Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Healthy Smoothies

We started making smoothies a few years ago to try and be healthier and feel better.  A few months ago our blender broke after about 3 years of daily use.  Not wanting to wait for shipping to get a new one, we bought a Vitamix at a local retail store and couldn't be happier with it.  To make a fruit and veggie smoothie you need an emulsifying blender so it will pulverize everything and not leave pieces and chunks like a regular blender will- nothing is worse than drinking a big chunk of spinach leaf!  Trust me the expensive one's are well worth the money- the Vitamix is super fast and gets every little piece.  Here is the recipe we make every day:

1/2 c 100% cranberry juice (you can use water- we just like cranberry juice)
1 cup Voskos greek yogurt- I use the Greek Honey flavor, it doesn't have added sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, & allspice)
handful baby carrots
handful grape tomatoes or 1 regular tomato
about 1/3 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in a few pieces
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 to 1 cup strawberries- take the caps off
broccoli florets- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
2 or 3 big handfuls spinach
1/2 bag frozen blueberries or about 1 1/2 cups- fresh in season
1/2 bag frozen pineapple or 1/2 a fresh pineapple
1 apple - cored

Put everything in the blender except the frozen fruit and blend for a few minutes until smooth, add a little more liquid if needed. Then add the frozen fruit and blend a few more minutes.  This pretty well packs the blender and makes 4 big glasses.   Other fruits I use in season that really give a good flavor are raspberries, cherries, blackberries, peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe- Just be careful as some fruits will overpower, like if you put too much cantaloupe, that is all you will taste. I try to buy US fruits and veggies, but that is not always so easy.  I usually use frozen blueberries and pineapple, and they don't loose any nutrients by freezing. The blueberries, grapes, and apples are what add the sweetness- so you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want your juice. I also wash all my fresh fruits and veggies really good.

Cooked veggies loose most of their super powers so this is the best way to get the raw stuff you need. Cinnamon is a top antioxidant, with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.  It has been shown to help with glucose and digestion.  Cloves are beneficial against muscle pain & arthritis.  Ginger can rev your metabolism and promote circulation.  It's also been shown to help lower blood pressure and can reduce nausea, it's anti-viral and can help lower cholesterol.  But start with just a little because the cinnamon and ginger can overpower the flavor if you get too much and make your juice hot and spicy.  Pineapple contains bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory, which aids digestion and helps with sinus congestion.  And of course you can never get enough spinach and broccoli! 

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