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Using Smoothies as a Gateway to a More Nutritious Lifestyle.

by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D.

Photograph by Sara Cervera at Unsplash.com.

Using Smoothies as a Gateway to a More Nutritious Lifestyle.

by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D.

Photograph by Sara Cervera at Unsplash.com.

Using Smoothies as a Gateway to a More Nutritious Lifestyle.

by Daniel T. Moore, Ph.D.

Photograph by Sara Cervera at Unsplash.com.

The Standard American Diet or SAD diet provides less than optimal nutrition. When compared with other countries, the overall health of United States of America citizens is not very good. We are on the lower end of the spectrum. We have more chronic diseases than most other countries, more obesity and we do not live as long. A large majority of the cause of our poor health status comes from the food we choose to eat. This is really SAD considering the abundance of food and the wide variety of choices that people in the United States have. We can insure our families have a more abundant life by choosing a healthier life style, especially at meal time. We can become more healthy and feel better in general through our choices of nourishment.

Expense and Convenience

Most choose the SAD diet because of expense and convenience. You can eat at fast food restaurants often cheaper than you can fix a home cooked meal. Fast food restaurants are conveniently located near places you work and/or take your family. The problem is that while you are saving time and money, you are often sacrificing nutrition. Some fast food restaurants offer healthier choices but children rarely chose a healthy alternative to the kid’s meal that contain much processed food with little nutritious value.

Many children of today are picky eaters. They really like the SAD diet. They rarely will venture far from their chosen staples. Often the chosen staples are processed and often lacking in nutrition. These children are very resistive to alternative choices.

There is Hope

The good news is that few children will turn down a good tasting smoothie. Smoothies can be made specifically for the tastes of the child. They can start off sweet with added sugar, then gradually be transformed into smoothies with processed sugar substitutes such as maple syrup, honey, agave nectar or stevia. Then the sugar can be reduced to the point that all the sugar comes from the natural ingredients of the smoothie (e.g., fruit).

In addition, over time more vegetables, healthy fats, or proteins can be added depending on the specific needs of the consumer.

Smoothies make a nice gateway into a healthy lifestyle. As taste buds change over time, more and more nutritious food can be added to the smoothie and thus to the diet. With a planned outcome in mind, it could take six months to a year to completely change the palate of the participants. Eating more nutritious food should translate over time to better functioning in moods, coping skills, concentration, reduced impulsivity and a general sense of well being. The old saying of “Let food be your medicine” can actually apply to you and your family. Smoothies can be a big part of the process of going from the SAD diet to a healthy lifestyle with an abundance of choices in healthy foods. There are even ways to save money in the process.

Start With a Smoothie that Your Family Will Enjoy

There are thousands of smoothie recipes available. Here is one of our favorite smoothie recipes:

  • 1/2 cup of dark sweet frozen organic cherries

  • 1/2 cup cup of frozen organic blueberries

  • 1/2 cup of fresh banana

  • sweetened or non sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

Put in all the frozen cherries and blueberries in your smoothie maker or blender. Fill to the top of the frozen fruit with Almond Milk. Then add the fresh banana. Let the mixture sit for about five minutes to thaw the frozen fruit so that they will mix well. Blend in the smoothie maker or blender and then serve.

Get Creative

The beautiful part about making a smoothie is that you can add almost anything to it. Some parents even put their children’s medicine in the smoothie. With the right combination of fruits and/or vegetable and or spices, you can hide most unpleasant tastes. It may take some experimentation. When you are adding ingredient make sure you add healthy ingredients. Over time, it will defeat the purpose if you add ingredients that are not healthy (e.g., strawberries that are not organic).

An important consideration of quality of ingredients includes the effects of pesticides used to grow the fruit or vegetable. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most amount of pesticides, beginning with the one considered to have the most problems with pesticide and ending with the one that is least on the list. They are strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches and pears. We recommend that you use only organic versions of these fruits and vegetables in your smoothies. Some people have a method to wash these fruits and vegetables to get rid of the pesticides. That may be a way to save money.

Another way to save money is to know the fruits and vegetables that are considered to be safe in the amount of pesticides. The list includes: avocados, pineapples, papayas, kiwi, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe. Smoothies made with these ingredients are considered to be safe without having to buy organic.

Healthful ingredients

Below is a list of ingredients that you can add to your smoothie to get some medicinal properties. We recommend that you do your own research on what foods and spices may be of benefit to you and your family.

Healthful seeds:

chia seeds, flax seeds

Healthful spices:

cinnamon, ginger, sage, turmeric, thyme, rosemary, saffron, basil

Healthful nuts:

walnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, macademia nuts

Healthful fats:

avocado, coconut oil

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Buying organic fruits and vegetables does add more expense to your food. If it saves on costly medical expenses in the future, it is money well spent. Relatively speaking, a smoothie can be an inexpensive meal. Adding additional protein to the smoothie can provide enough energy and sustenance to make it to the next meal. Changing the sugar content of the smoothie over time and the composition of the smoothie to include healthier ingredients over time, can change the tastes of you and your family members and lead to an easier transition towards a healthier life style. A life style that goes away from fast foods, processed foods, sugary drinks and towards a life style where foods become your medicine. Instead of living to eat, you can eat to live.

The top photograph was taken by Sara Cervera on Unsplash.com. We are grateful for her work.

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