The most common nutrition complaint I hear from patients is they don’t have enough time to cook or eat healthy. Sorry to burst your bubble, but after reading this article you will have NO EXCUSE! Juicing and blending are the easiest ways to bombard yourself with quick, healthy and easy to digest nutrition. Consider these drinks “supplements in a glass”.
Blending is when you literally blend your ingredients whole. Simply wash your produce and toss in a blender with liquid such as water, unflavored/unsweetened coconut water, almond milk or coconut milk. Blend until smooth and drink! Most of us already own a blender, so starting this healthy habit is easy. In my opinion, a Vitamix is the world’s greatest blender. This brand is so powerful it literally liquefies your ingredients without leaving any chunks behind. Vitamix is expensive, but worth every penny. My brother still uses my parents’ Vitamix from the 1970s! The nutrition key to making smoothies is to choose twice as many vegetables as fruits. Too many patients choose fruit only smoothies. Although fruits are high in fiber and nutrients, they are also very high in fructose. This is a natural sugar that breaks down into glucose, and if not used right away, it gets stored in the liver and eventually in fat cells. Choose lower sugar fruits such as berries, green apples and white pears. Bananas are very high in sugar, so use sparingly. Vegetables are lower in calories and higher in protein and fiber. The absolute best vegetables to blend are dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale and swiss chard. Although they will make your smoothie green, I promise it will not taste “green”. In fact, the greens will take on whatever fruit or flavor you add. I encourage you to also add a healthy fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fat is bad! Healthy fats aid in the absorption of nutrients and allow our bodies to function better. The good fats I prefer are oils such as coconut, hemp, fish or flax. You can also choose an avocado or raw nuts. For an extra boost of omega three fatty acids and protein, include seeds like chia, flax and hemp. I love to add Standard Process Complete protein powder for a more thorough meal.
Juicing is when you place your fruits or vegetables in a device called a juicer. This extracts the liquid and removes the skin, pulp and fiber. The benefit of juicing is it takes a lot of produce to make a glass of juice, therefore it is loaded with nutrition. Unfortunately, it is also missing the fiber which is essential for keeping cholesterol lowered and improving digestion (aka bowel movements). However, less fiber and bulk makes it easier on your digestive system, so for those looking to give your digestion a rest and really boost your nutrition, juicing is the best choice. Another challenge with juicing is it requires you to purchase a juicer, which can range from $100-$500 and even the most expensive models are difficult to clean.
My choice is to blend in the morning for a high fiber, high protein, good fat filled breakfast on the go. I use a container with a lid and straw and drink my smoothie on the way to work. This starts my day full and ready to move, but not feeling heavy. I like to juice mid-day for a pick me up. Whatever you choose, make this a daily ritual during the week. I love knowing I had so many healthy nutrients. For me, I feel less guilty on the weekend when I cheat and order my favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon! Blending and juicing floods your body with ready to use nutrition. If you don’t like the taste of one, try something different. The right combination is very enjoyable. Give it a try! You really have no excuse!