Saturday, March 1, 2008

Smoothies, Jamba Juice and the Truth

So are smoothies the next health craze? Are people really meeting for dates at Jamba Juice or the next new smoothie bar. What's the deal with smoothies anyway? I love them. I have them for breakfast, sometimes daily...but here's the scoop - some smoothies can have up to 400 calories, especially if you go for the 20z or 34oz grande type size. Some of my initially "favorite" smoothies at Jamba Juice actually contain sorbet, a great deal of added sugar or other nasty ingredients that push the health content down in favor of the candylike exterior. Here's a recipe from the food network that is supposed to be a "healthy" breakfast smoothie:
Canned apricot halves blend with yogurt in a tangy and refreshing smoothie.
1 cup canned apricot halves in light syrup
6 ice cubes
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons sugar
Blend apricot halves, ice cubes, yogurt and sugar in a blender until frothy.

Ok, let's analyze and deconstruct...light syrup - not especially one of my favorite things - this mostly connotes splenda or some artificial sweetener or just less sugar or high fructose corn syrup than regular "heavy syrup" or worse, the syrup with the same amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup is just boiled for a shorter period of time making it appear lighter. I would recommend fresh apricots if possible, dried apricots that were soaked in water overnight or frozen apricots or a mixture of frozen apricots and peaches. If none of these were available - whole foods and possibly your local health food store may sell canned peaches or apricots in no syrup or simply a fruit juice syrup - read your labels carefully.

nonfat plain yogurt - yet another non-whole food. If you are going to consume yogurt - go for the full fat variety. Go for a sheeps or goat milk's yogurt with a small amount of naturally occurring sugar. Go for an organic non-homoginized cow milks yogurt if you must have one from a cow or wildwood brand soy milk yogurt that is unsweetened.

I'm completely terrified of this ingredient:
sugarBlend apricot halves. whatever is blended with the sugar - I don't want...and really I don't want sugar in my smoothie.

So, if I were to make an apricot or peach smoothie in the AM - what would I use?
Here's a recipe I can stand by:

Peach/berry smoothie:
1 cup mixed berries (fresh if available - frozen and non-sweetened if not - I like whole foods brand 365 or cascadian farm brand organics) - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries

1/2 cup slice apricots or peaches...again i usually use frozen. If in season I might slice up a nectarine, white peach or yellow peach or apricot. I also like dried unsulphured turkish apricots that have been soaked in water overnight or at least two hours.

1 tablespoon agave nectar (I've made many smoothies without this - but if you are just getting off sugar - you might need it)

1/2 cup full fat sheep or goat milk yogurt, fage brand greek yogurt also acceptable

1/4-1/2 cup pomegranate, blueberry, cranberry juice - all unsweetened. or 1/4-1/2 cup goat milk, soy milk (unsweetened), almond or hemp milk work as well.

If i am using frozen fruit - I don't usually add ice cubes - otherwise you could add 3 ice cubes.

blend and enjoy.

I like to add 2-3 tablespoons of hemp seeds for protein and flax seeds for omega 3s and essential fatty acids. I avoid protein powders which are over processed and often not easily absorbable despite their claims of containing 20g of protein per scoop. I am wary of such claims.

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