Smoothies 101

I’ve been littering my Instgram feed with my daily smoothie experiments and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback/questions, so I’m devoting a blog post to the topic.

What is the difference between juicing and blending?
Juicing extracts the liquid from the fruits and veggies, but leaves the fiber behind (typically in a catch basket). Juices are super easy to digest and give your body’s cells a nice little bath. Smoothies keep the fiber so they tend to be more filling, take you body longer to digest, but are easier when it comes to clean-up. Books have been written on the topic of juicing and smoothie making,  so I won’t harp too much on the debate. Both are wonderful and have a place in your diet, should you wish to include them. I tend to blend more than I juice. It’s a matter of preference and time. Look for a post in the future that focuses on the joys of juicing.

You’ll need a blender. Hardcore smoothie aficionados swear by the big guns – Vitamix and Blendtec. They may be powerful, but they also pack a slap to the face with their $300-600 price tags. I’ve been making smoothies for a few years now, and my less expensive blenders have done me just fine. My roommate owns an Oster 12-speed blender and I have a small personal Tribest blender. Both handle ice, frozen fruit and veggies, and blend like a dream. I forsee myself eventually leveling up to a Vitamix or Blendtec, but for now my cheaper models suit me just fine. Do a little research and read some reviews before you make a purchase. Depending on the recipe you may also need a knife and cutting board. Nothing you don’t already use in the kitchen. 🙂

Your Ideal Smoothie Equation
If you want your smoothies to pack a nutritional punch, you are looking for:

1 part fruit
+ 2 parts veggies (Yes, you read that right, double the veggies.)
+ 1 liquid
+ added bonuses
+ ice (optional, not necessary if you are using frozen fruits)

This isn’t an equation you have to live by, but it’s ideal. Feel free to play around with the ratios and switch things up as often as you’d like. If I’m looking for a lighter smoothie, I sometimes leave the fat out. It’s all about experimenting and finding your preference. If you are replacing a meal with this smoothie, definitely keep the fat and add some protein.

Fruits & Veggies
When should you go organic and when can you cut pennies?
I highly recommend going all organic, but if your budget can’t handle all organic produce take into account the Dirty Dozen. These are the fruits and veggies found to have the most pesticides. They include:

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes (imported)
11. Carrots
12. Pears

If you are using any of these fruits or veggies you’ll want to spend the extra bucks for organic. What good is introducing all those healthy enzymes, vitamins and minerals into your body if you are bringing pesticides along for the ride?! Why double the veggies? They are full of nutrients, enzymes and if they are green, they are full of chlorophyll, which helps increase oxygen availability in the body. Most vegetables alkalinize the body, balancing out your consumption of acidic meats, grains and flour products. This balance is crucial to disease prevention and healing.

You’ll need a liquid base to get things blending. I highly suggest coconut water or a nut milk as you get the most bang for your buck. Coconut water is high in electrolytes, think nature’s Gatorade without all that sugar. Nut milks are high in protein and help make your smoothies creamy. Almond milk is now widely available and is what I prefer. You can even make your own nut milk. Filtered water is always an option, too.

Added bonuses

Ahhh…the extra goodies. Some of my favorites include:

  • Fat: Fats have a bad rap with claims that they cause weight gain, heart disease and high cholesterol. In reality, good fats are essential to the body’s ability to metabolize protein and absorb vitamins and minerals. Fats help fuel your body and slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream, resulting in stable energy levels. When it comes down to which good fats you want to include in your smoothies, avocados and nut butters are two I highly recommend. Avocado helps to add creaminess and is great alternative to banana if you aren’t a fan. Avocado is high in fiber, potassium, B vitamins, as well as vitamin E & K. Nut butters are a great addition as they are a great source of protein, fiber and essential fatty acids. Give almond butter a try instead of peanut butter, your body will thank me.
  • Seeds: hemp, flax, chia among others. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you aren’t sure where to buy these, check out It’s my favorite place to grab seeds and coconut oil. Every Tuesday they have an awesome deal of the day and they usually have free shipping if you spend a certain amount.
  • Green powders: I currently use Amazing Grass Green Superfoods, but there are tons of different types and flavor types out there on the market.
  • Hemp protein: Contains the most complete amino acid profile of all plant proteins. This is used by the body to build more cells and muscle. Again, Nutiva is a great place to find this if you don’t have a health food store close to you.

You know what to look for when it comes to ingredients, but now what? When I first stared out, I relied on a few recommended recipes before I began experimenting. Your failed experiments may end up costing you big bucks if you don’t give a few recipes a try first to determine your preferences. A simple Google search will brings up tons of recipes.

A few of my favorites include:

Happy Blending!!!

Are you already blending? What are you favorite recipes? If you aren’t blending yet, what has been stopping you? Let me know!

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