Super Summer Smoothies: Beat the Heat With High Octane Cool Fuel

Do you find in the summer that you just don’t feel up to eating big meals? Consider making a cool smoothie instead and supply your body with readily available nutrition. Fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies not only taste great, but they help you enjoy more produce in a day than you could ever imagine.

I think it best to blend unpeeled fruit (such as berries and pears) into smoothies because a lot of the important cancer-preventing polyphenols are lost when the skin is removed by peeling. Also, the fibre in fruit is important to help stabilize blood sugar. Buy organic whenever you can, as delicate fruit is higher in pesticides which are impossible to remove with washing.

On the other hand, juicing vegetables is more about ease of preparation. Some veggies are impossible to blend in a smoothie in their whole form, so it is best to juice them first before blending (grasses and hard veggies for example need juice extraction). Most fruit can be blended as is, and it is best for nutrition to do so. (The idea of pulp-less orange juice is terrible – as the pulp is the FIBRE!)

Fruits that combine well in a smoothie include:

Apple; Apricot; Blackberry; Cantaloupe; Cherry; Currants;  Cranberry; Durian; Elderberry; Gooseberry; Grape; Grapefruit; Honeydew; Kiwi; Kumquat; Lemon; Lime; Lychee; Mandarin; Orange; Mango; Mangosteen; Orange; Papaya; Passion Fruit; Peach; Pear; Pineapple; Plum; Pomegranate; Raspberry; Strawberry; Tangerine; Watermelon.

WHY ORGANIC IS ALWAYS BETTER

A two-year review conducted in March 2008 by Charles Benbrook, et al (1) showed that organic produce is higher in nutrition. The research team created a large database that included the results of nearly 100 studies, and developed methods to identify those studies that were both well-designed and carefully conducted. Across all 236 matched pairs of 11 nutrients, the nutritional premium of the organic food averaged 25% higher.

One reason for this nutritional premium is that plants use polyphenols (powerful anti-oxidants) to fight off pests and bacterial or fungal infections. If the plant is sprayed with pesticides and does not have to fight for itself, the need to produce the protective chemicals is reduced.

If you are not using organically grown vegetables, then you will need to remove the peel. This helps to minimize pesticide exposure. Unfortunately, much of the nutrient content in vegetables is found within the peel.

VEGETABLES FOR JUICING

Here is a list of vegetable choices that can be mixed and matched to create great tasting healing beverages:

Alfalfa; Aloe Vera; Artichoke; Arugula; Asparagus; Bamboo Shoots; Basil; Beet; Beet Greens; Bitter Melon (a type of Gourd); Bok Choy; Broccoli; Brussels Sprouts; Cabbage (Green); Cabbage (Red); Carrots; Cauliflower; Celeriac; Celery; Chicory; Chinese Cabbage (Napa Cabbage); Chives; Collard Greens; Coriander; Cucumber; Dandelion Leaves; Endive; Fennel; Garlic; Ginger; Jicama  Kale; Kohlrabi; Lamb’s Quarter; Lentil sprouts; Lettuce (Butter); Lettuce (Iceberg); Lettuce (Romaine); Mung Bean Sprouts; Mustard Greens; Onions; Parsley; Parsnip; Peppers (Green); Peppers (Red); Pumpkin; Radishes; Radish Sprouts; Scallions; Spearmint (Mint); Spinach;  Stinging Nettle; Sunflower Sprouts; Swiss Chard; Tomatoes; Turnips; Turnip Greens; Watercress; Wheat Grass; Yams; Zucchini.

BUYING A JUICER

I suggest you buy a juicer that is very easy to clean. When I first bought a juicer 10 years ago, it was difficult to put back together after dis-assembly for cleaning. I sold it and am thrilled with my easy-to-clean pressing-style juicer. A juice press is very important for three reasons:

1) The juice does not oxidize as quickly because there is no high-speed blade used to extract the juice. It is just a heavy-duty screw that presses the veggies or fruit against a metal screen.

2) Pressing preserves the greatest amount of enzymes in the juice. Because the press is so slow, it keeps the juice from heating up.

3) It is faster to use a press. A standard bucket-style juicer might seem faster because you can stick a whole apple or carrot in without cutting it up. But the time is wasted at the end because hundreds of holes in a large bucket screen are a complete pain to clean.

