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Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

FREE Blendtec Blender Giveaway ($549.00 Value) – Yes, you can WIN!

Friends, it’s time for ANOTHER FREE giveaway! A big Thank You to Blendtec Blenders for believing in the power of Green Smoothies and offering a FREE Blendtec 3HP blender to one of my lucky followers!

Blendtec Blender Giveaway ($549 Value): The Details

Someone’s getting a new 3HP BLENDTEC blender for the NEW YEAR, ready to make Green Smoothies for many years to come! Here’s what we’ve got in this FREE giveaway for you:

1 Blendtec Blender + My NEW Book: Green Smoothies for Dummies
Your chance to WIN a FREE Blendtec Designer 675 blender!

Your chance to WIN a FREE Blendtec Designer 675 blender!

How to Join: Blendtec Blender Giveaway

1. RaffleCopter is organizing this Giveaway…so CLICK BELOW to SIGN UP. The more tasks you complete in RaffleCopter, the greater your chances are to WIN!

There are 3 tasks in the Raffle which are mandatory in order to win:
1 and 2. Follow us on Twitter – @rawfoodbliss and @blendtec
3. Leave a comment below – answering the question: What is your FAVORITE recipe book, DVD or inspirational/success story/diet book that has helped you in your HEALTH JOURNEY?

Additional tasks are optional, but if you complete them, you increase your chance to win. Good Luck!

Start Date: 15 December 2014
End Date: 5 January 2015
Winner Announced: 5 January 2015
Open to: US and Canada Addresses ONLY
Prize: Blendtec 3HP Blender (110V) and Green Smoothies for Dummies Book

No purchase necessary.
Contest closes at Midnight (EST), 5 January 2015.
Winner announced at 12pm noon (EST) 5 January 2015 EST.

Blendtec Designer 675 Blender Giveaway: The Details

Seriously, this blender is SEXY!
The Features include:

  • 1675 watt, 3.8 peak horsepower motor
  • Illuminated touch interface
  • 5 Preprogrammed cycles: Smoothie, Frozen Treats, Whole Juice, Hot Soup, Clean
  • 8-speed capacitive touch slider + Pulse, “Add 10”
  • Illuminated display indicates remaining blend time and total blend cycle count
  • Illuminated Touchscreen Controls

An intuitive control surface adds a modern flair to any kitchen. It’s illuminated to be easy to see and simple to use. It lights up with a single touch and shuts off automatically. Plus, its completely flat design is easy to completely clean.

  • 8-Speed Touch Slider + Pulse

Get precision speed control for 8 speeds with the slide of a finger. Use Pulse to add a standalone burst of power—great for chopping and light mixing.

  • 5 Preprogrammed Blend Cycles

Six preprogrammed cycles enable one-touch blending perfection: Smoothie, Frozen Treats, Whole Juice, and Hot Soup. The Designer 625 automatically speeds up, slows down, and shuts off to achieve great results every time.

Additional Info:

  • Dimensions: 7″ wide x 15″ tall x 9.25″ deep
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs
  • 1675 watts, 15 amps, 120 volts
  • 8-year warranty

Green Smoothies for Dummies book: The Details

The winner of this giveaway is also going to get a FANTASTIC recipe book for making the best Green Smoothies ever….! In Green Smoothie for Dummies, I created a “bible” for the best green smoothie making, and it’s all based on what I learned from teaching Green Smoothie classes for years. Every question that any student has ever asked me is in this book! Find plenty of other recipes and healthy tips too…everything from the best way to clean your blender to how to store your superfoods and the top myths about Green Smoothies debunked. There are green smoothie recipes for toddlers, kids, teenagers, adults, pregnancy, breast-feeding, working out, weight loss, skin, digestion, boosting your immune system, healing after illness….and so much more. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do with your NEW sexy Blendtec Blender!

The WINNER of this giveaway will receive a FREE Blendtec Blender PLUS a copy of my Green Smoothies for Dummies Book (with over 90 recipes!).

Your chance to WIN a FREE Blendtec Designer 675 professional blender!

Answer this question in the comments below:

 

What is your FAVORITE recipe book, DVD or inspirational/success story book

that has helped you in your HEALTH JOURNEY?

(My answer: Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life – book AND DVD, love them BOTH!)

Your comment will not appear immediately as all comments are moderated for spam before approval.

Congratulations Karen Hofer!

