Recipes - Smoothie Blueprint Fundamentals
Some people have a knack for throwing together smoothies that are delicious, nutritionally balanced and beautiful to boot. Others... not so much. So this post is for you guys!
Here is my basic blueprint that I follow for all the smoothies that I make. With each shake I want to have:
• A base of cucumber or celery - fiber
• Spinach, kale or chard – dark leafy greens
• 1-3 types of fruits (at ¼ cup per fruit) - anti-oxidants
• 1-2 types of fat - anti-inflammatory
Alternating between dark leafy greens is an excellent idea, not only to avoid monotony but also to ensure that you are getting the broadest range of nutrients out there. My favorites are: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, rainbow chard, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens and micro sprouts. These guys are high in fiber, which is amazing for gut health, weight loss and radiant skin. They are also loaded with phytonutrients, such as betacarotene, lutine, and zeaxanthin, which work to fight the harmful damage of free radials that we come in contact with every day like pollution, toxic chemicals at work and hormones in our foods. Green leafy veggies also boast a rich mineral profile of magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron, and are high in water-soluble vitamins B and C, as well as the the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. All in all, these greens epitomize the "Food as Medicine" principal, as they provide antioxidant support, neurological protection, cellular fuel, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
I personally stick with dark berries for the majority of my shakes. A basic Rule Of Thumb is: the darker the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrient-dense it is. Dark berries promote anti-aging benefits due to their high concentration of antioxidants. Additionally, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries contain ellagic acid which is protective against certain cancers by not only slowing the growth of developing cancer cells but also by neutralizing certain cancerous chemicals that may occur naturally in your body throughout life.
Healthy fats are an important component to the perfect smoothie recipe. Omegas help to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) into your bloodstream. Fats also help with satiety and balance out potential blood sugar spikes from the more sugary fruits. My favorite fats to use are chia or flax seeds, avocado, nut butter and coconut oil.
Adding a protein powder to the mix increases the nutritional benefit of your smoothie, so why not throw that in the blender, as well! To keep the flavors interesting and mix up the recipes, I alternate between a paleo protein and a vegan pea protein which can be purchased right here from my online store.
•. Use organic ingredients as much as possible! Smoothies and juices are only as good as their ingredients, so chose high-quality over quantity, to avoid added herbicides and pesticides!
•. Buy flax seeds in their whole seed form. Once flax is ground, it can oxidize rapidly and go rancid within a few days.
•. Try to drink your smoothie within an hour after making it. Once blended, the bioavailability of nutrients begins to decrease within a few short hours. So get all the health benefits that you can by consuming soon after you blend.
• If cutting and cleaning fruits and veggies is a nuisance for you, then take 30 minutes on a Sunday to wash, chop and bag your raw ingredients for the week. Once you are prepared, all you need to do is dump the contents of that bag into the blender, add water, protein powder and a healthy fat and you are good to go!
Next post, I will share my favorite Go To recipes so that you can try a few at home!