Category Archives: Smoothies

Grapefruit, Beet and Chilli Juice

Grapefruit, Beet & Chilli Juice

This is a new juicy creation I just had to share. It’s all about the tart grapefruit and spicy hot jalapeno chilli (be brave, folks). The juice is almost creamy and the concentrated flavour saturates your mouth – it’s incredibly satisfying, a breakfast in itself. The jalapeno is as good a wake-up call as coffee (really!) – you can use other chillies, red or green, to suit what’s available.

Consequentially, this juice is also great for hangovers.

Grapefruit and chilli super juice

Grapefruit, Beetroot and Chilli Juice

Serves 1

  • 1 grapefruit, peeled
  • 1 apple
  • 1in slice of beetroot
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 lime, peeled
  • 1/2 zucchini (or cucumber)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1/2 jalapeno (or more depending on your taste and the spiciness of your chillis)

Put the lot through your juicer, pour into a glass (over ice if you like), and enjoy!

My favourite thing to juice at the moment.

Juice Feasting with the Phillips Avance Juicer

Fairly typical breakfast scene at the moment. #juicing

The release of my Smoothie Book is approaching FAST (free copies up for grabs here) and naturally I’ve been making a lot of smoothies, not only to test my recipes but also to fuel my fires and get me stoked for the highs and [only occasional] lows of eBook development.

One of the things I suggest in my book is trying fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juice as a liquid base for smoothies. So, for the last couple weeks, I’ve been playing with the Phillips Avance Juicer from Argos and finding out what the fuss about juicing is all about. Turns out, there’s something to be said for this modern day phenomenon…

I'd like to create a smoothie version of this most excellent juice, made of carrot, apple, ginger and lemon (zest included). Smooth it with some almonds maybe?

A Tale of Two Juicers

Back in the day I had a juicer, a really fancy Omega ”masticating juicer” (juicer speak for “hardcore”). It cost the world but made amazing juice (as well as pasta, almond milk, nut butter and more!). This was the Vitamix of juicers. But it had a lot of bits and pieces, was a pain to clean and in the end I sold it.

philips-avance-advance-juicer

The Phillips juicer is a different beast. It’s a centrifugal juicer (see the difference between masticating and centrifugal juicers) that actually seems to do what it says on the box: “Maximum Juice. Minimum fuss.” The setup was easy and the best thing was that the fruit “shoot” actually had capacity for whole apples. This means less chopping and easier juice. Cleanup was also easy – there are 4 pieces to clean and all are dishwasher safe (and none of the bits have annoying grooves or dips that are prone to collecting nasty water in the dishwasher).

Juicing: it’s not a detox, but it’s still cool

The juicer came with a copy of Jason Vale‘s The Funky Fresh Juice book which further led me to his other book, The Juice Master Diet which details a 7-day juicing regime (“7lbs in 7 days!” he claims). I was skeptical because I hate the word “diet” and the cover of the book makes it seem like this is all about losing weight FAST. Furthermore, the book itself is full of fluffy health claims about “body cleansing”, superfoods and “detoxing”.

So it seems spirulina makes smoothies look like something out of Ten Forward. This is cool to me. #trekkie

It may seem weird that I’m knocking the idea of “detox” when I glowed emphatically about the Clean Detox program I did for three weeks earlier this year. But as I’ve learned, calling such things a “detox” is biologically incorrect and based on a misunderstanding of how the human detoxification system really works (see: Detox Diets: Facts & Fallacies). Even Jason Vale admits (sort of): “Your body has it’s own filtration system, mainly the liver, and it’s constantly cleaning, or ‘detoxing’, if you prefer. So yes it could be argued that, ‘juicing doesn’t help the body to detox’, which is true..ish.”

Still, a book like The Juice Master Diet has a market and I get that Jason’s writing to that market. He even writes in the book: “I suppose that in order to get your message to the people who need it most you sometimes have to compromise along the way”. Ok, fine.

And hey, the stir fry juice is pretty good. (Hold the soy sauce in mine, please.)

