The Jeffrey Dahmer Smoothie
In theory, smoothies and juiced drinks are healthful. Sure, grind up a heap of broccoli, kale, mango, and anything else you've got lying around your vegetable crisper, hold your nose, drink it down, and bathe your gut in nutritional richness.
And, since smoothies are made of fruits and vegetables, they're low in calories, right?
Uhh, maybe not. Eating a whole orange, apple, or mango in one sitting is indeed a low-calorie snack and eating just one might satisfy your hunger, but when you drink a smoothie, you might be eating four or five pieces of fruit (each piece of average, succulent fruit gives up about a one-fourth of a cup of juice).
Since the fiber in the fruits and vegetables has been Oster-ified into smithereens, they no longer have any bulk. You know the old college frat boy stunt where they see how many of them can jam into a Volkswagen or Mini Cooper? They could probably stack 10 of them in there if they got real creative (the world record is 17) and didn't mind getting ultra-personal with their frat brothers.
However, if you hacked them up, Jeffrey Dahmer style, legs and torsos arranged like cords of wood, you could probably fit 30 of them in there.
It's the same with a smoothie, only without the serial killer stigma. The fruits and vegetables have practically been atomized, allowing you to fill your stomach with more of them. That means the average smoothie probably has about an average of 300 calories, with some Juice-Hutty Frankenfoodian versions pushing the bomb calorimeter to close to 1,000 calories.
Moreover, the pulverizing of fiber prevents it from doing its normal thing, which is slowing down the absorption of all the sugar contained in the fruits and vegetables. That means that all the fruit sugars and carbs, in general, get absorbed as quickly as regular table sugar, thus triggering a huge insulin response.
Have enough of them over time and those unimpeded sugar bombs can lead to insulin resistance and fat gain. Given all that, smoothies and juices are hardly the things you want to drink regularly if you're at all interested in having something that resembles a waistline. They should be drunk sparingly, if at all.
Don't fret, though. I've got an alternative: A zero-calorie "smoothie" that has more nutritive value than any generic traditional smoothie, and it contains no calories. Zilch. Nada.
What Kind of Wizardry is This?
If you're having trouble getting in your daily requirement of fruits and vegetables and you've taken my warnings about smoothies and juices to heart, all you've got to do to make a zero-cal equivalent to a "smoothie" (or, more accurately, a "tea") with more nutrition than a smoothie is the following:
- Heat about 8 ounces of water in a microwave.
- Pour a small amount (about two tablespoons) of that hot water into another cup.
- Add two scoops of Superfood to that small amount of water in the second cup.
- Use a spoon to make a slurry with the water and Superfood (this method allows you to easily mix any powder, no matter how inherently insoluble, with a liquid).
- Now dilute the slurry with the rest of the liquid from the first cup.
- Add a packet of Stevia or your preferred sweetener and, if you don't mind just a few calories, a hit of milk or cream to give it some mouthfeel and really make it taste good.
The result is a supremely nutritive, zero-calorie (or very low calorie, depending on whether you added any dairy) drink that tastes like a berry tea, but if you don't like going the tea route, mix it with any cold beverage of your choice, making sure to use the slurry method I described above.
Alternately, you can use the same slurry method to make a Superfood-laced protein drink.
Superfood is a supplement comprised of 18 strategically chosen freeze-dried fruits and vegetables:
- Wild Blueberry (1.5% anthocyanin)
- Orange (40% vitamin C)
- Raspberry (20% ellagic acid, 0.7% anthocyanins)
- Acai Berry (1.5% total phenolic acids, 1% anthocyanins)
- Coffee Berry (50% total phenolic acids)
- Goji Berry
- Pomegranate (40% ellagic acid)
- Broccoli Sprout (5000 ppm sulforaphane)
- Spinach (700 ppm lutein)
- Wasabi (20% glucosinolates)
- Wild Yam (20% diosgenin)
- Green Tea (95% total polyphenols, 65% total catechins, 40% EGCG)
- Passion fruit
- Watermelon (1000 ppm lycopene)
It contains no added sweetener, natural or artificial; no food coloring; no added flavoring; no fillers or added chemicals of any kind; and no allergenic grasses or testosterone-lowering herbs like those found in many "greens" products.
Moreover, because of the freeze-drying process, all the fruits and vegetables retain the identical phytochemical content, enzymatic activity, and bioactivity of fresh products.
And, while I think anti-oxidant potential gets a little too much attention these days, each 2-scoop serving has the anti-oxidant potential of 10 to 12 average servings of fruits or vegetables.
One Last Thing to Consider
The average cost of a commercial smoothie is between 5 and 7 dollars, while the cost of a Superfood "smoothie" or tea is $1.25. That's a damn good bargain, especially since it won't, like regular smoothies, make you fat.