Summer Delights

 

The Northern Rivers - Beautiful surroundings

 

This is my first year living in the Northern Rivers over the summer break, having moved up from Sydney to join the amazing team at Power Super Foods. In fact I usually pack up the hubby and the dog and drive the 800km’s to holiday here during this period. So you can imagine my delight that all I now have to do is walk outside each day to enjoy our amazing surroundings.

 

And I certainly made good use of the time off. Knowing 2016 is going to be a SUPER busy year with all of the exciting things going on at PSF HQ I prepared myself to start the year with a BANG…there was daily yoga, daily swims and you guessed it daily smoothies!!!

 

 Rainbow colours - for smoothie nutrition


Since studying naturopathy I cannot look at a meal without counting the servings of fruit and vegetables and mentally checking off the colours. Whilst I admit this is to the point of obsession for me, it can still be challenging at times to get all of the colours of the rainbow and a decent amount of servings of fruit and vegetables into a day. Unless…. You include some smoothies. Green leafies? Check. Purple cruciferous? Check. Red berries? Check. And the list goes on….

 

Now, throw in a serve of your favourite superfoods for concentrated minerals, superior ORAC antioxidants or high quality plant based protein and omegas and you have yourself a complete, nutrient dense and healthy meal in a glass (or bowl).  

 

 

Superfoods for Smoothies!

 

But it’s doesn’t stop at getting nutrients into your daily food intake….what is also important is getting those nutrients out of the food and absorbing them into your body.  One study in the UK has shown that pureed fruit and vegetable based drinks ‘are useful vehicles for increasing micronutrient status and plasma antioxidant status and in vivo NO generation’1 – what does all of that mean? Smoothies have potential to increase uptake of nutrients into your system which in turn can have positive effects on your cardiovascular system! 

 

It is believed that blending fruits and vegetables breaks down the cell walls, thus making the nutrients easier to digest and absorb. There are some other benefits to breaking down the fibrous cell walls of fruits and vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables for example contain a group of sulphur containing chemicals called glucosinolates, which are also present in Maca powder When the plants are eaten i.e. chewed or blended a chemical reaction occurs that results in the breakdown of glucosinolates into isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates, in particular sulphurophane found in broccoli, have been studied extensively as cancer fighting compounds. Blending results in much more cell wall breakdown that chewing alone ever will, which in turn can result in much higher production of these cancer fighting compounds.  

 

Deep Sea Detox Smoothie ingredients

 

The raw fruits and vegetables that go into smoothies have other benefits. Apart from a very few exceptions such as lycopene from tomatoes that become more bioavailable after cooking, many vitamins, phytochemicals and enzymes that assist with the digestion of food are destroyed by heat. This can result in the overall nutrient content of your food becoming diminished. Raw food smoothies retain all the nutrients, fibre and enzymes to deliver everything nature intended.  

 

Despite all of this there is one school of thought that believes that smoothies are not only not good for health but can in fact be detrimental. They believe that the breaking down of the structure skews the normal digestive process that can lead to a spike in blood sugar. Enter protein and fats. Protein and fats are very important in regulating digestion. They slow digestion of carbohydrates and keep us feeling fuller for longer. Adding superfoods with high quality vegetable proteins and fats such as chia and cacao powder can increase the overall protein and fat in your smoothie and moderate the sugar absorption.  

 

Choc Cherry Goji Smoothie Ingredients

 

Of course people with genuine issues with blood sugar regulation should always consult their health care practitioner for nutritional advice tailored to suit their individual needs. And if there is anyone else out there concerned about this you could consider making smoothies with more vegetables and low fructose fruits such as pear, kiwi, citrus and blueberries.

 

Aside from the obvious nutritional benefits there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy a daily smoothie. They are super quick and super easy to prepare so there is no excuse to grab something less nutritious on the run. And though fresh is best they can be pre-prepared and will keep for 1-2 days.

 

 

 Rejuvenating Reds Smoothie Ingredients


On top of this the variety of flavours are endless, you are bound only by your imagination. The real beauty of this is that you can tailor a smoothie to suit YOUR needs. Whether you are trying to cleanse and detox, get a powerful antioxidant blast or imbue your whole body with essential nutrients, smoothies provide the perfect medium to include foods that with serve you best.  

 

I have pulled together a selection of my favourites that are not only delicious but also serve as health enhancing tonics. Try these out or tweak as you feel necessary to meet your own goals. 

 

 Deep Sea Detox


After, shall we say, a healthy dose of celebrating on New Year’s Eve this super cleansing and nutrient replenishing green smoothie pulled me out of my sluggish state. With…

Dulse and wakame to soak the cells in trace minerals….

Coconut water to rehydrate…

Kidney and liver flushing cucumber, parsley, celery and lemon…

Chia seeds for a protein and omega 3 boost…

Green banana for all important resistant starch to feed gut flora… 

Plus a knob of ginger to boost the metabolism…

 

For 2 serves use:

1 cucumber

1 stalk celery

½ organic lemon with skin, deseeded

1 green banana

2 cups coconut water

Large handful parsley, stems and all

2-3cm piece ginger

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Heaped teaspoon of dulse flakes

Heaped teaspoon of wakame flakes

 

Choc Cherry Goji


Get a supercharged start to the day or before your workout…

Cacao gives a surge of energy as well as heathy fats and proteins for cellular and muscular energy….

Goji and cherries provide antioxidant support…

Beets provide nitrates that enhance oxygen delivery to cells…

Coconut water for optimal hydration…

 

For 1 serves use…

1 cups cherries with pits removed

2 tablespoons goji berries soaked for 1 hour (if you have time)

1 tablespoon coconut butter (or sub 2Tbsp coconut shreds)

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 cup coconut water

 

 Rejuvenating Reds


Packed with antioxidants from Superblast Antioxidant…

Coconut water kefir supports optimal gut health…

Heart health promoting watermelon packed with lycopene and citrulline

And adaptogenic maca supports adrenal health and overall wellbeing…

 

For 2 serves uses...

2 cups chopped watermelon

½ cup raspberries

1 organic lime, skin on, seed removed

¼ cup coconut water kefir

1 teaspoon Superblast:Antioxidant

2 teaspoon maca powder

 

 

 

1. Br J Nutr. 2013 Apr 28;109(8):1442-52. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512003315. Epub 2012 Sep 28.
Effects of acute consumption of a fruit and vegetable purée-based drink on vasodilation and oxidative status George TW1Waroonphan SNiwat CGordon MHLovegrove JA.
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23017441