Drink Up

Smoothies and green juices are a nutritious, on-the-go option to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Smoothies are super powered and a great time saver for those of us who are constantly on the go.

I like to pack my smoothies with antioxidant rich berries and toss in some muscle building protein, which can stave off hunger. I also add in chia or flax seeds, which I believe can help with blood sugar level control and heart health, as well as collagen to increase my body’s production of this anti-aging agent.

All of this goodness can be blended in less than 10 minutes and packed in 8 to 12 ounces to enjoy before your next workout or anytime you need to fuel your system.

If you are serious about juicing and smoothies, you might want to invest in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. I personally use an Omega vertical juicer.

Some of my “go-to” smoothie ingredients include grass-fed whey protein powder, PB2 (a brand of powdered peanut butter), collagen powder and cocoa. Other things I like to always have on hand are bananas, coconut flakes and flax seeds. The flax seeds and protein powder keep me feeling full for hours.

In my experimenting with smoothies, I have chosen to avoid anything with a high sugar count, which can spike blood sugar, and fruits with high water content, such as watermelon, mangoes and pears, because these can make the drink too runny.

Because strawberries are number one on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen guide to pesticides in produce, I only buy organic strawberries. Because of their consistency, I think frozen strawberries work better than fresh for smoothies.

Green smoothies can take a bit of getting used to. I find that a touch of freshly juiced apple will satisfy me with enough sweetness. For others, this can be a challenge because if you use too much sweet fruit it defeats the purpose of all those healthy greens. A great trick is to add pineapple or mango. Tossing in an avocado will give you a fantastic, rich green color. And I always add in the juice of one or two lemons or limes, which add vitamin C and helps balance the flavor of some of the more bitter greens. I also like to make my Yummy Green Juice for a bit of a lighter drink.

For the younger crowd, like my grandchildren, I add more fruit to a green smoothie at the beginning and then decrease the amount as time goes by. I serve them the smoothies in opaque cups with lids and stainless-steel straws. Then I tell them it’s going to give them big muscles like the Incredible Hulk!

If you are new to the smoothie game, experiment until you find your sweet spot. I hope you enjoy my favorite recipes and let me know if you have your own creations to share. Cheers to your good health!

Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup whole frozen organic strawberries (about 10 to 12)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender, beginning with the liquids. › Blend until smooth. › Drink immediately.

Notes: If you do not have a high-powered blender, blend the strawberries in a few at a time and sliced strawberries instead of whole. You may need to add more almond milk and stop and stir the blender periodically to help the smoothie combine. If you use fresh strawberries, you can use a frozen banana or other frozen fruit to help achieve a thicker consistency.

Fat Burning Smoothie

1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 cup pineapple frozen chunks
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup brewed green tea, cooled
1/2 large grapefruit, peeled and seeded
1/4 large avocado, peeled and chunked
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
Optional – dash of ground cayenne pepper

Place spinach, mint, celery, and green tea into blender. › Puree until smooth. › Add remaining ingredients. › Blend again. › Best if served chilled.

Note: In my research, I have learned that these foods can help burn fat naturally: nuts, eggs, berries, grapefruit, green and white tea, chili peppers, spinach and other leafy greens, whole grains, coconut oil and avocado oil, flax seeds, avocados, cinnamon, pears and apples, grapes, celery and 70 percent cocoa.

Yummy Green Juice

4 whole celery stalks
2 large Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
1 bunch curly kale, roughly chopped
1 large lemon, peeled and quartered
1 large cucumber, cut into long strips
1 inch of ginger, peeled

Wash and prep all the veggies. › Juice them in this order: kale, lemon, ginger, cucumber, apples and celery. › If you don’t care for pulp, strain through a sieve before drinking.

Keto Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup organic heavy cream
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
6 tablespoons organic stevia
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Optional: 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Unflavored Collagen Peptides

Put liquids in blender first, then add remaining ingredients. › Blend until smooth. › Drink immediately.

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