Winner of the FREE BLENDTEC BLENDER!

Blendtec Winner

Plus a copy of my book: Green Smoothies for Dummies

Karen Hofer – Wishing you many healthy smoothie years ahead!!

Thank you @Blendtec for this wonderful giveaway!

—>>>My next FREE BLENDER GIVEAWAY starts in Jan 2015!<<<—
Sign up to my NEWSLETTER for details!!

More on Green Smoothies:

FREE Vitamix Blender Giveaway ($449.00 Value) + Liver Flush Green Smoothie Recipe

Friends, I’m so excited to share this awesome FREE giveaway with you! It’s an absolute honor for me to present a VITAMIX 5200 BLENDER! We’re starting this giveaway as a healthy kick-off to Black Friday shopping week and a reminder to stay focused on a clean diet and healthy living for the new year. What a great start to the new year to have a beautiful 2HP blender, ready to blend up some healthy bliss!

The Winner will receive a FREE Vitamix 5200 Blender and my NEW Green Smoothies for Dummies book!

Vitamix 5200 Blender Giveaway (Closed – See winner below): The Details

Someone’s getting a new $449.00 Value 2HP Vitamix 5200 blender for Christmas, ready to make Green Smoothies for many years to come! Here’s what we’ve got in this FREE giveaway for you:

1 Vitamix 5200 Blender + My NEW Book: Green Smoothies for Dummies

In case you don’t know what a Vitamix is, it’s a blender. That means it blends the fiber and the liquid of whatever you put inside. It is not a juicer (a juicer separates the fiber from the liquid, leaving only the liquid for you to drink). A blender is very practical for busy people because it takes a just a few minutes to prepare your creation, is very easy to clean, and with a blender, you get all the nutrients from your food plus you get the fiber too. Most people are simply not eating enough fiber in their daily diet; the result can lead to poor digestion, acid reflux, arthritis, bad skin, weak liver, sluggishness, foul breath and even restless sleep.

Having a high power professional Vitamix 5200 blender is definitely some good motivation to start making change. Combine that with the delicious recipes in my Green Smoothies for Dummies book and you are going to start the new year right!

Vitamix 5200 blender

Vitamix 5200 blender

Vitamix 5200: $449.00 Value!

The Vitamix 5200 Blender is a universal tool for family meals and entertaining. A Vitamix is designed and built for outstanding performance and unsurpassed durability. And, it’s guaranteed for 7 years.

You’ll enjoy:

  • Easy-to-use equipment paired with extreme versatility
  • The ability to chop, cream, blend, heat, grind, churn, and more, with a single machine
  • Quick and easy self-cleaning with a drop of dish soap and warm water; just run on High for 30 seconds
  • 7-year full warranty – Industry’s best
  • Ongoing recipe ideas and community support

 

How to Join: Vitamix Blender Giveaway

1. RaffleCopter is organizing this Giveaway…so CLICK BELOW to SIGN UP. The more tasks you complete in RaffleCopter, the greater your chances are to WIN!

There are 5 tasks in the Raffle which are mandatory in order to win:
1 and 2. Find us on Facebook – /HealthyBliss and /Vitamix.
3 and 4. Follow us on Twitter – @rawfoodbliss and @vitamix
5. Leave a comment below – answering the question: What is ONE healthy change that you will make for the New Year?

Additional tasks are optional, but if you complete them, you increase your chance to win. Good Luck!

Start Date: 24 November 2014
End Date: 15 December 2014
Winner Announced: 15 December 2014
Open to: US and Canada Addresses ONLY
Prize: Vitamix 5200 Blender (110V) and Green Smoothies for Dummies Book

No purchase necessary.
Contest closes at Midnight (EST), 15 December 2014.
Winner announced at 12pm noon (EST) 15 December 2014 EST.

Winner: Congratulations Maria Matos of Miami, FL

on your FREE VITAMIX 5200 BLENDER!

Liver Flush Green Smoothie Recipe

All this talk about blenders and green smoothies makes me want to drink a healthy green smoothie ASAP! Here’s a super-yummy Liver Flush Smoothie recipe straight from the 3-Day Green Smoothie Detox chapter in my new book. (Yes, the winner gets a copy for FREE!) The combination of detox ingredients in this recipe helps the liver flush toxins more quickly.