So I read the book and made some juice and as much as I’m cynical about all the fluffy superfood jargon, I am still fascinated by this concept of a full-time juicing spell (it helps that the apple orchard is in full swing and I have a LOT of fruit to play with at the moment). I felt great after doing the Clean thing. Call it a detox, call it whatever you will: if you eat “clean food” (fruit, vegetables, pulses, whole grains, etc.) and don’t eat “bad food” (sugar, alcohol, processed food, etc.) for an extended, uninterrupted period of time, you’re bound to feel awesome, and isn’t that the point? And if that “clean food” were delivered in pure juice form, how would I feel?  Would it increase my energy? Improve my morale (which has been suffering a little lately in light of a recent foot injury)? Would it make me feel like a rock star?

So, I’ve decided to find out.

Juicy Wall Planner

Juice Feast in Progress

So, as I write this, I’m just finishing my fourth day of what I’m calling a “juice feast”. And “feast” really is the operative word here. This isn’t a “diet”, or a “fast” – it really is a feast of an alarmingly large amount of juice for seven days in a row. I’m drinking SEVEN juices a day, and many of the juices get blended with yogurt or avocado so they’re more like smoothies. Here are my observations so far:

Pros:

  • It’s not as hard as I thought it would be.
  • The plan is totally laid out for you – there’s a wall chart and an app that makes it totally easy to create a shopping list, plan your smoothies throughout the day and make the recipes. There’s very little thinking to do here.
  • The juices are really good.
  • Avocados play a major role in the smoothie recipes and I am an avo ADDICT.
  • Some of the juices are more like “smoothies” (so, fresh juice blended with avocado or yogurt) – I look forward to these the most!
  • I still have energy to go to the gym, life weights, cycle, etc. In fact, today I lifted more and swam more quickly than I have in many months. Most importantly, I felt great while doing it (albeit a little hungry).
  • I sleep like the dead.
  • I am not constantly hungry.
  • I have a LOT of energy throughout the day – no crashes ever – and this especially goes for MENTAL energy, which means…
  • I’m WAY more productive, particularly in the evenings, though this might be because I don’t spend time cooking or eating a “meal” (dinner time is one of my favourite times of the day, but often after dinner, I succumb to a movie or useless internet surfing – this hasn’t really happened, or if I do it with a movie, I do it with intention and not “I can’t be bothered doing anything else” kind of laziness).
  • The whole thing seems to go by pretty quickly.

Cons

  • Headaches, which I experienced on Days 2 and 3. They set in at about 5pm and didn’t go anywhere for the entire evening. This may have been an effect of caffeine withdrawal – I haven’t had any headaches since.
  • The recipes can get a bit samy, particularly on the fruit front – he stresses that apples, carrots and pineapple or a combination should always be used as a base to the vegetable juices. But this brings me to my next gripe…
  • He doesn’t explain WHY. I’d love to know more about why the plan is laid out as it is and why these particular fruits and vegetables are so important.
  • I miss cooking and sitting down for a proper meal.
  • Ok, I know I said I wasn’t constantly hungry but I admit that there is a sort of latent hunger that drinking a glass of liquid just doesn’t satisfy (Jason Vale argues that this is “mental hunger” and not true physical hunger – and that if it is true hunger, we are free to simply drink more juice).
  • As much as the juicer is easy to use and clean, it loses it’s charm when you have to clean it seven times.
  • It’s expensive, especially if you buy into all of the optional recommended supplements (spirulina, wheatgrass, psyllium husks). Plus the groceries alone: I mean, 85 apples for the whole week! (I’m lucky I have an orchard.) Not to mention the cost of the juicer.
  • The juices, though delicious, get a little boring as the same ones are repeated throughout the week.
  • I miss salt.
  • I miss chewing.

I will report back in a few days when I’m finished and let you know my final thoughts on the whole thing.  In the meantime, to give you an idea of how this works in practice, I’m sharing a recipe for one of the juices that features prominently throughout the seven day juice feast, and it’s one of my favourites. I didn’t think I liked pineapple but add a lime and it’s a total win.

I cannot argue with this "Super Juice" - or this avocado.

