Humans live a hectic lifestyle, and most struggle to keep up with daily fibre and minerals intake. That’s why smoothies are the easiest way to do so, and they will also help to step up your wellness game noticeably. If you are new in this movement and get overwhelmed by all the options and recipes available out there, remember that even the most common ingredients will work. For example, our everyday smoothie recipes depend on the location and the season, of course. When we lived in Thailand, we used a lot of juicy mangoes and pineapples. In Bahrain, we had to make good use of apples and bananas. In Spain, we are currently lucky to enjoy a great selection of berries, making a fantastic base for any smoothie. So the moral of this is, take what’s available and get creative.
CHOOSE YOUR LIQUID BASE
Firstly, you will need to decide on a liquid base of your smoothie. I recommend you to use plant-based milk or filtered water. If you are creating a tropical smoothie, then you can also use freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s an excellent base for a smoothie, only if you don’t struggle with acid reflux. Many people also like to use coconut water, as a base, but I would only use it if coming right out of the fresh coconut. If you are not from the tropical islands, it’s probably better to stick to the filtered water. You don’t want to load your smoothie with any artificial ingredients and unnecessary calories, so keep it simple. If you are going to use unfrozen parts, be sure to add some ice cubes as well.
FRUIT OR VEGGIE
We like to keep our smoothies simple. Depends on what ingredients you have, you can decide ether it’s going to be a tropical, green or a mixed smoothie. The most common ingredients that you can use in smoothies without making them interfere with each other are:
SWEET + SUB ACIDIC
Apples, bananas, dates, pears, grapes, peach, nectarines, berries, mango, papaya.
ACIDIC + SUB ACIDIC
Oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, berries, lemons, limes, tomatoes, kiwi, apples, mango, grapes, peach, nectarines, pears.
LEAFY GREENS + SWEET + SUB ACIDIC
Spinach, kale, parsley, lettuce, celery, banana, apples, dates, pears, grapes, mango, papaya.
LEAFY GREENS + ACIDIC +SUB ACIDIC
Spinach, kale, parsley, lettuce, celery, oranges, pineapple, berries lemons, grapes, pears.
LEAFY GREENS + VEGGIES + STARCHES
Spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, zucchini, ginger, sweet potatoes, broccoli, beets, carrots.
ADD GOOD FATS
Avocado, coconut meat, durian.
As you see leafy greens, can be mixed with anything without impending digestion. Also, apples are safe to use in most smoothies, as they are by origin are both fruit and vegetable. Of course, there’s more to this whole food combining thing, but if you are just a beginner, you want to make sure that your smoothie won’t be hard on your digestion. I have noticed that since I have switched to a plant-based diet, I easily digest any combinations. So it’s all can be very individual, which specific ingredient can interfere with the whole experience, so be mindful of that.
To make sure you create a truly balanced smoothie, you will need some help of powerful supplements. Most of the superfoods are easily acquired – search for them at your local supermarket or health shops. Superfoods are packed with nutrition in small doses, so just a little will go along way. Here’s a list of my most used smoothie boosters:
SPIRULINA – is a blue-green algae which is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
BARLEY GRASS JUICE – helps to strengthen the immune system and alkalise the body.
TURMERIC – Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, which lowers inflammation and has strong antioxidant properties. To help your body to absorb it better, make sure to pair it with black pepper.
MATCHA – Green tea powder can help to boost metabolism and can be used as a fat burner.
MACA ROOT POWDER – Maca can help to increase energy and enhance your mood. It also is known to help increase fertility and libido.
ACAI BERRIES – The berries are packed with flavonoids that are a powerful antioxidant that can improve skin health.
HEMP SEEDS – Hemp is a complete protein and has a nutty taste. It is also rich in iron, magnesium and Omega-3s that are vital for our health.
CHIA SEEDS – These little seeds are a great source of Omega -3 fatty acids, fibre, protein and calcium. Add them in or sprinkle on top of your smoothie or smoothie bowl.
FLAXSEED – Flaxseed can be another source of protein in your breakfast smoothie along with lignans, antioxidants and fatty acids that help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
PUMPKIN SEEDS – Pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory properties and are loaded with skin-loving vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
GOJI BERRIES – This kind of berries are rich in Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and Vitamin C. You should be adding these babies to your daily smoothies to step up your skincare routine.
RAW CACAO – It is the most abundant magnesium source, which is vital for our skin’s and overall health. To receive all the health benefits from cacao nibs or powder, you need to make sure that it’s raw. Most of the beneficial health properties in chocolate are lost once is heated.
OATS – Oats contain B vitamins, magnesium and fibre. They will make your smoothie feel fuller, which is excellent if you use your smoothies as a meal replacement.
PECANS – Most of the fat in pecans is the healthy kind, and they contain oleic acid, Vitamins A, E and B. They have a buttery flavour and can give your smoothie creamy consistency.
BRAZIL NUTS – Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium, an essential mineral and powerful antioxidant in skin health. Add one or two Brazil nuts to your daily smoothie to get the daily recommended amount of this beauty nutrient.
WALNUTS – These are my favourite kind of nuts because they are yummy and full of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E. It can help you to regulate sleep and reduce stress hormone – cortisol.
I don’t have a golden rule on how to make each smoothie perfectly. It all depends on the ingredients you are using, so you will have to practise your “smoothie blend ” until you get the texture satisfying your liking.
Usually, the basic ratio for fruit smoothie would be like:
Three parts of the fruit or veggie
Two parts of liquid
2-3 ice cubes
1-2 tbsp of superfoods
If you are using frozen fruit, then you would want to use three parts of fruit to three parts of liquid with no ice.
If you are doing a blended green smoothie with some fruit, keep the fruit ration slightly higher than greens to achieve a smooth consistency and good taste.
As you see, a well-structured smoothie can efficiently work as a meal replacement, as they are full of fibre and nutrients. That’s why we love to have our smoothies for breakfast, and sometimes for late breakfast. It’s all depends if we are juicing first thing in the morning or not. Whenever we start our day with freshly squeezed green juice, we give it a little time for our stomachs to absorb all the nutritious, and then only have a smoothie as a breakfast meal.
I hope you found this useful and got inspired to create some delicious healthy smoothies to start your day. If you have any questions or anything to add, please leave a comment below.
- Carlsen, M.H., Halvorsen, B.L., Holte, K. et al. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutr J 9, 3 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-3