Blitz this

Juices and smooth­ies sit un­der a slight health halo but can have hid­den traps that threaten your waist­line. Suss out how to sw­erve them and max the nu­tri­tion in your blends

Women's Health Australia - - CONTENTS - By Alex Davies

Su­per­charge your smoothie and pack more juice good­ness in ev­ery glass with these fast, easy drink hacks

Blen­ders and juicers have Michelle Oba­malevel cred in the well­ness world: whole­some, fun and se­ri­ous BFF ma­te­rial. And those drinks you’re blitzin’ pack ma­jor po­ten­tial. As Jes­sica Spendlove, a sports di­eti­tian who works with AFL’S GWS Gi­ants, says, “When done right, smooth­ies and juices can be nu­tri­ent-rich ways to meet your re­quire­ments. Most Aussies don’t eat enough fruit and veg, so find­ing other clever ways to in­cor­po­rate them into your diet can help fill the gaps.”

But watch your step for easy-to-fall-into traps, adds Spendlove. “Smooth­ies in par­tic­u­lar can con­tain ice-cream and ad­di­tional sug­ars like honey and syrups. Choose op­tions with in­gre­di­ents lists, so you can make an in­formed de­ci­sion.” Got it? Great. Whether you’re buy­ing or Diy-ing, it’s time to get more from that blender. Mrs O would be uber proud. BONE UP ON FI­BRE

Cap­tain Ob­vi­ous here: liq­uid fruit and veg ain’t ever gonna beat out eat­ing whole pro­duce, but you can even the score a tad. “Juices have some or all of the fi­bre re­moved – de­pend­ing on the juic­ing method – along with vi­ta­mins and an­tiox­i­dants found in the skin and outer lay­ers of the fruit,” ex­plains di­eti­tian Re­becca Gawthorne. “This loss means the juice is much eas­ier to drink, a lot less fill­ing and easy to over-con­sume.” Your moves: juice pro­duce with the skin on where you can, and sal­vage any pulp to put back into the fi­nal prod­uct.

THINK OUT­SIDE THE VEG BOX

Nyc-based di­eti­tian Kara Landau sug­gests adding the veg­etable ji­cama (of­ten known as yam bean here) to your juice: “It’s a rich source of fi­bre and not very dense in kilo­joules.” Your aim? To fill three-quar­ters of the drink with ve­g­ies.

“Use some darker-coloured ones to pack in as dense a source of vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, an­tiox­i­dants and polyphe­nols as pos­si­ble,” says Landau, also the founder of pre­bi­otic brand Up­lift Food. “Cel­ery and cu­cum­ber are great, too.” Plus, spices such as ginger and turmeric add kick.

CHEW THE FAT

Juices can eas­ily pack in way more fruit than you’d eat in one sit­ting. This sugar hit, plus re­duced fi­bre, can cause blood sugar lev­els to spike and drop quicker than your emo­tions dur­ing a Queer Eye episode. Adding fat slows this down, re­veals Spendlove – but short of chuck­ing nut but­ter in your juice (maybe not), how can you put that info to good use? “Pair a hand­ful of nuts with the juice as a snack,” she sug­gests. “A vegie juice with a bliss ball, which of­ten con­tain nuts and seeds, could be an­other good pair­ing.” And down no more than 125ml

(half a cup) of juice at a time.

WORK FRUIT HARDER

It’s all about mak­ing the right choice. “Some fruits have a lower gly­caemic in­dex than oth­ers, which is ben­e­fi­cial for keep­ing us full for longer and prevent­ing [blood sugar spikes],” ex­plains Gawthorne. Step for­ward, ap­ples, bananas, berries, cher­ries, grape­fruit, grapes, ki­wis, man­darins, man­gos, peaches, pears, plums and prunes. “These would be bet­ter for keep­ing you full, es­pe­cially if you com­pare them with, say, a wa­ter­melon juice, which would have a high GI.”

LOOK FOR ‘COLD PRESSED’

You’ve heard of it, sure, but here’s why those two lit­tle words can make all the dif­fer­ence: “Cold-pressed juic­ing ma­chines work by slowly and del­i­cately crush­ing and press­ing the fruit and veg­eta­bles, with less heat pro­duced by the ma­chine,” ex­plains Gawthorne. “This means more of the nu­tri­ents and en­zymes are left in­tact, re­sult­ing in a higher nu­tri­tion con­tent than if the drink was made by a reg­u­lar juicer. Cold­press­ing also re­duces the amount of fi­bre lost.” Press on at home with Bre­ville’s Juice Foun­tain Cold Juicer ($249, har­veynor­man.com.au).

