How to become a smooth(ie) operator

I’m still off the dairy. Both talking about it and consuming it. I await figures from DEFRA for part two. Like you do.

Continuing from yesterday’s lighter note, today’s post is in honour of something which is a squillion times better for you than a milkshake, but can have all of the creamy, yumminess of one, depending on what you put in it.

I refer to the severely-underrated-but-ridiculously-simple-to-make smoothie.

People often get confused as to the difference between raw juices and smoothies. It’s simple: Smoothies still contain all of the fibre – both insoluble and soluble – of the fruit and veg you put in them. Not much good if you’re on a fast, but great if you want something a bit more filling and satisfying. With juicing, your clever machine removes all of the insoluble fibre. In other words, your body will have to get to work digesting a smoothie through the normal channels, whereas with a juice, it just goes straight into your bloodstream within minutes.

If the mere thought of juicing sets you off stressing about the time (it usually takes me 20 minutes to make my morning green juice), the mess (the extent of which will depend on your machine) and the waste of all that pulp (there are quite a few canny uses for this, but more of that another day), then perhaps smoothies are your short cut to a higher raw fruit and veg intake. For now.

To recap, the main reasons you’ll probably get into smoothies before juices are:

  • Overall they are quicker, less hassle and involve less clearing up.
  • Less “waste” of produce than with juicing.
  • Smoothies are less likely to scare off small children, but at the same time will provide you with a cunning way of getting them – and you – your 5+++ a day. Just don’t let them see you make it, or things could go downhill fast.
  • Just like with juicing, you’ll still be consuming far more raw, unadulterated goodies than you could physically consume at a single sitting. Be prepared for soaring energy levels, glowing skin, thicker, shinier hair, a kickass immune system and a noticeable spring in your step.
  • The equipment is considerably cheaper than a juicer, not least of all because you may well have the very thing sat feeling neglected and unloved on your kitchen worktop right now  – A BLENDER!

Question: would you go out and buy a new saucepan purely for boiling eggs if it was marketed as a boiled egg-maker? Course not! But you wouldn’t believe how many people rushed out to buy a smoothie-maker when the phenomenon had a revival a few years ago.

A blender will do you proud. Honest. And I do mean a blender, not a food processor.

There aren’t really any rules when making smoothies. Either search for recipes on t’Internet, or try different combinations out and find out what you like best. However, if you’re using leafy greens, chop them roughly and add them to the blender with a little water or coconut water for an initial whizz on their own.

And obviously, use your common sense. Things aren’t going to go well if you put in hard veg like beets and carrots without dicing them up first. I think even my super-powered Vitamix might grumble about that (www.vitamix.co.uk) This wonder-gadget is deservedly considered the Rolls Royce of blenders because it does loads of other things too and will NEVER go blunt. But you don’t need to invest in one. See what’s lurking forgotten at the back of your gadget cupboard first. Jason Vale, aka the Juicemaster, is currently bigging up the Phillips Alu Blender, £89.99, http://www.juicemaster.com/shop/blenders-smoothie-makers.html

The best thing is that you can add kale, spinach and romaine lettuce to a smoothie, and if  you get the balance right between your fruit and veg, you won’t even know they’re in there (apart from the tell-tale colour). Your best bet is a ratio of 1:3 fruit to veg.

So, here are a couple of recipes to get you on your way. The first is apparently a big hit in Tinseltown right now. All the A-listers are guzzling it like there’s no tomorrow (serves 1 hungry person or 2 non-ravenous people)

300ml water or coconut water; 1 head organic romaine lettuce; a third to half a bag spinach/ kale, or a mixture of the two; 4 stalks celery; 1 apple, cored and chopped; 1 pear;1 banana; Juice of half a lemon

Whizz up in blender, making sure you put the water, romaine and spinach in first.

This second one is especially for the little people in your life, courtesy of Kris Carr’s “Crazy Sexy Kitchen”: (serves 2)

720ml almond/soya/oat milk large handful frozen of fresh berries; handful mango/peach/nectarine; sprinkle cinnamon; large handful kale; large handful spinach

Blend, using the same rules before – liquid and leaves in first.

Cheers!

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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

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