Liver Flush Green Smoothie Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, peeled and seeded
  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup dandelion greens, loosely packed
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, loosely packed

Directions:

1. Combine the oranges, banana, lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and water in the blender and secure the lid.

2. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until mixture is smooth.

3. Add the dandelion greens and spinach and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

4. Pour the smoothie into 2 glasses and enjoy!

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

In Green Smoothie for Dummies, I’ve created a beautiful 3-day detox where each recipe focuses on a different organ of elimination, giving you a full-body cleanse in just 3 days!

Find plenty of other recipes and healthy tips too…everything from the best way to clean your blender to how to store your superfoods. I’ve created a “bible” for the best green smoothie making, and it’s all based on what I learned from teaching Green Smoothie classes for years. Every question that any student has ever asked me is in this book!

PS. If you’re looking for some awesome Christmas presents, you can head over to amazon and buy a few copies for everyone you love!!

The WINNER of this giveaway will receive a FREE Vitamix 5200 Blender PLUS a copy of my Green Smoothies for Dummies Book (with over 90 recipes!).

Don’t forget to sign up for the Vitamix Giveaway…Good Luck and Healthy Blessings!!

Winner: Congratulations Maria Matos of Miami, FL

on your FREE VITAMIX 5200 BLENDER!

Free Vitamix Giveaway - Winner Announced on 15 December 2014

Free Vitamix Giveaway – Winner Announced on 15 December 2014

 

Answer this question in the comments below:

What is ONE healthy change that you will make for the New Year?

(My answer: I’m exercising more! I’m going to yoga class every Thursday & starting to run again too. Oh yeah, bring it on 2015!!)

 
 

VitamixWinner

Congratulations to the WINNER!

Maria Matos of

Miami, FL

on your New VITAMIX 5200

BLENDER!

and a copy of my book Green Smoothies for Dummies

What a GREAT gift for Christmas – Thank you Vitamix and John Wiley & Sons!

 

Your comment will not appear immediately as all comments are moderated for spam before approval.

More on Green Smoothies:

Why I don’t use protein powders…and why you shouldn’t either!

The protein powder craze is one health trend that you should definitely avoid, and I’m about to tell you why!

Chose Whole Foods and Whole Dried Foods, organic of course!

Learn what protein powders to avoid and why!

Even with all their amazing health claims on everything from weight loss to better workouts to rock solid abs, I never felt drawn to protein powders. My feeling was always to stay close to nature with my foods, and I just wasn’t sure how a vanilla or chocolate or strawberry-flavored powder felt like anything except an overly processed food. Over the years, I started to hear from clients who were getting sick from these powders – mainly pain in the lower back, bad skin, insomnia, depression and kidney troubles. In every case, the symptoms occurred AFTER starting high doses of protein powder. As I started to look at the ingredients on different labels, I knew that my intuition on this one had been right all along.

Not a Whole Food

Most people mistakenly think that protein powders are just whole foods ground up into a powder form, and that is definitely not true. In fact, in order to get a high protein count, you have to extract the proteins out of the food and leave the rest behind. Otherwise, you could not get anywhere near a high protein concentration. And with protein powders, the more protein, the better.

Pea protein is the worst offender, especially for people who may react to these unnatural extracted proteins. That’s right…pea protein is an extracted protein, made in a lab, and it’s got a high glutamate concentration so it can affect you in the exact way as Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG. I’ve had a few clients who taking high doses of protein powders and they complained of migraine headaches, anxiety, and sensitivity to light or sound. Once we took the pea protein out of their diet, all symptoms disappeared.

Note: ALL pea protein is extracted, even if it’s 100% certified organic. The same protein powders can be used in diet and weight loss shakes as well as body-building blends.

Not Natural

Many protein powders contain “natural” flavors (note: the word “natural” is not regulated and can mean just about anything), artificial coloring and/or artificial sweeteners, none of which are good for your health. You can also find Genetically Modified (GMO) ingredients and/or Whey Protein Isolate, another high glutamate/extracted ingredient which is non-vegan and usually not organic so it can be high in antibiotics and pesticides too.

Not Regulated

Since protein powders are considered a “food” and not a supplement, they’re not actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a few cases, independent studies found high levels of heavy metals in certain ingredients such as organic brown rice protein. If your protein powder contains dangerously high levels of arsenic, cadmium or lead, how would you know? You won’t. Until it’s too late that is, and I don’t want that to happen to you!

