The reason for writing a healthy series about smoothies and juices is to increase a healthier lifestyle and encourage weight loss, although I don’t enjoy diets…They might initially work, but then it all stops, you plateau or worse still you get bored and go back to your ‘old ways’  Who hasn’t tried a diet at one time or another?

In this section, I will give you some background of why you should investigate smoothies or juices.  Next week, I will breakdown the ingredients and it’s benefits to our bodies; fruit, vegetables AND herbs/spices.  Finally in week four, I will share some of my smoothie recipes with you that are nutritional and filling.  If you missed the first part of this Let’s Get Healthy series, you can read it here.

Thoughts have moved away from diets and more about promoting long-term “lifestyle changes.’  On a daily basis, I hear bad things about processed food, additives or preservatives and excessive sugar and salt we inflict on our bodies.  How many of us actually have our ‘5-a-day?’  I’m not saying we can’t indulge at times and a little of what you fancy.  Anyway, I am not here to preach and no health pro, just to share my findings!

Mention drinking a glass of ‘green gunge,’ and many will be instantly put off.  There is so much more to juicing and smoothies!  They could be the health kick you need and part of controlled diet, you can even lose weight the healthy way, by supplementing with a meal.

Just this week, I saw an ad selling a supply of detox and cleansing juices for a staggering £464 (UK prices); 6 juices a day over 7 days (just a 1 week supply), which works out at a massive £11 per juice.  It is not as though these are reinventing the wheel, so let’s get down to basics of how you can make a supply of your own nutritious, convenient and cost effective drinks.

triple berry smoothie

The commonly asked questions:

“I already eat fruit and vegetables, so why bother with smoothies and juices?”

It is true that you can compare like for like fruit and vegetable in whole, fresh form to a smoothie or juice.  Even if you are regularly consuming your 5-a-day, you can better combine ingredients in form of a drink or juice and take out of the home for portability.  There are some that believe the right combination of ingredients can set you up better for the day.  In place of a traditional breakfast, you can help speed up metabolism, detox and boost the immune system for example and benefit yourself, early in the day, over an evening meal.  It is also commonly known that fresh over cooked is best (with a few exceptions), preserving nutrients.

“What is the difference between smoothies and juices?”

Juices are obtained by extracting juice from fruits or vegetables and leaving behind the skin, peel etc., whereas smoothies use a blender to liquidise the ingredients into a thick shake-like drink.  Bits in the drink may not be your preferred choice.  There are tips I will be giving you next week to help you sweeten, thicken or thin out your drinks, so bear that in mind that there are options.

“Blender or juicer ?”  Pros and cons.

Blenders are cheaper than juicers, almost half the price.  If you get a blender, make sure you buy a powerful motor 900W+ that can blitz hard seeds, break ice cubes etc and you will find you get a smoother end product (although viscosity – thick consistency will always be a problem).  There are also fewer parts to clean than a juicer.  In some cases blenders keep more nutrition in over a juicer, such as the white of the orange than normally gets discarded, when it actually holds important nutrients.

Juicers have more parts to clean.  You loose all the unnecessary bits, so there is no doubt, you get a perfectly smooth juice every time!  The down side is the quantity of fruit and vegetables needed for a juicer, especially if you are feeding a family.  Money should not be an issue when it comes to fresh, organic and additive/preservative free, but in reality it often is.  The comparable cost and choice of a juicer or blender is going to come down to personal choice!

“Can either be cost effective?”

An emphatic YES.  Food prices around the world have increased considerably.  You might say smoothies and juices just aren’t worth the price.  Fair enough, but consider visiting wholesalers, food markets or farmers markets.  Often you can purchase larger quantities than supermarkets sell and for less than you think, often with the added bonus of being organic.

Consider frozen fruit and vegetables which are often fresher than what you see on shelves.  I know that sounds strange, but frozen products are usually picked and bagged within hours of each other, preserving goodness.  Usually sold in larger quantities than fresh, it will stretch your food budget further.  Look for regional, seasonal products that are generally fresher, so they haven’t been chilled or transported around the world.

Bulking up smoothies with healthy greek yoghurt, adding water or maybe coconut water make it more economical for the family.

Next week we’ll cover health benefits of individual fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices; how to combine them for maximise effect for the body and in smoothie/juice form.  They can be categorised; detox/cleanse, healthy heart, longevity, immune system and weight loss.

Remember, if you’re in any doubt before making lifestyle changes or something that may affect your medication, please seek medical advice!

Here is this week’s recipe for a Triple Berry Blast smoothie – a perfect introduction to smoothies.  Alternatively, look up last week’s Green Zinger smoothie.

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