Hellooooo H&G friends! How are we all?
Ohh, I complained about the weather in my last post, but I just want to share that it is not letting up. Yesterday was the first day in a while where it was a beautiful overcast breezy day, and it gave me so much relief being 35 weeks pregnant!
It is Autumn here in Australia, but you wouldn’t think that winter was just around the corner when we are still experiencing 30’C days. WE NEED A BREAK NATURE!
Speaking of breaks though – one thing that I love to have on a really hot day is a nutritious smoothie – a nice, icy cold one. Anybody else with me there?
There really is something about sucking down on a sweet smoothie to cool you down, and boost up your energy, especially when the humidity is through the roof!
This month, I have been doing a No Takeaway April Challenge, stopping our crazy takeaway purchasing we had last month, and transitioning to clean eating, and one of the ways I’ve been able to cram in some goodness is with smoothies!
Next week, it’s actually my weekly goal to get one in each day for the week, and start making that a proper nutritional routine, especially for Mister C, the four year old, who just won’t eat anything good for him. AH!
Hense why today I want to share with you all the great things about smoothie goodness!
Why Fruits and Vegetables are so Important for your Diet and Weight Loss
Fruits and vegetables are vital for the proper workings of your body. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients that your body needs to run efficiently – to reduce the likelihood of injury, disease, premature death – there are so many benefits!
They help rejuvenate cells, improve muscle and organ function, help the kidneys and liver to clean out toxins from your blood. They improve your blood pressure, and reduce bad cholesterol. Antioxidants which improve your immune system fighting off disease and illness. They regulate your digestive system, improving your gut flora which in turn improves your hormone function – fertility, moods, energy, brain function! (Ref)
It is crazy just what fruits and vegetables can do for your body, but it is always best to eat them in their raw form – straight outta the ground or tree!
Taking words of wisdom from one of my favourite health guru’s, Don Tolman, and his son, Tyler Tolman – fruits and vegetables are sunshine that you put into your body. Nothing grows a fruit and vegetable but water, and the sun, and some vitamins and minerals from the dirt. You are getting water, vitamins and minerals, and the electricity or “life force” the plant has absorbed from the sun’s light (Ref)
It is why when you eat these fruits and vegetables in their raw form, the energy and life force you feel inside, the goodness you feel that drives you, makes you feel healthier and younger. (Ref)
I could get right into energy and cells, and how every single living organism is made up of energy, so the more energy we put in, the more we vibrate etc, but that is for another conversation, another day!
Not only that, but fruits and vegetables are designed by nature to target certain organs in your body. For example, capsicums (bell peppers) and tomatoes are red and made of four chambers, just like the heart. Carrots when cut upon, have a circular pattern in the middle similar to that of a pupil, as they help your eyes! Celery is long, and has similar structure to that of bones, as they help keep your bones strong and healthy. It is amazing what you can find in nature that looks so much like the bones and organs within your body.
Don Tolman and Tyler Tolman go by the hypocrates philosophy of ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”. They are definitely worth checking out, for your health journey, and Tyler Tolman also has a wonderful FREE juice fast available, which I have done myself! (not affiliated)
How Much Fruit and Vegetables Should You Consume Each Day
How much fruit and vegetables you consume each day depends on your age group, but going by the biggest age group of 19-50 years, as stated by the Australian Dietary Guidelines –
Men should have 6 serves of vegetables per day, and 2 serves of fruit per day.
Women should have 5 serves of vegetables per day, and 2 serves of fruit per day.
The amount of vegetables per serve can differ depending on the type of plant, and it can seem like an unreachable target, but when thinking of an easy dinner option of mixed vegetables, 1/2 cup is one serve.
The following is a guide for most common fruits and vegetables, extracted from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, for your reference.
Why You Should Have a Smoothie or Juice Each Day
Going from the serving sizes up above, trying to reach for 5 or 6 serves of vegetables can seem like a ton of vegetables, especially when you consider just how much your combined family needs over the week. But, there are a few things you can do to make things easier on yourself when planning meals and incorporating these servings in.
One of those is using frozen varieties of fruits and vegetables. Not only can it be cheaper in the long run, but they don’t spoil as quickly as they would in the fridge.
The second change you can make to ensuring your family gets their recommended servings is making smoothies and juices every day! It’s amazing just how much fruits and vegetables you can pack into a small drink, that is going to give your body so much vitality and energy to get you through the day. You can throw almost 4 serves of vegetables in your smoothie to meet your serving quota by the end of the day.
