Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Refreshing Peach, Blueberry, And Chia Seed Smoothie - Vegan And Gluten Free

Local peaches are in season and blend beautifully with blueberries in this delicious smoothie!

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Blenders are a Blast!
I love to see how excited people get when they buy their first high-quality blender. Most of them immediately get hooked on smoothies and start blending up every imaginable fruit and vegetable. We bought our first good blender at least 15 years ago. It was a Vitamix. We feel so strongly about how it has contributed to our health that we have bought one for each of our children.

Smoothies - The Special Nutritional Benefit over Juice
Juicing is great. This process allows you to consume far more fruits and vegetables than you could ever get by eating and chewing. Juices deliver critical nutrients and phytochemicals to your body in their purest form. Consuming nutrients in the form of juice can be very important therapeutically, especially when your body is in a weakened state, needs to conserve  energy, and assimilate nutrients instantly. 

Juices also deliver an enormous amount of sugar without the benefit of dietary fiber, which is stripped out in the juicing process. Blending, on the other hand, retains the dietary fiber and requires fewer (but ample) fruits and veggies to make a nice thick 8 ounce smoothie.

Whereas juice can cause a spike in blood sugar, dietary fiber can stabilize it. Fiber also makes you feel full longer, protects against colorectal cancer, and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Although juicing may help you get your 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables per day, it will not help you get to your 25 to 35 gram recommended daily fiber intake. 

Watch for the Sugar
One large apple provides more than 5 grams of dietary fiber, which is great. However, it also contains the equivalent of nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar. You might throw one or two into a smoothie where the fiber would help prevent your blood sugar from spiking. But you might use far more than one or two apples to make a glass of apple juice and it will have zero fiber to protect your blood sugar from spiking.

Carrots are another good example. I generally throw one large carrot in a smoothie but to make juice, I might use 10. A large carrot provides 2 grams of dietary fiber and the equivalent of almost 1 teaspoon of sugar. And one carrot is all you need to get 241% of your daily requirement of vitamin A. But juicing 10 carrots strips out all of the fiber and delivers 8.5 teaspoons of sugar.

I'm not suggesting that you give up your juicer, I'm just suggesting that you may want to juice in moderation and lean towards making more smoothies. And whether you are juicing or making smoothies, use fewer fruits and always try to include low carbohydrate green vegetables like spinach or kale. When making smoothies, you can also throw in a handful of nuts or seeds to provide some protein and healthy fat.

A Great Investment in your Health
A good blender is expensive costing around $400. But they last for years and years and if used for healthy smoothies, raw or cooked soups, dips, sauces and other healthy dishes (and not just for margaritas) they are a great investment in your health. I have lots of kitchen toys but if I could only have one, it would be my high-speed Vitamix blender.

 I prefer this model of Vitamix because it has a variable speed dial.

Blendtec is also a very highly recommended brand.

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Peaches and Blueberries
These fruits really complement each other and although the deep purple blueberries hide the  color of the peaches in this delicious smoothie, they certainly don't mask their wonderful peachy flavor. This smoothie is low in calories, provides over 800 mg of omega-3 fatty acid and a whopping 8 grams of dietary fiber per serving!
Peach, Blueberry and Chia Seed Smoothie
Mostly Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 2 (2-cup) servings]

1 cup unsweetened almond milk 
4 teaspoons ground chia seeds
3 medium peaches, pits removed and cut in 4 pieces
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup chopped kale
1 packet stevia, or to taste
1/2 cup ice

Place the almond milk and ground chia seeds in the blender, pulse briefly and set aside while preparing the other ingredients.

Place the remaining ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 163 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 842 mg omega-3 and 592 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 8 g dietary fiber and 16 mg of sodium.

For more ideas on how to create healthy smoothies, see my ebook Health Begins in the Kitchen.

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