Smoothies-Evil Sugar Traps?!

So I signed up for a Pinterest account a few hours ago, and I’m finding it to be very interesting (ie. a willpower-destroying time-sucker lol).  Pinterest asks you your areas of interest when you sign up, so I already had a board full of inspirational quotes, cute kitties, and an abundance of “healthy” recipes and tips when I signed on.  One thing I couldn’t help noticing were all the delicious smoothie recipes…I consider myself a bit of a smoothie expert having been blending up concoctions for more than a decade, but I’m always looking for new ideas…

Wait, what?  The recipes!  The amount of sugar in these smoothies is astounding!  Yes, fruit is good, we should eat plenty of fruits in our diet…but fruit is loaded with sugar and if we’re blending up 3 or 4 servings along with some sort of milk or juice, we’re not doing our bodies any favors. Do it every day, and it’s probably causing more harm than good.  An example:  One recipe calls for 2 medium apples (38g sugar) along with 1-2 frozen bananas (14-30g sugar)…blended with a cup of milk (approx. 12g for dairy) and a 1/2 cup of oatmeal.  That’s up to 80 grams of sugar in one glass…hello insulin spike!

Smoothies are an integral part of my life…even when I’m being “bad,” smoothies are around.  I love experimenting, but I have 2 basic smoothie types…green smoothies and meal smoothies.  I admit that my smoothies used to be higher in sugar (definitely not 80g high!) before I tried the Atkin’s Diet a few years ago…when I had to figure out life without the creamy sweetness of bananas or mango.  This actually was not so difficult…ginger and avocado to the rescue.  But really, fruit makes it so much better…you just don’t need so much of it.  And many vegetables blend just as well.

Green Smoothie Basic Recipe

1-2 cups of leafy greens (kale, dandelion greens, spinach-I like to vary these, and spinach is the easiest to hide)

1/2 to 3/4 frozen berries (berries are lower in sugar than most other fruits)

1/4 to 1/2 small avocado (preferably chilled)

Cold filtered water

Pack greens into blender cup and fill about a third with water, blend for about 30 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients, sprinkle with cinnamon and/or ginger if desired, add water to fill line, blend until smooth.  Best served immediately and enjoyed cold.

My “meal” smoothies are a little more complex, designed to actually take the place of a meal…usually for work.  I try to pack as many goodies into these as I can, so they’re not only energy, they’re optimum function fuel.  This is where you can play with ingredients such as flax seed, chia seeds (have floss on hand), nut butters, super greens, beet powders, etc.

“Meal” Smoothie Basic Recipe

3/4 cup keffir

1 serving protein powder (whatever flavor you like, I try to buy the highest quality powders I can find, and I use both whey and plant protein mixes)

1/2 cup frozen berries

1/4-1/2 small avocado (optional, I like to have the fat for staying power)

1 T maca root (this is one of those optional ingredients)

1 T collagen hydrolysate

Cold filtered water

Add ingredients to blender cup in order they are listed.  Add water to fill line.  Blend until smooth.

There are endless ways to create healthful, delicious smoothies and they can easily fit into busy days.  It’s such an easy way to get a variety of beneficial nutrients, don’t get stuck on bananas and apples.  Not that there’s anything wrong with either, but all things in moderation.  I have some other amazing smoothie recipes I’ll try to post in the future.  Maybe I’ll even take pictures and pin them 🙂

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