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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To Smoothie Or Not To Smoothie

I don't know if you're aware, but in the world of nutrition, smoothies are a seriously controversial subject matter. Some sing their praises as the detoxer of all detoxers, your own catered cocktail, packed with whatever it is your body is 'lacking', the perfect meal replacement. Others cast it as an evil diet buster, calorie-packed but leaving your tummy empty as ever, leading the 'do not consume' list.

I, on the otherhand dare to suggest something different: *gasp* moderation.

Smoothies can be wonderful in many ways, and please allow me to count a few of them for you.

1. a quick and refreshing snack
2. a breakfast option for early morning eating haters
3. a fabulous way to dispose of excess fruit and veggies
4. a seriously more delicious method by which to consume necessary vitamins and nutrients
5. an excuse to drink with a Crazy Straw

On that note, let's get started with THIS, Self Magazine's "Smoother Bikini Body" Smoothie, a fruity, chocolaty, potassium-packed, bloat-buster.

Recipe Ease: It's a smoothie. It truly doesn't get much easier. Although, I will note that not everyone has acai berry frozen smoothie packs or raw cacao powder lying around the house. If you find your pantry smoothie pack and cacao-less, might I suggest substituting 2-3 tbspns acai juice and un-raw cacao powder (think Hershey, but don't you dare use the sweetened kind).

Yumminess: THIS truly does taste like chocolate covered cherries and banana, however there's no getting away from that slight after taste all protein powders leave for you. As for texture because apparently there are the watery smoothie followers and the creamy smoothie followers, THIS is most certainly of the watery variety.

Health Benefits: THIS smoothie gets down to business. With the anti-inflammatory powers of cherries, the bloat-busting, potassium-packed powers of bananas, and the glucose monitoring impact of cacao, it really does the trick. We're also dealing with a mere 276 calories, a whopping 10g of fiber and 13g of protein. In my book, this makes for a great snack and a filling, albeit light breakfast.

As far as acai goes, unless you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, it's the latest and greatest superfood. Claims range from its assistance with weight loss, cancer-fighting properties, and anti-aging properties. Here's what everyone concedes to: the teensy tiny acai berry is jam-packed with antioxidants and one in particular, anthocyanin. This antioxidant is found in most berries and is known for it's fighting prowess against free radicals and life's stressors. I, personally, am all for fighting life's stressors in both a figurative and literal sense.
acai looks suspiciously like it's cousin, the blueberry
$$$: Smoothies are not only waistline friendly but also pocketbook friendly and THIS is no exception.
Best in Show-worthy : THIS is surely a tasty smoothie that will keep you full while easing the bloat and guilt of any holiday feast. If you're after taste sensitive, however, might I suggest THAT?

THAT is Women's Health Magazines Rise and Shine Smoothie.

THAT has neither pistachio nor cinnamon, but it IS pistachio colored
Recipe Ease: Again, as far as making things from scratch, it doesn't get easier than a smoothie. Don't have canned sweet potato? ANOTHER option is to use canned pumpkin (not, I repeat, not pumpkin pie filling but plain-jane canned pumpkin).

Yumminess: My mother and I like to play a form of an impromptu word association game I call "Who Can Pick the Very Best Adjective to Describe What We're Currently Eating?". We tied with THAT smoothie because in the exact same moment, "refreshing" was deemed the perfect descriptor. Please note, conceding to a tie is not easy for me as I primarily prefer winning, but I digress. Seriously, I think it's the avocado that provides that certain something. I could guzzle it. Texture-wise, it's like a milkshake, so maybe I couldn't technically guzzle it but this is where the aforementioned Crazy Straws come in handy.

Health Benefits: Avocado is magical. I can think of only a limited naturally occuring foods that taste sinful while they actually happen to be on nearly ever superfood list out there. I think I'm alone in my belief that strawberries and artichokes qualify.

Avocado is not only rich in that debloater of all debloaters, potassium, but it also happens to contain minerals that encourage your body to absorb more beta-carotene and lutein (think- skin, hair, nail, beautifiers) which just so happen to be found in our second ingredient, sweet potatoes. Isn't that a happy coincidence?

Comparing THAT to THIS, we're now looking at slightly more calories, 291, about half the fiber, 7g, and slightly less protein (although still a full serving for breakfast), 9g.

 $$$: If you're like me, THAT will require less purchases as I happened to already have everything at home. Clearly that doesn't make it free in the grand scheme of things, but as far as my daily expenses go, it does.

Best in Show-worthy: Tada! THAT is just such a winner, and that pretty mermaid green color just so happens to be very 'in' right now too.

Do you have any go-to smoothie recipes? Instant debloaters? Fabulous uses for avocado?

Don't forget to take the new quiz, just up there to your right.

And, most importantly, have a loverly week.


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