Many of the ingredients in the mass-produced protein powders come from India and China, and they are not regulated for quality or contaminants. Those low-quality ingredients are most likely irradiated as well.

Hard on the Kidneys

So you’ve got an extracted unnatural powder protein that was heated to super-high temperatures, stripped of its fiber and is no longer a whole food. (Yikes!) What’s your natural, organic body going to do with that? You’ll have excess acid and uric acid build-up that’s created from the metabolic waste in trying to digest and break down all those proteins. Your skin and kidneys carry the burden of trying to release excess acids. You might smell an “acidic or tangy” odor in your sweat. Over time, the kidneys can become weaker and the risk of getting kidney stones or kidney disease can increase. Eating a high acid diet is also not good for your pH health. An anti-cancer diet is an alkaline diet, not a a high acid diet.

Not Around Long Enough to Know

The boom of high protein diets helped to make protein powders a new diet trend. Just read any Paleo, Dukan, Atkins or low carb diet website and you will see everyone is talking about protein – protein – protein.  I’ve even heard people talking about cricket protein powders (and surely that’s coming from China so imagine what’s in it, really).

But here’s the deal –  you can still eat plenty of protein if that’s your thing. Just choose whole foods! There are plenty of natural, vegan, organic whole food plant protein options out there. Since protein powders simply haven’t been around long enough to know if there are long-term consequences to your health, why take a chance?

Choose Real Whole Organic Food

Your body was designed to eat whole foods.

Here are 5 plant-based whole food protein sources:

  • 164g chickpeas = 14.53g  protein
  • 118g pumpkin seeds = 35.21g protein
  • 143g almonds = 30.34g protein
  • 140g sunflower seeds = 29.09g protein
  • 30g hemp hearts protein (3 Tbsp.) = 15.00g protein

Okay to Eat: Organic hemp protein, flax seed and spirulina powder. These are all whole foods; that means the whole seed or algae is dried and ground into a powder form. (The powders you want to avoid are the processed foods, such as “extracted, hydrolyzed, and protein isolates.”)

Best to Avoid: Pea protein, whey isolate, any hydrolyzed protein, natural flavors, aspartame, beet powder (if non-organic, this is usually GMO).

Other good vegetable/plant-based sources of protein include organic spirulina powder, sprouted mung beans, lentils, sesame seeds and dark leafy bitter greens.

You can make a super-healthy Green Smoothie with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), almonds and spirulina plus some fresh dark, leafy greens for an all-natural plant-based protein meal. You deserve the very best in health so I say choose the best!

Find out why you should avoid the latest protein powder craze

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Hearty Berry Smoothie Recipe – Great for After Work-Out Recovery!

Choosing the right foods after a good workout is important to help your muscles recover and keep your energy levels high for the rest of the day. Think alkaline, high fiber, antioxidants and hydration when you want to power-up after a good sweat. This Hearty Berry Smoothie gives you all of that plus a great taste, and even better, it takes less than 5 minutes to make.

This yummy smoothie will fill you up after a good power workout!

This yummy smoothie will fill you up after a good power workout!

Hearty Berry Post-Workout Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, peeled
  • 1 red apple
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4-6 walnut halves
  • 1 Tbsp. aloe vera juice
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups water

 

You can make many versions of this adding variety with chia or brazil nuts instead

You can make many versions of this adding variety with chia or brazil nuts instead

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend for 1 minute. Pour, and drink. Cheers to good health!

Need to buy the basic ingredients?
Aloe, flax, walnuts, and tahini: You can buy online here with fast shipping worldwide!

How it Works

During exercise, your body builds up acids from the muscle “burn” and cardio effects. After exercise, you need to release those built-up acids and create a more alkaline environment where muscles can safely recover and repair. More antioxidants help to break up the “internal rust.” The result: you’ll feel less stiff, more energized and have even more power for the next workout. That sounds like a good plan to me!

