Martie’s health boost protein smoothies
There are several advantages to a liquid “meal”. It’s fast, light, refreshing and easy to digest. It’s a great way to get concentrated nutrition (even for sick people*) without popping a bunch of pills and it can be yummy. This drink could replace any meal, even dinner, but in my opinion no drink should replace more than 1 or 2 meals a day for long. We need a variety of nutrients from a range of foods and we soon burn out on a liquid diet.
I promise you that I don’t own stock in a single company mentioned here! I may link to HealthWorks Mart to show you what the product looks like but, I don’t work for them either. However, I do trust that store because the owner stocks the products I like (and he is my son so I like to think he learned to put the customer first).
Basic steps – The base meal replacement powder and some enhancements such as Fruit of the Spirit, MacNut Oil, fiber and Sprouted Flax will easily blend in a spring ball blender shaker making your smoothie great for taking lunch to the office. To add frozen fruit or ice you will need an electric blender.
I just do not have time to drag out the juicer and make fresh vegetable juice every day, so I bought a set of stacking plastic ice cube trays. (Rubbermaid works the best.) I use them to make cubes from green vegetable juice, carrot juice, beet juice, ginger extract, chicken broth, lime juice, leftover wine, etc. Once frozen, I pop them out onto one of those thin flexible plastic cutting surfaces to use as a funnel. Bending that makes it easy to corral the cubes into a container or a freezer bag. I absolutely love these Better Homes and Gardens Flip-Tite canisters (BPA Free). They are super easy to use and they maximize freezer space.
- Start with your choice of juice cubes or ice in the blender. (Use crushed ice if you have it. Ice cubes take longer to crush). I start with about 12 ounces combined juice cubes and vegetable juice, but you can adjust that starting point from experience depending on which ingredients you add, how thick you like your drink and how well your blender deals with the ice or cubes.
- If you use frozen fruit or lecithin granules add them now.
- Run the blender on high long enough to chop up the ice and fruit.
- On the lowest setting, add the base powder and your choice of added ingredients.
- Add oil last if that is in your recipe and blend just a bit so as to not expose the oil to too much oxygen which degrades it.
The Base (Note: I’ve given links mainly to Amazon or to our sponsor HealthWorks Mart to show you what I mean and perhaps make shopping simpler. I’ve shown small sizes to test them out, but some come in more economical sizes when you are sure you want to continue with that item.)
Everyone has a favorite drink mix. I have been happy with Natural Edge Meal Replacement Powder but, if you can find a better one, look for these attributes:
- Not gritty, blends easily and tastes great. (My favorite is the Orange Cream, but Chocolate and Vanilla are good too). Because the flavors are natural, you don’t get that funky chemical aftertaste from artificial flavors and colors that are used in some other mixes.
- Low in sugars (less than a teaspoon) without using worrisome artificial sweeteners . It’s sweetness comes from a blend of herbal Stevia and Lo Han plus some Xylitol. Even diabetics can appreciate that and the substantial 300 mcg of blood-sugar-balancing mineral chromium. Unless you get carried away adding fruit juice, this drink should not spike blood sugar. That is an extremely important consideration for the prevention of virtually all degenerative diseases, not just diabetes. These days we know that calorie count is a much less important concern. So, watch out for grocery store mixed fruit juices. Some of the labels list 28 grams of sugar per serving—that is 7 teaspoons! Even if that sugar is from fruit, your blood sugar system may not like that much at once.
- Protein is substantial (25 grams) and is a blend of high quality whey..
- A good balance and quantity of vitamin and mineral basics because this is replacing a meal.
- Low in calories. (This one has only 189 and contains several nutritional ingredients to safely improve metabolism.) You definitely can use these smoothies to lose fat, but don’t worry about that factor or the “Fat Burner” name on the front if you want to maintain your current weight or even gain weight. (E.g. a person recovering from chemo.) Almost everyone wants to gain muscle, not fat. Also, see below for ways to add calories.
- NO Trans Fats
- Low in sodium because we have plenty of other sources in the diet.
- Enzymes for greater digestibility and Bioperine ® for improved absorption of nutrients.
- Fiber. This one has 3 grams but even that is only roughly 10% of your daily requirement so also eat high fiber food during the day or add fiber to the smoothie. Strawberries are rather fibrous.
- Affordable. (You couldn’t get a drive-through meal for what this drink costs!)
ADD MORE NUTRITION TO THE BASE –
Fruit of the Spirit for age-defying phyto-nutrients and trace minerals – Nature invested fruits and berries with special plant complexes that provide powerful protection to our cells. Each fruit seems to have extra benefit to a different area like the eyes, the brain, the liver, the immune system or the heart and in a different way. That’s why I much prefer a supplement that blends a variety of the exotic potent super fruits. I have not seen a blend I like as well, but if you have a favorite, see if it shares these Fruit of the Spirit advantages:
- Low in sugar – less than one teaspoon of naturally occurring fruit sugar and no added sugars
- Blends a dozen Super Fruits. Organic is used wherever that is possible.
