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Smoothie Moves

Easy to assemble and quick to make, smoothies pack a ton of different nutrients into one cold glass of goodness.

Tiffany Duncan
July 28, 2018

This last month was an insanely busy one, and unfortunately my diet suffered heavily from it. For the last four-and-a-half months, our house was being totally remodeled. I’m talking walls knocked out, damaged walls restored, floors refinished, HVAC installed, and total kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Needless to say, it was no small task.

We obviously were unable to continue living in our home while all of that was going on, so since mid-February we have been living with some friends. Sharing a kitchen and space with multiple people comes with an entire host of challenges (storage space; competing for the oven/burners at the same time; and an almost constant mess from one person or another). I also started a new job while living there, and although I love my new position, it’s also been pretty stressful getting the hang of it. This past month, I also developed a very strange condition that hasn’t entirely subsided and makes me feel dizzy and off-balance, making it extremely difficult to work out.

All of that to say, I’ve just been living on a prayer recently. And a lot more pizza than I care to admit. But thankfully, we just moved back into our newly finished home three days ago, and it is an absolute dream. I have big plans for the total overhaul in diet I’ll be making with the help of my new kitchen and the stove from 1948 my husband and I had restored. Really, I’ve just done nothing so far but stare and drool over it.

For the last month, though, the only thing I’ve been doing for my health and my body is trying to incorporate as many smoothies as possible.

I love smoothies so much. They are easy to assemble and quick to make, and there’s very little clean up. It’s also a way to pack a ton of different nutrients into one cold glass of goodness.

Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to making smoothies at home, and they can be pretty unhealthy when full of a lot of sugary, artificially flavored yogurt, or are too heavy handed on the fruit. But the best part about drinking smoothies is they can be packed full of foods you might not like by themselves (like kale, spinach, or avocado) because the taste of fruit or other ingredients can mask undesirable tastes and textures.

Here’s a list of healthy smoothie add-ins to help you start brainstorming and come up with your own nutrient-dense recipes:

Whether it’s kale, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine, or collards, stuff it all in there! These dark leafy greens are full of antioxidants and can help to fight inflammation. They are also said to be one of the best cancer-fighting foods. You’ll get all the benefit without the taste, if you aren’t a greens person.

Did you know an avocado contains more potassium than a banana? They are also loaded with fiber and are associated with potentially lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels, and fighting factors associated with heart disease and diabetes. Plus — bonus — they lend a super creamy texture to your smoothie without overpowering the taste.

Chia seeds
These little guys are small but mighty. Despite their minuscule size, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which promote the “good” kind of cholesterol to fight against heart attack and stroke, and promotes weight loss) and antioxidants. They also boost energy levels and metabolism, promote healthy skin, support the digestive system, and more.

Maca powder
You may have seen this trendy ingredient showing up in local juice and smoothie bars, but what is it? Maca is a type of root native to the Andes of Peru, and it is a recognized superfood. It is believed to help the body more easily adapt to emotional or physical stress, like family emergencies or a demanding job. Maca powder can also help to balance estrogen levels, and enhance energy, mood, memory, and even sex drive.

Many of us wouldn’t think to throw a chunk of ginger into a smoothie, but I’m glad someone did! It makes the flavor of a smoothie pop with a subtle spiciness that balances out the sweetness of fruit, and is also soothing on the throat. Ginger is also associated with cold and flu relief, cardiovascular health, relieving nausea, reducing inflammation, and aiding in digestion.

Adding dried, old-fashioned oats to your smoothie is an excellent idea for a few different reasons: it’s cheap, healthy, and super filling, so it can turn your morning smoothie into a powerhouse breakfast.

Spirulina powder
Prized by Instagrammers because of the lovely blue color it can lend to a smoothie, spirulina powder is made from algae harvested from the tops of non-contaminated ponds. It’s very rich in chlorophyll, B-vitamins, and antioxidants. Spirulina is also extremely high in protein and iron, making it ideal to consume while pregnant.

Almond butter
This is a good ingredient to add to a morning smoothie, as almond butter is not only filling (which can keep you from overeating) but can also promote healthy brain function. Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, which can both positively impact neurological activity. Almonds are also full of vitamin E to promote healthy skin.

Raw cacao powder
Chocolate that’s good for you in a smoothie? Yes, please! Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume — free of fillers and unnecessary processing. Cacao powder is a superfood that is thought to be the highest provider of magnesium and antioxidants out of all other foods.

Almond milk
Give the dairy a rest for a while and try some of the many delicious and nutritious milk alternatives out there. Almond Milk is a good go-to because the taste is mild, and it is also relatively thick like cow milk, which lends a nice, smooth texture to your smoothie.

Raw coconut water
Raw coconut water is a great, nutrient-rich liquid to add to smoothies, especially after prolonged exercise. Coconut water is so full of electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium that studies have shown it to be more rehydrating than water.

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Utilizing as many free and cheap resources as she can find in the 918 area, routinely forsaking her fitness comfort zone to discover effective workouts, and cooking more intentionally from home, Duncan is publicly documenting her progress in each issue as she works to lose 30 pounds in 2018.