SW­ERVE JUICE CLEANSES

Take those kilo-shed­ding detox prom­ises with a pinch of Hi­malayan salt. “I don’t ad­vise juice cleanses,” warns Spendlove. “It’s a short-term so­lu­tion, be­cause the weight loss that hap­pens over a few days is of­ten caused by the body just de­plet­ing its stores of glyco­gen, as well as lost wa­ter and pos­si­bly mus­cle.” As for detox­ing? “Juices are of­ten claimed to cleanse your body, [al­ka­lise] and draw out tox­ins,” says Gawthorne. “These claims have min­i­mal sci­en­tific ev­i­dence – it’s the job of your liver, kid­ney and other or­gans to re­move tox­ins.” Les­son learnt.

DOWN IN ONE

Tiny but mighty, health ton­ics de­liver a shot of medic­i­nal ben­e­fits. Cali Press's 50ml vegie/oil/spice com­bos are teamed with in­gre­di­ents such as echi­nacea and B12. “For in­stance, if you have a headache, our Glow shot is made from fresh-pressed turmeric – a pow­er­ful anti-in­flam­ma­tory which can as­sist with pain re­lief,” says co-founder Joshua John­ston. Try this im­mu­nity shot Spendlove gives to ath­letes: mix half a tea­spoon each of pow­dered turmeric and ginger with wa­ter (or a lit­tle orange juice), then half a tea­spoon of ex­tra vir­gin olive oil plus some cracked pep­per.

MAS­TER THE FOR­MULA

Right, here’s your dream smoothie: some pro­tein (“im­por­tant for ap­petite con­trol and, if you’re train­ing, for gain­ing mus­cle mass, whether it’s milk, yoghurt or pro­tein pow­der,” says Spendlove); a lit­tle healthy fat (“also for ap­petite con­trol”) such as nuts, nut but­ter, av­o­cado, chia or hemp seeds; fi­bre from things such as fruit skin, oats or psyl­lium husk; slow-re­lease carbs from ba­nana, fruit or oats; plus colour in the fruit and veg to pack in vi­ta­mins and min­er­als. Landau adds, “I al­ways in­clude ke­fir, which is an ab­so­lute pro­bi­otic pow­er­house.” If your smoothie’s a snack rather than, say, brekkie, stick with the same for­mula, down­size your por­tion and tweak the carb con­tent based on your ac­tiv­ity level. Blitz away.

KAPOW WITH POW­DER

A few sneaky ad­di­tions can take your smoothie from bronze to gold in a flash – or a scoop. “I al­ways in­clude my Daily Uplifter ($45.99, up­lift­food.com) – a pre­bi­otic sol­u­ble-fi­bre, re­sis­tantstarch and high-vi­ta­min D mush­room pow­der – to sup­port the pro­bi­otics in my gut and help me feel full,” says Landau. “And if you’re open to pow­ders such as a sea min­eral com­plex that’s packed

with mag­ne­sium and cal­cium, or an al­gae oil with omega

3s, these could be fab­u­lous boosts.” Oth­ers to try: Vi­tal All-in-one (from $32.95, vi­talev­ery­day.com) for a green hit in­clud­ing spir­ulina, wheat­grass and chlorella; and Vida Glow’s Beauty Mind ($59.95, ausnz.vida­glow.com) with its im­pres­sive brain­boost­ing line-up of maca, ca­cao and B vi­ta­mins.

BLEND LIKE A BODY­BUILDER

If ba­nana is your sta­ple but you want to re­duce your smoothie’s carb and nat­u­ral-sugar con­tent, swap half the ’nana for half a zuc­chini. “Body­builders of­ten use frozen zuc­chini in smooth­ies to thicken them up and get the same tex­ture of a frozen ba­nana,” says Spendlove. “It doesn’t af­fect the flavour [ei­ther] and is re­ally un­de­tectable.” Just re­mem­ber, as with your yel­low mate, to chop up your zucc be­fore freez­ing. We’ve all made that mis­take.

SW­ERVE SELF-SAB­O­TAGE

Don’t score an A+ on the in­gre­di­ents only to fall at the por­tion hur­dle. “If you’re be­ing mind­ful of your weight, I’d just in­clude one or two healthy-fat op­tions,” sug­gests Spendlove. And don’t load up with aban­don. “Av­o­cado, nuts, nut but­ters and co­conut milk are very nu­tri­tious but very en­ergy dense – half an av­o­cado can be close to 150–200 calo­ries on its own. So, if you have that, nuts and seeds, and a high-en­ergy milk, a smoothie can be 700–800 calo­ries, which is the same amount as a de­cent­size meal.” Duly noted.

DE­AC­TI­VATE THAT

Like the MAFS cast, char­coal al­ways comes to the party.

But should you or­der it in your blend? Only in mod­er­a­tion, says Spendlove. “Ac­ti­vated char­coal does have some merit: it binds to tox­ins and re­moves them from the body,” she ex­plains. “But be mind­ful – if it’s bind­ing the bad stuff, it’s also bind­ing the good stuff.” So? Char­coal won’t hurt if you want to try it, but it’s not some­thing she’d rec­om­mend on the reg. Burn in­deed!

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