an overly acidic diet, just adding in a green smoothie may help lower inflammation all by itself.

Superfood Smoothie Additions

According to the father of super foods, David Wolfe, a superfood doesn’t just boast one or two health benefits. These foods have “extraordinary levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants” and “10 to 12 tricks up their sleeves.”

Lets talk about some common super foods and their benefits.

Spirulina and Chlorella

These two green foods are incredibly high in protein and amino acids. They are loaded with antioxidants and incredibly alkalizing.

Bee pollen and Royal jelly

100% bioavailable and containing over 50 essential minerals, these foods produced by our fast diminishing bee friends should be used by people with chronic immune problems and adrenal fatigue.

Maca root

This Peruvian root is gaining popularity, and for good reason. Maca is adaptogenic, meaning it adapts to your particular bodies needs. Maca is used for hormone balancing in both women and men, supporting thyroid and adrenal health. It has a malty and delicious taste and should be consumed in gelatinized form for best absorption.

Siberian Ginseng

Ginseng is an ancient herb native to many parts of the world, there are also many different types of ginseng. Siberian ginseng is excellent for increasing energy and vigour, helping with weight loss and balancing hormones.

Colostrum

Colostrum is basically an extreme vaccine for everything, before vaccines were invented, bovine colostrum was given. For anyone with immune problems adding some colostrum powder to your smoothies can be incredible.

Goji berries

There are a variety of super food berries out there which contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. Goji berries are also quite high in protein for a berry. They are very balancing and have been a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a very long time.

Getting Started with Smoothies

All you need to get started is a blender and some key ingredients. Get into the habit of stocking up lots of leafy greens, apples, fresh or frozen berries, and whatever additions you want in your smoothie.

Smoothie Buying Guide

Try and stick to organic fruits and vegetables, the extra cost is worth their added benefit. Studies have shown organic food is more nutritious than non organic. Often you can find deals at your local farmers market. Buy fruits and vegetables in bulk when they are in season, this way you can freeze the excess and have local organic strawberries all winter long.

With greens like kale you can puree the leaves with a bit of water and freeze in ice cube trays before transferring to a plastic bag.

Make one drawer in your fridge, your juicing drawer and keep all your ingredients in that space for extra ease in the mornings.

Natural Sweeteners

For those of us with more of a sweet tooth there are natural sweeteners that you can add. Stevia is the best as it tastes sweet but contains relatively no calories.

You could also use raw honey if you use a lot of energy and aren’t dealing with candida or trying to lose weight.

Blender Buying Guide

Ideally you’ll want to go with a high powered blender, these really get the job done well and last a long time. If it’s not in your budget to purchase a heavy duty blender, opt for a less expensive version with similar design features, there are lots out there.

The nice thing about high powered blenders like the vitamix or blendtec is that you can do a lot more than just make smoothies. Anything from nut and seed butters, hummus, soup, baby food, sauces, dressings, spreads,nut milk, grinding your own flours from whole grains, coffee, and more. My high powered blender is definitely the most utilized tool in my kitchen and typically they last for 10+ years.

Best High Powered Blenders

Best Low Budget Blenders

Smoothie Recipes

Antioxidant Smoothie

3/4 to 1lb. assorted greens1/2 C pineapple

1/2 C pomegranate

1/2 C goji berries

water to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness.

Taste of the Tropics Smoothie

3/4 to 1 lb assorted greens

1 banana

1 C chopped pineapple

1 mango

1/2 C coconut milk

water to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness.

Anti-inflammatory Smoothie

3/4 to 1 lb. assorted greens

1 C blueberries

1 apple

1 inch piece ginger, chopped

1 inch piece fresh turmeric, chopped or 1 tsp turmeric powder

2 Tbs hemp seeds

1 Tbs omega-3 containing oil, like arctic cod liver oil or hemp seed oil

water or tea to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness. If you want an extra anti-inflammatory effect, try making a strong tea infusion with horsetail and oat straw and let it steep for at least 5 hours. Use this brew instead of water.

Weight loss Smoothie

3/4 to 1lb. assorted greens

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 C mixed berries

1 apple

1 Tbs coconut oil

1 inch piece fresh ginger

1 Tbs ground flax seeds

water or tea to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness. For this smoothie try making green tea and letting it cool, use this to replace the water.

Post Workout Smoothie

3/4 to 1 lb. assorted greens

1 banana

1 C melon

pinch of sea salt

1 scoop high quality whey protein powder OR 1 Tbs almond butter

water to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness.

Energy Smoothie

3/4 to 1 lb. assorted greens

1 whole orange, peeled

1 whole lemon, peeled

1 C melon

1 banana

1 Tbs hemp seeds

1 Tbs coconut oil

water or cold green tea to cover

Add all ingredients to your blender and puree until smooth, add more or less water to achieve your desired thickness.

This article was first published at Root and Sprouts  who  are dedicated to providing the best natural solutions to improve your life. They seek out only natural options as their  name denotes.   With all the abrasive products on the market Root and Sprouts  want to be a  source to replace any product or food that isn’t all natural.   You’ll find all their  content is backed by real research and science from reputable sources.

About the Author

Chantelle ZakariasenChantelle is passionate about food and natural medicine. Her blog, nakedcuisine.com is all about exploring and celebrating the goodness of food through wholesome paleo recipes that maximize nourishment and supporting her local food system. She sees healthy eating as a gateway into the body and spirit as well as an opportunity to take a proactive approach to holistic wellness. Chantelle has studied in the fields of nutrition, herbalism, yoga and cooking. She is a passionate mama working at trying to create a better world for the next generation. Follow her antics as she cooks up a storm, and writes about her experiences. You can follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter  and Pinterest.

 


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