Smoothies have gone mainstream. So mainstream that McDonalds sells them. And even if you go to a juice and smoothie bar, how healthy is a smoothie that's sweetened with frozen yogurt and pasteurized juice...even if you "boost it" with spirulina? Hmmmmmm....
Have no fear. Stay home and make your own delicious smoothie. Of course add your favorite fresh and/or frozen fruits and maybe even some veggies like cucumber or carrot. But don't try to imitate the chains. We're going to skip the fro yo and frozen juice concentrate (or store-bought juice) Here are six ways to turn a not-so-great-for-you smoothie into a delicious health elixir!!
- Junk the store-bought juice or juice concentrate. Why do that to yourself? At best it is just sugar water, at worst it may contain corn syrup from genetically modified corn and other additives or preservatives. But even when you get 100% organic juice, it has been pasteurized, destroying any life-giving enzymes, and greatly reducing if not also destroying all the vitamins and minerals. Plus...who knows what is really in those 100% organic juices? It wasn't long ago when it came out that those organic apple juices were found to be laced with arsenic. Alternatives? Sure!
- Water - add good old fashioned water to your delicious smoothie! Maybe it doesn't need the extra sweetness. (and if it does, add a squirt of honey, maple syrup, agave or even stevia at the end.)
- Coconut Water - from a young Thai coconut. Crack one of these open and pour that delicious clear sweet nectar right in. While you're at it, scrape out the pulp and add that to your smoothie as well. (Google "opening Thai coconuts" for more info.)
- Fresh veggie or fruit juice that you juice yourself, in your juicer! Mmmmm.
- Freshly made nut milk...or just add a few nuts and water to your smoothie and it will automatically blend up into a "milk" base.
To make nut milk just add 1/2 cup soaked nuts (almonds, cashews) and 4 cups of water to your blender with a pinch of sea salt and a little vanilla (those are optional.) Blend 'til nice and white. If using cashews you won't even have to strain it!
- Herb tea. Maybe you've even harvested and dried your own nettles, or raspberry leaf. Steep it into tea and use that as the base for your smoothie.
- Mushroom tea, from reishi, maitake, shiitake. I know...not as inviting. But mushroom tea is an ultimate health elixir: boosting immunity and even fighting cancer. Add some to your smoothie as a base, you can always add a squirt of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar (or stevia) if you need a little extra sweetness.
But if you need a boost of protein consider adding this instead:
- Whole hemp seeds - they will blend right up in your smoothie and are not only full of protein but omega fatty acids as well
- Chia seeds (my latest YUM!) also chock full of omega fatty acids.
- GREENS (see below) have surprisingly high amounts of protein and of course are low in fat.
- Algae like spirulina and blue-green algae are also high in protein.
- Quinoa, which is actually a seed rather than a grain. You can add it sprouted or cooked, it will blend splendidly and is high in protein.
Here is a simple elixir smoothie recipe that you can play with:
Green Smoothie with Nettles
1 cup frozen mangoes
1/2 cup mulberries (or blueberries, fresh or frozen)
handful (a careful handful…don’t get stung!) fresh wild nettles
2 cups water (can add coconut water, herb tea, etc.)
Blend well. Nettles lose their sting when blended. This makes 2 - 4 servings, depending on how much you want.
~ Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.
The Birch Center for Acupuncture
Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!