Two small notes about juice presses to ensure success:

1) Because presses do not have blades, it helps to alternate between soft and hard vegetables. Soft vegetables don’t release their juice as fast as hard veggies. When you use a harder vegetable after a softer vegetable, you help to flush the juice from the soft one more easily into your glass.

2) When juicing small leaves such as cilantro or parsley, wrap the leaves inside a bigger leaf vegetable such as kale, or roll the smaller leaves into a ball to maximize the yield.

Tips to keep in mind if you are just starting out:

1) Keep it simple. With simplicity comes consistency. If you make it a routine you can stick with, you are sure to see results.

AVOID THE SUGAR DADDY!

If you suffer from a sugar-related health problem such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, or heart disease, it is important to stick to the green veggies and just add enough apple or carrot to help make it taste good. Let your healthcare professional know you want to start a juicing program so they can consult with you on how to adjust medication.

For reduction of inflammation and to correct hormone imbalance, you must keep your blood sugar in a narrow range. If you go too high with lots of sugar and starches, you will increase inflammation. If you skip meals, then you risk producing more stress hormones and irritability. I have made the following recipes less sweet than you may find in a juice bar, but that is important for healing. They are delicious and refreshing, yet nourishing – perfect on a hot summer day.

DON’T DETOX TOO FAST!

Green juices such as broccoli, cabbage, dandelion, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, and kale are powerful medicine, so start off slowly and gradually increase. To ensure a nice recipe balance, make 1/4 to 1/3 green juice.

This stimulates gentle cleansing, and prevents dehydration caused by loose bowel movements (a common side-effect of using pure juice). Mix greens with apple, celery, cucumber, or carrots for a gentle yet effective summer cleanse.

Fresh vegetable juice is great, but please focus on eating your veggies whole whenever possible. The fibre in veggies is critical for a healthy colon and good digestion.

If you suffer from kidney stones, you will want to avoid high oxalic acid foods such as spinach, beets, collard greens, and some other vegetables that may increase the size of the stones. If you have poor kidney function, you have to be careful because most juices are high in minerals that the kidney may not be able to process. Check with your naturopath or renal specialist for a safe list of good choices.

RAINBOW REASON!

We have all heard it is smart to eat a rainbow of colours, and there is a good reason why. By changing up the produce you use, you get a wider spectrum of nutrition. While one vegetable may be low in a certain vitamin or mineral, another vegetable may not. By eating (or in this case drinking) a variety, you smooth out the peaks and valleys, and ensure complete nutrition. Variety also safeguards us from food sensitivities. If you eat the same food every day, you risk your immune system flagging that food as an allergen.

To save space, these recipes do not have individual instructions. The process is very easy: Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth.

All recipes make 2 servings.

REFERENCES

(1) March 2008 study by Charles Benbrook, Xin Zhao, Jaime Yanez, Neal Davies, and Preston  Andrews. Check out the entire 53 page report at http://www.organiccenter.org/science.nutri.php?action=view&report_ id =126

(2) Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec.; 26(12):3215-8.

This recipe was adapted from the book Fat Wars: 45 Days to Transform Your Body (CDG Books Canada) by bestselling author Brad King. The whey protein provides an incredible creamy texture, yet is easier to digest than standard whey protein. The maca has been traditionally used in Peru for hormone balance and fertility.

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops (60 grams weight) of vanilla high alpha whey protein (this product is derived from cow’s milk; alternatives are goat milk whey or Genuine Health’s Vegan proteins+)
  • ½ cup pineapple
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp maca powder

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Apples contain Calcium D-glucarate, a powerful phytochemical that, according to scientists, protects the body against cancer by increasing liver detoxification. Slippery Elm Bark has been used for centuries to heal inflammation in the digestive system. The inulin helps to control blood sugar, and the aloe vera gel is a natural remedy for constipation and other intestinal problems.

