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Smoothies and fresh juices are quick and convenient ways to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs, even when you’re on the go. For me personally, they account for 1-2 of my meals each day, during an average week. I make a smoothie for breakfast then often times an extracted juice of fresh fruits and vegetables for an afternoon drink to keep me going.
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to the combination of healthy and beneficial ingredients you can use, but below are a few I make sure to always have on hand.
You may be hearing a lot about chia seeds lately and for good reason. These tiny black seeds provide a tremendous amount of nutrients (protein, healthy fats, tons of fiber, calcium and so on) all with a relatively low calorie count. Not to mention, chia seeds are packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals linked to cancer and dementia.
Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to morning or lunch smoothie to help keep you full and energized longer.
This funky looking root can help relieve upset stomach symptoms and carries a number of powerful cold fighting properties. Plus, the spice that a small amount of ginger provides is great, added flavor for fresh vegetable and juice drinks. I use ginger as one of the main ingredients in a refreshing, immune boosting afternoon drink.
1 large orange
3 large carrots or a handful of baby carrots
Juice from 1 Lime
½” to 1” of ginger root depending on spice preference (peeled of course)
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
Everything goes into your blender, NutriBullet, what-have-you, with a cup of cold water and some ice.
Now, this particular brand and type of protein powder from Vega is a personal choice. If you utilize a protein powder you have to decide which is right for your goals. Let me tell you why I choose this one for everyday nutrition:
-20g of complete plant based protein made from sprouted whole grain brown rice, pea, hemp and saviseed (Sacha inchi seeds). So not just soy or peas or hemp but multisource.
-2 servings of healthy greens per scoop
– kale, spinach, broccoli and alfalfa
-Papaya extract – promotes healthy digestion
-3 tasty flavors; vanilla, chocolate and berry
I use a scoop of the Vanilla powder for a breakfast smoothie and add 1 frozen banana, blueberries or strawberries, unsweetened almond milk, water, chia seeds.
It’s easy to overload your smoothie with sugar while trying to add flavor. If using almond milk opt for un-flavored and un-sweetened. The same goes for almond butter and peanut butter; read the labels. Several brands are now offering nut butters with all the healthy proteins and less sugar and sodium.
Yogurt can be another sugar bomb, especially flavored yogurts. Again, just read your labels to keep the sugars in check.
Kale and Swiss Chard are popular greens in the health food conversation right now but many aren’t in love with the strong, often bitter flavor. Don’t forget about spinach; still one of the healthiest foods around (think good proteins, fiber, essential vitamins, antioxidants) and a much more mild flavor than the previously mentioned greens means that it mixes well in smoothies.
Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, even Cayenne are all spices that can help create smoothies packed with flavor. Instead of buying sweetened or flavored almond milk buy unsweetened almond milk then use a touch of vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Aside from flavor, spices can carry tremendous health benefits. Compounds in turmeric for example, have been shown in recent studies to fight cancer, improve memory, lower blood pressure and the hits just keep on coming. More on turmeric here.