The Art and Alchemy of Blending Foods
Just browsing around the site as well as others, I often come across the trials and tribulations of the smoothie creator. Just recently I read a woman's post about blending Walmart lettuce with water and after drinking it, thought it was terrible. She then continued to add various fruits until she could create something drinkable. Another video a few months back shows a man blending reishi tea with carob, spinach, goji berries, cinnamon, cherries and host of random fruits, vegetables and other superfoods. Personally, if I were to consume these beverages, I know I would be in a state of digestive emergency. Instead of adding in random products, blending and hoping for the best, I would like to share my thoughts on how to build a successful smoothie or elixir.
First off, I want to share that I do not believe in green smoothies. Combining fruits with raw greens like kale, chard, collards etc are a source of fuel that I don't personally see fit for my body. The brassica family, contain goitrogens that when consumed raw, will ultimately have a negative effect on the thyroid and may lead to multiple health problems. Do you know people who eat mostly raw yet can't lose weight? Goitrogens may be the reason.
Excess sugars especially ones from fruits picked before truly ripened offer less than optimal nutrition and play a huge roll in building excess candida in the body, so therefore, I stay away from most sugars and fruit, except locally harvested berries and apples when in season.
A Sound Foundation:
The key to a good medicinal beverage starts with the base. While Spring water is great, we can step it up by using an infusion, or decoction of medicinal herbs. We can take this step in many directions depending on any ailments of directions you wish to take your body.
I am a big advocate of reishi/chaga tea because I harvest it locally. Horsetail and nettle make for great infusions. If battling candida, pau d'arco is an excellent choice for tea and tastes great too!
If I am down towards the tropics, coconut water is a great choice.
Other bases include:
coffee-I know theres coffee drinkers out there!
Make it Satiating:
Fat! The dreaded word amongst low fat high sugar advocates, but when omitted, usually result in binging or over consumption of food. When making elixirs, adding fat will make the drink not only satiating, but give it enough calories to turn the drink into a meal. I can make a 1 quart elixir last for 4-6 hours before needing a meal. This is important when on the road or traveling.
Coconut oil is an excellent choice for saturated fat and is very important, especially for woman. Coconut oil has the ability to absorb toxins and help them to be removed from the body. Coconut oil also aids in making your drink smooth and well emulsified. If I want a heavier drink, I will opt for cashews or hemp seeds because they can be blended into drinks and not have to be strained. Basically, you are creating a nutmilk when you blend the base with the fat so any choice of nut or seed is acceptable. Cacao butter or Coconut butter adds a great taste as well! Cream, raw Jersey cream, is one of my top fats to add into my elixirs and builds a frothy and creamy base for most of my drinks.
Herbs and Flavors:
Step 3 is where you get creative. Just want flavor, add in your favorite spices. Looking to make a chocolate drink, then add in cacao powder of cacao beans and blend. I love to add medicinal mushroom capsules and some of my favorite superfoods. Again, you can go in so many directions, so feel out what your bodies needs and learn about some of the great herbs of the world. One note of importance is to keep it simple. You dont have to add 12 herbs and superfoods to make a good drink. Start with one or two, create a relationship with them and see how they react in your body. I will give an herb a month or 2 before going on to the next one.
I love honey as well as I do maple syrup, but I rarely use them anymore. My diet is low in sugar so i carry this into my elixirs. Using low glysemic fruits like berries are fun treats and best used in moderation. Mesquite is another low glysemic product that I enjoy using in my drinks. For me, stevia and xylitol are the optimal choices for sweeteners in mostly all of my elixirs. If you are dealing with any sugar imbalance, then I would highly recommend cutting out all sugars from your diet. If you are strong and healthy, then moderate sugars like honey, maple syrup, and agave are okay.
A pinch of salt adds pop and brings out the flavors of your drink so always give your drink a pinch of sea or crystal salt.
I hope this post provides a little structure to creating medicinal beverages. The blender is not the place to just dunk and blend and pray for good flavor. Like building a home, it starts with a strong foundation and careful build upward.
Image Credit- amateurgourmet