The question intrigued me once when a friend asked me if the fiber in the food is lost when we blend them smooth. Yes, this is a real question and stupid to the core. That was the time I used to feed smoothies to my daughter for all her meals. Those who have been reading my blog know that Mithi couldn't swallow solid foods. But that was a different case. Blending the food smooth never caused any nutrient loss or even loss of fiber. If you blend soaked almonds to make almond milk, the fiber is still there, more if you retain the skin.
Last month when Parul Khanna of HT Brunch called me to ask about smoothies, I was reminded of all the queries I used to get till now. The article about smoothies is here and it features two of my smoothie recipes too.
Let's come to the utility of smoothies for all of us who want a convenient meal that packs intense nourishment. If you want to include a few nuts and seeds, some dairy and some fruit all in your breakfast, it will be a daunting task at the dining table to finish all of it before you get late for work. Just throw everything into a blender and your breakfast can be slurped within 5 minutes.
You could even add raw eggs to your smoothies if you get good quality organic eggs and the smoothie wont be eggy if your fruits are fresh and aromatic or you add some good quality vanilla extract.
Smoothies are perfect low GI snacks for diabetics too once or twice a day. One can add bulking agents to smoothie like cucumbers, herbs like coriander greens or celery and roasted pumpkin etc and combine them in flavors you like. Isabgul (Psyllium) husk can be added to citrus fruit or watermelon like juicy smoothies to bulk up the smoothie meal. This proves really helpful when one is trying to tone down the appetite due to erratic insulin behavior.
Full of antioxidants, smoothies are anti inflammatory foods if you add fresh ingredients and good fats into it. You can make them probiotic by adding appropriate ingredients too.
Eating flax seeds everyday will be too tedious if you have to add them to breads and chutneys, but in a smoothie it can be added every single day. Some good quality cocoa and a banana, some more nuts and your smoothie is a full meal that keeps you energetic the whole day.
Banana-almond-flax meal-cocoa smoothie with milk...
(one large serving)
- one large banana, over ripe banana is better for smoothies
- 1 heaped tbsp flax meal
- 10-12 soaked almonds
- 2 tsp good quality organic cocoa powder
- a cup of full fat milk or more as required
- Liquidize everything together in food processor or mixie to make a smooth drink.
- Using chilled milk and frozen banana gives you a more creamy chilled smoothie.
Serve right away.
This smoothie is more suitable for a power packed breakfast that keeps you full till lunch hours and doesn't make you feel dull or hungry in the mid morning hours. Add a tsp of cinnamon if you want a deep flavor. Cinnamon heals the gut and is considered to manage blood sugar level efficiently.
If making this smoothie in winters, have it on room temperature and add a dash of nutmeg and a pinch or ginger powder to it, so the smoothie has a warming effect on the body.
A smoothie can be savory and packed with goodness of herbs too. These savory smoothies are great for diabetics and those who avoid sugars, or count calories. Great detox food, these are cooling for the system and refreshing to taste. Great snacks for summer afternoons or can be a lunch option too.
(one large serving)
- one medium sized cucumber chopped roughly
- 1/2 cup packed coriander greens chopped
- 2 tsp of sunflower seeds
- 2 tsp of pumpkin seeds
- 4-5 walnut halves
- a cup of yogurt
- salt to taste
- Soak the mixed nuts together overnight or for an hour or so minimum.
- Liquidize everything together in food processor till smooth and creamy.
- you can add a dash of tabasco sauce if you want a hint of heat.
Use any herbs like celery, parsley, mint or basil depending on what you get fresh and what you feel like having according to your constitution.
Have this smoothie fresh. Although it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of hours.
This smoothie suits lunch during summer days but can be taken as a dinner as well if you are planning to have a smoothie meal. Having said that, I wouldn't advise all meals to be replaced by smoothies as the tactile pleasure of eating other healthy foods is also instrumental in keeping you on track with healthy living.
If making this smoothie in winters, replace cucumber with spinach or carrots.
A few pointers to make the nutrients useful for the system, available to the gut and bloodstream..
- If you are adding Iron and Calcium sources in the smoothie, take care to add yogurt or a citrus fruit so the minerals are absorbed well.
- all fat soluble vitamins need fat in the same meal and that applies to smoothies as well, use full fat milk or yogurt or add a little fresh cream to it. Adding nuts also helps.
- Add protein powders of your choice to smoothies if it is a smoothie that you take after a rigorous workout.
- Do not compromise on taste and add your favorite fresh herbs to savory smoothies and good quality cocoa or fresh fruits or even home made fruit preserves (minimal sugar added) or honey to your smoothies. Higher sugar content in the smoothie will be good for athletes and children who stay active all day.
- Adding soaked poha and yogurt makes the smoothie probiotic, useful if you have IBS or if you have had a bad meal causing bloating or stomach upset.
- Add cinnamon or nutmeg for good sleep and warmth during winters, fennel can be added for cooling effect and black pepper in yogurt smoothies can be cooling as well as carminative and antiflatulent.
- Green chilies and raw onion can be added to savory smoothies, great for summers, prevents heat strokes and heat related inflammations like sun burn and prickly heat.
- Coconut milk is a good addition to smoothies instead of milk, yogurt or fruit juices. Good quality fats and packed with micro nutrients. I prefer adding fresh grated coconut to add fiber to my smoothies.
- Spinach and other greens can be added to smoothies when you use fresh berries and some citrus fruits to make them tasty.
- Add gelatin (bloomed in hot water prior to adding to smoothie) for healthy joints.
Ask me more questions about what to include in smoothies that suit your lifestyle and constitution. Tell me more about what you want in your smoothie. Take care that too much insoluble fiber and too many nuts in your smoothie can make it difficult to digest and cause flatulence and bloating.
Cheers with smoothies..