I will be sharing a base smoothie recipe formula down below to help you with planning out your smoothies, or creating yummy ones, but first I want to address the issue of sugar in fruit.
How to Eat Fruit so it Doesn’t Impact your Weight Loss Efforts
Of course, there is the issue of having too much fruit in your smoothie or juice, or even just daily. Fruit is definitely a nicer alternative to eating vegetables in regards to taste, but a lot of people have an issue with the sugar content within fruit.
One thing I do want to point out is the difference between sugar in packaged foods, and sugar in fruits and vegetables.
Sugar that is in packaged foods, is highly processed, and is not in it’s original form from the cane sugar plant. Some varieties have even been bleached, to make them “look pretty”. You can find more about sugar and packaged foods in this post.
Sugar or actually, fructose, found in fruits is natural, and recognisable by the body as it comes in it’s normal genetic makeup, created by nature. In most cases anyway, some fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified to be available all year round, and even to produce a sweeter, nicer flavour. You can find more about that in this post here.
What i mean is, that the sugar within fruits is a completely different type to the sugar in packaged foods, and is definitely more beneficial for your body, not considering the fibre and other vitamins and minerals inside fruit as well, also naturally occuring compared to what you would find in packaged foods, even dried fruit varieties!
I don’t believe that the fructose content within fruits should be something you are worried about when eating, unless of course you are diabetic and have to watch your blood sugar levels. That is my honest opinion.
However, if you are keeping an eye on sugar, no matter the source, below is a list of fruits and vegetables that are low carb (aka, low sugar – sugar is a carb), which you can eat freely without having to worry about the carbohydrate intake, blood sugar levels, and the affect it could have on your weight.
Print this image out if you like and put it up on your fridge or pantry for easy reference when you are preparing your meals.
Also, ensuring that you consume your fruit by lunch time allows your body enough time to process and burn off the energy within the fruit during your daily activities. Eating fruit later at night, not only gives it less time to burn off, if at all, but also keeps it in your gut overnight, sometimes causing fermentation and irritable bowel symptoms which you do not want.
This goes for most foods actually in regards to sitting in your gut, so ensuring you leave enough time between your meal and when you go to sleep will help make sure you have a good sleep at night, without any toilet breaks or feeling off.
How to Prepare a Smoothie or Juice Without Going Over Your Carbohydrate Limit
The easiest way to ensure you are reaching your fruit and vegetable intake, without going overboard, is to use the list above with the lowest carbohydrate fruit and vegetable varieties.
Not only will you be giving your body all it needs and keeping up with the recommended servings, but you will also be adhering to a healthy weight loss regime.
Below is the formula I like to stick to when I prepare my own smoothies or juices at home.
1 or 2 serves of fruit – 1 could be from the low carb list, and the other berries!! Remember, they are classed as a free intake, but have so many great benefits. Including frozen fruit varieties like banana or mango will add a creamy texture to your smoothie as well.
3 serves of vegetables – Pack these into your blender (most leafy greens cannot be juiced), and be sure that if you add a lot of bitter vegetables to balance them out with a sweeter vegetable like cucumber.
1 serve of fat – This could be a nut butter, or a scoop of coconut oil. So good for you!
1 serve of protein – This could be yoghurt, or a protein powder of your choice, milk or dairy-free alternative.
Any extras – You may want to throw in some coffee, or cacao powder, some flax meal for thickness – it really is up to you and your preferences!
Don’t forget that you can add to smoothies by making a smoothie bowl, throwing on some extra carbs like rolled oats if you wish, nuts, seeds, or another serve of fruit if you only put in 1 serve of fruit to your smoothie. Banana works a treat with most smoothie recipes!
If you’d like some inspiration for some smoothies, you can head over to the Healthy and Golden Smoothies and Juices Pinterest board – there are a bunch of great recipes in there to suit your taste and dietary needs!
I hope that this post has given you some great ideas for smoothie and juice recipes, and how to incorporate them into your day for the added nutrition and energy boost you need! Within a few days, you will notice a dramatic increase in your stamina, and energy levels, and even in your poop! (TMI?)
I’d love to know what you thought about this post, and what your favourite smoothie or juice recipes are! Please share them so I can also try them out!!
Before changing any health and lifestyle habits, please consult your practitioner. This is not health advice, but merely a reference of healthy foods and what they can do for the body, but each body and it’s nutritional requirements are different.