Smoothies are a refreshing way to get your summer fruits and camouflage vegetables for children and those who won’t even look at a slice of tomato. But many recipes are high glycemic, eliciting the same elevated sugar responses you might experience after eating a candy bar.
To keep the sugar level under control, follow this rule: Use two vegetables to one fruit. Having twice as much vegetable as fruit allows smoothies to be enjoyed by everyone.
On Thursday, I will present a “Fasting, Juicing & Smoothies” seminar at Peaks of Health Metabolic Medical Center in Largo, outlining healthy guidelines for your nutrition regimen and addressing the importance of healthy eating habits. Healthy eating can increase telomeres in all the cells of the body and provide vital information to DNA. As we age our bodies need more positive lifestyle choices, such as exercise, meditation and a nutritious diet, to preserve cell metabolism.
With our busy lifestyles, it is easy to forget how important eating good-quality food can be. Smoothies make for a fast snack or lunch when driving, studying or even answering email.
Consider adding protein powder and coconut oil or avocado to your smoothie to slow down the sugar absorption from the fruit. Consumer Reports found in 2010 that many protein products it sampled had levels of protein lower than what was stated on the label. Nonprotein nitrogen compounds can give a higher nitrogen reading, which is listed as protein on the label. Reputable manufacturers account for nonprotein nitrogen ingredients and don’t mislead consumers by overstating protein content. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not stipulate how protein content is calculated on the nutrition label, consumers should choose products from producers that certify their formulas.
Not all protein powders add amino acids to a smoothie. The processing of protein powders requires heat and oxidizing agents plus solvents to sterilize and pasteurize the product. This process deactivates protein digestibility but cannot be determined from the label. Look for Non-Denatured Protein on the label to select good-quality protein powder.
Because the accompanying Chocolate Spinach Smoothie recipe contains spinach and cocoa, people prone to kidney stones may want to limit their consumption. The most common form of kidney stone is calcium oxalate, but, according to Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin, former professor of oral medicine at the University of Alabama, stone formation is caused by poor hydration and low vitamin C in the diet, not oxalates.
William Shaw, Ph.D., of Great Plains Laboratory in Lenexa, Kan., posits that oxalates from spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops and rhubarb pave the way to kidney stones and disorders like fibromyalgia, candida, anemia and autism.
Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.
Chocolate Spinach Smoothie
½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
½ small ripe banana
1 cup fresh spinach leaves or mixed salad greens
½ tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons amino acid or protein powder
½ cup 2 percent fat plain yogurt (optional)
3 ice cubes or ½ cup water
Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Nutrition information per serving: 109 calories, 12g protein, 12g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 62mg sodium.
Note: You can throw in half of a ripe avocado to improve satiety, adding another 40 calories and 2g of fat.