This week I’m focusing on smoothies. It’s a pretty awesome thing that smoothies are now so huge. We’re obsessed with them – and for very good reason: It’s an easy way for you to fill your body with all the nutrients you need for the entire day. Moreover, you can customize your smoothie to suit your dietary needs, health issues, and personal taste.
Creating a smoothie is not rocket science – I mean….. we’re talking about tossing a bunch of ingredients in a blender and pressing the blend button, right? However, making sure you get the right ingredients in there to cover your healthy checklist requires a bit of thought. And, most importantly, you need to know what ingredients to keep out of your smoothie. Here are 5 ingredients to avoid:
- Sugar: It might sound obvious but sugar creeps into so many store-bought non-dairy milks and yogurts – you need to be very vigilant about only buying unsweetened products. Read your ingredient labels carefully! Also, be aware that fruits such as dates are pretty high in sugar, so use them sparingly. But don’t worry about fruits such as banana and mangos – these fruits could actually improve blood sugars over time due to a phytonutrient called mangiferin. Beware that some of the popular juice chains fill their drinks with sugary yogurts and in some cases, even sherbet!
- Non-organic berries: Most of us use tons of berries in our smoothies. They create great flavor, and are full of anti-oxidants, however, don’t use them if you can’t buy the organic kind. Berries are right up there on top of the Dirty Dozen list when it comes to pesticides – so what’s the point of a “healthy” smoothie filled with pesticides? You can always find organic frozen berries – yes, they are more expensive, but you pay now or you pay later!
- Pre-mixed smoothie powders: Steer clear of any pre-mixed powder that a juice, smoothie bar, or coffee shop may offer. Most of these mixes are filled with sugar, artificial flavor and additives. Unless you actually see them making your smoothie with fresh produce ONLY, avoid.
- Spirulina or Blue Green Algae: Be careful because many green powder supplements (which you would typically toss into your morning smoothie), contain spirulina and/or blue green algae, both of which are often contaminated with toxins such as bacteria, liver toxins and heavy metals. You are better off using fresh greens, or if you want a concentrated green supplement, choose Chlorella instead.