What you get

  • Berries give you a high boost of antioxidants. Blueberries are truly little blue bundles of health, packed with manganese, vitamin K, and antioxidants. Raspberries offer an ample supply of manganese, a mineral that helps to decrease premenstrual syndrome symptoms, improve bone health, and decrease pain associated with arthritis.
  • Bananas are great for sports endurance and recovery thanks to the combination of natural sugars, fiber, and potassium. Having a smoothie made with banana after your workout can give you more energy and improve your fitness performance.
  • Apples are packed with vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and potassium. High levels of boron in apples stimulate brain activity and increase mental alertness, making apples a real brain food. Boron also keeps your bones healthy and helps prevent osteoporosis by preserving calcium in the body.
  • Flaxseed is a great source of dietary fiber and helps your body intake the natural fruit sugars slowly which means you get more energy for longer and no “sugar crash” later. You can buy flax seed already ground or in whole form and grind at home.
  • Walnuts are a fantastic source of Omega 3, that’s a powerful antioxidant good for circulation and blood. Omega 3 is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent, helping to repair and heal faster from injuries.
  • Tahini (sesame) is high in zinc, the best mineral for your glandular system.
  • Aloe vera is amazing for skin and digestion.
  • Water is the best form of hydration there is!

 

For the love of smoothie! This is Raw Food Bliss!

For the love of smoothie! This is Raw Food Bliss!

Learn More

What blender should you use? Good question! Check out my article on Battle of the Blenders: Which one is Best.

Moving overseas? Find out if it’s ok to use a 110V blender in a 220V country.

Like this recipe? Discover more awesome workout and recovery smoothies in my NEW book: Green Smoothies for Dummies. It has more than 90 recipes and an excellent 3-day Green Smoothie Detox Plan too! Available for sale on amazon, iTunes and Barnes and Noble.

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

Green Smoothies for Dummies by Jennifer Thompson for Wiley Publishers, NY NY

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Reconnect with Nature in Guatemala with Fresh Juice, Raw Food, Mayan Ruins & Volcanoes

Guatemala is a country full of culture, colorful handicrafts, Mayan ruins and lots of nature and it’s a great place to visit for a health holiday! I recently spend 1 month in Guatemala and I’m going to share my top-picks, favorite restaurants and must-see things to do.

Central Courtyard in Antigua, Guatemala

Most people fly into Guatemala City when they arrive to Guatemala. Since the quaint, picturesque town of Antigua is only 45 minutes from Guatemala City, it’s a good idea to take a taxi or arrange hotel pickup directly from the airport to Antigua and start your adventures there (it’s about $30 for a private taxi). Antigua is the former capital of Guatemala and is full of Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and many courtyard gardens behind the ancient walled streets. This is a good place to spend 4-5 days so you have time to take a tour, explore the local market, visit a nearby volcano or Mayan village, soak in natural hot springs, enjoy some of the restaurants and maybe even schedule a massage. Now that sounds like a holiday!

Old and beautiful downtown Antigua

Guatemalan decoration, handicraft, style, love!

Inside Pitaya Juice Bar in Antigua

My favorite morning stop in Antigua was at Pitaya Juice Bar, across from the Antigua Gym. It’s a small but very cute place and they serve fresh juice or superfood smoothies with moringa, ginseng, flax or wheatgrass, for a healthy start to the day (Pitaya Juice Bar: 6ta Calle Poniente, #26). For lunch, I frequented Sabo Rico, an outdoor garden restaurant serving salads, juices and smoothies in a gorgeously romantic courtyard (Sabo Rico: 6a avenida sur #7).

Dinners were typically made at the hostel using fresh raw foods bought at the local market and raw apple cider vinegar or coconut oil from the main health food store in town, Organica (5 calle poniente No. 6, just 1 block from the main square). Organica also has a small range of gluten-free foods for sale. Everything in Antigua is walkable which makes it very nice as a tourist.

My top picks for things to do in Antigua

Walking Tour with Elizabeth Bell

Definitely take Elizabeth Bell’s walking tour which runs every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm and meets at the central fountain in the main square. Elizabeth’s knowledge and enthusiasm over all things Antigua and Guatemala is absolutely amazing, impressive and inspiring. This was absolutely a highlight of Antigua form me; the $20 was well spent for the tour.

Santo Domingo Hotel’s restaurant on the hill: Santo Domingo del Cerro

If you plan your day correctly, you can continue on your own at the end of Elizabeth’s tour at the Santo Domingo Hotel in downtown Antigua and from there, take the hotel’s free shuttle up the hill to their restaurant, the Santo Domingo del Cerro. Most likely you’ll be hungry after the tour and in daylight hours, you can enjoy all their unusual outdoor art sculptures and take in the views of surrounding volcanoes while enjoying a nice healthy salad. I had a delicious apple and watercress salad and was very happy to see that on the menu as a reasonable raw food choice. For anyone looking for a nice place to do work online (to write blog posts or update twitter feeds a-hem), the Santo Domingo del Cerro has a very nice terrace with free wifi, so you can spend the rest of your afternoon there and catch up on some work!

