While smoothies have become a popular meal replacement, snack and all around trendy food, crafted incorrectly you can be consuming a sugar-loaded, blood sugar exploding cocktail. I am excited to share with you A Guide to Smarter Smoothies to hopefully help you understand how to better create the smoothies that are right for you.
If you’ve been reading Tasty Yummies for some time, you probably know that the archives are LOADED with smoothie recipes. Smoothies used to play a much larger role in my daily diet routine, for the longest time it was always my favorite way to start my day. Interestingly at the height of my smoothie consumption, weight loss was definitely a struggle, as were energy crashes and sugar cravings. What I didn’t know back then, but I do know now as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, is that without the proper formulation, smoothies are a blood sugar explosion waiting to happen.
Every time you consume any carbohydrates and sugar containing foods, it causes an increase in blood glucose. How much so is dependent on the food and the individual. Simple sugars more specifically (monosaccharides), those sugars ending in -ose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose – these are metabolized especially quickly and can often cause a big surge in insulin.
Our body’s innate intelligence continually monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance and homeostasis. When blood glucose levels increase, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin increases the uptake of glucose by our muscle and fat cells; increases the amount of glycogen in our muscle and liver; increases fatty acid synthesis from excessive carbohydrates; and decreases fat breakdown and mobilization from our fat tissue.
How Bad Can a Fruit-Loaded Smoothie Be?
With a spike in blood sugar, a release of insulin and the impending crash, no matter what food is the initial cause, this can lead to immediate hunger, mid-day cravings, energy crashes, lightheadedness, anxiety, etc. Even worse, if the rest of your day’s eating (and most days) continue on the carb and sugar path, you are absolutely creating a long term problem. Whether you are overweight, struggle with weight loss or notice blood sugar issues or not.
Day in and day out this roller coaster can lead to a slew of health complications beyond obesity, lethargy and cravings. To simplify the worst of it, constant output of insulin is like the boy that cried wolf, your cells stop responding to the insulin that is constantly being produced and they become resistant, meaning without the insulin to transport the excess glucose to your cells for energy production, blood sugar levels remain high and this is can lead to chronic insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and eventually diabetes.
These days, I personally prefer to opt for (and I recommend to my clients) the prioritizing of nutrient-dense whole foods, rather than drinkable meals, like smoothies or juice. Whole foods offer the opportunity for maximum nutrient absorption, which allows our digestion to work as intended, and assuming these whole foods aren’t loaded up with carbohydrates and sugar – it’s much easier on your blood sugar.
That said, in the summer I do find myself with a much different appetite and my cravings differ quite significantly from the cooler months. I am not nearly as ravenous for more robust meals, especially on the hotter days. In the summer months I find myself wanting and craving more smoothies than any other time of the year. Knowing what I know now, my approach to creating them has drastically changed, so today I am going to share with you my Guide to Smarter Smoothies.
We made a list, but there is no need for you to check it twice. 25+ Gluten-free and Grain-free Holiday Cookies, Treats, Sweets and Cocktails! Everything you could need for a tasty and indulgent, homemade, real-food-inspired holiday is right here! From cookies, sweets and treats, to hot cozy drinks and spiked boozy cocktails, you can rest easy with all the planning already done for you. More time for you to finish up that last minute shipping and perfectly wrap all those thoughtful gifts.
Sweets and Treats
Hemp Heart Peppermint Chocolate Fudge (pictured)
How-to Make Chocolate Bark (with customizable printable labels)
Drinks, Smoothies and Cocktails
Spice Infused Winter Sangria (pictured)
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, year round, but this is especially important in the summer. When the weather is hot and you are spending much of the day outside being active, it is extra important to drink more fluids than usual and most especially that you are doing so before you start feeling thirsty – as that is a sure sign you are on your way to dehydration.
Did you know that every single cell in the human body needs water to function properly? Much like the plants in your garden, your cells, too, can perk up immediately upon watering. It’s that simple.
What Does Water Do in My Body?
Water Helps Your Body with the Following:
- Getting rid of waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
- Keeping it’s temperature normal.
- Lubricating and cushioning your joints.
- Protecting your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
Tips for Drinking More Water:
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning (I prefer mine warm with a little lemon).
- Carry a dedicated bottle or container with you are all times, at work, at home, even if you are just out running a few errands.
- Use an app on your mobile phone to track your water intake or simply set an alert on your phone to remind you.
- Choose water at restaurants instead of other beverages. not only will you save on calories while simultaneously hydrating yourself, but it also saves money.
- When you are hungry, start with a glass of water before you reach for the snack. sometimes feelings of hunger are actually your body telling you that it’s thirsty. it may just curb the cravings.
- Drink before you eat. 16 ounces 30 minutes before every meal can actually keep you from over indulging. make this a regular practice and you might even find yourself losing weight.
- Infuse and flavor your own water.
Today, I am sharing with you one of my very favorite ways to stay hydrated during the summer months…
Infused water is not only a tasty way to stay hydrated but it is nutritional, healthy, fresh and all-natural!
How-to Make Infused Water:
It’s been a while since I have shared a cocktail recipe here on Tasty Yummies. These days I am only really drinking at home when we have people over for dinner or something of that nature, but with this fig tree in our yard, I have been forced to get super creative with all of these figs we are getting.
I even came up with a hashtag #gettingfiggywitit on Instagram, for all my fun fig adventures. Besides all of this yumminess, I have been freezing them for use in smoothies later and I have dehydrated some to also use later and some are getting mailed to my parents. If you can believe it, our tree is still going strong. We are going to have figs for quite some time.
This Fig, Vanilla Bean and Cardamom Infused Vodka is so simple to make, within a week you’ll be making cocktails that will blow your friends away! If you aren’t big on cocktails and the fuss of mixing, this vodka is so good you can enjoy it as is on the rocks or as a simple martini (see the recipe below). Read the rest of this entry »
I am a sucker for summer beverages. I love a good refreshing cocktail, beer, sangria, champagne or prosecco cocktails, agua fresca, etc. Most times it is either the bubblies or the fruit that really attracts me. If you can get them both together in one drink, even better. I love a good, subtly sweet carbonated beverage.
I don’t drink much alcohol these days, I reserve that for special occasions, but I still love having fun with my drinks at home. Although making fruit infused simple syrups is one of my favorite things, I really don’t love consuming refined sugar, even if it is organic and raw, etc. Sure, you can absolutely just let the fresh fruit infuse or you can muddle it right into water, sparkling or flat, without any sweetener. But, there is something about the subtle sweetness from an infused simple syrup, even in the smallest amount, that gets me every time. Obviously I don’t consume traditional HFCS laced soda’s anymore, so I prefer to just make them myself at home.
In an effort to try making a fruity simple syrup without my usual raw organic sugar, I gave some local raw honey a try instead and I am sooo excited about the results. This strawberry honey syrup is thick, perfectly sweet and full of incredible flavors from both the fresh strawberries and the good quality local raw honey.
I would personally suggest always consuming raw honey over the processed stuff. Even though you cook it down in this recipe, raw honey is still the better choice. Raw honey provides a slew of amazing benefits, but regular pasteurized honey is processed with damaging levels of heat stripping it of these beneficial properties through the heating process, making it just as unhealthy as refined sugar. Also, many times store bought pasteurized honey is actually cut with corn syrup. YUCK! I prefer to get my raw honey from a local farmer, either at the farmers market or a local grocery store.