SMOOTHIE SEASON

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Offset the indulgence of the holiday season by sipping smoothies. They’re easy, portable and packed with colorful, healthy ingredients.

by Kendra Lott • photo by Visual Cuisines

smoothiesBreak out the blender in Florida and you teeter on the edge of a delicious cliché, one involving pools and piña coladas. After all, nothing says summer like an icy concoction of booze and fruit. But with the abundance of the holidays and the subsequent noshing that occurs during the cooler months, it makes sense to keep that blender on the kitchen counter year-round and fill it with something healthy.

While juice cleanses are an increasingly popular means of ridding the body of toxins and losing weight (see sidebar), a well-timed smoothie full of fruits and vegetables might help to prevent you from making an unhealthy choice in the first place. According to Dr. Angela Fals, medical director of Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 Kids program, “The natural water and fiber in these wholesome foods can help you to maintain a healthy weight—you will feel fuller the natural way—and the sweetness of the fruit can help to curb a sweet tooth.”

Dr. Fals also recommends smoothies for kids, who often don’t eat as many fruits and veggies as they should. A bonus for busy parents: “They do not take long to make and you can add a rainbow of colors,” she says. Sticking to a single color palette when choosing ingredients, such as carrot-mango-orange or kiwi-cucumber-grape, will keep the color true and entice little ones to try the resulting blend.

With the salad days of summer long gone, grown-ups can be equally lax with their produce intake during winter. “Green smoothies are a great way to add more vegetables to your daily food intake,” according to local nutritionist Dr. Samadhi Artemisa, Ph.D., A.P. “Because of their green pigment, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach provide high amounts of chlorophyll, which is excellent for cleansing and building up the blood.” Raw collard greens have a mild flavor that all but disappears when mixed with tangy fruits (see our suggestions below), and they are easy to find throughout the winter.

Adding produce to your diet can also help keep your body in balance during cold and flu season. “According to Chinese Medicine theory, winter is a time of yin [cold],” says Dr. Kathy Veon, DOM of Central Florida Preventive Medicine. “Consuming warming herbs, fruits and vegetables during the winter helps improve circulation and dispel cold.” Veon’s blender-friendly choices for winter include garlic, ginger, chives, basil, fennel seed, nutmeg, cherries, dates, mango, coconut, mandarin peel, walnuts and pine nuts.

Perhaps the most pleasing thing about smoothies is that they don’t require any fussy equipment, or even a recipe. A blender with lots of horsepower will do the best job of breaking down fibrous material—you want a smoothie, not a chunky—but fancy buttons and attachments aren’t imperative as long as you get the right solid-to-liquid ratio. Use one or two items from a few of the categories below to create a tasty balance of texture, sweetness and acidity, and get creative.

 

SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS

CREAMY
milk
almond milk
kefir
coconut milk

TANGY
raspberries
pineapple
peaches
mangoes
strawberries*

blueberriesJUICY
cantaloupe
citrus*
watermelon
honeydew
cucumbers*
grapes
apples
kiwis
blueberries

MELLOW
bananas
avocados*
beets
carrots*

GREEN
collards
spinach
kale
parsley*
watercress*

THICK
nuts/nut butters
coconut
flax seeds
hemp seeds
rolled oats
sweet potato puree
Greek yogurt

SWEET
honey
stevia
dark sweet cherries
dates

STRONG
cocoa powder
ginger
cardamom
nutmeg

*in season

 

Juice Cleanse Jump-Start

by Pam Brandon

After one too many holiday parties and a string of family dinners, a juice cleanse may be just the antidote to the bloated, sluggish feeling. Good-bye, sugar, gluten and dairy.

I went cold turkey with a three-day juice cleanse from Wheat Berry Café & Raw Juice Bar as a way to give my body a rest. After three days I began to appreciate the natural flavors of whole, fresh food and reconnected with normal fullness cues. And I lost 6 pounds—a great motivator to start 2014. The trick is getting organic, cold-pressed juice as fresh as possible.

There are six prepackaged and convenient bottles for each day: Drink a green vegetable juice for breakfast, and a carrot juice mid-morning for energy. Lunch is beet juice, midafternoon is lemon-cayenne, and evening is another green vegetable juice. The almond milk is an evening treat with a little fat and protein. The whole day is about 1,000 to 1,200 calories, mostly vitamins, minerals and live enzymes, says Rik Napoleon of Wheat Berry. That’s about 20 pounds of produce a day (but no roughage).

I never felt particularly tired or hangry (that combo of tired and angry), but on the second day when I was craving something crunchy, I enjoyed a small handful of raw almonds. And later, a sip of almond milk. Caffeine, alcohol or tobacco are out.

On the third day I was tempted to have dinner, but powered through with the final green drink and bedtime almond milk. The next morning I eased back with a boiled egg and sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. And felt deliciously light and energized.

 

Three local companies offer juice cleanses:

Raw Juicing and Detox offers one-, three- and seven-day cleanses with cold-pressed, organic fruits, vegetables and nut milk packaged in 16-ounce mason jars. $60 for one day, $180 for three days and $420 for seven days. 2 W. Plant St., Winter Garden; (407) 694-9269; [email protected].

Wheat Berry Café & Raw Juice Bar has three- and five-day cleanses with cold-pressed, organic fruits, vegetables and nut milk packaged in 16-ounce plastic bottles. $153 for three days and $255 for five days. 1150 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs; (407) 865-9999.

Skyebird at East End Market. Skyebird recommends starting with a three-day cleanse with cold-pressed, organic fruits, vegetables and nut (or sunflower seed) milk packaged in 16-ounce mason jars. Prices range from $180 to $225; 3201 Corrine Drive, Orlando; (407) 758-9311; skyebird.com.

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