Excerpt from “I Hate Counting Calories! Smoothies, Fruit Juices and Other Drinks!”
By Guest Writer, Lucie Brisson
A FUN and EASY way to get more vitamins & minerals into your diet is by drinking freshly made fruit juices, vegetable juices, and by blending thick and frothy smoothies and shakes from frozen fruit.
A friend of mine describes drinking freshly made fruit juices like this:
“If you have never taken a mouthful of cantaloupe juice or strawberry juice mixed with apple, you simply have not lived. Blueberry juice is a taste of liquid heaven.”
Freshly made juices are a tremendous source of bio-available vitamins and minerals which are the partners of enzymes and co-enzymes. Vitamins activate enzymes and without vitamins, enzymes could not carry out their work, and we could not live.
Enzymes act as catalysts in hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout your body, and are essential for digesting, absorbing and converting food into body tissue. Enzymes produce energy at the cellular level and are critical for most of the metabolic activities taking place in your body every second of every day.
Another benefit of drinking fresh juices and smoothies is that your body can absorb MORE of the vitamins and minerals then if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables whole! Many of the nutrients are TRAPPED in the fiber and by blending fruits and vegetables, you break down the fiber and release the vital nutrients.
When you eat a raw carrot, you are only able to assimilate a small percentage of the available beta carotene. When a carrot is juiced, removing the fiber, a LARGE percentage of the beta carotene can be assimilated by your body.
Of course, you still need to eat whole produce because fiber is also an important part of your daily diet.
Meeting you or your children’s need for energy and nutrients is essential for good health. Children who do not meet their needs for energy may stop growing and gaining weight. In severe situations, they can develop a condition which is life threatening called protein energy malnutrition. Vitamins and minerals are only required in very small amounts, but a diet insufficient in these can cause SEVERE deficiency diseases.
- You may be showing signs of malnutrition if you …
- feel tired and weak.
- feel like you never have the energy to clean your home, make meals or even do the dishes.
- have difficulty losing or gaining weight.
- can’t easily get to sleep.
- feel stressed and/or nervous.
- feel drowsy during the day.
- sometimes can’t concentrate, you’re mind feels numb, or you get confused easily.
- have problems with your digestion.
- have constipation and/or hard dry stools.
- have mood swings, or get easily upset.
- don’t have patience for anything.
- sometimes feel depressed.
- have overly dry or oily skin.
- sometimes have nausea and/or abdominal pain.
- have annoying eye twitches.
- bruise easily.
- have muscle cramps and/or low back pain.
- sometimes get cracks and sores in the corners of your mouth.
- notice that your nails have become thin and/or brittle.
- are losing your hair.
- have water retention.
- have uncontrollable temper outbursts.
- don’t eat a well-balanced nutritious diet EVERY DAY
Natural vitamins are found only in living things, that is, plants and animals. Your body, with a few exceptions, can’t manufacture vitamins. They must be supplied in your food or in dietary supplements but supplements can’t replace food, especially fruits and vegetables which provide thousands of substances, some of which have well-known functions, and some whose roles in the human body are not yet understood or recognized.
- Vitamins and minerals …
- reduce your risk of getting a stroke or heart attack!
- strengthen your nails!
- improve your hair condition, strength and growth by providing certain essential nutrients to the hair follicle!
- beautify your skin by keeping it smooth, soft and disease-free!
- provide essential compounds that are necessary for growth, health, normal metabolism and physical well-being! Without them, you would die!
- promote normal growth and development!
- maintain bone density and strength!
- regulate blood clotting!
- help in the function of nerves and muscles, including regulating a normal heart beat!
When it comes to choosing a healthy diet for their children, many parents don’t realize the important role that beverages play. For example, fruit flavored drinks and soft drinks are not a substitute for real fruit. Many of these drinks only contain 10% real fruit juice. The very best drinks are made from whole fruit and you can make great fruity healthy drinks at home.
- How to make homemade fruit and vegetable juices:
- You’ll need an inexpensive juicer.
- All fruits and vegetables should be juiced raw.
- Small seeded fruit, such as watermelon and pears, may be juiced with their seeds, with the exception of papaya and apple seeds. Orange and grapefruit seeds might impart a bitter taste to your juice. Remove the large pits from fruits like peaches and nectarines, etc.
- Peel all fruits and vegetables that are not organically grown because the peel is where most of the chemical residues can be found. While most skins of organically grown fruits and vegetables may be left on, with the exception of waxed produce, the skins of pineapples, kiwis, oranges, grapefruits and papaya should be removed.
- Choose fresh ripe produce. Rubbery vegetables, bruised fruit, wilted greens and over or under-ripe fruits will produce juices that are neither tasty nor healthful.
- Cut the fruits or vegetables into pieces that will fit into the mouth of your juice machine. Turn the juice machine on and push the pieces through the mouth of the juicer. As you juice, pulp will collect in a large receptacle. If you don’t clean the pulp out right away, it will develop a sour odor and tiny gnats and fruit flies may appear after 8 to 10 hours.
- It is best to drink freshly made juices within one day.
How to make perfect homemade smoothies and shakes:
- Put the fruit in the blender first. Make sure that the items are smaller than a golf ball so they will blend completely. Add the liquid ingredients next.
- Fasten the lid and press the start button. Use high speed for about 20-30 seconds.
- Stop the blender and check to see if the ingredients are well blended. Sometimes the frozen fruit will jam under the blade. If there is jammed fruit, use a spatula to unjam the fruit, and blend again.
- Once the mixture is evenly blended, slowly add two ice cubes through the opening of the blender lid. Keep adding one or two ice cubes at a time until the blender sounds smooth. If your blender is not strong enough to blend ice cubes, omit the ice and substitute just enough ice cold water or fruit juice so that the shake will have a milkshake consistency.
- If the shake/smoothie is too thin, add more fruit or ice. If it’s too thick, add more liquid.