A conversation about juicing, smoothies and whole fruit

This week a new page called Health Check was launched on the incredibly popular The Conversation site. What I like about the articles there is the emphasis on evidence and research. These journalists check their facts and all bias is declared at the beginning of the articles. This week’s article compared appetite levels and amounts eaten after consuming whole fruit compared to juiced fruit (made in a juicer). The most interesting finding was that participants who had the juice ate a lot more than those who had the whole pieces of fruit before their meal. The author of the Health Check article, Tim Crowe, made some comments about how juicing basically took much of the fibre and nutrients out of the fruit, so wasn’t as healthy as eating the whole fruit, and additionally didn’t lessen the appetite. I would have liked to see the topic broaden to include the now very common (and delicious!) SMOOTHIE. How does it compare to eating the whole fruit and to drinking juice?

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Pretty well, as it turns out. An article published in Nutrition Bulletin, titled Smoothies: One Portion or Two? looked at all three – whole fruit, juice, and smoothies. The concerns raised about juice – that it leads to higher sugar consumption, containes less fibre that fruit, isn’t good for your teeth, and isn’t satiating – do not hold true for smoothies. They contain more energy, carbohydrates, fibre and vitamin C than juice, and the sugar content is exactly the same as if you’d eaten the whole fruit. They do no more harm to your teeth than fruit does, and because they are high in fibre (especially pectin) they are more satiating than juice. Pack in a few extras (think chia seeds, maca powder, cinnamon, LSA, flax seed oil…) and you’ve got breakfast ready! This morning I had this simple but delightful blend…

Goji Citrus Twist

2 teaspoons of dried Goji berries

2 mandarins

1 banana cut into chunks and frozen

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

3/4 of a cup of water

Blend all thoroughly in a high speed blender.

And just to finish today’s post, I’ve got some fabulous links to share. Another way to get your whole fruit in a sneaky and delicious way is raw treats. Tried them? Tried making them? I’ve had two huge successes this week with these beauties. They are both from Lorna Jane’s MoveNourishBelieve website. One can be found tucked into the Move Over Sugar free ebook, it’s the Peanut Butter Choc Fudge on page 36. YUM! The other is the Raw Choc Jelly Cake – this contains a banana and 400 grams of strawberries and still manages to taste like the naughtiest cake you’ve ever had (without a single naughty ingredient!).

Enjoy!

 

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No Rules Nutrition competes in green smoothie competition

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Smoothies – in a variety of colours – are something I know a thing or two about. They are a staple on the cafe menu and we drink them at home on a regular basis. There is no end to how creative you can get with putting together a smoothie, which was why I was so excited to enter the Green Smoothie Competition being run by Kitchen Warehouse. They were looking for someone to give a Vitamix to, so of course I put my hand up – those machines with their powerful V6 engine 2 horse power motors can pulverise anything to a fabulously smooth consistency. Just one catch – if I made it to the final I would have to make my smoothie in front of a crowd and 3 critical judges.

Well, you can see from the photos that I made it to the finals – phew! They liked my recipe! I tried to make sure the crowd was made up as much as possible from members of my own family – thanks support crew! Unfortunately the crowd wasn’t involved in the judging, but they did get to taste all of the smoothies made, lucky them! No, we were being judged by the lovely Heath and Emma from Raw Food Kitchen, who also know a thing or two about smoothies, having grown their business from a two Vitamix, smoothie-making market stall, to a very successful cafe in Fremantle. They were judging our smoothies on taste, healthiness and creativity. I hoped I was in with a chance…

I was a little nervous, but I’d practiced so many times that I was turning green from the taste-testing and so was my boyfriend. Let’s get this done, I was thinking, but still wasn’t prepared to be called up as the very first contestant, with a spot right under the judges noses! I went into autopilot, and had created a gorgeous smoothie in under a minute, taste-tested it and passed a cup each along to the judges before I could think twice. What lovely things they said about my entry – ‘a perfectly blended classic green smoothie’, ‘great use of protein-packed chia and hemp seeds, with the pineapple bringing a gorgeous hint of the tropical’ and so on. I was feeling pretty confident but of course he had wonderful things to say about every contestant’s smoothie…

As they worked through each one, I also had the chance to taste a few of them and the standard was pretty high with a wide range of ingredients being used. At the end, and I have to hand it to him, the guy who won really did display the most creativity and the judges were convinced that the health and taste elements were right up there too. I can’t remember exactly what went into the winning smoothie but there was definitely a free-range duck egg in there, as well as rain water, protein powder, an olive, chili and who knows what else!

When I think about my ideal green smoothie, it has to have balanced flavours, easy-to-find ingredients, and of course pack a great health punch with all nutrition bases covered. So without further pre-amble, here’s my green smoothie recipe! Let me know what you think if you try it.

Minty Muscle Maker Green Smoothie – Serves 2

2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves

16 large mint leaves

½ cup fresh pineapple chunks, frozen

1 banana cut into chunks and frozen

1 tablespoon of hulled hemp seeds (from health food shop)

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

1½ cups coconut water

Place the ingredients into a high powered blender in the order listed and blend until deliciously smooth. Enjoy!