Tag Archives: juice

Sionara Smoothies!

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Smoothie month may have been my favorite month thus far.  I think that is likely due to the fact that smoothie month involved absolutely no restrictions – it was just an addition to my diet.  I was still able to eat all the food I wanted to, which made it super easy to adhere to the “diet.” And therein lies the problem with smoothies.  Smoothies are so easy to incorporate into the diet because they taste good.  But, as I’ve said before, they can be very calorically dense, which means that it’s easy to over-do the smoothie thing.

Last month I lost 4 pounds, and I was worried about the weight loss.  I started this month by replacing my breakfast with a smoothie.  I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to gain any weight that way.  Typically, breakfast for me consists of 400-500 kcals, and my average smoothie was probably about 300-350 kcals.  Clearly, that isn’t going to result in weight gain, so I decided to start drinking the smoothies as a snack in either the morning or the afternoon.  I found that I snacked less on empty calories and that I was able to regain the weight that I had lost the previous month.  This actually happened to be a perfect fit because I was able to get in plenty of extra, nutrient-dense calories. It’s easy to eat extra, empty calories (i.e. chips, cheese, candy, French fries, etc.), but those leave me feeling sluggish and lazy.  Packing in calories that were rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals is the best way I’ve ever put on weight.

Moral of the story: If you want to pack more nutrients into your day via smoothies, you can do it.  If you want to gain a little weight, add it to your normal diet.  If you want to lose a little weight, replace a meal with one. SCIENCE!

 I also have a few tips based off some of my experiences.

Some fruits/veggies don’t blend well: apples, mangoes, celery, grapefruit, carrots.  Whenever I added apples to my smoothies, they came out with the consistency of applesauce.  Mangoes – again, weird texture…the same is probably true of peaches, plums, etc.  Celery is really good when you juice it, though it also lends a weird consistency to a smoothie.  Grapefruit (maybe other citrus, I didn’t try any) wasn’t a good addition to smoothies.  The pith doesn’t break down well, and you’ll get weird “skins” throughout your smoothie, which is pretty gross.  I didn’t actually try to put carrots into my blender because experience and a brain told me that wouldn’t blend well.  However, carrots are a great veggie to juice, and carrot juice is delicious.  Drink it on its own or add to a smoothie of your liking.

Liquid is necessary.  This is pretty obvious, but there were some fruits that I thought had more liquid in them than they do (berries, mostly), and your smoothie will come out super thick and more like a puree than anything drink-able.  I usually just added water, coconut water, or almond milk to increase the drinkability of these smoothies.

For thickness/creamy texture: avocado, avocado, avocado.  I had never thought to put avo in a smoothie before, but it’s one of my favorite foods, so I tossed it in just to see what would happen.  Magic happened.  The avocado adds a very subtle flavor, but gives a smoothie a really silky texture.  Plus, avocadoes are full of monounsaturated fats, fiber, and potassium. Never a bad thing! Plain greek yogurt also gives a similar result.

And now for my favorite smoothie and my favorite juice. Sorry, as usual, for not real recipes.  As usual, I didn’t measure anything.  These are estimates – adjust accordingly.

Berry Avo Smoothie -This is tangy.  Replace the cranberry juice with coconut water if you want something a little sweeter.

½ avocado

¼ cup 100% cranberry juice

4-5 strawberries

handful each of blueberries, raspberries, and frozen cherries

dollop of nonfat plain Greek yogurt

~1 tbsp flax seeds

Carrot-Pineapple-Ginger Juice (2 servings) –This is amazing.  I only made a couple of juices because they’re a pain in the ass to make/clean up, but this one is SO good.  It just felt like I was giving my body a hug when I drank it.

6-7 full sized carrots

½ pineapple

2 celery stalks

A few quarter sized slices of fresh ginger (I LOVE ginger, so reduce this if you don’t)

 

Goal/Normal

Baseline Data

Vegan

Paleo

WW

GF

Smoothies

Anthro    
Weight

121-60

127.5

127.5

128.5

124

120

124

BMI

18.5-24.9

20

20

20.1

19.5

19

19.5

PBF

21-32

21.4

21.2

20.6

21.3

18.5

19.0

WC

<35

27.5

27.5

27.5

27.5

27.5

27.5

HC

38.5

37.5

38

38

38

38

W:H Ratio

<0.8

0.71

0.73

0.72

0.72

0.72

0.72

Blood Pressure

<120/80

113/77

101/69

105/72

110/70

93/65

92/68

Diet    
Total kcal

2000-2200

1975

1809

1965

1900

1850

1980

Protein (g)

77.5

57

100

75

78

80

Protein (%)

Oct-35

16

12%

20

16

17

17

CHO (%)

49-52

51

39-50

47

54

52

54

Fiber (g)

at least 25

26

42

32

27

29

33

Fat (%)

20-35

29.5

44-54

47

30

31

29

Sat Fat (%)

<10

7

8

8

7

7

7

Sodium (mg)

2300

2587

2138-2527

2132

2370

2250

2320

Potassium (mg)

4700

3479

3959-4109

3742

3628

3658

3925

Fruit/Veg (servings)

5-9

3-7

8-12

6-8

5-7

6-8

8-10

Cost

192.59

206.38

120.97

128.57

135.42

 

Again, sorry for the late post.  I just moved to Boulder, CO on Saturday, so things have been a bit hectic.  But don’t worry! I haven’t fallen off the diet-a-month train. This month I’ve started following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.  I won’t give too much away yet, but if you’re interested in improving your vascular health, stay tuned! I’ll give a nice physiology lesson on how sodium and potassium impact vascular function next time, and I’ll go through some basics of keepin your ticker and its extensions in good working order.

