Friday, July 6, 2007

Smoothie Craze

What’s the best diet? Nutritionists and dietitians rate fruits as high in nutritional value and has a cleansing effect on the blood and digestive tract. They are a natural staple food, plentiful and are excellent sources of minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Researchers testify that eating five different kinds of fruits each day may help prevent cancer and helps in detoxifying the body. Berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries are antioxidants that contain a natural substance; and they are full of vitamin C and are low in calories. Kiwi is another vitamin loaded fruit and is low on fat and a good source of vitamin E. Bananas are rich in potassium; the list goes on and on. These luscious fruits made into frothy drinks are a fun and easy way to diet; and starting on a fruit diet can be more of a treat than a diet.

The Infusion Herbal Bar (Market Place Thong lor; BTS Chidlom Station; Paragon Food hall G/f; 081-3552094) serves smoothies using the basic principles of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) promoting enhancement of a healthier mind, body, balance and yes… beauty. A combination of fruits and herbs like: gingko biloba; ginseng; lycium fruit; mulberry; and reishi mushroom, create nourishing drinks that promote wellness. Fresh juices and smoothies are absorbed more by the body than if fruits were to eaten whole. Many of the nutrients are trapped in the fiber and by blending fruits and vegetables; the fibers are broken down and vital nutrients are released. The raw fruits also retain their enticing colors, which make them so attractive. Pretty in Pink is blend of strawberry and lycium (Gou-zi, an anti-aging fruit also known to improve vision) is their best seller. The Brain-berry is a combination of blueberry and gingko biloba “enhances brain performance”. Berry-strong a mixture of raspberries and strawberries, and reishi mushrooms is a load of vitamin C, good for the immune system. Stress Away, a kiwi-mango-peach-pineapple blend with ginseng, is calming. The Beautiful life is my favorite; a mixture of blueberry, strawberry, watermelon and lycium fruit, claims to “improve skin’s health”. These smoothies (60-75B/serving) are just perfect after a workout or an in-between meal. So instead of grabbing that piece of rich and fatty bun, think twice, and opt for a fruity freeze.
For the health fanatics, combining Spirulina (tiny aquatic plant used as a dietary supplement) to the fruity blend is another option. Its health benefit is mounting in popularity and a growing research attest to its healing effects. They are easy to digest so nutrients are absorbed quickly and are widely becoming a daily habit; although I must say it is an acquired taste. It has a deep green color and has grassy taste so it is best to mix it with fresh fruits or veggies. Lounging by the pool sipping a spirulina smoothie after a workout at the gym is a quick picker-upper. The JW Health Club Juice bar offers a host of power boosting smoothies (150-200B). Natalie Paque, Health Club Manager, is a big fan of spirulina says it helps her keep fit and loves it mixed with apples and veggies.
Prepared at home, these tried and tested recipes are worth a try:
Day starter Smoothie: One tablespoon spirulina powder (ASB Tel: 02 9389255-6;
2 cups of tropical blend juice (or orange, apple or pineapple juice).
Fresh fruit (banana, orange, peach, pear, apple, pineapple) or berries.
Options: almonds or sunflower seeds or flavors such as vanilla or lime to suit your taste. For a thicker smoothie, use more fresh fruit, less juice.
Mix well in a blender. Makes 2 servings.

Spiru-veggie smoothie:
One tablespoon spirulina powder
2 cups of vegetable juice (carrot or tomato juice).
For options add whole vegetables (cucumber or celery) or herbs (parsley, dill or mint) to suit your taste.
Mix well in a blender. Makes 2 servings.

The food we eat daily help us protect our bodies from the increasing demands of the urban lifestyle. Convenience is our greatest luxury, every corner there are crunchy french fries and greasy banana fritters, and glossy billboard ads that entice us to have junk food everyday. Sadly, we even crave it and sometimes even dream about it! Eat right. After all…you are what you eat.

June Sauer

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