Wednesday at the Kawilal Hot Springs

Every Wednesday, the Kawilal Hot Springs and Spa offers a free shuttle that leaves at 9am from the Cathedral (it returns back to Antigua at 3pm). It’s a 1-hour ride to the hot springs so the free Wednesday shuttle is really the best option for tourists. The spa offers different packages with or without massage and it’s a bit expensive ($85 for hot springs and massage) for what it is and for Central American prices. For that reason, I would recommend a cheaper package using only the hot springs. The pools are still great and I fully believe in the healing powers of natural hot springs, so I personally seek them out wherever I go! This is a nice break from Antigua and a good option for a quiet afternoon soaking in the natural healing energy of thermal waters.

Outside Antigua: Tikal, Semuc Champey & Lake Atitlan

Tikal National Park

If you have the time, take an overnight bus to the northern part of Guatemala where you will find the ancient Mayan city and UNESCO World Heritage Site at Tikal National Park. We managed to find an honest tour company to book our bus tickets directly across from Pitaya Juice Bar. I don’t remember the name, but the staff wore Lonely Plant t-shirts and we received the correct price for the bus (not always an easy thing to achieve in Guatemala!). Speaking of which, be sure to book your accommodation before arriving to Flores; otherwise you will be absolutely mobbed by booking agents trying to lure you into other hotels and various park tours. We booked online in advance directly with Los Amigos Hostel, and we arranged our Tikal sunrise tour and onward bus tickets inside the hostel, at the very back, during office hours only. Flores is known for thieves operating as tour guides preying on the weary traveler arriving at 5am; we heard more than a few stories of this during our brief 2 days there. So be careful!

A great option for your first day in Flores is to rent kayaks at the hostel and paddle around the lake. It’s a wonderful feeling to get out on the water and to just glide with every stroke closer to the other side, then power-paddle back. Get to sleep well and truly early, because the the sunrise tours leaves at 4am! The tour takes you into the park to sit atop one of the Mayan temples and experience ‘the jungle waking up’ with sounds of howler monkeys, toucans and other birds. It’s great! A few more hours to explore the park gets you back to the hostel in early afternoon.

Ancient Mayan Civilization at Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park, in the jungles of northern Guatemala

Imagine the sounds of tropical birds and howler monkeys all around you…amazing!

Semuc Champey

The next day, you can head to Semuc Champey, about 6-8 hours by minibus from Flores. It’s not as comfortable to travel by minibus but there is no big bus that goes to Semuc Champey. Once you get there, you will see that it is well worth the effort! Semuc Champey is a gorgeous set of natural limestone bridges that’s located deep in a mountain gorge and covered with crystal blue-green water. You have to see it to really appreciate how magnificent Mother Nature can be. You only need one day to see the park, but many people stay at either one of the hostels for a few days just to relax and well, mainly to party. The backpacker party thing wasn’t my scene so I only stayed 2 days to see the park and do the cave tour, and I continued on my way to Lake Atilan.

Semuc Champey…simply amazing natural wonder!

Reconnecting with nature…is healthy bliss! At Semuc Champey

In awe of Mother Nature’s beauty at Semuc Champey

Save the Best for Last: Lake Atitlan

My best advice is exactly that: Save Lake Atitlan for the end of your Guatemala travels and take some time to rest, relax eat good food, or even rent a house along the lake and plan to do your own juice or water fast while there. Lake Atitlan is a popular destination for yoga, healing, raw food, meditation and spiritual retreats due to its magical energy field. It’s claimed to be one of the worlds’ energy vortexes, alongside the great pyramids and Macchu Picchu. The lake itself is surrounded by volcanoes, and when we were there, San Pedro volcano was visibly active, which was just amazing to see!

Beauty and nature at Lake Atitlan

Local fruit and vegetable market

Many of the health-enthusiast tourists stay in the village of San Marcos on the lake. In my opinion, it was a bit too hippie and we searched for something a bit more scenic and peaceful, with good views of the lake, good internet and decent sense of security. We found exactly that at Sakcari Hotel in San Pedro. While not cheap by Guatemala standards at $40 per night, Sakcari was everything we were looking for – it was quiet and on the lake with incredible views from the room and a real feeling of nature. Nearby in the village, we could get fresh fruit, fresh juice and smoothies every day. There is also a great health food store in San Pedro; it’s small but well-stocked with herbs, supplements, natural body products and some dried organic nuts and seeds. What more in life does one need?