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Hoppin’ On That Smoothie Bandwagon

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I don’t know if I’m just noticing it because I’m in the field, but people seem pretty nuts about smoothies and juicing over the last few years.  As a nutritionist and a cynic, I always thought the whole thing was pretty stupid.  And by whole thing, I mean just the juicing part of the thing.

The Smoothie vs. Juice Debacle

To be clear, the difference between a smoothie and a juice really lies in the type of machinery that you use to make each.  A lot of people will use the term “juice” when they’re really talking about a smoothie, but make no mistake: they are not the same thing. A smoothie is made in a blender-like contraption in which you put whole fruits, vegetables, nut butters, milk, seeds, water — really whatever you want, and hit frappe.  Smoothies are actually a great way to pack in lots of fruits and vegetables in their whole from to make for a very healthy treat.  Of course, you can make these unhealthy by adding sugary yogurts, not including a variety of fruits and vegetables, and not taking the macronutrient content of your smoothie into consideration with what you eat for the rest of the day.  It’s so easy to ruin a good thing.

Juices, on the other hand, are made when you extract the juice of a fruit/vegetable from the fibrous part of the plant.  And therein lies the problem: you’re removing the fiber.  In my experience as a nutritionist, fiber seems to be one of the most forgotten components of the diet.  People seem to wave off recommendations to eat more fiber like they’re trying to shoo away an annoying fly.  But it’s just so important.
Fiber does wonderful things for your digestive tract.  You can’t absorb fiber (if you could, our food supply would be a lot more calorically dense), but all the healthy little bacteria in your intestines love it, and when they digest it, they produce short chain fatty acids that are involved in protecting the colon from cancer.  And who doesn’t love cancer protection? Fiber also helps to reduce cholesterol and lower your risk for heart disease (which is why you’ll see that packages for foods like oats have the American Heart Association seal of approval for Heart Health).  It also helps to reduce belly bloat and increase feelings of satiety (fullness).  Bottom line, eat lots of fiber.
So back to my original point: juices extract the fiber.  In doing so, this creates a lot of waste, which is sad to see because all of that “waste” could be improving your GI and heart health. Additionally, because juices are devoid of fiber, people tend to over-drink them as well.  As I said, fiber helps you to feel full, and without that fiber, many of the body’s normal cues that tell it to stop eating don’t exist.  While juices are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, they can also be pretty high in calories.
I’ve seen this happen numerous times: people start juicing as an addition to their regular diet.  They make no other changes, and they assume that they are doing something super healthy by juicing, but for some reason, they slowly start to put on weight. I think juices cause people to forget the basics of nutrition.  Fruits and vegetables DO have calories (I know, WHAT?!), and a serving of a whole fruit or vegetable is typically fairly low in calories because fiber and water make up the majority of the volume.  When you juice, though, you’re probably using 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables to make one juice.  Taken together, that adds up to a lot of extra calories.  Tack on all those extra calories to your normal diet, and you’ll start gaining weight.  So, this isn’t to say that juices in and of themselves are evil, because they are actually a really great way to get in A LOT of nutrients, but it’s all in how you use them.  And most people use them incorrectly.  The calorie issue is also present in a smoothie — however, because the smoothies have fiber, you typically can’t drink as much of a smoothie as a juice.  Plus, because they are thick (unlike a juice), it takes more time to drink one, so your stomach and brain have time to realize that you’re eating and send the signal to stop once you’re full.  Lastly, because of the fiber and anything you add to the smoothie (yogurt, nut butters, etc.), the smoothie can be hearty enough to replace a meal, so that you’re not actually adding calories to your day.
Here is a really amazing blog post from a Registered Dietitian about some of the problems with juice fasts/cleanses.  This lady totally speaks my language and she hits on a lot of the issues with the pseudo-science that abounds in popular culture and all over the internet.

30 Day Smoothie Challenge

What I’ve decided to do for May is simply to replace my breakfast with a smoothie everyday.  “How is this a diet?” you ask. It really isn’t, but it is a pretty big trend right now, particularly green smoothies.  With one of these breakfast smoothies, I average 4 servings of fruits/vegetables in a very portable, easy to consume “meal.” I really just want to see if I feel any different by adding this many servings of fruits and vegetables to my diet.

I’m 15 days in to the challenge, and I’ve started to get pretty creative with my smoothie skills.  Here are some of my criteria for this challenge:
-Every smoothie has to have at least one serving of vegetables
-Throughout the week, I have to drink smoothies that contain produce from a variety of different colors. Sometimes this means that all those colors go into one smoothie (i.e. mango, kale, and blueberries all in one). Other times it means that I’ll have a purple smoothie one day, an orange one the next, green on another day…etc. Eat the rainbow!
-Any “base” has to be unsweetened (i.e. unsweetened almond milk, plain coconut water, plain yogurt).  The fruits already have enough fructose to make the smoothies sweet. No need to add more.
-Every smoothie has to have a protein and/or a fat source.  Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients (Vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids).  Protein just makes it more well rounded, though I’m not too worried about the protein bit because I get enough protein in the rest of my diet. This typically means that I add some kind of nut butter, avocado, plain Greek yogurt, or a little olive oil to each smoothie.

At the end of the month, I’ll share some recipes of my favorite smoothies! And probably some of the failures too…