Jason Vale’s “Turbo Express”

Juicy Ingredients

  • 1/4 small pineapple
  • 1/2 stick celery
  • 1 inch chunk of cucumber
  • 1 small handful of spinach leaves
  • 1 small piece of peeled lime
  • 2 apples – not Granny Smiths
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • Ice

Juicy Instructions

  1. Juice the pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach, lime and apples. (If you have a Phillips whole-fruit juicer, put in one apple, place the other ingredients on top and then finish up with the other apple).
  2. Place the ripe avocado flesh in the blender / smoothie maker along with the ice and juice mixture.
  3. Give a good whiz for 45 seconds (or until smooth).
  4. Pour into glass – enjoy!

Why this is good for you

This juice is rich in potassium, vitamin C and iron, which helps cleanse the intestine and boost the immune system. It is excellent for rebuilding red blood cells and reducing blood pressure. It is also helpful with kidney problems and acts as a diuretic. The blended avocado contains all of our body’s six dietary needs in abundance – water, fat, protein, natural sugar, vitamins and minerals.

Source: Jason Vale’s Turbo Express

Related Links

Smoothie Book Giveaway

Smarter Fitter Smoothies Book Cover

My Smarter Fitter Smoothies book continues to evolve, with the content almost 100% complete and the cover design just about nailed. I’ve gotta give major kudos to my friends Gloria Nicol and Helen Best-Shaw for their help in this regard.

Gloria, a food stylist, photographer, author and great friend, gave me some extremely useful advice and encouragement (look to my existing smoothie pins on Pinterest for inspiration – of course!).

Helen, who writes the blog Fuss Free Flavours, helped immeasurably by having me over for a fun photography session in which we both got jiggy with smoothie making, props and picture taking. In the end, Helen snapped the winning shot (pictured above) and also introduced me to Pic Monkey, a nifty free tool that made it easy for me to lay some stylish text over my photo. Hence, the cover was born!

To celebrate this milestone, and to gear us all up for the imminent publication of my book, I’m hosting a giveaway! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

10 copies of the eBook edition of Smarter Fitter Smoothies

1 copy of the print edition of Smarter Fitter Smoothies!

To enter, simply complete the giveaway widget below to verify your entries. The giveaway ends on 30th November at Midnight.

You can read more about what the Smarter Fitter Smoothies book is all about in this blog post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pear and Avocado Smoothie

Green apple smoothie

As I ramp up for the imminent release of my new book, Smarter Fitter Smoothies, I’ve been playing around with new smoothie recipes. The ultimate test of whether a smoothie works is whether I can’t resist making another one the very next day.

Such has been the case with this pear and avocado smoothie, which I’m calling “Pear and Avocado Thickie” in the book. Fresh pear and avocado go really well together. The avocado, combined with the flaxseed, make this smoothie super thick and creamy. You can substitute the flaxseed with other nuts or seeds, or omit completely if you don’t have it to hand. What I like about this smoothie is that you know the avocado is there, and the pear gives it just a little sweetness (if you like it even sweeter, you can add a few dates, but I prefer the less sweet version; it allows more of the avocado and pear flavours to come through).

Taste aside, the smoothie is full of all of the good stuff that makes it balanced and wholesome. It’s got loads of fiber from the pear, flax seed and leafy greens, plus lemon which aids digestion and avocado for healthy fats and delicious creaminess.  Eat one of these for breakfast and it will totally set you up for the day; sugar crashes be gone!

If you like this smoothie, me a huge favour and subscribe now for updates on my upcoming smoothie book. I’m giving away free copies of the ebook to 10 lucky subscribers so you have nothing to lose and only health, happiness and perfect blends to gain!

Pear and Avocado Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: smoothie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • 1 large pear (~150g)
  • ½ avocado (~50g)
  • ¼ small lemon, peel removed
  • 1 handful of kale or spinach (~1 cup)
  • 1 heaped tsp flaxseed (~5g)
  • 1-2 dates (optional)
  • A few ice cubes
  • Small pinch of salt

Instructions
  1. Combine everything in the blender and add a little bit of water. Start blending and add more water as needed (the less water, the thicker the smoothie!).

