I love my NutriBullet, and wouldn’t be without it but I cringe when I see pictures of NutriBullet cups loaded up with fruit and a few token spinach leaves. That’s not the way to wellbeing. To get the ups without the downs of the smoothie revolution it helps to understand a bit more. Your NutriBullet doesn’t magically make ingredients healthy just because you put them in there and whizz them up. It’s really no different from a frying pan; it’s just a tool. The key benefit of smoothie makers is their ability to reduce foods to micro-particles that bypass our lazy chewing and boost stressed digestion, improving bioavailability of nutrients.
Not many people in the modern world need to speed the delivery of sugars into the blood stream, so making your smoothies with mostly fruit is a bad idea. High levels of fructose can be damaging in a number of ways; first of all, fructose completely bypasses satiety mechanisms in the body so it doesn’t ‘fill you up’; then it also acts a bit like alcohol in your system, increasing your chance of developing diabetes and fatty liver disease. Not great.
Fats, on the other hand, can be more tricky to absorb because they rely on the efficient action of your gallbladder which tends to decrease with age and is frequently removed in response to digestive problems. Anything that boosts this particular step of digestion is providing a great service.
Your gallbladder secretes an alkaline fluid called bile to emulsify fats in preparation for absorption – it works a bit like washing-up-liquid on a greasy roasting dish, breaking down fat globules into tiny particles that can pass easily through the gut wall. Smoothie makers do a very similar job, so they can also help make good fats more digestible.
Bile secretion is stimulated by the arrival of acid ‘chyme’ from the stomach but sluggish gallbladders can be coaxed into action with bitter, sharp and pungent flavours. Lemons and limes (including some peel), radish, bitter dark green leaves (kale, dandelion, beet leaves etc) and aromatic herbs and pungent spices can all work as bile stimulants – coffee too. Dried spices are OK if that’s all you have but it’s fairly easy to get hold of fresh ginger and turmeric which are both highly anti-inflammatory. And, of course, the evidence for turmeric in cancer prevention is mounting steadily.
Fats are an undersung aid to our wellbeing. They carry nutrients between organs and into cells, they help curb appetite and increase satiety, they reduce inflammation and provide the building blocks of strong healthy cells. Many of us could benefit from a few more fats – especially the omega 3 variety, which is why I’ve included some flax seed oil in the recipe. (Sardines – another great source of omega 3 fats – don’t work too well in a smoothie!)
In my opinion, getting some good fats and pungent spices into your smoothie is far more important than jamming it full of so-called ‘superfoods’. Here’s where your NutriBullet can genuinely make a difference to your health. With that in mind, here’s my recipe for an optimal Well Cell Smoothie.
- Handful of greens – kale, rocket, spring, spinach, broccoli, celery, dandelion, etc.
- A good slug of bio-organic fermented whole milk dairy – yoghurt, kefir etc.
- Slug of coconut milk (optional)
- One tablespoon of organic flax seed oil.
- One dessertspoon lecithin granules (10g) to help with emulsification.
THE OPTIONAL EXTRAS
- EITHER – half a cup of berries or 1/3 cup of other fruits, preferably ones that happily grow in UK climate.
- 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado.
- Cucumber, courgette, marrow
- A few nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazils.
- Or a tablespoon or seeds – flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower.
- Spices – cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, chilli, caraway, cocoa/cacao – fresh if you can. Add a twist of black pepper if you are including turmeric. There is no need to peel ginger or turmeric – they can go in whole.
- Fresh herbs – thyme, basil, parsley, coriander, rosemary etc.
- A chunk of lime, lemon or orange including skin – for extra emulsification and zing.
- Water for drinking consistency
Although this may be a higher calorie drink than you are used to, the nutritional value will be vastly superior. I find a smoothie like this keeps me going almost all day until supper, with maybe a handful of nuts mid afternoon to fill a gap. The quantities don’t need to be rigid, and you can use soya yoghurt rather than dairy if you prefer.
PS If you want to make it last longer try adding the contents of a 1000mg Vitamin C capsule into the mix and refrigerate, though I don’t recommend keeping it for longer than 12 hours.