The Basics of Smoothies - dummies

By Pat Crocker

Smoothies are the darlings of the healthy-drink world. They taste divine; they can be as nutritious as a salad and as satisfying as a light lunch; they’re so easy to make, drink, and clean up after; and they enrich the diet without adding too many calories or unwanted fat. Who wouldn’t want to savor them?

Beyond the basics of fruit and fruit juice ingredients, smoothies are exciting in their range of possibilities and are limited only by your imagination. Although fruit smoothies are the most popular by far, vegetable smoothies can be just as rewarding, and adding milk or organic soy boosts protein and calcium.

Smoothies are a delicious, guilt-free alternative to high-sugar, high-calorie iced drinks. For people who love iced-coffee drinks, milkshakes, and the like, smoothies make the transition to healthier drinks easy. You don’t need to feel deprived, and you don’t have to sacrifice taste and texture while enjoying maximum health benefits. Make antioxidant iced smoothies with frozen berries, bananas or other fruit, and iced drinks and save money while actually doing something healthy for your body.

With dairy ingredients, nuts and seeds, legumes, herbs, and protein supplements, smoothies can be used as the occasional meal replacement.

Here are a couple of the benefits you can enjoy by using herbs in smoothies:

  • Enhanced energy: The American Cancer Society acknowledges that ginseng is used to provide energy, among other things. One teaspoon of powdered ginseng in smoothies no more than twice a day is all you need.

  • Improved memory: Ginkgo biloba increases blood flow to the brain and is widely used in Europe for treating dementia; through studies, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that ginkgo positively effects memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia. You can add drops of the tincture or stir a teaspoon of the powdered ginkgo into smoothies.

Savor fruit smoothies made from fresh local fruit in the morning. Add 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese or yogurt; it gives you the protein you need for staying focused right up until about an hour before lunch. At that time, make a vegetable juice as a sort of appetizer, which keeps you sated and allows you to make really good choices about the lunch you’ll have.