 

I’m sending this to this month’s breakfast club where the current theme is fruit.

Smoothie Book Coming Soon!

Smoothie eBook Sign up for updates about Smarter Fitter Smoothies
(And a chance to win a free copy!)

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, then you know I’ve become quite addicted to smoothies as of late. It all started with the detox, which got me into the habit of having a smoothie for breakfast every morning. And now, I can’t stop. I crave these smoothies. They taste great. They make me feel awesome. And I find smoothie-making as enjoyable as smoothie-eating – I get to start my day with a bit of creativity. It’s an experiment with ingredients and flavour combinations in my quest for the best ever fruit and vegetable blends!

Strawberry Mint Smoothie

I’ve been taking notes on the process and have decided to turn it all into an smoothie book (both electronic and print), due to be released in just a few weeks! I know there are loads of other smoothie books out there, but my smoothie recipes are a little different.

First, all of my smoothies are

Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free and Dairy-free

Also…

  • Fruit AND Vegetables: My smoothies aren’t all about the fruit; you’ll find lots of veg too, and not just the usual suspects. Look out for ingredients like beetroot and pumpkin, veggies that pack a supremo nutritional punch but are frugal, too.
  • Not a Total Sugar Bomb: In line with the above, my smoothies are nutritionally balanced; you’re not going to have a sugar crash within minutes of drinking one of these. They are designed for sustained feelings of awesomeness.
  • Healthy, wholesome and detoxing: My smoothies are free of soy, wheat and other common allergens. Instead, they’re full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and loads of other good stuff your body needs in an easily digestible form.
  • Dried fruits as sweeteners. I used dates, prunes and other dried fruit rather than syrups, sugar or other artificial sweeteners.
  • Reliant on real food rather than “superfoods”: You can make my smoothies without having to spend lots of money on chia seeds, bee pollen and other “superfood” supplements
  • Innovative combinations of ingredients and flavours. For example: pumpkin apple and ginger; double beetroot with apple and mint; pear and apple with cashew and cinnamon; strawberry and avocado with cashew and mint; melon, cucumber and avocado with mint and dates.
  • Vitamix not required. Although it helps to have a super amazing blender, it’s not necessary – most of these smoothies can be made with a conventional blender. The book also gives suggestions for blenders that don’t cost the earth but still make a great smoothies.

The book is coming out in just as a few weeks, both as an eBook and in print.

Subscribe now to hear when it’s released.

I’ll be giving away free copies to 10 randomly chosen subscribers. So what do you have to lose? You have only smoothies to gain!

Pumpkin & Apple Smoothie

Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the book, a super seasonal smoothie recipe that I’ve really been enjoying lately: Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger. This smoothie just sings of autumn (and extreme tastiness). The pumpkin and cashews make it creamy, while the apple and ginger make it super refreshing.

Pumpkin, Apple & Ginger Smoothie
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1 apple
  • 2 dates
  • 15g cashews
  • 1in piece of ginger, peeled
  • ~1 cup ice
  • enough water to blend
  • cinnamon or nutmeg to garnish

Instructions
  1. Put everything into the blender and blitz on high for about 30 seconds (or as long as it takes to make a silky smooth blend). For those of you without a Vitamix or similar super-power blender, you can soak the cashews for a few hours or use cashew butter to make it easier on your blender.
  2. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Notes
You can use canned pumpkin here or make your own pumpkin puree: take a pumpkin, cut it in half, take out the seeds then put in a roasting pan cut side down. Bake at 375F/190C for 45-90 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin) until perfectly soft inside. Let cool then scoop the pulp into a blender and puree. You can freeze in small batches (I do this in ice cube trays).

 

Please sign up and share this with your friends – all money earned from book sales will go towards creating more awesome recipe books. Thanks for your support!

Beetroot, Apple and Ginger Smoothie

Beetroot, apple & ginger smoothie. It kicks butt: 1/2 apple, 1/2 raw beetroot, 1 prune, 1cm piece of ginger, 30g spinach, 40g avocado, 2tsp flaxseed, fresh mint, ice, water. #rawfood #realfood #cleanse #cleanprogram #detox #breakfast #vegan #vitamix #vege

I invented this smoothie as part of the Clean Detox and it was good enough to deserve its own blog post. I love the combination of the fresh crisp apple and earthy beetroot. It also happens to be fiber-rich!