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic apples
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Slippery Elm Bark
  • 1 tsp inulin powder (or ground flax seed)
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 1 Tbsp aloe vera gel (use whole leaf, filtered, if you want a laxative effect)

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Sunflower sprouts are rich in B vitamins and essential amino acids.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pear juice
  • 1 cup peach slices
  • 1 Tbsp spirulina
  • ½ cup sunflower sprouts
  • 30 grams vegetarian protein powder (stevia sweetened or unsweetened)

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Studies show that anthocyanins found in acai berries can help prevent blood clots, improve blood circulation, relax blood vessels, and prevent atherosclerosis. As well, scientists have uncovered a whole host of other powerful effects from anthocyanins, including antiviral and anti-allergenic properties.

Ingredients:

  • 2 blocks of frozen acai pulp
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 tsp inulin fibre
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp tiger nuts, ground (optional)
  • 2 cups water

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

This shake is a wonderful celebration of flavours. Tiger nuts have long been recognized for their health benefits, as they are high in blood sugar-balancing fibre, proteins, and magnesium. The Tigernut (cyperus sculentus lativum) or ‘Chufa’ as it is known in Spanish, is not actually a nut, but a small tuber. It is typically cultivated in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

One of the first human studies on cinnamon in 2003 found very positive results for blood sugar control, as reported in the medical journal Diabetes Care. Sixty people with Type 2 diabetes took the equivalent of a 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon per day. After 40 days, all three amounts of cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29%, triglycerides by 23 to 30%, LDL cholesterol by 7 to 27%, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26%.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 3 dates
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 1 tsp mesquite powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp tiger nut powder

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Some research has shown that watermelon may be an excellent agent for promoting blood flow to the heart. It also has been shown to reduce plaque in the arteries, thin the blood, and raise “good” levels of cholesterol while helping lower “bad” cholesterol. Pomegranate juice tends to act as an inhibitor of enzymes responsible for damaging cartilage.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate powder (optional booster)

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Bee pollen is one of nature’s most powerful superfoods. It’s exceptionally high in B-vitamins that increase energy, vitality, and stamina. Blueberries are a great aid for diarrhea and constipation because they contain tannins that are astringent to the digestive system, reducing inflammation.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
  • 30 grams protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground Chia seed
  • ½ lemon (juiced)
  • 1 cup water

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

This is my favourite smoothie of all time because it has it all. And in the nutrition world I think, more is more! We have almost every nutrient covered between all these incredible superfoods. Spirulina is a good tasting algae that provides protein, minerals, and B-vitamins for sustained energy.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup raw almonds (or hazelnuts)
  • ¼ cup goji berries (or currants)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp spirulina powder
  • 1 Tbsp flax oil or other good oil
  • 2 Tbsp chia seed
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • ½ tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups water
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp honey (if desired)

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

When you want a “stick to your ribs” breakfast, but don’t have a lot of time, try this hearty smoothie. The touch of turmeric makes it sunny yellow, and provides an anti-inflammatory benefit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp quinoa flakes
  • 1½ Tbsp hazelnut or almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp apple juice-infused cranberries
  • 1 cup rice or almond milk
  • ½ cup ice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

Carrots, beets, and cucumbers detoxify the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys. Lemon and ginger are excellent for digestion and inflammation reduction.

Ingredients:

  • 4 carrots
  • ½ medium sized cucumber
  • 1 medium beet with greens
  • ¼ lemon
  • 1 inch piece of ginger

1) Wash and cut the produce into small pieces. Process the carrots, cucumber, beet, and lemon together through your juicer.

The editor of my book loves to detox with tasty smoothies. This recipe is delicious, beautiful, and deeply cleansing. The beet root and maca root are great for hormone balance.

Ingredients:

  • 4 apricots
  • 1 large beet, steamed
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 Tbsp honey (optional)
  • Alternative: Reduce lime to ½ and eliminate honey

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

This smoothie is more like a pudding. It is rich and creamy, deeply satisfying, and as decadent as ice-cream but without any guilt pangs. The spices make the protein easier to digest. The mesquite is an amazing hormone balancing superfood that provides sweetness and lots of energizing minerals.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 Tbsp carob or raw unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1 Tbsp whey protein (if dairy sensitive, try Vegan proteins+)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (optional if you like it a bit tart)

1) Just stick everything in the blender, make sure the lid is on tight, and blend until smooth. All recipes make 2 servings.

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