- 5 beneficial Biblical herbs like aloe, Frankincense, Myrrh Gum and Scutterlaria Root as well as Dead Sea minerals (with the heavy metals removed of course.)
- Is not heavily heat treated. Flash-pasteurizing and flash-cooling make the product stable without ruining the health benefits. This is not true of most products.
- Tastes so good that even children love it.
The normal Fruit of the Spirit serving is 1 ounce but you will see faster results with 2. Of course, you don’t have to put it in a smoothie, you can just drink it straight. Receive a substantial discount by ordering from this link (Fruit of the Spirit) or by calling (800) 793-8830. Healthy by Nature’s mission is supported by every purchase.
Fats and Oils – Of course fats add calories, but good fats actually improve metabolism. And, they make the drink taste richer and satisfy your appetite longer. Don’t add a standard cooking oil like corn oil, safflower oil or soy oil. They are high in the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. MacNut Oil is an excellent choice. It is even richer than olive oil in the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that are known to prevent many health issues and to improve metabolism. This lovely light oil adds a nice body and nutty richness of flavor. Other choices include a hunk of avocado (is great with a V-8 based drink and surprisingly inconspicuous with fruit). A tablespoon of Almond Butter gives an interesting flavor and substance as well as some oil. Some folks like coconut oil, but do make sure you liquifiy it and add as the blender whirls. Otherwise, it may seem like you have added crayons to your drink.
Frozen berries – Strawberries and raspberries are both delicious additions, but are among the fruits we should buy as organic . That’s why I buy organic berries already frozen. They are flash frozen immediately after harvest so nutritionally they may be even better than fresh. If you use Fruit of the Spirit, you probably can skip this item.
Frozen banana – Freezing bananas that are overripe is a good way to avoid wasting them. However, a whole medium size banana contains almost 4 tsp of sugar, so I recommend using just ¼ to ½ of one to add some extra potassium, body and a little pizzazz to the drink.
Sprouted Flax Powder – Flax Revolution is made from organic flax seeds that have been sprouted prior to grinding. That makes the seeds much more stable and the nutrients more absorbable. There are varieties with added cranberry/Goji or blueberry. These flax products do add a little texture but have a pleasant flavor and can be used on cereal, etc.
Fiber – Most of us need more fiber. My favorite is Raw Fiber by Garden of Life. It works, tastes good, blends well and is low in carbohydrates.
MemoryWorks – I love this product. It was designed by the same expert that put together the famous but older generation Focus Factor which was for children. Dr. Kyle Smith is the author of Brighter Mind. MemoryWorks contains a proprietary blend of nutrients and herbs to support concentration and mood but I’ve found it also helps reduce appetite and supports the thyroid gland. It also adds flavor and sweetness without sugar. In formulating the product Dr. Smith insisted on using only the finest ingredients and in sufficient amounts for the desired effects. You should probably not use this when you are using the drink as supper because the extra alertness would come too late in the day and it might interfere with sleep.
Lecithin – This soy derivative is known for helping lower cholesterol, improving brain function and reducing the risk of gall stones and fatty liver. Here are some of the better researched benefits. LINK. Lecithin is used in food processing and make the drink smoother. It is important to buy one that is non-GMO and does not use the chemical hexane in its manufacturing. I use 2 Tablespoons of Lewis Labs granules because I think it is the best.
Chia seeds – These little powerhouses are packed with energy, protein and omega-3 fats. They are known to help blood sugar, bones and the cardiovascular system and more. It isn’t necessary to soak them, but I like to keep a small jar of them covered with water in the refrigerator and add a tablespoon. Soaking makes the nutrients more accessible. Here is a good one but if you belong to one of the big club stores, check because sometimes they have a deal on large quantities of organic seeds.
Flavors with benefits. Cinnamon or ginger add flavor and health benefits. Cinnamon helps blood sugar and ginger is anti-inflammatory. See this page for a suggestion on creating your own ginger extract.
In conclusion: There are lots and lots of possible additions to customize your smoothie. I’ve added all of the items listed above and so many other things that it sometimes becomes more like a casserole. (No matter how good it is for us, if it tastes nasty we’ll stop drinking it!) The Omni Diet by Tana Amen has good smoothie recipes and is a great book anyway.
*For someone who is ill or doesn’t tolerate a lot of pills, you can even open up capsules and add them to the drink. When my mom was quite sick I made up a week’s supply of little containers with all the dry smoothie ingredients and other supplements. I also made little snack size Zip-lock packets of frozen fruit in the freezer and small Mason jars of the liquid ingredients in the refrigerator. That way she only had to throw 3 things into the blender to create a quick drink with a ton of nutrition. She was very happy to inform me when I’d sneak in something new that didn’t taste good!
Copyright Martie Whittekin June 2009 and August 2013 All rights reserved.