It’s not a very sweet smoothie, so add more prunes (or dates) if you’d like it sweeter.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 raw beetroot
  • 1 prune
  • 1cm piece of ginger
  • 30g spinach
  • 40g avocado
  • 2tsp flaxseed
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • ~1 cup of ice

Add enough water to blend and blitz on high until silky smooth.

Nutrition: About 200 Calories, 10g fat, 4g protein, 28g carbs, 10g fiber.

Black and Blue Avocado Smoothie

Black & Blue Avocado & Mint Smoothie

This smoothie has become a staple of mine in recent weeks, largely thanks to the abundance of blackberries in the hedgerows at the moment. If only avocados grew so readily, alas, I have to rely on Lidl for my avocado fix (yes, Lidl, where avocados seem to be both cheaper and tastier than those from other supermarkets, the exception being The Organic Farm Shop which occasionally has organic avocados from Mexico which are pure bliss).

But I digress. I like to add interest to this smoothie with mint and orange flower water, but if you don’t have those it’s not the end of the world. This is really all about the berries, and the avocados and dates make it creamy sweet deliciousness.

Black and Blue Avocado Smoothie
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Up the dates if you like a sweeter smoothie – this comes in handy if the dates are particularly tart. Go easy on the orange flower water – a little bit (we’re talking drops) goes a very long way.
Ingredients
  • 150g blackberries, blueberries or a combo of the two
  • ½ avocado
  • a big handful of kale
  • 1 date
  • a few ice cubes
  • water, nut milk or rice milk
  • a couple sprigs of mint, stalks removed
  • a few drops of orange flower water (go easy on this)

Instructions
  1. Put everything in a blender and add enough water, nut milk or rice milk to blend. Blitz on high for a minute or so to make sure the date and everything else gets chopped up well. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information
Calories: 268 Fat: 16 Carbohydrates: 33 Fiber: 14 Protein: 6 Cholesterol: 0

 

 

“Enzyme-Rich” Green Juice: The savoury smoothie

Clean detox day 6

My friend Shweta sent me a link to a few smoothie recipes that recently appeared in an Emerald Street newsletter (some kind of style and fashion newsletter, no wonder I missed it). One smoothie in particular caught my eye: an “Enzyme-Rich” juice full of green stuff: cucumber, celery, parsley, mint and spinach. So I gave it a try yesterday, adding a pear because my mind hasn’t yet quite grasped the idea of a smoothie without fruit in it.

The result was kind of amazing. I can’t say I’d have this smoothie every morning, but it does have its place in the lexicon of liquid breakfasts. It was particularly good after a hard workout – the cold, almost savoury juice, tart from the addition of lemon, is super refreshing. Not to mention hydrating… this recipe almost filled the jug of the Vitamix and I drank the whole thing.

“Enzyme-Rich” Green Juice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • 350g spinach
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2-3 cm piece of peeled ginger
  • 1 pear, cored

Instructions
  1. Put everything in a blender with enough water to get it going.
  2. Blend on high for about a minute.
  3. Strain through a sieve if you’d like (I didn’t bother).
  4. Serve over ice.

 

Chilli Chocolate Beetroot Smoothie

IMG_6630

My experiments with “green” smoothies have led me to that happy marriage of beetroot and chocolate, but with a little twist inspired by Sumayya Jamil who recently wrote about her Chilli Chocolate Lassi with Mint and Rose Petals.

What caught my eye was the inclusion of cumin seeds and mint, so I decided to try the two with beetroot, spinach and banana. This might be my most favourite “green” smoothie to date:

  • 1/2 large banana (~75g)
  • 1 small beetroot, boiled (~60g)
  • 30g spinach
  • 1 heaped tsp cocoa powder (or more to taste)
  • 4 large ice cubes
  • a few mint leaves
  • a few cumin seeds
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt

Blitz until silky smooth, adding as much water as necessary.