A nice place to contemplate life, on the shores of Lake Atitlan

Fresh air, views of nature…this in and of itself is a cleanse!

Isla Verde Eco-Resort with its famed ‘slow-cooking’

We checked out some other spots and also looked at a few houses and apartments to rent on Lake Atitlan because we considered staying longer, up to 1-2 months. After a good amount of searching, there is only one place I would recommend and that’s the PasaCap property, owned by Pierre, a Frenchman living on the lake for more than 15 years. Pasacap has very modern and clean furnished apartments with perfect lake views on a secure property with a private dock to access the lake. We seriously considered renting an apartment here for 1-2 months so I could do a long water fast, but unfortunately the units were fully booked at the time and I didn’t want to wait a month for availability. I would definitely consider returning at a future date, and securing the booking in advance online. To have the chance to do a water fast on a major world energy vortex….well that’s just ‘Wow!’

There were a few other highlights on the lake for healthy eating and raw food, both in the village of Santa Cruz. The first, Isla Verde Resort, is a beautiful place with a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the lake. They are known for their ‘slow cooking,’ but we found that they may have taken this term a bit too far…by adding ‘slow ordering,’ ‘slow service,’ ‘slow preparation,’ and ‘slow to settle your bill.’ In short, the entire experience was SLOW. But, they did have some nice juices, salads and a great homemade kombucha drink that is worth waiting to order, receive and pay for!

View of Lake Atitlan from Isla Verde Resort

Mayan Cacao Energy Balls at Villa Sumaya

The other place is also in Santa Cruz, but in the opposite direction from the dock. When you exit the boat taxi, walk to the right and follow the maze of planks and boardwalks (which is really fun by the way!); after about 30 minutes you will arrive to Villa Sumaya.

Villa Sumaya is a yoga and meditation retreat center and it’s a great place to consider staying for a few nights if your budget allows. Otherwise, do what we did and visit during the day, enjoy a delicious fruit smoothie, sample their raw cacao superfood snacks and take a few raw energy balls home to nibble on later.

Whatever extra time you have in Guatemala, definitely spend it at Lake Atitlan. The views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes change with each day’s cloud formations and sun, a real-life painting waiting for you to slow down and simply enjoy its natural canvas. It’s a place that really grows on you after awhile.

Quiet time in nature is good for the soul

Safety in Guatemala

This is something worthy of noting and needs to be addressed for your personal travel safety. While absolutely nothing happened to use during our 4 weeks in Guatemala, we did meet a few tourists who had been robbed, mugged or ripped off. Some important things to remember: Do not show your iPhone or smartphone in public areas; Do not wear expensive jewelry; Carry a purse that hangs across the body from shoulder-to-hip and not on one shoulder only; Do not carry valuables at night; Do not carry a lot of cash at any time; Ask around at several travel agents to compare prices before booking anything. Again, we had nothing happen to us, but we heard quite a few stories. Personally, I always lock all valuables in my suitcase in the hotel room at all times. The temptation for a cleaning lady or other hotel staff to look around is just too great, so why take the risk? Once you get into the habit of doing that, it becomes very easy and it’s much ‘safer’ than a front desk safe where other staff may also have a key. You can definitely enjoy Guatemala without any problems if you follow these simple safety tips. With so much to see and enjoy; it’s a country worthy of a visit!

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Green Smoothie Recipe & Video Demonstration

Watch for yourself how the wonderful magic of Green Smoothie Making unfolds! Jennifer shows you how to use a blender, fresh fruit and dark leafy greens to make this perfect raw food snack or meal, so easy to add to your daily routine at home!

Green Smoothie Love!

Green Smoothie Love!

Consider trying the Green Smoothie for breakfast or lunch, especially if you are looking to gain energy, lose weight, increase minerals, detox, add more fiber to your diet and live more in tune with Mother Earth.

Why would you not want to try!

Filmed in Koh Samui, Thailand, a great tropical island destination for fasting, cleansing, detoxing, raw foods, meditation and natural healing!

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